Step right up, ladies and gentlemen. You say your iMac's hard drive has given up the ghost? Never fear, I have a solution. And sir, you find Sherlock sluggish? A fix is at hand. And yes, young fella, I can retrieve your e-mail. How's that, ma'am? Sure, I can wake that sleepy PowerBook. And don't you fret, miss, of course I can end Britney Spears's infernal caterwauling. After all, I'm here to help.
Broken and Entering
Q. I have an iMac DV with a broken CD-ROM drive. But that's not the problem--I've added an external USB CD-RW drive. The difficulty is that my Mac won't boot from the hard drive, and with no internal CD-ROM, I can't boot from the iMac's Restore CD. What can I do?
A. Harold, you present the kind of locked-room conundrum worthy of Agatha Christie. With the normal means of entry barred, how do you access your recalcitrant drive?
The secret to unraveling this mystery can be found on the right side of your iMac--it's the FireWire port. You'll also need a second Mac to get the job done.
For some time it's been possible to mount a PowerBook's internal drive from another Mac via SCSI using a protocol called Target Disk Mode (TDM, formerly termed SCSI Disk Mode). TDM is now supported via FireWire as well, which allows you to mount the hard drive of a "target" computer (your iMac) on another FireWire-capable "host" Mac. The target Mac must have shipped with a FireWire port (TDM doesn't support add-on FireWire cards for the target computer--just for the host Mac).
To make this FireWire brand of TDM work, the Macs involved must meet a few additional requirements. The host Mac must be running Mac OS 8.6 or later and FireWire 2.3.3 or later, and your target iMac must have Firmware 2.4 or later. Here's how to set it up:
Remove any FireWire devices from both computers before you start. With the target computer off (the host Mac can be turned on), string a six-pin-to-six-pin FireWire cable (available from any good Mac mail-order house for around $10) between the target and the host Macs. Switch on the target iMac, then press and hold the T key until you see a FireWire icon on the target Mac's screen. The icon for the target Mac's internal hard drive should appear on the host Mac's desktop. Once you're there, Harold, you can repair the drive with a troubleshooting utility or insert the iMac's Software Install CD in the host Mac's CD-ROM drive and install a whole new system on the iMac's drive.
To exit TDM, drag the target Mac's hard-disk icon to the Trash and press the target Mac's power button.
Q. I recently purchased an iMac and shortly thereafter indexed the drive with Sherlock. Since then I've installed two games, yet when I ask Sherlock to update the index, it tells me the process will take 12 hours! What can I do to speed things up?
Enfield, New Hampshire
A. I'd begin by not panicking. Clever as Sherlock may be, it's not terribly good at deducing how long it takes to index a drive when it first begins the process. If you were to sit with stopwatch in hand while Sherlock chugs through your drive, you'd find that its initial estimate is shockingly inaccurate.
That's not to suggest, however, that indexing a drive is a brisk procedure. It isn't, and because of this, it's best to begin the operation when you'll be away from your Mac for a while--overnight, for example.
You can automate the process by creating a schedule. To do so, select Index from Sherlock's Find menu and click on the Schedule button in the resulting dialog box. Select a convenient day and time for indexing to begin, and leave your Mac on during the appointed hour.
Bear in mind that you needn't index your entire drive. You can index a single file or folder by control-clicking on that item in the Finder and choosing Index Selection from the resulting contextual menu. You can also select Preferences from Sherlock's Edit menu and elect to index items by label--only those documents with an orange label, for example. In the same Preferences window, click on the Languages button and switch off all languages except English to further speed Sherlock's indexing.
Q. Outlook Express doesn't run on my Mac any longer, but I need the e-mail it contains. Is there any way to retrieve my messages?
Grass Valley, California
A. A good start would be trying to get Outlook Express up and running again by reinstalling it. However, if it's reluctant to do the job even after the reinstall and you need your e-mail right now, try this: Trot on over to www.eudora.com and download the latest version of Qualcomm's Eudora. When you first launch the program, it offers you the opportunity to import mail from other e-mail clients. Choose Outlook Express from the pop-up menu in the Import Mail dialog box, then click on OK.
If Eudora's already installed, you can import your e-mail by selecting the Import E-mail command from Eudora's File menu.
You can configure Eudora in three ways: Sponsored mode, where you get the full version of the program for free but have to look at some fairly unobtrusive advertisements; Paid mode, a full version without ads; and Light mode, a free limited version without ads but offering fewer features. Eudora is also available in a Mac OS X-native form.
Q. Recently, whenever I put my PowerBook to sleep, it refuses to wake up. What can I do?
A. We've seen this question a few times on the Macworld Troubleshooting forum, and for good reason. PowerBooks can be devilishly difficult to awaken at times. I wish I could provide a single fix, but unfortunately there appears to be no universal solution. Therefore, allow me to enumerate some of the usual suspects.
Start by examining your extensions, control panels, and applications. For example, MenuFonts, a component of Extensis's Suitcase, can create a conflict that disables a PowerBook G4's keyboard when you awaken that PowerBook. Some users have found that switching on the Control Strip causes sleep problems in PowerBooks. And still others claim that a PowerBook wakes more readily if you use the Special menu's Sleep command rather than just closing the notebook's lid. TCP/IP can also be a source of trouble for some PowerBooks. Apple claims that if TCP/IP is set to Active and can't establish an Internet connection, a PowerBook may pause for as long as five minutes when it tries to wake from sleep. If you're thus afflicted, Apple suggests that you set TCP/IP to Inactive and select the Load Only When Needed option.
Mac OS X has its wake-from-sleep issues as well. There have been reports, for example, that having a Classic application at the forefront while putting your PowerBook to sleep can make the device more difficult to rouse.
The key to treating a soporific PowerBook lies mostly in your powers of observation. If you've recently changed something about your PowerBook--say you installed new hardware or software--and your portable pal refuses to leave its state of slumber, try undoing your recent actions and see if the problem disappears.
Q. I teach a variety of computer skills in an iMac-based lab. Although I've muted the sound on the iMacs, my students download RealPlayer and play music during class. What can I do to keep the sound muted, short of removing the iMacs' speakers?
Santa Fe, New Mexico
A. Having been a teacher earlier in my life, I understand how difficult it can be to restrain the youthful enthusiasm of your students--particularly when that energy drives them to blast the latest adenoidal Britney Spears single from one end of campus to the other. Though I believe the shortest route to a solution is to threaten the little punks with expulsion should more than the default alert sound emerge from the lab's iMacs, in these litigious times I understand that may not be an option. You ask in particular about shutting off sound on these iMacs, but the overarching question really is, How can I keep prying little hands and minds from screwing around with system settings in a multicomputer environment? There are a couple of answers--one built in and another available through a third party. Let's begin with the built-in solution.
With Mac OS 9, Apple introduced Multiple Users--a combination control panel and extension that allows a Mac's administrator (the owner) to create individual user accounts on that computer and limit what people using them can do. For example, you can configure the lab's iMacs so your students can only use AppleWorks.
One of Multiple Users' niftier features is its ability to bar access to control panels. This is how we'll mute your iMacs. First, create a new user account in the Multiple Users control panel and give that user Normal privileges--freedom to do anything he or she wants on the iMac. Log out of the owner account and log in as the user you just created. Open the Sound control panel and click on the Mute button--this silences the iMac. But there are still two other ways to make it speak. Let's silence them as well.
Open the Keyboard control panel, click on the Function Keys button in the resulting window, and deselect the Use F1 Through F15 As Hot Function Keys option. You've now disabled the Volume Up, Volume Down, and Mute buttons on your iMacs' keyboards. Open the Control Strip control panel and select the Hide Control Strip option. This prevents your students from using the Control Strip to jack up the iMacs' volume.
When you've run through this rigmarole, log out of that user account (by selecting Logout from the Finder's Special menu), and then log back in as the owner. Next, open the Multiple Users control panel and assign Limited privileges to the user account you created. Finally, click on the Show Setup Details triangle, select the Privileges tab, and make sure that the user doesn't have access to the Control Panels folder.
If that's too much bother and your school has a reasonably meaty budget, install a more robust security program intended for classroom use. With an application such as Power On Software's On Guard ($50; 800/344-9160, www.poweronsoftware.com ), you can determine what your students can and can't do with the lab's iMacs--and you can configure the whole mess from a single administrator's computer. On Guard isn't secure enough for government work, but for a supervised computer lab, it should do the job nicely.
Contributing Editor and occasional carnival huckster CHRISTOPHER BREEN proudly oversees Macworld.com's Mac 911 forum. He invites you to join the fun.
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Tip of the Month
You can add a Sherlock button to your Internet Explorer 5 tool bar (View: Customize Toolbars), but under Mac OS 9.1 it's inactive. To make it active you must replace the Sherlock 2 alias in the Apple Menu Items folder with the actual Sherlock 2 application (found inside the Applications folder at the root level of your hard drive). Internet Explorer Help incorrectly states that the Sherlock application gets placed in the Apple Menu Items folder by default.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
As fancy-pantsy as I find Mac OS X, there's one Classic Mac OS feature I desperately miss: the ability to turn off the Trash warning--you know, the message that indicates the number of items in the Trash and asks if you're really, really, really sure you want to empty it. OK, so maybe I like to live dangerously, but this warning annoys me.
Although I can't turn off this warning for good, I'm not completely without options. I can skirt it--as I did in other versions of the Mac OS--by holding down the option key while selecting the Empty Trash command from the Finder menu.Language Barrier: To speed up indexing in Sherlock, simply switch off the languages you don't plan to use, such as Afrikaans, Estonian, and Portuguese.