Bugs & fixes - Aug. 2007

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Bug: Less Than Optimal Optimizing When you arrive at the final phase of most Mac OS X update installations—anything from the newest version of iTunes to a security patch—the “Optimizing System Performance” message appears. Beware of a serious bug that can bite at just this moment, possibly causing corrupted system files that make restarting your Mac impossible. Fortunately, this problem is easy to avoid: Just don’t touch your Mac while the update is optimizing—launching an application is especially dangerous, as doing so might trigger an additional optimization process. Multiple optimization processes running at the same time are the cause of the problem. If this advice has arrived too late for you, an article on Unsanity’s Weblog explains how to undo the damage.

Bug: Don’t (Kernel) Panic Recently, I decided to take a prerelease version of Patrick Stein’s ScreenRecycler (free) for a spin. This promising utility allows you to use the display on a “spare” Mac (such as a laptop temporarily sitting idle) as a second monitor for another Mac. I installed the program and restarted my Mac—and saw a kernel-panic message. This is the sweat-inducing message that states, “You need to restart your computer,” in multiple languages. Every time I restarted, the message appeared.

Fortunately, there’s a simple way around kernel panics—especially ones that occur at startup after you’ve installed new software. Restart your Mac and hold down the shift key immediately after the tone sounds. (You can let go when the gray Apple logo appears—see this Apple article for more details.) The Mac will boot into Safe Boot mode. Next, navigate to the /System/ Library/Extensions folder and locate a file associated with the application you just installed. Its name will end with the file extension .kext —in my case, it was called ScreenRecyclerDriver.kext. (If you’re unsure which .kext file is the relevant one, use CharlesSoft’s $20 Pacifist to open the software’s Installer package and see which .kext file was installed.) Drag the file to the Trash and restart your Mac again normally, and all should be fine. Of course, this means that you can’t use the program. But if it’s a prerelease (beta) version, as my ver-sion of ScreenRecycler was, the bug will presumably be squashed before the official release.

Fix: Vista Black Screen If you’re using Boot Camp to run Microsoft Windows Vista, and you have a Bluetooth device (such as a mouse or keyboard), you may see a black screen when you wake the Mac up from sleep—and find yourself unable to use your Bluetooth device. To prevent this, you need to install a Vista “hotfix.” The details are available on Microsoft’s Web site.

Fix: EyeTV Password Problems Are you having trouble logging on to your Mac or accessing Keychain? Do authentication dialog boxes disappear (in other words, crash) almost immediately after they appear? If you’ve recently installed Elgato’s $80 EyeTV 2.4 ( version 2.1,   ), it may be the problem. The unusual cause of this bug is an interaction between an MPEG QuickTime component installed by EyeTV in the /Library/QuickTime folder, and 3ivX and DivX components that, if present, are located in the same folder. One quick way to fix the problem is to remove the 3ivX and DivX components and restart your Mac. Alternatively, download the “revised” EyeTV 2.4 (build number 2654 or later—you can check this by selecting the EyeTV: About EyeTV menu item). If you make sure you’ve got that version, you’ll avoid the problem altogether.

[ Senior Contributor Ted Landau is the founder of MacFixIt, a Web site devoted to reporting Mac problems and solutions. ]

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