Dealing with incompatible extensions

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Reader Marc Manassian is confused by a warning he sees when booting his Mac. He writes:

An error message shows every time I start my MacBook Pro—“System Extension Cannot Be Used: the system extension /System/Library/Extensions/ CDSDAudioCaptureSupport.kext was installed improperly and cannot be used. Please try reinstalling it, or contact the product’s vendor for an update.”

The Big Picture answer is that you’ll see these kinds of errors when an incompatible system extension is installed on your Mac. These errors are commonly seen when you first update to Snow Leopard after migrating from an older version of the Mac OS. When you boot your Mac, Snow Leopard checks its naughty-or-nice list, finds those incompatible extensions, refuses to load them, and then tells you so.

The message details exactly what you need to do if you don’t want to see these warnings—update the applications from whence these bits of incompatible business sprang. Updates that are compatible with Snow Leopard will replace the extension with one that works.

If no updated version exists, you can try reinstalling the application and see what happens. It’s possible that during the OS upgrade something went awry so that an extension that should be kosher isn’t (permission issues, for example). If that doesn’t work, contact the application’s developer and ask when an update might be available.

At this point, feel free to rummage around in the Extensions folder inside the Library folder inside the System folder at the root level of your Mac’s startup drive and chuck out the offending files. Programs that depend on these extensions won’t function properly (not that they likely did anyway), but at least you won’t see a warning whenever you start your Mac.

In your very specific case, the CDSDAudioCaptureSupport.kext file comes with Roxio’s CD Spin Doctor—the audio capture utility bundled with Toast Titanium. When Snow Leopard shipped, CD Spin Doctor was not compatible with Apple’s latest cat. It now is. You can download the update from Roxio’s Update Your Software page.

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