Posts Tagged ‘macintosh’

Techie Tip of the Week: Mac Users – Change the Order of Icons in the Menu Bar

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Mac users – ever want to change the order of the icons of the applications in the menu bar? Want, for example, to move the date/time toolbar menu item to a different spot?

Here’s how!

  1. Log into your computer.
  2. Command-click and drag the icon from its current position to the desired position.

The icon will now be in the new spot!

Techie Tip of the Week: Mac Laptop Users – Ejecting Stuck CDs/DVDs

Friday, November 9th, 2012

On Macintosh laptops with optical drives (e.g., Macbook Pro, iBooks, etc.), DVDs and CDs can sometimes get stuck without your computer realizing the disk is inside. This occurs particularly often if you try to insert a mini-DVD or mini-CD into the drive. Or you accidentally insert a disk after another disk is already inside.

What to do?

To eject a stuck disk, try the following until the disk ejects:

  • If you see the disk’s icon on your Desktop, click and drag it to the Trash. This is the normal way to eject a DVD/CD.
  • Press the eject button on your keyboard. Generally, this is located in the upper-right corner of the keyboard.
  • Launch iTunes. On the Controls menu, click Eject Disk. Or use the keyboard shortcut Command-E.
  • Restart your computer. After the chime, press and hold down the mouse/trackpad button until the disk ejects.
  • Launch Terminal. Enter the following command, and then press Enter:
    /usr/bin/drutil eject
    If the drive is an external drive, use the following command instead:
    /usr/bin/drutil eject external

This should force the machine to eject whatever is inside the optical drive.


If none of these remedies succeed, take your computer to your local Apple retail store, and have one of the Apple Genius Bar employees take the computer apart and physically remove the disk.


Techie Tip of the Week: Show Hidden Files

Friday, September 21st, 2012

By default, your operating system hides certain files — generally related to the system operations, user preferences, and other files that most users would not need (or want) to see in a particular folder.

Suppose you DO want to view these hidden files. Maybe you want to edit the .htaccess file used to manipulate web servers (e.g., restricting access) on your Mac or Windows machine. Or you want to see or edit the library files used by the programs installed on your computer. Or you want to make sure that malicious users haven’t sneaked in a virus by making it hidden. How do you change your computer’s settings to allow users to view hidden files?

Windows Users

To view hidden files on Windows 7/Vista/XP:

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Click Control Panel.
  3. In Windows 7 or Vista, click Appearance and Personalization.
    In Windows XP, click Appearance and Themes.
  4. Click Folder Options.
  5. Click the View tab.
  6. In Windows 7 or Vista, in Advanced settings, click Show hidden files, folders, and drives.
    In Windows XP, in Hidden Files and Folders, click Show hidden files and folders.
  7. Click OK.

Mac Users

To view hidden files on a machine running Mac OS X (including Snow Leopard, Lion, and Mountain Lion):

  1. Launch the Terminal application (Application >; Utilities >; Terminal).
  2. Enter the following command and press return:
    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
  3. Enter the following command and press return:
    killall Finder
Note: To re-hide hidden files, enter the following command and press return:
defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

Reading Mac Formatted Drives on Windows Devices (and Windows Formatted Drives on Mac Devices)

Friday, June 15th, 2012

portmanteau of Mac and Windows LogoHave you ever saved an important file onto a flash drive or external hard drive on a Mac and then were unable to open it on a Windows machine?

Or copied files onto your Windows external drive that you couldn’t edit on your Mac?

The problem lies in the way in which the drive was formatted. By default, Windows devices use the NTFS file system. Modern Macs can read but not write to NTFS-formatted devices. By default, the Mac uses the HFS+ (or “Mac OS Extended”) file system. Windows machines, by default, cannot read HFS+ drives. Both Macs and Windows devices can read and write to drives formatted in the FAT file system, but FAT32 (the latest version of FAT) only allows for a maximum of 2 GB of data — enough for flash drives, perhaps, but no longer sufficient for most hard drive uses.

So, what can you do? Install software that recognizes the “foreign” drives.

An excellent list of tools you can use is found on

In particular, I’ve had good experience with both MacDrive ($49.99, 5-day free trial) and HFSExplorer (freeware).