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Tips and tricks specific to OS X 10.5, from

Published: Wed, 20 Oct 2010 07:30:02 -0700

Copyright: Copyright 2010 Mac OS X Hints

10.5: Install on a PPC Mac from an external USB Drive

Wed, 20 Oct 2010 07:30:00 -0700

(image) After doing a lot of research and trying out some hints, finally I could install Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard on an iMac G5 1.8 GHz, and I would like to share with you the solution that I got.

This works for PowerPC Macs that don't have a Dual Layer DVD, and you wish to install Leopard using an external USB Drive instead. 1. Start by creating the disc image of the installation media (this can be DMG, CDR, ISO or any of the disc image formats supported by Mac OS X). In my case I used an external DVD (Dual Layer) drive with the Installation media to make the image -- because the system doesn't recognize that drive in the Startup Manager (when I restart it while holding down Option key), neither was listed at System Preferences » Startup Disk.

Note: you can skip this step and make the restore directly from the DVD -- just dragging the DV ...

Recover from a problem with an Apple update

Thu, 16 Sep 2010 07:30:00 -0700

(image) I recently performed a security patch along with a Safari update (I believe it was 5.0.1) using Software Update. I ignored the iTunes 10 update that was available. After the update, I could no longer access any websites, webdav iCal shares, or even connect to the Software Update server! I assume that the security update works for most people without doing anything harmful, but the only way I got Internet access back was by installing an earlier combo update at the Apple Store. I spent all weekend trying everything I could think of. You can see a list of the things I tried in this Apple discussion forum thread. I had even performed a restore from backup from my Time Capsule (but it's possible that I miscalculated the date on which I performed the patch).

The problem was weird. I got a ...

10.5: Use an unsupported local filesystem with Time Machine

Mon, 03 May 2010 07:30:00 -0700

(image) I have a good sized ZFS volume on my desktop machine which I'd like to use for Time Machine backups for all my systems. This is no problem with backing up my other systems over the network thanks to this command:
defaults write TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1
Works like a champ backing up my portable to that volume shared over AFP. But I also wanted to keep the boot drive on the desktop machine backed up to that same volume, which turns out to be almost unfeasible until Apple decides to let us use Time Machine with the mounted HFS+ disk image of our choice.

Apple also doesn't let you mount AFP or SMB shares on the machine you're sharing from, so that wasn't an option either (they should, though -- it would be great for testing purposes, as well as something like this).

I did a lot of research and only ...

10.5: Find out which program/process is locking a file

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 07:30:00 -0800

(image) Sometimes the trash won't be emptied, or a volume refuses to eject with a "file in use error." There have been hints on how to find that out in Terminal with lsof, which is not necessarily for the faint of heart.

Here is a nice Automator workflow that runs some AppleScript and shell commands and can be used in contextual Finder menu. So when a file is reported used, control-click on it and run the Automator workflow and see who is to blame. It will use user process space (no prompt for admin password), but will also revert to system process space if needed (prompting for the password). It will display the application/process that is using the file, and the account that started the program (could be you, could be root, could be another local user). Open Automator with empty workflow, then add following actions, in this order:
  1. Get Selecte ...

10.5: Change a print job's scheduled print time

Thu, 19 Nov 2009 07:30:00 -0800

(image) If you need to hold a print job for a period of time, but forget to change the settings in the Print dialog before sending the job to the printer, here's a solution.

When the printer's window comes up, click the Hold button, then double-click the value under "When. For the date, you'll need to enter the Unix epoch timestamp for when you would like the job to print. In case you're not fluent in UNIX epoch timestamps, you can use this free converter to convert a standard date format into the Unix epoch equivalent.

For example, if I wanted to print something at 2pm Eastern time on November 10 2009, I would enter 1257879600 into the field.

[robg adds: It seems this won't work in 10.6, because there's no When column in the 10.6 print queue window. If I'm overlooking something, pleas ...

10.5: Remove Shut Down from the Apple menu

Mon, 16 Nov 2009 07:30:00 -0800

(image) We have some users who, through habit or sloppy clicking, always shutdown their machine when they leave. This means that we can't perform maintenance without walking to the machine. If you need to prevent users from shutting down machines so you can do maintenance, this will help by removing the Shut Down item from the Apple Menu.

The following patch removes the Shut Down menu item for everyone on the system, admin and non-admin users alike. The patch doesn't delete the entire object, it just replaces the content of the object with a separator. Deleting the entire object causes Bad Things To Happen. You can probably use this method to remove other items in the Apple Menu, but I haven't tested that.

Warning: Altering anything under /System/Library is always risky. Don't deploy this without testing it tho ...

10.5: Disable the CrashReporter application

Wed, 16 Sep 2009 07:30:00 -0700

(image) While people have pointed out that the CrashReporter dialog box may be disabled, this still runs the CrashReporter on each application failure, and writes a crash report to disk. Since it can take a long time to write the report, developers may want to disable crash reports entirely. Here is how.

From within a window, you have to run the following command once:
sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
You then have to run the following command every time you log in. (I added it to my ~/.bash_profile file, which is good enough for runnin ...

10.5: Search system folders in Spotlight

Mon, 24 Aug 2009 07:30:00 -0700

Spotlight generally excludes OS X system folders (such as /etc and /bin) from its searches. But, if you know the name of the system folder you want to search, you can search in it anyway. For example, to search for a file in the /etc folder, select Go: Go to Folder in the Finder. Type /etc in the Go to field and click Go. With that folder now open in the Finder, type whatever it is you want to look for in the Finder window's Spotlight field. When the Search bar appears, select "etc" as the folder to search (instead of This Mac). If you select one of the found files and check its file path at the bottom of the search window, you'll see that the search results are indeed within one of those previously unsearchable folders.

10.5: View subtitles in Quick Look

Wed, 19 Aug 2009 07:30:00 -0700

(image) Last year my wife and I returned from Thailand with some Bollywood movies we bought at a market. They aren't on DVD—some are on regular CD-ROMs (a mix of VCDs and regular CDs), complete with .avi files and .srt subtitle files, which we can play with VLC Player. However, I noticed that if the .avi and .srt files are in the same folder, and you press the space bar to preview the movie, Quick Look will show the subtitles in the movie. Previously I thought only VLC Player & QuickTime could do this. Quick Look even does this after I convert the .avi files to .m4v files.

[Editor's note: This hint has not been tested.]

10.5: Solve a repair permissions issue after 10.5.8 update

Thu, 13 Aug 2009 07:30:00 -0700

According to this thread in Apple Discussions, some users are noticing some odd entries in Disk Utility's Repair Permissions function after running the Combined Updater and then repairing permissions. It seems a number of files are coming up with absolutely no permissions. Other users, though, are seeing no such problems. After a long exchange, user 'Gerben Wierda' seems to have figured out the cause and a solution.

Gerben describes the problem and the suggested solution:
For files not installed yet, their permissions (and owner) are taken from nonexisting files during the update process and stored in the package Receipts (Base system). Obviously, the combo update may affect more files. Installing the update twice -- without repairing permissions between -- re-reads permissions from the files which, at that point, are available and the receipts are fixed. ...

10.5: Mount a partition or volume on demand

Wed, 12 Aug 2009 07:30:00 -0700

(image) I have a portable drive that I've divided into two partitions: an HFS+ partition for backups and extra storage, and an MSDOS partition so that I can transfer large files or folders to or from Windows boxes. However, I don't need the second partition very often, so I wanted a way to keep it from automatically mounting on my machine when I plug in the drive, while still being able to access it quickly and easily. This turned out to be reasonably easy to do.

First, to prevent the partition from mounting when the disk as a whole mounts, edit/create the fstab system file, which lives down in the root folders at /etc/fstab. Leopard does not seem to have this file by default; it does have a file /etc/fstab.hd, which is not the file you want (though it makes for interesting reading in a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy sort of way). Use a plain-te ...

10.5: Screen share with multiple Macs behind one NAT

Fri, 07 Aug 2009 07:30:00 -0700

(image) After searching for a way to change the port that Apple Remote Desktop connects over (so I could use Screen Sharing to reach two machines behind the same NAT router), I found that in Screen Sharing, you can specify a port for a connection, just like you can do in Chicken of the VNC. So, to manage multiple computers:
  1. Port forward a different port to your second, third, etc. machines. That is, port forward external port 5901 to internal port 5900.
  2. Open the ScreenSharing app, in /System » Library » CoreServices.
  3. Enter your Domain Name and Port:, for instance, for the second port.
That's it -- off you go to the specified machine on the described port. I did have issues with Keychain remembering which username and password to use if you have different accounts on each box. I found that setting up d ...

10.5: Read e-mail in Cover Flow

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 07:30:00 -0700

(image) Want to read a bunch of related e-mails without switching to You can:

Start by using Spotlight to search for whatever subjects or recipients define the group of messages you want to read, then Show All the results. Next, click on the plus-sign (+) option. You should now see the search criteria Kind Is Any. Click and hold on Any and then choose Other. In the text field, type Mail Message. Now click on Save and give the search whatever name you wish; make sure that Add To Sidebar is checked. Select this saved search in your sidebar, and click on the Cover Flow button at the top of the Finder window.

You may have to enlarge your Finder window to make the messages readable. You could use QuickLook to read them at a larger size.

10.5: Disable CPU chirp in OS X 10.5

Tue, 07 Jul 2009 07:30:01 -0700

(image) You can still turn processor nap on and off with the newest version of OS X (10.5.7 as of this writing) and the newest version of the CHUD tools (4.6.2 as of this writing), which are installed with Xcode. You simply have to install the Processor System Preferences pane manually after installing the CHUD tools. I did this on my old dual G5 2.0 GHz to eliminate the CPU's chirping sound. Here's how...

Once C.H.U.D. tools is installed, in Finder go to /Developer » Extras » PreferencePanes. Drag the Processor.prefpane file to /System » Library » PreferencePanes; the Finder will ask you to authenticate as an administrator to put it there, and then you're done!

You might have to reboot, but the Processor panel will then be available in System Preferences to turn nap on or off. Hope this helps y ...

10.5: Wake a sleeping Mac with via Automator

Thu, 02 Jul 2009 07:30:03 -0700

I have a Mac mini in my living room hooked up to my TV. I wanted to be able to control the mini from my iMac in my office. Using Screen Sharing built into Leopard, it's a simple click of the mouse to do this. With a little Automator love, I created a simple workflow that turns the Screen Sharing step into a click of an icon in the dock.

However, even with the power efficiency of the 2009 Mac mini, I don't want to leave it on 24/7. After searching through several solutions that used Python and shell scripting (neither of which I know or could make work), I found this nifty Applescript from Mark Muir that I adapted to solve my problem. Here's my modified code:

10.5: Find which items weren't modified by Time Machine

Fri, 12 Jun 2009 07:30:00 -0700

Getting ready for work this morning, I walked into my office to find my 2.5 year old daughter mashing on my keyboard with the monitors off. Time out! After a quick check, it looked like no damage had been done. Later though, I tried to launch iCal with Quicksilver, and Quicksilver could not find it.

I looked at my apps folder (which was open apparently when she was mashing the keyboard) and saw that there were three folders with a bunch of jibberish for names. They were apps, but I wasn't sure which ones were which. Enter Time machine!

I tried to restore the whole apps folder, which I knew would take a while, but it told me Applications cannot be restored as it is used by the system. I selected all apps, hit copy, pasted the names into a text file and printed the file, meaning to open Time Machine and go down the list marking things off until I figured out what was missing.

With all of those items selected, I opened Time Machine and selected a backup ...

10.5: Delete users accounts from command line in 10.5

Tue, 09 Jun 2009 07:30:00 -0700

(image) I work at an Apple authorized service provider, and many times we need to do a new OS X install, create a (temporary) user account, run all the updates, then delete the user account and get the machine back to "new" condition, i.e. no user accounts and Setup Assistant runs at boot.

The process in 10.4 is pretty well documented, but not so 10.5. Here's a process I've come up with and tested twice. It's not as elegant as just deleting the whole netinfo database, but it still seems to accomplish what I need. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable can improve it! To delete a user from the command line in 10.5:
  1. Boot into single user mode. Hold Command-s at startup.
  2. Check the filesystem: /sbin/fsck -fy
  3. If no remaining errors, mount the filesystem: /sbin/mount -uw /
  4. Start up directory services: ...

10.5: Share any files between users on the same Mac

Thu, 04 Jun 2009 07:30:02 -0700

10.5: For a long time now, I've wished that there was a way in OS X to create a shared folder which disregarded file permissions. In particular, I want all the users to be able to read and write to all the files in the shared folder. This is very useful to me, because I want to have only library for each of iTunes, iPhoto and Aperture, and share those libraries between all the users on my Mac.

I've tried many different things, but they were either too hacky or they just didn't work as advertised. I've come up with the following method which works, is safe, is not a hack, and is easy to implement. The secret to this technique is to use Access Control Lists (ACLs). The procedure is as follows:
  1. Create a new group. The easiest way to do this is through the Accounts pane in System Preferences. Just click on the Plus sign to add a new account and then select Group from the New Account drop-down menu. Cal ...

10.5: A possible fix for Mail problems after 10.5 upgrade

Wed, 03 Jun 2009 07:30:00 -0700

(image) When upgrading a Tiger machine to Leopard, there seems to be some circumstances that prevent the upgrade of Mail data from completing. You can recognize this condition by these symptoms:
  • Message viewer window doesn't automatically appear
  • All mailboxes are present but empty
  • Activity Viewer shows connection attempt not proceeding
The Console logs can give some clues to the cause. Sometimes this is caused by conflicting or corrupt Junk Mail settings in the file.

The various values have changed in some version updates to Mac OS X. For some, it's the JunkMailInfoPanelHasBeenShown attribute. For me, it was changing JunkMailBehaviorHasBeenConfigured to false. Also, removing the JunkViewerAttributes setting seemed to be necessary. These can be changed using Pr ...

10.5: Repair a Time Machine 'Error 11' problem

Tue, 19 May 2009 07:30:00 -0700

(image) One of the more distressing Time Machine errors is Error 11. This is a "sticky" error; once it occurs, Time Machine will hit it every time it runs. All you'll see in the standard Time Machine interface is that Time Machine keeps failing. You need to check the system logs to see the Error 11.

The underlying cause of Error 11 appears to be some other error that caused an earlier Time Machine run to terminate without cleaning up after itself. This leaves behind a partial file that indicates to Time Machine that another copy of Time Machine is already producing a backup, so it just stops.

Colin Charles worked out the basic problem and solution, but his description only seems to apply to locally-attached disks. For network-mounted disks, where you've got an addi ...