Macintosh Basics Chapter Four

by Jim Breen
from the June 2003 Newsletter

Actrix has many customers who are using Macintosh systems and some information and tips on how these customers can get the most out of their internet experience and be able identify and rectify common problems should be useful.

Last month Jim Breen dealt with Part 1 of two sections on Practical and System Tips. This month we feature Part 2 - Ed.

Disk First Aid Apple supply a useful tool which can repair many hard disk problems and it is a good idea to run it from time to time to keep things in good shape. It is usually found in the Utilities folder but if you have trouble finding it, go to File/Find and search for Disk First Aid.

image 10

Select your Hard Disk and click on Verify or Repair.

Desktop Rebuild

If the Desktop file becomes too large, the computer may have difficulty reading it efficiently and speedily. This can cause the Finder to access files more slowly. Rebuilding the Desktop file can clean up old information and speed up Finder access. To do this:

  1. Start (or Restart) the computer.
  2. Before the screen lights up, hold down the OPTION-COMMAND keys simultaneously.
  3. Hold these keys down until a message appears asking if you want to rebuild the desktop.
  4. Release the keys and click OK.
  5. Allow the computer to restart normally. The rebuilding process will take several minutes, depending on the size of your hard drive.

0306macimage1.jpg (9771 bytes)Mouse Speed

If you find your mouse pointer is too slow or you want to slow it down, you can adjust the speed by going to Apple menu/Control panels/Mouse.

Select the speed that suits you.

0306macimage2.jpg (11829 bytes)Printing Slow

If you find your printer is slow to spool and print have a look at your settings in Chooser.

Go to Apple menu/Chooser.

Click on the printer icon and check if you have background printing on. If so select it off and printing will be much faster.


0306macimage3.jpg (13082 bytes)Date/Time

If your date or time is incorrect on your computer this affects the time that is placed in your e-mail headers and can be confusing for recipients. To correct your time go to Apple menu/Control panels/Date&Time.

Correct your time here and also check the time zone is selected to NZ.

Make an Alias for your Program

It is sometimes useful to have an alias to a program which you can place somewhere for easy access. To make an Alias for Remote Access:

  1. Go to Hard disk and open system folder.
  2. Double click on Control panels and find Remote Access.
  3. Click on Remote access once to hilight, and then go to File/Make Alias.

A duplicate of Remote Access will now show beside the original and you can drag this to a convenient place such as you desktop and use this to connect and disconnect from the internet.

You can do the same with any program. For example, to make an alias for Outlook Express find the OE folder, open it and find the OE program. Hilight it and go to File/make alias.

Printing Utility

You have probably been on a website and wanted to print just a selection of the page and not the complete website. There are several utilities available that will allow this but they are costly to buy. There is a shareware program available called Net Print which works very well. When this is installed all you need to do is select the portion of the text you want to print or save and then go to the Net Print icon showing at the top of your screen and select Print. This saves a lot of ink as well.

You can download Net Print at

0306macimage4.jpg (9318 bytes)Silence your Modem

If the noise the modem makes during connecting is annoying you, it is easy to stop. Go to Apple menu/Control panels/Modem.

Sound - Select the Off button