Archive for the ‘Snow Leopard’ Category

Mac Pro Disk Failure & Recovery

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Computer increasingly slow on start-up, eventually becomes sporadic in its ability to succeed, unexpected error messages…

Yes, it’s Disk Failure Time !  This time it was on my Mac Pro (desktop)

So I did these things:

  • Copied latest stuff to a portable (WD Passport) drive:
    • I copied documents, videos and downloads
    • I generated a list of installed applications, both 32-bit and 64-bit.
  • Opened up the machine to remove drives (and at the same time to hoover-out dust).
  • Procured a replacement hard drive
    • Google-search revealed my old drive to be obsolete, no longer (easily) available
    • Phoned a local computer tech wizardry shop, who fix Macs as well as PCs, and they had a suitable replacement drive (a WD SATA 1TB drive, twice the size of the old/failing one.
    • Bought that very disk.
  • Fitted the disk, as sole disk, and recovered both the Mac OS and Boot Camp > W7 partitions, according to the “DO” (not “DON’T”) branch of the instructions listed at
    • It took about an afternoon.  The longest stages were the actual restorings from backup.
  • For W7
    • The first thing I updated was the antivirus.  This was for the app as well as the database, and it wasn’t quick.  No reboot needed though.
    • Otherwise, two or three reboots were required, including first-use, windows updates critical, windows updates optional.

Winclone Obselescence

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

I’ve been using Winclone, a Mac OS app, to back-up my Boot Camp – Windows 7 partition onto a HFS+ (Mac OS compatible) external disk drive.  However tonight it failed, early in the attempt, repeatedly.  Also when I asked it to look for updates, it failed to connect to the internet, whereas I could access websites OK over Safari.  Searching round, I found a later version, downloaded it, deleted the existing one (2.2) and installed the new one (2.3).

The new one similarly failed to access the internet.  On the other hand it did not fail early on in the process.  I aborted it anyhow, for reasons that will become clear (below).


  • Google: [winclone alternative]
    • Several posts stated:
      • Mixed experiences when using Winclone under Snow Leopard and the impossibility of using it (straight) under Lion)
      • To minimise problems under Snow Leopard, [Compressed] should be disabled.  Also select [.dmg] format.
      • This product (Winclone) was no longer being developed
    • Best Example:

Mac OS Upgrade: Leopard to Snow Leopard

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Upgrading a Mac Pro from Mac OS Leopard to Mac OS Snow Leopard.  Now that I’m no longer mid-project, and have some “spare” time, I’m ready to have a go.  Experiences:

  • Paranoia:
    • Will the installation offer an “Upgrade” (as opposed to “Fresh Install”) option?
      • It didn’t ask me
    • Will my Boot Camp partition be at risk?
      • Doesn’t seem so.  The installer recognises the partitions and asks which one you want to install to.
    • Any install instructions/advice/tips:
  •  Steps Taken:
    • Backup both partitions – Mac OS & Boot Camp.
    • Check installation disk appearance of quality
      • It was slightly marked.  Could not easily be cleaned.
    • Boot to install-disk
      • Prompted for default/custom install
        • Looked at Custom option, it installs everything except Rosetta.  That app is only needed when running old (PowerPC) apps.  It is being phased out (along with the apps…).  If an app needs it, you will be prompted to download it anyway, so no real disadvantage in omitting it, in fact an advantage – running any ancient apps will highlight them as such.
      • Installation started
        • From top-menu, selected option to display Logger.
          • Indicated that the process “migrated” my Preferences.  Sounds hopeful…
      • Run-time
        • Estimated 42 minute.  Still said that 10 minutes later.
        • The estimate was about right – maybe an over-estimate – it’s just that the progress was nonlinear.
      • Completion:
        • Prompted to Reboot.
    • Reboot
      • Started up with no apparent problems.
      • Prompted me for my contact details.
        • Some of them needed updating – I did so.
  • Success!
    • So far…
  • Backup
    • Prior to any Apple Updates (system, apps…)

MacBook Pro: Restore (Mac OS & Boot Camp) from Backup (Disk Utility & WinClone)

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Backup & Restore via Disk Utility (DU) – on Mac OS install-disk – to a fresh hard-drive:

  1. Routine:
  2. Complication: Backed-up not the whole disk but aMac OS partition alongside a Boot Camp partition.
  • DON’T: Naive use of Disk Utility (DU) to restore straight away the partition (as a sole partition) from backup doesn’t work – it won’t boot.
    • You may see a grey Mac OS screen with “No Entry/Parking” sign, or error messages about ACPI drivers not present.
    • Attempts to install (fresh or archive i.e. user file preserving mode) from install disk fail since disk is not bootable.
      • Error message: “Mac OS cannot start up from this disk”
  • DO: Try install fresh OS X from install-dvd, then use it to create Boot Camp partition (and presumably boot-selection menu) then restore (with erase) to the OS X partition (only).  To save time (hopefully), didn’t actually install Windows.
    • Both the fresh-install and the restoration of OS X took about an hour.
    • Yes it worked! Booted into Mac OS just fine.
    • Left it to “settle” a bit – e.g. until CPU level down around zero.
    • Restart in Shift-Boot mode (to refresh OS’s tables etc.) and log-in as “DefaultEverything” (dummy user created as per advice – I think from Larry Jordan).  Maybe should have done that the first time…
    • Restarted in normal user account, again left awhile.
    • Boot Camp Assistant:
      • Create a partition (e.g. divide disks space equally between the two partitions)
        • (takes a minute or two – progress bar is initially misleadingly stationary)
      • Select [Quit and install later]
        • All we wanted was the partition, to restore into.
    • Started WinClone (App, started from MacOS)
      • It appeared to first scan the backup then began to install it.  Not quick, maybe an hour for each of these (two) tasks.
      • Source partition was 232.57 GB – as compared to the destination partition of around 250 GB.
    • Alt-Booted into W7 just fine.
    • Being on the internet, it began downloading numerous system updates – furiously (like it was hard to web-browse even on another computer on the network.
    • Correspondingly, on ShutDown, W7 installed numerous (61) updates.  Took ages – so if ever repeating such a recovery, allow for this…
    • Also on subsequent start-up, updating & registering stuff – took a few minutes – wish I’d run it straight (boot camp) not within Parallels.  But it seemed “happy”.
    • (to be continued…)


PC Windows <--> Mac OS X RoundTrip (Round-Trip)

Monday, July 19th, 2010


  • In Windows I export from Sony Vegas to AVI (CineForm).  In OS X I read the file into FCP and apply the SmoothCam effect, then export to ProRes.  In Windows, Sony Vegas, I replace the original file with the smoothed one.  The levels/gamma are wrong.

Solution (Search):

  • Sony Vegas forum
    • Use DNxHD
      •  Couple of tips re DNxHD:  709 color level assumes 16-235, and RGB assumes 0-255.
    • Force it back again:
      • But this presumably implies getting re-quantized twice (the roundtrip issue and the forcing), which for 8-bit footage I imagine could reduce the quality (banding).
  • Uncertainties
    • Where and how does this gamma get applied?  In FCP I didn’t (knowingly) alter the levels (eg until it looked right), I just applied the SmoothCam filter.  So I guess it would look wrong on the (pre-SnowLeopard) Mac but I wouldn’t care.  Wouldn’t FCP then export back whatever it got but smoothed?  This one is really confusing.    Experiments needed (when I get time…) I guess.

Disk Space Usage / Inventory

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

For Mac OS:

  • Disk Inventory X

For Windows:

  • WinDirStat
  • FolderSize

They are both pretty similar, in each case displaying filespace usage via a tree map looking like a patchwork of multicoloured PVC, each colour representing a different type of file (audio, video, application, document etc.).  Their advantage over traditional browser trees is you can see all the largest files and folders simultaneously (as a plan-view).  Tree maps (treemaps) are explained at – they are formed by subdividing in alternate dimensions (horizontal/vertical), each time in proportion to relative size of item, be it folder or file.  A variation on this, employed by the above tools, is a cushion treemap [], where shading reveals the directory structure.  A further variation is the squarified treemap [], where subdivision and grouping attempt (no guarantee of success) to make the rectangles as square as possible. (more…)

Mac Screen-Lock

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

How to get screen-lock on demand, e.g. when walking away from a machine still executing something:

<<<OS X has native screen-locking built-in; though you wouldn’t know unless you dug around. To enable it, open your Keychain Access utility in the Applications / Utility folder. Under the “View” menu at the top, select “Show Status in Menu Bar.” A black padlock will appear in your taskbar in the upper right-hand corner. Close Keychain Access. Now when you click on the padlock, you have a “Lock Screen” option in the drop-down. Selecting it will cause your screen to fade to black and engage your screen saver. Click any key to open a login / password dialog box, and you’re back in.>>>

MacBook Pro gets hot under BootCamp Windows

Saturday, March 27th, 2010


  • MacBook Pro, when in Boot Camp Windows 7, gets uncomfortably hot (in its heatsink areas, the bar above keyboard and also the chassis underside).  In comparison, it runs pretty cool (temperature) under Mac OS.


  • No fan control when in Boot Camp Windows mode.

Popular Solution (does not imply any recommendation):

Some good links (as of 2010-03-27):


  • Just copied the contents of the zip file to  [C:\Program Files (x86)\Lubbo’s Fan Control] and ran it from there.  It has files [inpout32.dll] and [inpoutx64.dll].
  • Ran it but it gave error messages:
    • (The) Following process(es) is/are using SMC:
      • kbdmgr
    • It’s not an error, but Lubbo’s Fan Control cannot share apple SMC access.
    • Do you want to kill it/them?
    • NO = the system may freeze.  Try only if you are running BootCamp 3.1
    • YES = the incompatible process(es) will bekilled and the program will start.
      • But I have read elsewhere that this means function keys won’t then work (for that session).
      • Didn’t work – it said “It was not possible to load IO driver.  Retry?” and “(May be better to press CANCEL and reopen the program)”
    • CANCEL = this program will exit
  • Someone else had the same problem but found a solution that appeared to work for them:
  • So it seems that to get Lubbo’s utility working I have to:
    • Kill a system process
    • Install a version of .NET that is not yet officially supported.
      • I’ll write a separate blog post about .NET
  • Life on the edge, huh?

SxS Card Driver for Mac OS X “Snow Leopard” 10.6

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

In a post at Matt Davis links to Sony’s page offering the latest SxS driver which is compatible with Snow Leopard.  Also he points out is bugs/features, irritating rather than show-stopping.   There is also a driver for Windows, I’ll try it under Boot Camp.

The following has a FAQ about it:

Mac – OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) – New Features

Saturday, January 9th, 2010


Add the XDCAM Transfer plugin to Final Cut

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

The XDCAM Transfer plugin allows FCP to easily ingest footage in the format generated by XDCAM-EX cameras such as the EX3.   Unlike FCP6, where it was also advised to load a “FAM Driver” (as a separate plugin), this is not appropriate for FCP7 (explained below)

From the ReadMe phase of the ‘Install XDCAM Transfer’ installer dialog:

XDCAM FAM driver and tool.
Mount Professional Discs in XDCAM devices connected by FAM (i.LINK) in the Finder.
Note: The XDCAM FAM driver and tool are not compatible with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and are not installed.
•    XDCAM Transfer main application.
Preview clips from XDCAM and import your selected material as QuickTime movies. XDCAM Transfer supports the PDW-U1 XDCAM Drive unit and Professional Memory Cards recorded with the PMW-EX1 camcorder.
•    Sony XDCAM Import and Export plug-ins for Final Cut Pro.
Initiate transfers from XDCAM directly into a Final Cut Pro project and render your Final Cut Pro sequence directly onto a connected XDCAM disc.
•    Final Cut Pro XDCAM presets.
Configure your sequence and export settings to be compatible with XDCAM. The XDCAM HD422 presets replace those installed by Final Cut Pro 6.0.3.
•    XDCAM Transfer User Guide.
Found in the Documentation folder of this disk image and also available from the Help menu of the XDCAM Transfer application after installing the software.

Mac (Snow Leopard) setup – continued

Monday, January 4th, 2010


  1. Backed-up via Time Machine to a low-cost (£60) USB-powered 0.5TB hard drive that will be carried around with the laptop (can that drive be backed-up itself?)
    • Turned off Time Machine (auto-backups) afterwards.
  2. Updated everything
    • Several system restarts required, and re-ran the Update function until no more updates available.
  3. Backed-up again viaTime Machine.


  1. Ran Boot Camp Assistant
    • It prompted me to print its instructions.  I decided to accept this.
      • I connected my printer.  System prompted for printer-driver download – I accepted.
      • I selected the print option to format the instructions specifically for my (make of) printer.
      • From Preview, the instructions occupy 14 pages.  Thinking green (and clutter-avoidance) I elected instead to save it as PDF to a memory stick that I can view elsewhere.
  2. Read thru the Boot Camp instructions
    • It seems I have done it right so far (update everything & backup)
  3. Boot Camp Assistant: Actions
    • Click Continue (onwards from the printing stage).
    • Partitioning:
      • Select Divide Equally
        • (Don’t know what sizes I need, presumably can alter proportions later if needed using e.g. via iPartition).
      • Click Partition
        • (Is very fast)
    • Windows Installation
      • Insert Windows disk.
        • There are two options (disks): 32-bit and 64-bit.  Let’s go for 64-bit.  In case of any residual doubt:
      • Click Start Installation
        • (Even though Boot Camp Assistant (BCA) does not mention Windows 7 as an option, onlyXP & Vista.)
      • Locale info:
        • Language: English; Units: UK; Keyboard: UK
          • (What is “UK Extended” ?)
        • Next
      • Install Now
        • (Accept License)
      • Installation option: Upgrade or Custom(BCA instructions don’t mention this choice)
        • Default is Upgrade but this is a fresh installso choose Custom
          • Warning (from instructions): “It’s important to select the correct partition when installing Windows so that you don’toverwrite Mac OS X on your computer.”
        •  Selected the Boot Camp partition (Disk 0 Partition 3), but…
          • “Windows caannot be installed to Disk 0 Partition 3”
          • …because it has not yet been formatted as NTFS (did I miss that stage?)
        • Clicked Drive Options, and, with Partition 3 selected, clicked Format.
          • There were no format options e.g. NTFS or other, it just did it, taking only a few seconds.
        • Clicked Install, now it worked.
        • Looking thru the BCA instructions, that formatting step is indeed mentioned, all is well.
          • “The Windows partition is formatted using the NTFS file system”
        • (installation automated processes took half an hour or so)
        • Enter names for user (account) and computer (to distinguish it on a network)
        • Enter a password
        • Enter Product Key and accept default option to automatically activate when on-line.
        • Select Use Recommended Settings (e.g. for updates policy)
        • Accept TimeZone as UTC
        • JoinWireless Network
          • Enter key, accept Automatically Connect policy
          • Selectit as Home Network (trusted)
        • (Windows now began its update processes)
          • First it downloaded a manifest- list of available updates
          • After this it prompted to “click here for available updates”.  Did so.
          • It offered “11 important updates” and “2 optional updates”.  I accepted them all.
            • An update clash (my term) occurred – it said “Some updates were not installed” and “…try again in a few minutes”
            • Waited several minutes and tried again – it worked: 10 updates successfullyinstalled, then required restart (did it).
    • First proper login to Windows.
      • Note there had been no prompts for drivers etc.
    • Mac Hardware Drivers for Windows
      • Insert the Mac OS install-disk … after ejecting the Windows install-disk.
        • But the”Eject Disk” button has no effect (presumably due to no driver yet)
        • Workaround: Windows Explorer > DVD Drive > Eject
      • Autoplay (yes/no): Windows Support > setup.exe.  YES.
      • Security: Allow it (Boot Camp) to make changes to computer.  YES.
      • Boot Camp: Accept license, allow “Apple software update for windows”
        • (It took some significant time)
      • Restart
        • Doh – I left the Mac OS install-disk inserted; as a result I feared the machine would boot from that disk.  However in practice it was Windows that came up.
          • The default OS can be changed via the Boot Camp icon in system tray.
        • Unable to log in – keyboard doesn’t work.
          • (Yes, this is familiar Windows behaviour…)
      • Restart again.
        • Now it works fully.  Keyboard and disk-eject too.
    • Settling-in to Windows
      • Config the system tray to always show all icons.
      • Got warned that there is no antivirus as yet.
      • Purchase Parallels 5, which Kapersky AntiVirus comes bundled with, and I want Parallels anyway.  Cost around £60.
    • x
  4. Install Parallels
    • Purchase & download Parallels 5 desktop for mac.  Is a “.dmg” file of size 222 MB.
    • Restart machine in Mac mode.
    • Backup (Time Machine)
    • Run installer.  It says the installation will occupy around 450MB of disk.
    • Backup (Time Machine)
    • Run Parallels.  Prompts for activation (license key/code).  Did so.
      • (Parallels then did a “prepare for first start”)
    • x
    • Create new Virtual Machine onto the Boot Camp Windows 7 system.
      • New Windows Installation
      • Boot Camp Partition
      • Windows 7, “Let other Mac users access this virtual machine”, sharing “Home folder only”.  Create.
      • Done.
    • Now I have two new desktop items, for Parallels Virtual Machines (VMs): “My Boot Camp” and “Windows 7”.
      • How come I’ve got two items, not just one?  What are each of them for?
      • Others are similarly confused, e.g.
      • Looks like the answer is at,”If you install Parallels Desktop on a Mac computer with a Boot Camp Windows partition, and Parallels Desktop detects that there are no virtual machines on the computer, it automatically creates a new virtual machine for this Boot Camp partition and places it to the following location: <Username>/Documents/Parallels/My Boot Camp
      • So I need not have created one explicitly.  I guess “Windows 7” is the one I (explicitly) created, “My BootCamp” is the one that Parallels (implicitly) created.  In that case all I need to do is delete the “Windows 7” one.   Did so.
    • Ran the “My Boot Camp” virtual machine for the first time.  It said “Setting up forthe first time – may take some time”.  In that case I regard this as part of the installation process.
      • Got to the login prompt (for Windows 7) and, reasonably enough, required me to log in before it could act further.  Dod do.
        • (It said “Please wait while the virtual machine is being upgraded”, then after several minutes “…was successfully upgraded”)
      • Now I had a Windows login prompt again.  Logged in.
        • The VM runs in Coherence mode by default.
        • (It said “The Windows application folder is being added to the dock” and “To remove the folder, edit the Shared Applications settings in the virtual machine config)
      • Installed Parallels Internet Security (Kapersky AntiVirus etc.)  – it is not installed by default – you have to take action, did so as follows.
        • Select the Parallels VM Launcher (window).  In the Mac (top-screen) menu (when that window is selected), click:
          • Virtual Machine > Install Parallels Internet Security
        • (Took maybe 30 minutes to download)
        • Began installing itself.  As part of this, Windows Firewall was disabled (as indicated by a Windows security message), so I unplugged my router, just in case.
        • At the end of installation, the VM restarted itself (successfully).
        • Following restart, I plugged my router back in and told Kapersky to update.
        • Following Kapersky update, a VM restart was required.  Did so.
        • Did another Kapersky update.  Status: Up-to-date.
      • Ran a full system scan.  Takes quite some time (started 18:08, finished ????).  No issues detected.
      • Windows security messages about “No firewall” and “Parallels Internet Security is on but reporting its status to Windows Security Centre in a format that is no longer supported”.
        • The “no longer supported” message: someone said “I had to uninstall Kaspersky as well as Parallels Tools, and then reinstall Parallels Tools, to fix this problem. That seems to have worked.”
        • I tried simply the VM Launcher option “Reinstall Parallels Tools”, because being simple, it was worth a try.  It restarted the VM.
          • No effect – didn’t fix it.
        • Try following another person’s advice “If Tools are already isntall, you can remove them from (Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs>) Programs & Features list, restart Windows and load them from Virtual Machine menu. “.  Did so.  VM Restart.
      • Configure: Do not backup with Time Machine.  This is very important!
    • x
  5. x

Mac (Snow Leopard) setup – in practice

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

This is what I have actually done so far:

  1. Backed-up via Time Machine to a low-cost (£60) USB-powered 0.5TB hard drive that will be carried around with the laptop (can that drive be backed-up itself?)
    • Turned off Time Machine (auto-backups) afterwards.
  2. Updated everything
    • Several system restarts required, and re-ran the Update function until no more updates available.
  3. Backed-up again viaTime Machine.

Next I intend to set it up for BootCamp-Windows7, because I guess this is best done while my Mac OS system footprint is still small (so it won’t spend ages repositioning blocks of my (to-be) installed Mac apps when the disk gets repartitioned for BootCamp).

Mac (Snow Leopard) setup thoughts

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Want to establish an organized plan and checklist for setup from scratch, whenever it’s required.  Here’s an initial stab at a Checklist:

  1. First-use basic config (enable internet access but don’t browse or update or download anything)
  2. Back-up (Time Machine, requires exclusive use of a volume unless using TimeCapsule (or does that create multiple (machine-specific) volumes as partitions?)
    • Ideally would like to backup this and other stages permamently, but TimeMachine backups can get overwritten and need to install other apps to backup from OSX.  Maybe a linux LiveCD block-copy (to a linux rather than Mac formatted disk, but that doesn’t matter)?  )
    • Time Machine backup failures can occur but sometimes just a retry works
    • Time Capsule
      • Time Capsule includes a wireless 1TB or 2TB hard drive1 designed to work with Time Machine in Mac OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard.
      • It can back up and store files for each Leopard– and Snow Leopard-based Mac on your wireless network.
        • Does that mean it can act as common (shared) backup medium for more than one Time Machine (on more than one Mac or Mac instance)
      • It can act as a Wifi and USB-connected resource (e.g. printer or hard disk) sharing node, where it prefers to be the main node (not a client), e.g. connected (Ethernet) to an ADSL model.
    • For more information about Time Machine, choose Help > Mac Help from the Finder
      menu on a computer using Mac OS X Leopard, and then type Time Machine in the
      search field.
  3. Set up a “Default Everything” account (admin) – useful if get into trouble later
  4. Drivers (No need for printer driver – see below – but what about graphic card drivers?)
  5. Update (check what’s compatible with FCP etc. at this time?)
  6. Further configs of user account (e.g. side-oriented dock).
  7. Utils (some from :
    • QuickSilver
    • iPartition
    • CarbonCopyCloner / SuperDuper (for cloning or backing-up (as stanalone image) the Mac OS system disk)
    • WinClone (for backing-up images of BootCamp-Windows partitions)
    • VideoSpec
    • A cross-platform file-sync & backup util
    • A remote-access & mgt util.
    • Parallels
    • AppDelete ?
    • GoogleNotifier (indicates when new GMail received)
    • Handbrake (DVD ripper ?)
    • BitTorrent (eg Transmission (tips at or some people consider uTorrent easier)
  8. Generic Apps
    • FireFox etc.
    • An “Explorer-like” alternative to Finder
    • An Office Suite (probably NeoOffice – is a Mac-specific fork of OpenOffice, though how compatible is it eg interchanging “.odt” files with it?)
    • Skype
    • Twitter (
    • ScreenFlow? KeyNote?
  9. Specific Apps
  10. FCP enhancements
    • FCP Versioner
      • Automatically creates a backup every time you save your Final Cut Pro project
      • Each backup has a changelog listing exactly what changed between revisions
      • Backups are in XML format which has durability and compatibility advantages over FCP project files
      • Flexible backup management options to fully customize how older backups are purged
      • Autosaves your project file at specified intervals.
      • x
  11. x

Mac OS Snow Leopard – clean install (not upgrade)

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

“… if you want to upgrade to Snow Leopard, Avid recommends that you do a clean install of the OS, rather than a simple upgrade. ” []