The Mac Page - Smash That Computer

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Smash it, before it smashes you!
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Smash That Computer
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Mac Laptops
MY CHIEF ANNOYANCE with Mac laptops is that often they can work perfectly well in every aspect....except for one (that varies with each machine). By this I mean that I can test out a laptop and be really happy with it - then find out that it has some small issue that affects it's usability or function in such a way that it needs to be fixed before I can actually use or sell it.
Take this one. Cosmetically good. Great screen. HDD fine. Keyboard works great, no sticky or non-working keys. Good trackpad.
But, it doesn't charge. Oh, I can get it to charge. Remove bottom cover. Disconnect battery. Plug in charger and attach it. Green light. Reattach bettery. It charges to 100%.
But, if I then run it for a while on battery and reattach the green light. No charge. No obvious fix on the internet.
Solution? Sell it with the issues clearly described. With 60 watchers and over 600 views after 5 days, it was a great bidding war! Start price was $50(NZ). Final result? $325.
I wasn't going to smash that one!

However, my nature is that I work on something until I find a solution. I'm happy to sell it for a good price, but would have rather found out the way to fix it before I did. If YOU have some ideas, post them on my Facebook page so I can try them out if I ever get another one like it.

I DO have another couple of 13" Macbook Pros with a few "issues". I will keep you posted!

One of my recent fixes


The following suggestions will (possibly) help you with a number of the most common Macbook Pro issues, such as display problems, poor battery life and sluggish performance. It's worth a try.
If, however, you poured a cup of coffee into your machine, I suggest you turn it off immediately, pour out any remaining liquid, put it away to dry, make yourself another coffee (add whisky to it) and drink it before looking up what to do on your desktop computer. Good luck. I will try to post an image of a Macbook Air I got a few weeks back, where the coffee had hardened into a rusty, sticky mess all around the logic board...

Step One: Reset the PRAM/VRAM and SMC
This doesn't always do that much good, but it's the easiest thing to do and only takes a few seconds. Turn on your Mac and hold down Command+Option+P+R until the computer reboots. This resets the PRAM / VRAM, which is where things like startup disk selection, screen resolution, and speaker volume are stored. Sometimes this can correct display issues, and if so, continue using your Mac as you did.
The other option is to reset the SMC (System Management Controller). This controls everything on your computer ranging from the power to the fans. Every Mac has a slightly different process for doing this, so head to Apple's official SMC Reset page, find your model, and follow their instructions (this usually involves unplugging the power cord on a desktop, or removing the battery on a laptop). Once you reset the SMC a lot of your setting are restored to factory defaults and your display problems may get solved.

Step Two: Boot Into Safe Mode
The next step to figure out what's going on with your graphics card or display is to boot into safe mode to see if the problems persist. Power on your Mac and hold down the Shift key until you get past the Apple logo. This boots into a stripped down version of OS X.
Here, you can see if the display problems are persisting. This might be screen glitches, pixelated graphics, or large black squares everywhere. If they are, it's probably a hardware issue and you should move on to the next step. If not, it's likely a software problem, and you have a few different options for troubleshooting:
Restart the computer again in normal boot mode to see if the problem resolves itself (this does actually happen).
If not, go back into Safe Mode and check for software updates (Apple logo > Software Updates). If you get an update for your graphics card or logic board, install it.
Double-check your display options by going into System Preferences (Applications > System Preferences). Choose "Displays" and make sure the resolution and refresh rate are correct.
If you've recently installed a software update that possibly caused the issue, it's also worth checking out Apple's recently released updates and downloading and installing the most recent combo update again. Sometimes a simple re-install can fix strange issues that might have cropped up with display drivers.
If none of those work, it's time to run the Apple Hardware test to see if it's a hardware issue.

Step Three: Run Apple Hardware Test
A lesser known feature of Macs is the Apple Hardware Test. Like the name suggests, this is a way to test for hardware failures on your computer. It's not foolproof, but it might help you troubleshoot your issue moving forward.
Reboot your Mac and hold down the "D" key until the Apple Hardware Test starts (if you're on Snow Leopard or earlier you need to put in the install disc first).
Select your language, and then select the "Basic test" option. Let it do its thing. If an error occurs, the Apple Hardware Test should tell you which piece of hardware is failing and you've found your problem. If not, select the "Perform Extended Testing" option. This might take an hour or two to complete.
While a hardware failure is never fun, hopefully the Apple Hardware test will actually show it so you can get the faulty hardware replaced. If it is a hardware problem, you can check out iFixit's Mac Repair Guides to see if you can fix it yourself.

Sound simple? Well, it doesn't always go to plan...and sometimes you fix it inadvertently and have no idea what you actually did!

AN ERROR REINSTALLING OSX - or, "The Update Servers can not be reached at this time..."
Have you ever had this message?

When trying to reinstall OS X, getting error message “An  error occurred while preparing the installation. Try running this  application again”, or else "The Update Servers can not be reached at this time..."  The decision was made to reinstall Mac OS X Mavericks (which is  what was installed on it), using the Mac Disk Utility.  Simple enough,  except for the fact that every time I tried to do the reinstall, I kept  getting the error and the reinstall would not complete.  The following  steps are what I discovered in order to fix the error, so that the  reinstall can complete.

Fixing The Reinstall Error

  • Log In to the Mac Disk Utility screen by holding down “Command Key” + S during boot.  Select “Reinstall OS X” and hit continue
  • When you start the reinstall you will get a message about verifying eligibility with Apple. Hit continue
  • If you are going to get the error, this is the point where it will  come up. Unfortunately, Apple gives you a seriously vague message “An  error occurred while preparing the installation”. That message does NOT  explain what went wrong.
  • From this point, click on Utilities –> Terminal
  • When the terminal window opens, type date  and hit enter. What you will notice is that the date listed will be  wrong.  That wrong date is what is causing the reinstall error.
  • To correct the wrong date –>  type date (then a space) followed by MMDDHHMMYYYY  (Month – Date – Hour – Minute – Year)
  • At this point just exit the Terminal box and try to run the reinstall again, and it should work with no problem.
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