Document Actions


General Macintosh Troubleshooting Steps

Check Network settings : If the problem involves network connectivity, open Apple Menu > System Preferences..., and click the Network icon. The "Show" drop-down menu has a list of available connections, as well as a "Network Status" overview pannel.

For wired connections, show the "Built-in Ethernet" panel.

  1. Click the TCP/IP button in the row at the top of the panel (this is probably selected by default.)
  2. The "Configure IPv4" menu must be set to "Using DHCP". If you change the setting, click the "Apply Now" button to make the change.
  3. Click the "Renew DHCP Lease" button.
  4. After a few seconds, the IP address should show a set of four numbers starting with "10." The third number in this set must be zero or even. If this third number is odd, this computer is not registered on the Simon's Rock network. Open a browser and sign in at the registration page.
  5. If no IP address appears, or if the address does not start with "10." you are not getting a valid network address. Unplug and replug the cable from your computer to the network jack, and, if possible, try again with a diffenent jack and a different network cable. Also click the "Ethernet" button in the row at the top of the panel, and make sure "Configure" is set to "Automatically"

Repair Disk Permissions : This is a fairly generic cure, but may solve some application strangeness, particularly if you get an error message involving "permissions."

  1. Run the Disk Utility program, which normally is in the Applications/Utilities folder.
  2. In the left-hand pane, click the icon for your hard disk.
  3. Click the "Repair Disk Permissions" button. It usually takes several minutes to complete
  4. While in Disk Utility, you can also try "Verify Disk," but if it finds any trouble then you should boot from an OS CD to and run Disk Utility to repair your startup hard disk.

See if the problem effects one user or all users on the computerLog in as another user and see if the problem is still there. If it is, it is likey to be a problem with the application or system software; if not, it is a problem only with the settings files in your user directory.

If you do not have an other user accounts on this mac, you can create one using Apple Menu > System Preferences > Accounts.

Delete Preferences : If the trouble is only with one user account and only one application, deleting that application's preference file will force it to start with the factory default settings, which may help.

  1. Quit the application.
  2. Open your ~/Library/Preferences folder -- Open a finder window, click the house icon in the left pane, and then open the Library then Preferences folders.
  3. Look for files with your application's name. Many prefereces files use the software vendor's web address as a unique filename prefix, e.g. the preferences for Apple's Safari browser are in
  4. Move these files out of the preferences folder and onto the desktop
  5. Start the application and see if the problem is gone. You may need to re-enter some settings. If this seems too daunting, or if the default prefereces did not resolve the problem, you can quit the application and replace the files from the desktop to the preferences folder.

Remove System Cache files and restart

  1. Open a finder window, and click on your startup hard disk.
  2. Open the /Library/Caches folder and drag all the files to the trash.
  3. Now open /System/Libray/Caches and drag all the files to the trash. (You may be prompted for an adminstrator name and password).
  4. Restart the system. It will take longer than normal to boot.
  5. When the system starts, log in, and then empty the trash. See if the problem is fixed.

Try a Safe Boot

  1. Restart, and hold down the Shift key as the system is starting. You may release the Shift key when you see the "spining gear" on the startup screen. The system will take much longer than normal to boot. Safe boot checks the disk, rebuilds various system files, and prevents items in /Library/StartupItems from running.
  2. Test the problem area, and see if it works in Safe Boot, then Restart in normal mode.
  3. If the problem was fixed when safe-booted, but recurs when restarted normally, the problem is some item in /Library/StartupItems. Use a process of elimination with half of the items at a time to determine which item is the problem.

If the problem was not fixed in Safe Boot, re-install the OS.

Applecare steps for MacBook and MacBookPro overheating

These are steps AppleCare had me do in March 2007 to resolve an issue with a MacBook Pro overheating and locking up:

  1. Reset power manager: Shut down, unplug, remove battery, press and hold power button for 5 seconds, release, then replace battery, plug in, and restart.
  2. Boot from System DVD, choose "English", but then run Disk Utility (from Utilities menu) rather than installing. Select the HD, and "Repair Disk".
  3. Restart from System DVD, hold "D" key to run hardware diagnostics. Run the "Exteneded" tests. Call Apple if failure!
  4. Restart to normal user account, run Disk Utility, select the HD, and "Repair Disk Permissions." (This must be done from the user's account rather than the system disk startup.)

AppleCare was done at this point, but before giving it back to the user, I ran software that used both cores to full capacity and temperature monitoring software to confirm that the system would not lock up. Testing details and expected temps at

Open Firmware Resets

(These steps are for non-Intel Macs only)

Restart and hold Cmd-Option-O-F to boot to Open Firmware. Screen will be white with gray text.

Enter the following commands. You will get an OK prompt for the first two, and the last will restart the system:

reset-nvram set-defaults reset-all