to commonly asked questions.

data transfer

I want to give my computer to my daughter.

one question, if I am passing down my laptop to my daughter should i just clean it up and back up to a zip drive? If there is more to it than that I’ll schedule an appointment w/you to handle that. if not, i will schedule an appointment with you when i get my new laptop and need a tutorial.

Not really more to it. I would suggest don’t erase anything on your current laptop until you’ve transferred over everything you want to your new computer. Afterwards, the simplest way forward is to create a new user for your daughter, log into that user, then delete your old user from there. That will remove all your personal info and leave the applications and Operating system for her user.

What iMac should I get? Can you transfer the data on several computers?

Dear Scotty,
My triplets are going off to boarding school and need laptops.  We have researched it and have decided on getting 3 Mac Airbooks 13".  UGH!!  In addition, Husband wants to get a new desk top for us.  I know this is going to be expensive!  I think I can at least get the student $100 discount on the laptops. I know I will need your help to set up our new desktop.  I just want to proceed properly.  Do you have a recommendation for the desk top?  Should  I get the store to move all the stuff or is it better to have you do it?


Wow, you have a lot going on it sounds like!  Desktop recommendations:  I would go with the low end 27” iMac.  $1799 model.    Plenty of horsepower, the ability to expand the ram in the future.  Buy the stock amount of ram at first and spend less on ram down the road when the price of that model’s ram comes down in a few years.  Hard drive size is totally up to you.  Three choices there:  spinning drive, fusion, solid state.  Fusion is a combination of spinning and solid state.  Either way is fine.  Just look at the cost of each.  Spinning drive are least reliable, slowest, but also the cheapest.  If the Apple store will handle the data transfer for free then that’s something to consider.  As you know, I’m not cheap and you may want to cut that cost a little.  The apple store would do a fine job.  If I do it, considering the size of the job, I would prefer taking the computers to my home office and doing all the transfers over a day or so then return them to you.  It’s a lot of waiting around so sitting in your home would not be the best.  (although I do love your dog!)

Good luck with things and let me know how I can help.

Time Machine drive failing after migration to new computer.

I noticed that I got this error message from Time Machine "Time Machine couldn't back up to Time Machine"
You see the candy bar constantly preparing for backup. On that screen you see last backup was April 25th.

Do you have advice what to do or do you need to come to my house.

Sometimes, when migrating from a new machine, while the time machine is supposed to inherit the backup history of the old computer, it has a problem doing so. I might suggest erasing your time machine drive and starting the process over again. To do this, unplug any other external drives, open disk utility, (can be found by searching spotlight) select the time machine drive in the left column of disk utility, select erase and choose “OS X extended Journaled” as the format option. Give it a name like “time machine backup”. This will erase all the contents of the drive allowing a better chance for time machine to start writing data again. Important note: if you store other data on that time machine (which you shouldn’t be) then don’t erase the drive.

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 12.11.09 PM
Although, considering the amount of time it took to move the data from that LaCie drive over to your new computer, I believe I mentioned that the drive may be damaged and it may be time for a new one. If the damage is merely software related, then reformatting the drive through disk utility would most likely solve it. Otherwise, if it’s physical damage (which is most often the case) then it’s time to replace it.

moving data from a MB to MBP.

Hey Scotty - emailing you from my wife's computer. How are you? Enjoyed your "Lion" newsletter the other day. Looking forward to going to Lion but will wait awhile till they get more kinks worked out.

I think you may have helped me with this on my computer before.....but this has been going on with my wife's MacPro for a long time. She's so freakin' annoyed, which has me very annoyed because I can't find a solution.

Can you help? This is every day, five times a day. Also, some pics on FB have blue boxes with question marks. But the main problem is this "certificate issue"

Any help would be sooooo very much appreciated.

Screen shot 2011-07-28 at 7.23.59 AM

There are a few ways to approach this. First you could leave this certificate in place and just choose to “always trust” in the pull downs currenty set to “no value specified”. You’d need to set both the SSL setting and the basic policy setting to “always trust”.

The second thing you could try is to open Keychain access, drill down on the Facebook certificate (in the certificates area), delete it, log out and go back to Facebook. If you’ve deleted the correct security certificate then the Facebook server will be forced to issue your computer another (fresher) one. Give those things a try first.

This is not really solving the problem. It’s only fixing it. Let’s see how this works.

How to transfer info to a new mac from an old one

Hi Scotty!  Mobile Me is telling me that I need to upgrade to the new calendar in order for my calendars to continue to sync, etc. and that the old calendar is expiring shortly.  I still have Leopard v 10.5 and it's saying that I need Snow Leopard v 10.6 in order to complete the upgrade for the new mobile me calendar.

Would you please fill me in here?  Do I need to move to Snow Leopard?  Thanks for your help!

I've gotten this question several times.  Answers

You need to do this sooner or later.  You don't need to move to 10.6 to make it happen however. You just have to manually add the mobileme calendar into 10.5’s iCal.

First: backup iCal by going to File: Export: iCal archive or it may say “backup iCal”.

In iCal preferences go to accounts, click the plus to add an account.
description but “mobileme”.
username: your mobileme email address ie:
password: your mobileme password

Then below that you’ll see a small triangle which toggles down to a field where you need to type the following:

Save those changes. Quit iCal and restart. You will now see a new set of calendars over to the left side of iCal. After all those download and you may have duplicates, you can then delete the prior calendars (usually listed above the new calendars) and you’re done.

wps file won't open on the mac

Hi Scotty -

I got up this morning to what appears to be a dead Airport Extreme. There's no light at all on it now. I've done the usual unplugging and I've double checked and changed outlets. A couple of times the light would flash green for a nano second and go off again. (Prior to this morning, the light had been flashing amber which I assumed was letiing us know that we had software updates. I had updated my computer but hadn't done the kids yet.)

I've been online looking for troubleshooting ideas but haven't found an answer. Do you think it died or what else should I try? You line - every hard drive dies just hangs in my mind......



My experience tells me that those airport extremes are very reliable so I would not rush to pronounce it dead. There have been very very few occasions where the extreme actually died. So you may try first doing a reset. (using a paper clip, hold down the back button for a few seconds until the light flashes amber several times then rebuild the network). If it does not respond then I guess it is truly dead. I would be surprised if it is.

Don't migrate PowerPC apps to an Intel machine

Hi Scotty, I took your survey and added a comment I should have just put
here.  If you do not know about Ibank and want some info..let me know.  This
is my world (finance) and while it is not is a very good
replacement for MS Money and far better than Quicken.  And it runs smoothly.

The more I work on the Mac the happier I get ..there are probably a million
things I still do not know about the operating system and the software out
there.. But what I do know.. I love.


Also check out to organize your finances.  It's free and doesn't interfere with other programs doing the same thing.  

Transfering data to a new computer

Scotty, I completed. I am thinking about getting a Wacom wireless tablet for my photography. Will the D-Link work consistently with my Mac Pro 8-core Xeon or should I have bluetooth installed inside the Mac?

If the D-link your refering to is a bluetooth module then you should be fine without having to buy an internal one.  

Using Migration Assistant

Why won’t .mov files play on my iPhone?


You sometimes first have to select to convert the video to iphone size. Do this by selecting to make an iphone version from the advanced tab.

Now you’ll see the file has been significantly reduced in size and aspect ratio.

You’ll now have two versions of the same movie. Just drag the iphone version over to the iphone and you’re good to go.

moving addresses after new computer purchase

Bought an itouch a couple of years ago and found that the battery runs down all by itself. Did not realize that until some time later, since i only use it when i go on trips, that is once or more each year. So before i go i found the battery dead and re-charged it before going. I thought it  normal to re-charge it every few days even so i may have used it once or twice to find addresses. I gave the unit to my grandson for christmas and within a day he started to complain that  only after 2 to 3 hours the battery was down to 20% and that the audio decreased about 50 % after only about 10 minutes. Do u have any idea what might be wrong?, or  how much it may cost to remed it. Are there any call backs on i touch showing similar defects?


Batteries are one of those technologies that are constantly changing and no one has gotten exactly right just yet. It is common to see a battery loose its staying power over a period of time. Every rechargable battery has a limited number of charge cycles but no one really knows how many. That doesn't mean the device should lose its ability to hold a charge after just a year or so. However, I have found that when a battery sits without being used over an extended period of time, it can sometimes take several charge cycles for the battery to recall its capacity. There are many people who would disagree with that statement and would claim that today's litium ion batteries do not function the same way as the older NiCad batteries.

I've not personally heard of iPod Touch battery issues. You would be better served to contact Apple at the Genius bar to find out more info. '
Here's apple's official stance on batteries:

Apple - Batteries - iPod

How to move data from old computer to new computer


Do you have an opinion on how early to introduce children to computers? Also, do you have a source for used or refurbished Macs that would be good for a starter computer? My son is almost 2, which would be very early. However, he already knows how to use our iPhones.


I think the earlier the better. While I don't think there's any harm in starting earlier, the main thing to consider is keeping the horror of the world from their eyes while they're on the computer. At such an early age the best thing is to most likely limit access to the internet by only allowing a few websites. Using Leopards' parental controls mom and dad can block every site on the net except the one or two your child may like. webkins/disney/barbie etc... As of December 19, 2009 Snow Leopard's parental controls are not working properly and should not be trusted. This brings me to a very important point. Don't trust parental controls no matter what you install. Kids are smarter than you. Just accept that.

Parental control software that's out there now include:

Leopard's own built-in controls
Net Nanny for the mac
Content Barrier by intego

To answer your second question, I don't sell macs personally so you may just try using eBay. Just watch the seller's rating and don't be fooled by higher prices for "included software". You want to buy a machine that is bare bones with only the software it came with. Many sellers don't know how to get the mac back to that state so you never know what you're going to get.

Moving data from an older macbook to a new one

Hi Scotty - External Hard Drive for the Mac Mini

Can you please recommend an external Hard Drive for my Mac Mini - I was hoping to get one that would be stackable with the Mac Mini.

There are a few out there but was hoping to get your recommendation if possible.

Here is the link to the choices I have found so far:



Not a fan of the iomega products these days.  Any time I purchase an external drive, I prefer to stay in the Lacie family.  However, if form factor is not such a big issue, I'm liking the free agent drive at best buy a lot these days although it's not the shape of the mac mini.  I'm not sure that Lacie is still making the mini external drive.  I really wouldn't put too much emphasis on the form but rather go with any external drive and just store it out of site.  

Amazon is showing it out of stock. LaCie 250 GB Mini External Hard Drive and Hub (301039U): Electronics
This image is a theme.plist hack