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Macintosh Troubleshooting


Macintosh Manual Index

System Startup




Network and File Sharing

How To:


File Can't Be Thrown Away

System Startup

System Does Not Start

  • Check power cords - both ends
  • Check Power strip
  • Check screen brightness
  • Check network connectors
  • Check keyboard connectors
  • Check pins in connectors

System Starts and Freezes

  • Restart the Mac
  • Unhook all SCSI devices and restart the Mac
  • Restart with the shift key down (turns off extensions)
  • Remove all extensions and add them back one at a time - restart the Mac after each addition, if using System 7.5 or higher, use Extensions Manager

System Starts with a Question Mark

  • Restart the Mac
  • Unhook all SCSI devices and restart the Mac
  • Restart with the shift key down (turns off extensions)
  • Use Extensions Manager (System 7.5 or higher) to turn off extensions
  • Zap the PRAM If this works, turn virtual memory and the disk cache on one at a time (restarting the computer each time). Try making the disk cache smaller or lower virtual memory (Memory control panel)
  • Start with Disk Tools and if the hard drive icon shows up, see if there are two system suitcases and/or two finders. If the hard drive icon does not show up call AV Repair
  • Run Disk First Aid, MacCheck, or Norton's Disk Doctor.
  • Do a clean reinstall of the system.

System Starts with a Sad Mac

  • Start with Disk Tools and do a clean reinstall of the system.
  • Run Disk First Aid, MacCheck, or Norton's Disk Doctor.
  • Start with Disk Tools and if the hard drive icon does not show up call AV Repair

System Starts with Wrong "Music"

  • Check cables


Applications Unexpectedly Quit

  • Close all applications, restart the computer and try again
  • Allocate more/less memory to the application (use Get Info...)
  • Application may be incompatible with System software, upgrade
  • Turn off virtual memory or 32-bit addressing

Application will not open

  • Check memory needed for application and increase/decrease amount allocated for application
  • Open application first, then the file

"Application busy or missing" or "Application not found"

  • Open application first, then open file
  • Install proper application or application version on hard drive
  • If two copies of application, trash one
  • Rebuild the desktop
  • Zap the PRAM

System Locks Up


  • Type Command-Q
  • Type Command-Option-Control-Escape then choose "yes" to Force Quit. Save all documents and quit all open applications, then restart the Mac
  • Type Control-Command and the startup key or Control-Option-Command and the startup key to reset the computer

To Prevent another occurrence

  • Increase application memory
  • Check for duplicate system folders/suitcases and trash one
  • Check for duplicate applications and different versions
  • Turn off 32-bit addressing
  • Look at Extension conflict with Extension Manager (System 7.5 or higher)
  • Reinstall the application
  • Use Disk Tools and do a clean reinstall of the system software

Computer Starts, Not Enough Memory Message Appears

  • Hold Shift key down and restart (turns off extensions)
  • Reduce size of disk cache
  • Reduce size of RAM disk
  • Remove some software extensions, restart computer after each deletion
  • Add a memory expansion card

Time, Date Incorrect, Control Panels Settings Won't Stick

Icons look different

  • Rebuild the desktop


Hard Disk Problems

  • Restart the Mac
  • Run Disk First Aid from floppy disk, or run MacCheck
  • Run Disk Doctor from Norton's Utilities
  • Rebuild the desktop
  • Zap the PRAM
  • Reinstall the system

Keyboard Problems

  • Keys click when pressed and nothing happens - Check Easy Access Control Panel. If this is turned on, turn it off and trash it.
  • Slow typing - Key Caps is open in the background or network wiring is frayed. Close Key Caps (Apple Menu) or disconnect from the network
  • Not recognizing keys - Open Key Caps and type; keyboard will darken when keys are pressed.
  • Type and nothing happens - Check keyboard connections; click on insertion point and type

Monitor Problems

  • Check connections
  • Adjust monitor brightness and contrast controls


Lock original disks to prevent viruses/erasures

Floppy Won't Eject

  • Shift - Command - 1
  • Restart computer
  • Restart while holding mouse key down
  • Use paper clip in the hole below the floppy port

Disk Shuffle

  • When asked for another disk, type Command - Period

Disk Ghost

  • Double-click on the ghost, when the system asks for the disk type Command - Period, click OK and repeat. Drag it to the trash.
  • The problem can be avoided by not using the Eject Disk command under the Special menu. Use Put Away found under the File menu

CD-ROM Won't Eject

  • If 'being shared', turn off file sharing in Sharing Setup Control Panel and eject disk before turning file sharing back on.
  • CD-ROM drive will not work if extensions are off


File Can't Be Thrown Away

  • Check that the file is not locked
  • Close the file, quit the application
  • If on a floppy disk, unlock the disk (move the slide so the hole is covered)
  • Turn off file sharing temporarily
  • Choose Sharing from the File menu and uncheck the box that indicates cannot move, rename, or delete file
  • Hold down the Option key and empty trash

Network and File Sharing

Cannot See File Server

  • Check that correct connection is selected (Control Panel/Network/Ethertalk)
  • Check wall jack plug
  • Check all connections
  • Check that the file server is turned on - restart the file server and file sharing
  • Make sure Appleshare extension is in the Extensions folder
  • Try connecting from a different location

Cannot Log on to Another Workstation or File Server

  • Check network connections
  • Check User Name - is it exactly the same as logon name

To Remove Desktop Printer

  • Remove Print Spooler, extensions and all desktop printer files from system folder
  • Trash Quickdraw GX (extension) (locks out chooser)
  • Install 1, 3, 6 from installer menu of StyleWriter

Hubs Not Working Properly

  • Turn off the file server and the hubs and let them sit for a while
  • Turn on Star Controller and highlight hub Config menu. Check uplink enable. Uplink lights should be blinking

Forgotten Password for Appleshare

  • Move Users and Groups preferences onto disk or system folder
  • Reinstall, it will ask for a new admin password

Speed Boosters

  • Turn off file sharing
  • Clean out folders - Print Description or Font Folders. Trash unneeded fonts, printer description files, After Dark files, and other file
  • Turn off Virtual Memory in Memory Control Panel. (except Power Mac)
  • Turn off program linking
  • Turn off background printing
  • Increase disk cache in Memory Control Panel - 32K of Cache for each MB of RAM on your Mac (system 7.5). Not larger than 32K (less than System 7.5) or it will slow down
  • Set the color bit depth low. Use 16-bit color instead of 24-bit in Monitor Control Panel
  • Use the lowest screen resolution (pixels/screen) in Monitor Control Panel
  • Purchase more RAM

How To:

Rebuild Desktop-Restart with Command+Option+Shift keys depressed. Hold keys until message appears, click OK.

Zap PRAM-Start with cold boot with Command+Option+P+R keys depressed. Hold key until 2 chimes. Make sure key caps is not depressed. Check desktop pattern, memory, network, Appletalk, etc.

Start from CD/ External Hard Drive-Start with Command+Option+Shift keys depressed. Icon should be on top of hard drive icon for LC computers. For Power Mac hold the C key or Control+C keys down

Use Extensions Manager-Start with space bar down

Allocate more Memory-Close Application, highlight icon which launches the application, choose Get Info in File menu, highlight the preferred memory and increase the number

To Stop Most Applications-Type Command+Period

Empty Trash-Hold down Option key while emptying trash, or restart computer and then empty trash.

Take Picture-Hold down Command+Shift+3

Rename Laserwriter-On computer connected to LaserWriter: run laser utility/and choose the Namer

Clean System Reinstall-Move System file into Preferences folder and rename the System Folder before you do the regular install with the proper diskettes. Move needed files from the old System folder to the new one and then trash the old System folder For 7.5 OS, hold the Command+Shift+K keys down at the main menu of the installer screen. Select Install new system folder and OK. Select Clean Install. Move needed files/extensions/control panels/preferences from the old System folder to the new one and then trash the old System folder.

Rename Appletalk Imagewriter-On computers connected to Imagewriter: Pull Appletalk Imagewriter icon to root level System Folder. Restart computer, make sure printer is turned on. Go to chooser/ select. Put in utility disk and launch Namer. When through, put the Appletalk Imagewriter icon back.

This manual was originally distributed by Dr. Dot Bilsky, formerly Senior Systems Analyst with Memphis City Schools

Internet4classrooms is a collaborative effort by Susan Brooks and Bill Byles.




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