MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a feature where we answer questions e-mailed to us by readers. This week, we have questions on the application services not appearing in Safari, Time Machine drives not being set up correctly, an AirPort Express unit not working as a WiFi extender, and burned CDs not mounting or ejecting.

MacFixIt Answers is a feature where we answer questions e-mailed to us by readers. This week, we have questions on the application services not appearing in Safari, Time Machine drives not being set up correctly, an AirPort Express unit not working as a WiFi extender, and burned CDs not mounting or ejecting.

Question: Services not available when using Safari

MacFixIt reader "David" asks:

I seem to have lost "Services" in the Safari drop-down window. It always says "no services apply." I've seen tutorials where they have gone to "Services" for use, but mine is not there. Where'd it go? About the worst thing I've done with my unit is to pull the battery out when the device was frozen and I didn't know to just hold down the main button for 15 seconds. One time it let out a pretty good "bong" when I pulled it out (ouchies). Could I have done some damage with this action? Apple genius bar says they would have to keep my computer to find the problem which they say must be pretty deep, as they have re-installed the OS and it didn't fix the problem.


Try selecting some text in Safari (click and drag your cursor over some to highlight it) and then go to the Services menu. You should see several services that are available for the selected text, such as creating a new sticky note out of it, or generating a new email with the selected text. Apple has changed the way Services work in 10.6, making them contextual so they are not always listed but instead are only available when they can be of use.

You can create new services with Automator, so if you have a particular task you would like to do regularly, such as copying text to a new TextEdit application, you can make an automator workflow do this and if saved as a Service, you will then be able to use it from the Services menu in any application just like the other services that are available.

Pulling the battery may harm your system, but not usually by disabling a specific software function such as Services. Power outages may harm the hardware and, for instance, stop features like bluetooth and wifi from working if the wifi controllers are fried. If software corruption occurrs because of a power outage, the system will usually not boot properly or will hang or crash when the system tries to load the corrupted software code.

Question: Time Machine drive not being recognized

MacFixIt reader "Dennis" asks:

I recently bought my wife a 21-inch iMac and I hooked a Calvary 2TB hard drive on it the other day to use Time Machine. Since then, she gets this error come up "Unable to complete backup. An error occurred while copying files to the backup volume." Her iMac is less than 2 months old and is running OS 10.6 with all the updates. I have read different things from reformatting the drive to deleting the TimeMachine.plist file. It is GUID partitioned with Mac OS Extended Case Sensitive Journaled Formatting. It is how the OS set it up.


Try using Disk Utility to manually re-partition and set the drive up again for use with Time Machine. First turn Time Machine off in the system preferences, and then launch Disk Utility, select the drive device (not the volume name under the device) and click the "partition" tab in Disk Utility. From the drop-down menu select "1 partition" and then click the "Options..." button and ensure GUID is selected. Then under the disk format options to the right, select "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" as the format, instead of case-sensitive or other options. Name the disk and proceed with the format, and then try it with Time Machine again.

Sometimes when disks are automatically set up for use with Time Machine it is not done properly, and doing it manually like this ensures everything is set up correctly.

Question: AirPort Express not working as a WiFi extender

MacFixIt reader "Stephen" asks:

I am trying to set up an airport express as a remote extender for my network with an airport extreme base station. The airport express has its default settings. What is the step by step process for an idiot to extend a network in this way to the rest of my house?


Is your base station enabled as a "WDS" base station? Go to AirPort Utility and select the base station, then choose Manual Setup and go to the "Wireless" settings. From here, enable participation in a "WDS" network, and set it up as a "WDS main" device. Then choose the option to "allow wireless clients on this base station" and the Airport Express should be able to find and extend the base station signal.

The AirPort Express should be a "relay" station, if the utility has an option to set it up as one (it should be automatic).

Question: Burned CDs not mounting or ejecting

I have a picture CD from Costco, when I put it in the icon does not come up on my desktop, I cannot view or download the pictures. And the CD will not eject?????


To get the CD to eject, try rebooting the system while holding down the mouse button. Sometimes disc media is not compatible with a drive, either because of problems in the drive's firmware or because the media is not well made or properly burned. If you can view it in another computer then try duplicating the CD (or otherwise transferring to another CD or DVD). If your drive is having problems with many discs, regardless of manufacturer or type (CD or DVD) then you might need to clean the drive. There are cleaning discs available (though they will not work with slot-loading drives) or you can try using a can of compressed air to puff around in the drive to hopefully dislodge and dust on the lenses. If that does not work, and you are still having issues with the drive, then you may need to replace it. They do go bad for numerous reasons (e.g., laser diode dying or mechanical issues).

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