MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a feature where we answer questions e-mailed to us by readers. This week, we have questions on an iMac that randomly switches off, where the theme files for Keynote are located on the hard drive, and reinstalling OS X over a damaged installation.

MacFixIt Answers is a feature where we answer questions e-mailed to us by readers. This week, we have questions on an iMac that randomly switches off, where the theme files for Keynote are located on the hard drive, and reinstalling OS X over a damaged installation.

Question: iMac randomly switching off

MacFixIt reader "David" asks:

My 2GHz intel core duo imac keeps switching itself off. Very odd. I then have to wait 20-30 mins before it will switch on again.

Answer:

An immediate power-off could be caused by several reasons:

  1. Faulty wall circuit

    Try a different outlet or different circuit in your home. Sometimes an overloaded or noisy circuit (can happen from improper grounding or multiple appliances) can cause the power supply on your Mac to fail.

  2. Failing power supply

    This is a likely reason, either because the supply has faulty wiring or a component such as a capacitor is failing. You will need to replace the power supply if this is the case, which can be done at any Apple store.

  3. Dead motherboard battery

    The motherboard has a small battery on it that may need to be charged for the computer to boot. While not a likely candidate, if the battery is not able to store a charge or is being discharged it is possible this can be a contributing factor to the shut-offs. It can be replaced at an Apple service center.

  4. Faulty power management circuit

    Faulty power system may indicate dead motherboard batteries, but also be caused by faulty power management settings, and reset the system management controller may help. This can be done by following the steps in this article.


Question: Locating theme files in Keynote

MacFixIt reader "Jessica" asks:

I have iWork installed on my mac. I tried to find the themes folder in keynote so I could use multiple things, however I can't seem to find the keynote folder OR the pages folder. When i go to Macintosh HD → Library → Application Support → iWork '09 the only two folders that are present are 'Content' and 'Frameworks'. What do I do?

Answer:

This is because the themes in Keynote, and the templates in Pages are located within the application bundle. To see them, go to the respective application, right-click it, and choose "Show package contents." In the resulting window, go to the Contents → Resources folder and locate the "Templates" folder in Pages, and the "Themes" folder in Keynote. Keep in mind that modifying these are not as simple as it may seem but you are welcome to try (you may need to do another "show package contents" on each theme or template to modify its contents). Also keep in mind that doing this will break the code signature for each program, so be sure to back it up before doing so. The code signatures are not enforced in OS X (yet), so you should not have a problem; however, they can be used to verify the integrity of applications and be used to prevent this kind of tampering in the future.


Question: Reinstalling OS X over a damaged installation

MacFixIt reader "Cleves" asks:

I am currently running 10.6.3. I ran into a situation the other day where I thought I would have to reinstall my OS. In the past this has been no problem... just run you system DVD and select Archive and Install... job done. But when I tried this with my Snow leopard install disc I got the message that the install could only take place if I already had 10.5 or later installed (I presume that this means 10.5.3 or somesuch). But I no longer have 10.5.x on my machine, or even anywhere in my cd/dvds... I don't believe in keeping eg OS 9 lying around when it is dead!. So I cannot install over the top of 10.5. Luckily at that point I managed to bypass the need for the reinstall!!. But what happens if my OS gets so severely damaged that apps like Disk Utility or fsck or Disk Warrior won't do the job. Do I have to completely reformat the drive I want to put Snowy on... but wait a bit... if I do that I still won't have 10.5.x on the drive....HELP! So how do I do a reinstall!

Answer:

You should be able to use the Snow Leopard installation disc to install over your current OS. Doing so should perform a full archive and install automatically (it will not prompt you for this--the only way to do a full reinstall is if you use Disk Utility to format the drive), but instead of leaving you with a "Previous System" folder the installer will clean up these old files. You were on the right track, just continue with the installation and it will do what you want.

If for some reason the installer will not continue regardless of what you do, you will be able to install Snow Leopard onto a blank drive so you can use Disk Utility or another utility to format the drive and then perform the installation. There are no Snow Leopard installations that require OS 10.5 to be installed; you should be able to upgrade any Intel-based installation of OS X to Snow Leopard. However, if Disk Utility cannot format the drive, I would recommend you replace the hard drive even if another utility may work. Using semi-compatible hardware may be more trouble than it's worth in the long run, and can indicate deeper trouble such as a failing drive that is not quite dead yet.



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About the author

    Topher, an avid Mac user for the past 15 years, has been a contributing author to MacFixIt since the spring of 2008. One of his passions is troubleshooting Mac problems and making the best use of Macs and Apple hardware at home and in the workplace.

     

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