MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a feature where we answer questions e-mailed to us by readers. This week, we have questions on free file recovery options for OS X, managing Finder error -36 with firewire devices, installing iPhone ringtones, and managing many duplicate song entries in iTunes.

MacFixIt Answers is a feature where we answer questions e-mailed to us by our readers. This week, we have questions on free file recovery options for OS X, managing Finder error -36 with firewire devices, installing iPhone ringtones, and managing many duplicate song entries in iTunes.

Question: Finder error -36 with firewire devices

MacFixIt reader "Ron" comments:

Further to your recent article on Finder Error -36, I recently had a terrible time getting larger files to copy to my external firewire disk from an iMac 700MHz PPC (snowball) under OS X 10.4.11. Kept getting finder errors (can't remember exactly which - something about unable to read or write). Only happened with large multi-meg files. Unplugged my external Apple iSight firewire camera and problem completely solved. Weird.

Answer:

That is odd, but it is a definite possibility that devices on the same firewire bus as the external drive could interfere and cause I/O errors. When troubleshooting hardware setups, it is always best to disconnect all devices and plug the problematic one directly into the computer.


Question: Free recovery software for OS X

MacFixIt reader "markrosauer" asks:

Looking for an open source data recovery app. I was cleaning up an external drive and moving folders and files from that drive to a new one. Well, accidently deleted a big folder (maybe 50 gigs or more) of .cbr, .cbz and .rar files. Yeah, they were all comics. I've found some apps with a demo mode but nothing that will handle to size of the folder I deleted. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Answer:

Unfortunately the options are very limited, and I strongly urge people to use a tested and robust recovery software package for any undelete routines. The only freeware disk utility with undelete options I have used is TestDisk, but while it works it is for now limited to NTFS, FAT, and ext2 filesystems. The developers do have another utility PhotoRec which does support HFS+; however, it is limited in what files it can recover.

These are not the easiest programs to use, and are entirely Terminal-based (no graphical interface that you can click); however, they should be able to scan the computer for lost files and recover them. Be sure you only use your computer minimally until you get the files recovered, because you chance overwriting the deleted files with other information when you do so (the probability of this increases the fuller your drive gets).


Question: Installing sound files as iPhone ringtones

MacFixIt reader "Mike" asks:

A friend sent me a ring tone via text messaging to my iPhone 3G. I can see and listen to it but I haven't figured out how to install it as a ringtone so I can use it. Any suggestions?

Answer:

Can you get the file off the iPhone and onto your computer (or have your friend email the file to you)? If so you can use iTunes to convert it into a ringtone file and then install it back onto the iphone as a ringtone that you can assign to various functions. Here is a small 6-minute video on how to do this (YouTube). That is the only way you will be able to use the file as a ringtone. Just having it in your email on the phone is not enough.


Question: Managing duplicate songs that appear in iTunes

MacFixIt reader "Craig" asks:

Please help...after I have all my duplicate songs listed on the iTunes page, do I have to manually delete one of the listed individual songs that is listed twice or can I "check" all that are listed and delete them all?

Example, song "A" is listed twice (same title, time, etc...). Do I have to delete one of the song "As" and then the other remains in my library? Or can I simply delete all duplicate songs and one remains? I have hundreds of duplicates, if I have to delete each on manually I am going to die!

Answer:

There are two possibilities. The first is that the duplicates in iTunes are both referencing the same file on your disk, and the second is that they are referencing different files. First get information on a few of the songs in iTunes to check what files they are using. If they are both using the same file then when you delete them you will want to keep the file on disk and not move it to the trash; however, if not (this is the more likely case) then you will want to move them to the trash.

Unchecking a song will not do anything to it, except prevent it from playing when it is included in various libraries and functions (synchronizing to iPods, etc). To remove the songs, you will need to highlight the ones you would like to remove (select them) and press the delete key. You can do this by holding the Command key down and clicking each file to include in your selection, then delete the whole selection as a batch instead of having to do it one-by-one. Unfortunately iTunes does not have a more robust way of removing duplicate song entries.



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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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