Q&A: MacFixIt Answers
We answer reader questions on using OS X recovery utilities within a working OS installation, and more.
MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which we answer questions e-mailed in by our readers.
This week readers wrote in with questions on PDF files appearing black in Safari, whether one can copy the password tools from the OS X installer drives to a working OS X volume, iTunes not reading discs it just burned, and how to tackle a system always going into hibernation instead of sleep mode. We welcome views from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!
Question: Black PDF files in Safari
MacFixIt reader Lucy asks:
Just today, my husband wanted to download an absentee ballot. On the, he goes to the Board of Elections website, but the pdf just registers a blank screen. Whereas on my iMac, also running Mountain Lion, the pdf shows up and is able to print.
Has he installed Adobe Reader on his system? Check this by going to the Help menu in Safari and then choosing "Installed Plug-Ins" and see if one is Adobe Reader. If so, then try going to the Library > Internet Plug-Ins folder on his system and removing Adobe-related plug-ins, specifically those that mention PDF or Reader in their names. There are two significant Library folders to check here. The first is the one directly in the boot drive, and the second is the one in his user folder, which can be accessed in the Go menu in the Finder. If it is not in the Go menu then hold the Option key and it should appear there.)
Question: Copying tools from Apple's recovery volumes
MacFixIt reader Charles asks:
In your recent article on, once the Applications folder on the Recovery HD is open can't one simply copy the Firmware Password app to the boot volume Applications folder?
For Apple's Firmware Password utility you absolutely can do this if you would like, as the tool should run like any other independent program. However, some of the other programs like the account password reset tool can only be run when booted to from the Recovery partition or installation disc.
Question: iTunes not reading discs once burned
MacFixIt reader Dan asks:
iTunes 10.5 forces a re-boot once a cd-r has completed burning. Also, even though the burned disk plays fine on other equipment it will not play back on the machine that burned it.
Sometimes this is a problem with specific CD-R media, so you might try a different brand to see if you get better results. It also could be an indication that your disc burner is not working properly.
Question: System always going to hibernate mode
MacFixIt reader Alexei asks:
Recently, my 2010 MBP running 10.6.8 started having sleep problems. After closing the lid or letting it fall asleep, it goes into hibernation instead. I do have Deep Sleep installed, but I've had it for years, and it never behaved like this.
I did cleans with Onyx, and reset the SMC. Didn't help. What should be my next steps? I read your recent article on , and my hibernatemode is 3, but I don't know what to do beyond that.
One option is to try changing the hibernatemode setting to "0" (run "sudo pmset hibernatemode 0" in the Terminal, which should set the system to never hibernate) to see if that will change the behavior, and then change it back to the default value of 3 if you do see a difference. However, I would first try removing the third-party Deep Sleep software and all of its included components to see if that helps the situation.