Q&A: MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a weekly feature in which we answer questions e-mailed in by our readers. We welcome alternative approaches and views from readers and encourage you to post your own suggestions in the comments.

MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which we answer questions e-mailed in by our readers. This week readers wrote in asking about shared parent folders mounting when subfolders are accessed, .DS_Store files appearing on the desktop, which Office versions will work with Lion, where to look up application compatibility for Lion, and whether or not you should install software that came with external hard drives. We continually answer e-mail questions, and though we present a few answers here, we welcome alternative approaches and views from readers and encourage you to post your suggestions in the comments.

Question: Accessing shared subfolder mounts parent directory
MacFixIt reader "Josh" asks:

I noticed when I right click on Finder (on the dock) and Connect to Server that if I put something like:

smb://Server/Folder1/Folder2

that finder will open up with a new window that contains the contents of Folder2 (Of course this is what I would want). However, when I look in the Finder and under Devices click My MacBook Pro it has a drive mapped to Folder1, which is the parent folder. You would have to fish through the parent folder to be able to find the folder you originally mapped.

An example for our company would be if someone connects to their home drive they will not be able to navigate to it in Finder because they won't have access to the parent folder (and in turn be able to access all the home drives in the company). I am able to do this because I need access to them to be able to do my job, but the average Mac user doesn't.

This folder can be accessed through terminal, but this isn't feasible for the average user.

Answer:
This behavior results based on how the server has its shares set up. In your setup, "Folder1" is the shared folder, and Folder2 is just a subdirectory of that shared resource. In OS X only the shared resource will mount and show in the Finder, but if you directly connect to Folder2 then it will be targeted for opening.

To get around this you have two options. The first is to create an alias of "Folder2" that can be directly opened, which will always point to Folder2 (if this is a dynamic situation such as user home directories then you can set up a script to perform a similar task so the same script will open a different home directory depending on who is logged in). The second option is to reconfigure your server so Folder2 is shared instead of (or in addition to) Folder1. This will allow users to connect directly to smb://server/Folder2 so it will mount directly, instead of needing to target subfolders of a share.


Question: .DS_Store file appearing on the desktop
MacFixIt reader "dvdhldy" asks:

Since installing OS X Lion I have a constantly appearing TextEdit document appearing on my desktop. It is named as .DS_Store. I have trashed this file repeatedly but it constantly reappears within seconds of trashing it. Can you please tell me how to get rid of this document permanently from my desktop.

Answer:
This file is a settings file for the desktop that holds information such as where icons are placed. It will always be present, but usually is hidden. Press the Option key and then choose Library from the Go menu. From here, go to the Preferences folder and remove the file called "com.apple.Finder.plist." Then log out and log back in to see if that has helped the situation. If it hasn't, then open the Terminal application on your system and enter the following command:

chflags hidden ~/Desktop/.DS_Store


Question: Office versions for OS X Lion
MacFixIt reader "udee" asks:

I'm still using Word/Excel X For Mac. Will they still work under Lion?

Answer:
No, they will not. Any version of Office prior to Office 2008 will not work. This includes Office 2004, Office X, and Office 1998.


Question: Installing software included with an external drive
MacFixIt reader "Jesse" asks:

I just bought a new MacBook Pro with a ssd drive. With that i got a LaCie Porsche Design p'9231 external hard drive, when i plug it into the computer it will not let me use it because it is a PowerPC app. Please help me override this.

Answer:
This may be the drive management software from LaCie, which you can download directly from here. The drive software should not be necessary to use the drive, so if you open Disk Utility and see the drive listed there, then you can partition and format the drive. Doing this will allow the drive to show on the desktop as any other external drive would, and allow you to use it for your storage purposes. LaCie's software just adds some extra features like setting special sleep times for the drive, formatting it, and seeing its serial number. I personally would not install this software to use the drive.


Question: Application compatibility with OS X Lion
MacFixIt reader "Kent" asks:

Being a longtime Mac user I am in no rush to switch to Lion. I prefer to let others find the bugs (of which there have been few). Is there a list or software that I use to determine which software will upgrade to Lion and which will be left behind? As an example, I could delete "Snow Leopard Cache Cleaner" as it will be useless and taking up hard drive space.

Answer:
The closest thing is RoaringApps, which is a user database of applications that people have found to work (or not work) in Lion.



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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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