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 we had questions on the best format to use for keeping home videos, whether Rosetta could be hacked to install in Lion, power problems after a battery malfunction on MacBook systems, and the system requesting two log-ins with Filevault 2 enabled. 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: Best format for preserving home movies
MacFixIt reader Jerry asks:

I have several old family movies I've imported and edited in iMovie 6, and saved the project files (voice overs and transitions) and made a DVD. But I'd also like to save the finished product to my new TB drive as MP4 (H264?) or ISO (is there a benefit to this?).

What would be the best format for the future, and what application should I use? I still have iMovie 6 (if I import the project files to the new iMovie, I will lose all my transitions) as well as Toast and Mac the Ripper/Handbrake.

Answer:
ISO is not a movie format, but is a disk image format (similar to Apple's DMG format) for creating a virtual disk drive file. ISO images can hold anything from music to data, to DVD movie content. MP4 or other H.264-encoded formats should be fine for creating a long-lasting and compatible media files that are high quality.


Question: Installing Rosetta on Lion systems
MacFixIt reader Michael asks:

Do you know anybody who has tried to load Rosetta into Lion so Power PC apps will work? Is this even possible?

Answer:
This is not possible to do. Even if you install the translator from Snow Leopard, the libraries and other underlying infrastructure that route the various system calls to it are missing, so the system would not know how to use it. It would take a decent amount of coding to get implemented, especially in a seamless way as Rosetta was done in Snow Leopard and earlier.


Question: Power problems after MacBook battery charge malfunction
MacFixIt reader Jenny asks:

I have messed up my MacBook battery by using my MacBook Pro power lead in it and now the battery won't charge. I have removed and replaced it to no avail. I am sure I need the Firmware Update 1.4 as I have checked the info in About This Mac and it seems to need the update.

However when I download it I can't install it as I get an "Alert" message that says the computer doesn't need the update. Is there anyway around this?

In About this Mac there is also a message to replace the battery--does this mean I have drained the battery and it will never work again?

Answer:
The use of the MacBook Pro power adapter should not harm your system at all. Both adapters output the same voltage, with the difference being the "Pro" adapter is capable of sustaining 85 watts of power draw as opposed to the 60 watts for the smaller adapter, so it can charge the larger batteries in the 17-inch MacBook Pro systems faster.

To address the problem, first try resetting the systems SMC and PRAM. Then if the system will boot to the battery, calibrate it by allowing it to fully drain until the system automatically goes to sleep. Let it stay in sleep mode like this for a few hours, and then plug it in and allow it to fully charge. Then allow it to stay like this again for a few hours. After doing this, see if the problem persists. If so then you will need to replace the battery or have the system serviced, which can be done at an Apple store.

For the firmware update, go to "About this Mac" in the Apple menu and if you are running Lion then click the "System Report" option, or click "System Profiler." With the profiler open, click "Hardware" and then see if the "Model Identifier" is either "MacBook5,1" or "MacBook5,2." If it is neither of these then you will not need the update. If it is one of these models, then check the version string next to "Boot ROM Version:" to see if its either MB51.007D.003 or MB52.0088.005, and if it is not one of these then you will also not need the update.

Ultimately, however, these indications are secondary to the updater itself, which will only install on applicable systems that need the update. Therefore, if the updater will not install then your system does not need the update.


Question: System requesting log-in twice with Filevault 2 enabled
MacFixIt reader Joe asks:

I'm having a problem I think. I have Filevault 2 turned on and when I restart or turn the computer on after being shut down it ask for my password. Then it sits for a couple of seconds then reboots and get's to the log-in in screen and ask for the password again. Then it loads the desk and the computer seems to be running normal. Is this normal to ask for the password twice and then load the desktop?

Answer:
What is happening here is the first log-in is used to decrypt the hard disk, and the second one is used to log in to your account once the drive is decrypted. Both of these processes should be done with the first log-in, but a problem with your setup may be preventing the password from being passed to the account. There are several things you can try:

  1. Change your password
    Try going to the system preferences and changing your password, which may overwrite the settings for decryption and allow the system to automatically use the first given password for both the decryption and the log-in processes.

  2. Disable and enable FileVault
    Besides changing passwords, you can try disabling file vault and re-enabling it to see if that properly sets up the password for use in both log-in sessions.

  3. Do nothing
    The problem here is not one that will cause any issues, as all you are doing is unlocking two things independently instead of simultaneously. If it is not a burden to you then ignoring it and merely supplying your credentials twice should keep your system running fine.



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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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