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 people wrote in with questions about enabling screen zooming in accounts on OS X, bookmarks being duplicated by iCloud, CAC card readers not authenticating properly in Lion, and iCal showing up behind Dashboard widgets. We continually answer e-mail questions, and though we present answers here, we welcome alternative approaches and views from readers and encourage you to post your suggestions in the comments.

NOTE: The "contact us" box on the MacFixIt page for e-mailing us your questions will hopefully be back soon, but until then please use the contact links at the bottom of each article to send in your questions.

Question: Enabling screen zooming for accounts in OS X
MacFixIt reader marchel asks:

I had initially three user accounts in my iMac (OS X Lion) and I could perform screen zoom by holding the CONTROL key and sliding my finger through the surface of the Magic Mouse. But, when I create a new account, this function simply doesn't work. What's happening and how to fix it?

Go to the Mouse system preferences and make sure the option to zoom using the scroll wheel is checked. Then make sure the key you press to invoke the zoom is the Ctrl key and not another one. You can also see these options in the Universal Access system preferences by clicking the "Options..." button in the Zoom section of the Seeing tab.

Question: Bookmarks being duplicated by iCloud
MacFixIt reader Frank asks:

I'm looking at my iCloud-synched Bookmarks in Safari 5.1. I have numerous dupes of BookmarksMenu and BookmarksBar folders among the items under BOOKMARKS. I tried deleting those that appeared to be empty but they just keep coming back. I'm pretty sure that iCloud is doing this because it thinks that it knows "the truth" better than I do. How can I set iCloud straight on these and similar disagreements?

Try disabling iCloud's Bookmarks syncing option, and then removing your bookmarks from one system. One way to do this is to go to the /username/Library/Safari/ folder and remove the file "Bookmarks.plist." Then re-enable iCloud's options and try syncing the systems again.

Question: CAC card readers not authenticating properly in Lion
MacFixIt reader Albert asks:

Ever since upgrading to Lion I have had a problem unlocking the individual panes and opening the "Startup Disk" in the system preferences. This occurs, and probably is related to, the CAC card reader. Essentially I can unlock the panes and use the "Startup Disk" pane if I do not close system preferences after opening it. I have tried to delete the respective "plist" files multiple times all to no avail. Have searched the Internet to find a solution but none appear to work. Now if I don't attach the CAC card reader then system preferences works fine. Upgrading to 10.7.2 has not improved the situation. Any ideas?

This may be a bug that will need to be addressed by a software update from either Apple or the CAC reader manufacturer. The reader interfaces with Apple's authentication server to provide an alternate authentication method, and it seems changes in Lion's authentication methods are causing some of these card readers to not work properly. Hopefully the problems will be fixed in upcoming versions of OS X, but until then the only options I can think of are generic and crude ones like formatting and reinstalling OS X.

Question: iCal showing up behind Dashboard widgets
MAcFixIt reader Richard asks:

Something rather odd yesterday. I use a preference pane called Dasher to switch on Dashboard after a period of inactivity: it brings up various reminders and suchlike and saves me having to remember to look at Dashboard at regular intervals.

But yesterday morning when Dashboard appeared I was surprised to find a full iCal page sitting there behind all the widgets. I could use it as normal, switching pages, adding events and so on. I tried Console-hunting to see how it might have got there but I couldn't track it down, and I can't find any online reference to this happening. After restarting it vanished again.

My question is - does anyone have any idea how to recreate this? It would really be extremely useful!

This is likely a windowing bug that happened from special circumstances in your setup, and not something that is a feature that is turned off by default. Dashboard should be overlaid on all other windows, but for some reason iCal was kept active. This type of bug may periodically happen, but is not intended and is not something that you could purposefully invoke.

Questions? Comments? Have a fix? Post them below or e-mail us!
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