Q&A: MacFixIt Answers
Managing persistent icon placement changes, physically spurred visual artifacts on a MacBook display, and more are among this week's topics.
MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which I answer Mac-related questions sent in by our readers.
This week, readers asked questions about the limitations of using an iMac in Target Display mode, multicolor artifacts appearing when physically moving a MacBook's display, tackling persistent icon arrangement errors, and managing a font whose default size is far smaller than other fonts at the same size.
I welcome contributions from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!
Question: Limitations on using an iMac in Target Display mode
MacFixIt reader Ron asks:
My iMac (late 2009) has a DisplayPort. If I connect my new Mac Pro Thunderbolt to the iMac DisplayPort can I use the iMac as a display for the Mac Pro? From your description it looks like a useful signal can go from the Thunderbolt to the DisplayPort device. Also do I need an adapter or will a Thunderbolt cable work?
You should be able to use a Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt cable to connect these systems and use the iMac as an external display.
See this Apple knowledge base article for more information Apple provides on Target Display support for these devices.
Question: Multicolor artifacts and white output on a MacBook display
MacFixIt reader "Qap_98" asks:
I have a MacBook mid-2010. Recently it started to turn white while in use. At first all I had to do was move the screen for it to correct itself. Now the screen turns multiple colors but the same trick still works. It is not under warranty. I use it because there are some programs that I use that are Mac-only and it is affecting my work. Is there a fix? Is this fix something I can do?
This sounds like a hardware fault. Boot the system to the OS X Recovery HD partition by holding Command-R at startup. When in this mode, if the problem persists, then it is definitely a hardware-based issue, such as a loose connection, that will need to be fixed by having your system serviced.
Question: Tackling persistent icon arrangement errors
MacFixIt reader Maurice asks:
Once in a while, for no apparent reason, All my desktop icons snap to grid on the right half of the screen. I find them there at startup, and I have to painstakingly reposition them where I want. This is in spite of the fact that in the Finder's View menu > Show View Options > "None" was selected. It was suggested that I should delete the .DS_Store file of the Desktop. It is an invisible file which I accessed and deleted via Disk Warrior, but this promising tip did not work.
The icon and view settings that are stored in the .DS_Store file can be inherited from parent folders, so sometimes even if you remove one, the problems it was experiencing may be reversed. Therefore, try removing all .DS_Store files from the system so they will be remade from scratch. To do this, you can use a cleaner tool like BlueHarvest to target and remove the files.
Question: Default font size smaller than other fonts
MacFixIt reader Lance asks:
I downloaded a third-party font for a special project I'm working on, but it's really small compared to my system's stock fonts.
At 12 points it's about the size of a stock font at 8 points. Is there any way to change this for a more harmonious look?
The font typeface will be a set size for a specific point setting, so if a font at 12 point is very small in comparison to a standard font like Helvetica or Times, the only way to manage this is to compensate for it by increasing the small font's point size (ie, use 16, 18, or 24 point for this font). Alternatively there may be a variant of the font out there that is sized to better match the point sizes of other fonts.