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Troubleshooting Mac OS X 10.3 #13: FileVault; AOL issues; Unmounting FW drives; Microtek drivers; Faxing from Word; Contribute 2

Troubleshooting Mac OS X 10.3 #13: FileVault; AOL issues; Unmounting FW drives; Microtek drivers; Faxing from Word; Contribute 2

FileVault and crashes/power loss Although the Mac OS X 10.3.1 update allegedly fixes issues where FileVault would lose preference settings when performing a "reclaiming space" action, the update documentation mentions another potential for data loss when using FileVault:

"If the computer is force-restarted or power is lost while disk space is being reclaimed, data loss can occur. Mac OS X 10.3.1 does not address this type of data loss."

FileVault and processor overhead Last week Apple posted a Knowledge Base Article titled "Final Cut Pro/Express: About Using FileVault," which explains that if you use Panther's FileVault feature, you need to make sure that capture scratch disks and linked media are located outside of your home directory. The reason for this is that when FileVault is enabled, all files in your home directory are encrypted/decrypted on the fly. These processes are very processor-intensive; so much so that on some Macs, the processor will spend so much time encrypting/decrypting your data that not enough "horsepower" is left for Final Cut rendering operations, leading to dropped frames (during capture) or skipped frames (during playback).

Panther, AOL, and AirPort Extreme MacFixIt reader Dan Reinfeld writes about a problem surfing the Web when using the combination of Panther, AOL as the ISP, and AirPort Extreme:

"I have noticed that there are no articles on the fact that Panther and Airport 3.2 have crippled web access on AOL. Problems occur with AOL web accesss via Airport after loading and installing OSX10.3 and Airport 3.2 update. No problems existed before under OSX10.2x builds. Note: problems do not occur when signing onto AOL, just web access when using Safari, IE, or AOL's browser. To access the web, you must revert to dialup modem."

Dan pointed us to a thread on Apple's Discussions forums where a number of users have been reporting this issue.

Unmounting FireWire drives requires admin authentication A number of MacFixIt readers have written us about a significant change in the way Panther deals with FireWire drives in the Finder. Specifically, unmounting an external FireWire drive requires that an admin user authenticate the action by typing in their username and password. This has become an issue in a number of situations -- one example being non-admin users who connect their own FireWire drive to a computer in order to use files and/or applications stored on the drive.

UPDATE: Several readers have reported that this issue only occurs if the FireWire drive in question was mounted by another user, or was mounted prior to the current user logging in. In addition, it appears that it only occurs if the FireWire volume is set to not ignore permissions (via the Finder's Get Info settings).

Microtech scanner drivers A new Microtek FAQ provides information on Panther-compatible scanner drivers:

"Microtek is in the process of developing scanner drivers that will be compatible with Macintosh OS X Panther. Until these new drivers are released, our technicians have developed a workaround that will allow for compatibility of most Microtek USB and Firewire scanners in Panther using the current ScanWizard OS X drivers available. Although this temporary fix has worked for several customers it has not worked for all. Also Microtek is not offering support when connecting a Microtek SCSI scanner to Panther. In addition, the temporary fix is limited to individuals who are running Mac OS X v10.2 Jaguar."

The "temporary" fix is explained on the same Web page. (Is it just us, or does the above statement seem to contradict itself? First it says that Microtek technicians have developed a workaround for Panther, but then it says that the fix is limited to users running Jaguar.)

Faxing from Microsoft Word A number of readers have reported -- and we have experienced this ourselves here at MacFixIt -- that when using Panther's built-in faxing functionality in Microsoft Word, if you click the Address Book button in the fax dialog, the Addresses panel appears as expected, but the user is unable to select any address or item in the panel. In addition, the Addresses panel itself cannot be closed.

Some users, assuming there is no way to get out of this situation, have resorted to force-quitting Word. However, we've found that the main fax dialog is still accessible, and you can enter recipient information manually and send the fax (or simply click the Cancel button to exit the dialog).

Macromedia Contribute 2 launch problems We previously covered issues launching Contribute 2 and Macromedia MX 2004 under Panther. The official solution provided by Macromedia was to delete the /Library/Preferences/Macrovision folder, and then launch the application. (Some users found that they needed to also reinstall the app.) Macromedia has since released an updated TechNote providing another fix for Contribute 2, in case the previous doesn't work. The second fix involves logging in as "a root (System Administrator) user" and then launching Contribute, after which Contribute should launch for any user. Note that although the article says "System Administrator," which might lead some users to think that an administrator account will suffice, the caveats listed in the rest of the TechNote seem to indicate that it is indeed referring to the root user.

Macromedia has also released a more general TechNote that discusses Macromedia application compatibility with Panther.

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