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Mac OS X 10.3.4 (#4): FireWire target booting for non-booting, 10.3.4-updated Macs; Fan speed, loudness; CUPS; more

Mac OS X 10.3.4 (#4): FireWire target booting for non-booting, 10.3.4-updated Macs; Fan speed, loudness; CUPS; more

More on FireWire target booting for non-booting, 10.3.4-updated Macs One of the most successful methods for recovering Macs that refuse to startup properly after applying the Mac OS X 10.3.4 updater is using FireWire target disk mode to perform repairs or - in more drastic cases - OS re-installation.

Instructions for booting in TDM (target disk mode ) are found in Apple Knowledge Base article #58583 and are as follows:

  1. Make sure that the target computer is turned off. If you are using a PowerBook computer or iBook computer as the target computer, you should also plug in its AC power adapter.
  2. Use a FireWire cable (6-pin to 6-pin) to connect the target computer to a host computer. The host computer does not need to be turned off.
  3. Start up the target computer and immediately press and hold down the T key until the FireWire icon appears. The hard disk of the target computer should become available to the host computer and will likely appear on desktop.

Once the target Mac's hard disk appears as a mounted volume on the host computer's desktop, there are several processes that can help get a non-booting Mac back into shape.

First, trying using Apple's Disk Utility (located in the Applications/Utilities folder on a normal Mac OS X 10.3.x or 10.2.x installation) to repair the target Mac's startup volume. Next, you can try a third-party disk repair utility, like DiskWarrior, TechTool Pro or Norton Utilities.

Some users have also reported that turning journaling off (or oddly, on in some cases) allows normal startup. This can also be accomplished in Disk Utility by selecting the target disk in the left-hand column and clicking the "enable journaling" button in the toolbar.

Finally, you can use the host computer to perform an archive and install operation on the target volume.

When you are done performing repairs or re-installation, drag the target volume to the trash, then turn off the target Mac and unplug the FireWire cable.

As a final note, make sure that no external hardware devices are causing the startup problems (disconnect all USB, FireWire, and other devices) before attempting a recovery via TDM.

More on the "Connect to Server" security warning Last week we noted an apparent bug in Mac OS X's "Connect to Server" function, where users receive the message: 'Can't make a secure connection to YourServer. The server YourServer does not support secure connections via SSH. To connect with reduced security, click Continue.'

MacFixIt reader Mike Barron has a succinct explanation of the issue, and also notes that using SSH via the Terminal (using ssh domainname) still works properly:

"The error mentioned below refers to an option in the login dialogue. When connecting to another Mac via Personal File Sharing (or any file sharing for that matter) there is a button called "Options" in the login window. Pressing "Options" will give you the ability to "Allow Secure Connections Using SSH." Apparently, this option is broken in 10.3.4. If the option is checked you now get a warning that the secure connection is not supported. Something like this: 'Can't make a secure connection to YourServer. The server YourServer does not support secure connections via SSH. To connect with reduced security, click Continue.' This is actually NOT a problem with the server as the message would indicate. It is a problem with the 10.3.4 client. (As proof, I can use the SSH option to log into any Mac from a 10.3.3 client -- even 10.3.4 hosts, whereas the reverse does not work.) If you want the error message to go away, simply uncheck the "Allow Secure Connections Using SSH" option in the login window's "Options" dialogue. I'm not sure why this functionality is broken, but it seems to me that it should be fixed. Fortunately, using SSH via the command-line still works in 10.3.4.

System searching for non-existent network startup volume A few readers have reported that their Macs are searching for a network startup volume (indicated by a flashing icon of earth at startup) after applying the Mac OS X 10.3.4.

In some cases, the "flashing earth icon" is a accompanied by a flashing question mark, which indicates that no network startup volume can be found.

If your Mac searches for a network startup volume but eventually boots properly, open System Preferences and use the "Startup Disk" pane to make sure the proper startup volume is selected. If your Mac never passes through the search phase to proper startup, try holding down the option key while your Mac starts up to select a startup volume.

Slower startups because of network startup volume search When there is a delay in startup due to network volume searching, you may want to use the "Network" pane of System Preferences to disable ports that are not in use (use Show: Network Configurations).

MacFixIt reader Jonathan Worley writes "I have been trying to figure out why I get a spinning cursor as the finder is loading on startup. Sometimes my PowerBook 17" 1 Gigahertz would start up in 30 seconds and in other cases a minute and a half, stalling as the finder was loading. By accident I discovered that when I was unplugged from my Ethernet connection that the system started up in thirty seconds. It appear that the extra time occurs when the Mac tries to establish a Network Connection at Startup. However, if no network connection is attempted the startup time is remarkably faster, and there appears to be no delay in accessing the network by plugging in after startup. A related problem may be having your network port settings set to automatic, causing the Macintosh to look for several network connections before giving up."

Fans: Speed, loudness changes after update We continue to receive reports of erratic or louder fan behavior (some systems, including our in-house PoweBooks exhibit quieter fan operation) after the Mac OS X 10.3.4 update.

Zach Bragin writes "I have an 800MHz PowerBook G4 DVI. After updating to 10.3.4 for a couple days it was fine, but after waking from sleep this morning the fans came on fairy soon, at full speed. The case is also very hot to the touch. The odd thing is, according to my CPU meter, the processor is not being strained at all, barely any activity."

The issue also affects desktop Macs. MacFixIt reader Wilfredo Nanita writes "I have a flat panel iMac (15? first gen) and after the 10.3.4 update, the only thing I?ve noticed (besides the stickies bug) is that the fan is a lot louder. With a cold start up the noise is normal...the sound goes louder even If I am not using the computer."

Haxie/APE Manager issues We previously noted that haxies can sometimes be problematic after significant Mac OS X updates. The great majority of readers have experienced no problems, even with a sundry of installed haxies, but reports of problems (usually fixable by repairing permissions with Disk Utility) continue to trickle in.

MacFixIt reader Peggy writes "Well, I'm not sure exactly what caused the problem, but here is what happened. I installed the update, then I used a few applications, everything running smoothly. Then I opened APEmanager--wanted to see if the update had affected it and the settings on the haxies. System prefs quit on me when I tried to open the window shade haxie. I couldn't reopen it, or any other program that wasn't open, including disk utility. I thought I'd better restart --got the blue screen of death. Tried various things. Booted up fine in OS 9, but only blue screen for ten. Reinstalled OS X the new upgrades. It was fine until I reinstalled the APEmanager and ichatter. Got a blue screen AGAIN! Couldn't believe it. Reinstalled yet again, and left out my favorite--APE manager, which is my prime suspect, although it may not be the cause--hard to know for sure. So far it restarts fine, and no more blue screens. Fixed permissions; mac is happy again. Whew!"

More on strange CUPS behavior, fixes MacFixit reader Mathue Taxion reports that a previously reported issue where Mac OS X's built-in CUPS (Common UNIX Printing System) refuses to accept the password for printer modification can be attributed to Security Update 2004-04-05 in some cases:

"The behavior of CUPS not accepting a password properly goes back a bit to a security update.

"I first came across the problem 6 weeks ago when I wanted to tweak CUPS for a unsupported printer.

"Ultimately I had to replace the newer version of CUPS with an older one to get access. No matter what I tried the newer version would not accept the password for any admin user I created. Even using root, or for that matter, logging in as root and using root and the password to get in was met with no success."

Kernel panics For some users, Mac OS X 10.3.4 causes repeated kernel panics that, after exhausting all other troubleshooting procedures (including removal of external devices and checking for bad RAM), require reversion to Mac OS X 10.3.3:

Reader Sven writes "After updating to 10.3.4 I get kernel panics after waking from sleep on a Dual 2.0 G5 using the Apple approved D-Link bluetooth adapter. The keyboard and mouse are the apple bluetooth units. All have been updated with the latest firmwares. I repaired the permissions, zapped PRAM, ran a disk check but these did not resolve the problem. I did a clean install of 10.3.4 and the problem continues. If I go back to 10.3.3 there is no problem."

Safari banking problems Several readers report problems using some secure banking Web sites after moving to Mac OS X 10.3.4, likely due to the security refinements included with the update. The best bet, in many cases, is to temporarily use a different browser.

One reader writes "Safari locks up after initial entry to a secure site like banking. I've had to use Netscape 7.1 or, horrors, IE to perform my online banking."

Eric-Jan Japing adds "Since installing Mac OS X 10.3.4 internet banking has become impossible with all usual browsers except one. [...] Before 10.3.4 almost all browsers (and certainly Safari) would communicate effectively with almost all banks during the electronic process of transferring money, but after installing 10.3.4 I discovered that Safari, Internet Explorer, and Netscape could no longer do the job. The only browser that does facilitate electronic banking under 10.3.4 I have found so far is Mozilla, albeit not fully under all conditions."

Bluetooth connectivity failures There are a few reports of Bluetooth connectivity issues under Mac OS X 10.3.4. Monte Amador writes "I know I am not the only one with this problem but it has been since I installed the new update this morning on my powerbook 15". The bluetooth module does not appear anymore in the system pref's as well under my system profiler. This is obviously troubling for a variety of reasons but the fact that the bluetooth module was already installed and is in the computer but that it's not recognizing it makes it all the more frustrating. I haven't had the opportunity to play with the new update since this has caused me some headaches."

If you are having a similar problem, please let us know.

Still not fixed: Issues that persist in Mac OS X 10.3.4

"Movies" channel in Sherlock does not display last film A reader writes "The 'Movies' Channel in the latest Sherlock 3.6 does not display the last movie (alphabetically speaking) when viewed in "Theaters" display. This has not been fixed in the OS 10.3.4 update.

"To see this, open Sherlock and in the Movies channel select Theaters. Enter your zip code. For each theater, the last movie showing there (alphabetically speaking) is not displayed in Sherlock. You may need to compare with your local newspaper listings to see what we mean. For example, in most theaters right now, this would affect the movie "Van Helsing", and in others it's "Troy"."

"Reply to" indicator does not work on moved messages in The "Show Reply" arrow in fails to work if the original message has been moved from the Inbox.

Dave Kupiec writes "Clicking the arrow gets an error dialog that proposes 'You may have deleted the message or moved it out of your Sent Messages folder,' but neither of those is the case. Rather, you've merely moved the original message- the one to which you replied- out of the Inbox into any other folder."

Screen flicker There is an issue that causes some PowerBook screens to flicker - especially when changing brightness or resolution settings - which we covered in January.

MacFixIt reader Ernie notes that Mac OS X 10.3.4 fails to fix the longstandaing bug, and also provided a link to a video demonstration of the issue"

Telnet vulnerability patched MacFIxIt reader Oliver North writes that Mac OS X 10.3.4 update appears to fix for a Telnet URI vulnerability.

"For example, clicking telnet://-nFoo does NOT now create a file on your computer."

Unfortunately, the change necessitates updates for some Telnet software tools:

Josh writes "I loaded new system upgrade to 10.3.4 (from 10.3.3). My Telnet Launcher 2.7.3 suddenly didn't work properly. Fortunately the solution was to download Telnet Launcher 2.7.6, and -voila- everything is back in working order. The new version even found and automatically used my old Telnet connection profiles without me having to re-enter them."

Other security enhancements in Mac OS X 10.3.4 include:

  • NFS: Improves logging when tracing system calls.
  • Packaging: Improves package installation.
  • TCP/IP: provides better handling of out-of-sequence TCP packets.

  • #58583
  • DiskWarrior
  • TechTool Pro
  • Norton Utilities
  • archive and install
  • Security Update 2004-04-05
  • let us know
  • covered
  • video demonstration
  • More from Late-Breakers