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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 readers wrote in with questions on disabling Launchpad in Lion, reinstalling Windows XP with later versions of Boot Camp, restoring a deleted Garageband application, and concerns over negative reviews of MacKeeper. 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: Disabling Launchpad in OS X Lion
MacFixIt reader Jim B. asks:

I have read a great deal about Lion but have yet to install. Is there absolutely no way for a vet user to *disable* Launchpad? I need to continue work on creating (producing) content w/o being bothered w/training myself how ro be a 'consumer' of content. There MUST be an easy way to disable the feature.

While you can't disable Launchpad (at least besides throwing the program out), like Expose or Dashboard it is an option that you do not need to use. I have been using Lion since its beta releases and have only opened Launchpad once out of curiosity. Beyond periodically running across it being mentioned, I've almost forgotten it is an option in OS X. The Mac App Store will by default place applications in Launchpad and show you where they are; however, this is because Apple is trying to promote Launchpad. Nevertheless, Launchpad is not needed to run Lion, and applications can still be launched via the Dock or from the Applications folder.

Question: Reinstalling Windows XP in Boot Camp
MacFixIt reader Ronald asks:

Hello, I was running windows XP on bootcamp on my macmini (running mac 10.08 os) and all of a sudden I just get this error message "no boot sector" and a black screen. I deleted the partition and tried to re-install winxp and it tells me I need windows 7. I really do not want to have to go out and purchase another operating system. Any ideas??

The latest Boot Camp versions do require Windows 7 or later; however, you might be able to back up your drive with Time Machine, format it and install an older version of OS X, and then set up Boot Camp again. After doing this, use the OS X system restore options to restore the Time Machine backup to the OS X partition. This should allow you to restore the XP partition and get OS X running as it currently is.

Question: Restoring accidentally deleted Garageband
MacFixIt reader John asks:

I accidently deleted garageband and i don't know how to install it neither do i have any idea of installing it.

Do you have a Time Machine backup running? If so, then you can go to the Applications folder, invoke Time Machine (in the menu bar) and restore Garageband from there. Alternatively since it is included on new Macs, you should be able to install it again from the OS X installation DVDs that came with your system. A last option is to get it from the Mac App Store if you have Snow Leopard or Lion as your operating system.

Question: Concerns over negative reviews of MacKeeper
MacFixIt reader John asks:

I have recently purchased and installed a product called 'MacKeeper' for My MBP. Initially I was very impressed with the easy and convenient way I could completely delete unwanted applications and also find duplicate files. The Programme also saved me approximately 25GB in hard drive space.

However, I have noticed numerous negative posts about this product from users (mainly on the Apple communities forum) claiming this product is in fact some form of malware.

Please can you clarify the situation for me as the product appears legitimate but I have concerns from what I have read. I even deleted my free IAntiVirus because I had paid for MacKeeper and didn't see the need for two anti virus apps. Now I'm worried that instead of my Mac being protected it is actually vulnerable.

MacKeeper is perfectly legitimate software and has been useful for many people. Some people have disagreed with some of the company's marketing practices, and a few have had problems with the software on their setups (claiming the program's approaches are unconventional and have led to problems), but this is just them voicing their dislike of the program. Unfortunately the program does have a name similar to the recent "MacDefender" malware and its variants (MacSecurity, MacGuard, etc.), so people may be lumping it in with those programs as well when they hear its name.

Some people have odd ways of voicing their dislikes, and I have seen Norton Antivirus being called a "virus" by some people on the Apple discussion boards, in addition to people calling Windows a virus, and even Office. These claims are just silly attempts to make points, but they can be confusing to people who are not aware of the situation and may infer from it that Norton contains viruses, or something similar.

Your Mac should be fine, especially if you are seeing positive results from the software. Whether you choose to keep the software or go with another setup is up to you.

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