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Q&A: MacFixIt Answers

What happened to the bounce option in OS X Mail, and what are unexpected ACLs and .DS_Store files in OS X? Here we answer these and other questions from MacFixIt readers.

MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which we answer questions e-mailed in by our readers.

This week people wrote in with questions about the PCI Express Expansion Slot Utility not working on some Mac Pro systems, the option to bounce e-mail messages not being present in Mail, how to install OS X Lion on an external hard drive, and an explanation for the "ACLs found but not expected" error in Disk Utility. We welcome alternative approaches and views from readers, so post your own suggestions in the comments!

Question: PCIe expansion slot utility not working
MacFixIt reader Frank asks:

I have an early 2008 Mac Pro with an NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512 MB video card and Mac OS X 10.7.3. I am trying to install another video card (Intensity Extreme) that needs at least 4 lanes but all three available slots are configured 1X. When trying to reconfigure using Expansion Slot Utility, I get: "Expansion slot Utility is not intended to run on this system."

The early 2008 model Mac Pro does not have a configurable PCIe setup, so you cannot use the Expansion Slot Utility to change the PCIe lane configuration.

Question: Missing bounce option for messages in Mail
MacFixIt reader "corderman" asks:

Just curious, what happen to the "Bounce" feature that used to be in Mail?

The bounce feature had some problems such as people bouncing spam that had no originator address, which would flood e-mail servers and cause other problems, so Apple removed it from Mail.

Question: Installing Lion on an external drive
MacFixIt reader Albert asks:

How do I install Lion on an external drive that has Snow Leopard on?

When you run the Lion installer you can select the hard drive on which to install it. Just attach the drive, and run the installer and choose the drive as the destination when prompted to by the installer. You can do this when booted off the external drive, or when booted off the internal one.

Question: Explanation of ACLs and the hidden .DS_Store files
MacFixIt reader Ian asks:

I wonder if you haven't already explained to me and others what it means by "ACL found but not expected" when fixing permissions. Another thing that has being weighing on my mind for a year is the use of .ds files. Are they really needed even though they are hidden?

ACLs (access control lists) are a relatively new and extended method of controlling how resources are accessed and used. While the older permissions schemes (called "posix") have just combinations of read and write access to a file, ACLs provide detailed options such as allowing copying but not deleting within a folder, or only creating folders or just files, and other similar details that can be quite extensive.

When ACLs are found but not expected it means there are extra permissions properties on a file that are not defined in the permissions database. This usually is not a problem since the ACLs generally just mirror the standard permissions. The only time to worry about permissions settings on a system is if you have a server or other public system where you need specific control over who can access what on the system, or if you are experiencing odd behaviors on your computer.

The .DS_Store files (which is what I'm expecting you mean by .ds files) are required for preserving window settings in the Finder. When you change folder views, positions, sizes, and other properties within the Finder, the Finder stores these settings in the .DS_Store file for the current folder. Without these files when you make changes and close a window, reopening it will result in the default icon view with standard settings being shown.

The one issue with the .DS_Store files is that only the one for the first window is needed, which usually is the home folder or the root of the hard drive, since the loaded settings will be used for the current window. Therefore if you open a Finder window to your home folder and then navigate to the Documents folder, even though you have a separate .DS_Store file in that folder, its settings will be overridden by those loaded from the home folder. However, if you decide to open the Documents folder in its own window, then it will load the settings from the .DS_Store file in it.

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