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Q&A: MacFixIt Answers

We answer questions about systems not booting after files were manually deleted files to clear up space, FTP in Mountain Lion, and more.

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

This week readers wrote in with questions about enabling FTP access to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, systems not loading after files were manually deleted, right-click behaviors in OS X, the inability to downgrade after installing OS X 10.8, and where to look up the printers that Apple supports in OS X. We welcome views from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, post them in the comments!

Question: FTP server on OS X 10.8
MacFixIt reader Gr. Alfons asks:

Is there a FTP connection in the latest version of Mac OSX 10.8 or is there another way to connect my Canon WFT-E4 image file transmitter with my Apple computer?

I am not sure of all the capabilities of the WFT-E4 so I don't know whether it supports another protocol besides FTP; however, if not then you can definitely activate the system's FTP server. The process for doing this is similar to that for OS X Lion, which I have written about in this recent article.

Question: System will not start up after deleting files
MacFixIt reader Alfredo asks:

I have a MacBook from 2008 I believe and it won't start up. I can't run safe mode either. When I try to, the space where the apple logo is starts to flash a folder with a question mark and a circle with a line diagonally crossing. After looking at this article I tried everything it said and nothing. I am trying to run safe mode because my Mac won't boot normally anymore. It always starts up to Mac OS X Utilities and I have tried repairing the hard drive also with Disk Utility. Is there anything I can do to save my Mac? If you can do anything or tell me anything that would help, I will be extremely happy since this is the Mac I planned on using for school! Thanks!

p.s. I was going through that Mac before it broke and was deleting files for space. I deleted a lot of files that I assumed I didn't need and I think that is where the problem might be.

You may have deleted a critical system file when you were cleaning up your Mac. As a general rule, only delete files from your user account, and not from the system folder or from the /Library folder that is directly within your hard drive.

To correct this problem, when your system boots to the OS X Utilities you will need to select the option to install OS X, and then proceed with the installation. This will reapply the missing system files (without touching your personal files and settings), and have you back up and running again. After doing this, be sure to run Software Update from the Apple menu, followed by running a Permissions Fix routine on your hard drive using Disk Utility.

Question: Right-click with a single-button mouse
MacFixIt reader Joyce asks:

What can I do if I have a plain mouse without right and left clicks?

You can invoke a right-click action on a single-button mouse by pressing and holding the Control button on your keyboard when clicking. On multitouch devices like Apple's trackpads, even though there is only one button you can press with two fingers to invoke the secondary click behavior.

Question: Inability to downgrade after installing Mountain Lion
MacFixIt reader Jeff asks:

Yesterday, a tech support rep at Apple told me that after installing Mountain Lion, users will be prompted to update their firmware. Once the firmware update is complete, "there's no going back," he said. The firmware is incompatible with Snow Leopard. One will not be able to revert to Snow Leopard using a bootable backup, he reported. I'm not sure if he said Lion, as well. Have you heard any reports or rumors regarding the inability to go back to a previous OS, if needed?

This is true for some systems such as Apple's latest MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro models, but not for all systems. The OS X Mountain Lion installer itself does not come with any firmware updates, so you should be able to boot from any OS that these systems initially supported.

Question: Supported printers in OS X
MacFixIt reader Lee asks:

I just checked with the local Apple shop who said that my Canon printer model MF4150 cannot be used with my Mac, which runs on OS 10.7.4. Confusingly, the Canon Web site earlier had allowed me to download the driver for this version of Mac and even went through the steps in the installation...I just want to know what printer can work with OS10.7.4 and can be installed without any fuss.

Most printers should work without a problem in OS X, and should be automatically detected. Sometimes individual printers may not be supported, or the printer setup on a specific system might be experiencing some corruption that prevents it from working properly, but usually this is not the case. If you need to look up what printers are supported in OS X, Apple keeps a fairly up-to-date list here.

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