HolidayBuyer's Guide

Q&A: MacFixIt Answers

Readers ask about options for managing birthdays in the OS X calendar, and other Mac-related questions.

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

This week, readers wrote in with questions on whether it is possible to prevent drives from spinning up at boot, system fans increasing noise when watching video files, and options for managing birthday events in the OS X calendar. I welcome contributions from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!

Question: Prevent drive spin-up at boot.
MacFixIt reader Samuel asks:

Is it possible to set the system so attached drives do not spin at boot?

No this is not possible. A drive will need to power on and let the system know it is active and available, so while you can set the system to spin drives down after a period of inactivity and adjust this duration, during the few minutes at startup they will need to be active at some point.

Question: Mac fan increasing noise when watching videos.
MacFixIt reader Mac asks:

I have a MacBook Pro late 2010 edition. Whenever I am watching YouTube or any other Flash content the fan goes berserk and starts running louder and louder making the entire system extremely hot. Any solution for that?

If you are using the Flash plug-in for YouTube, then right-click the player content and choose "Settings" then click the first tab and toggle the option to enable hardware acceleration. See if the problem happens either with it enabled or disabled.

Question: Options for managing birthdays in the OS X Calendar.
MacFixIt reader Jack asks:

How do I get Calendar to keep birthdays and anniversaries from year to year?

There are several options for this. The first is to create a separate calendar of your own called "Birthdays" or "People" or something similar, and then create new calendar events for it for each birthday, anniversary, or similar event you would like to keep track of. Create any notifications you would like for the event, and then be sure to edit it and set it to repeat "Every Year" and set the "End" date to "Never." This will make the event be continuous.

The second option is to add the person to your Address Book (aka "Contacts") program, where if you enter the person's birthday then it will be added to a special "Birthdays" calendar. To use this calendar, go to the Calendar program's preferences and in the General section check the box next to the item to "Show Birthdays calendar."

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