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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 e-mailed questions from our readers. This week we have questions on replacing an Intel iMac's hard drive, Safari downloading .js files, Mail not showing animated images, and Mail hanging when quitting and requiring a forced quit. We continually answer e-mail questions, and though we present a few answers here, we certainly welcome alternative approaches and views from readers and encourage you to post your suggestions in the comments.

Question: Replacing an Intel iMac's hard drive

MacFixIt reader "Stephen" asks:

Is it possible for an end-user to replace the Serial-ATA in an Intel-based iMac? Mine appears to be shot.

Yes, you can, but it will not be as simple as popping open the side of a Mac Pro and swapping out the drive. If your computer is still under warranty then I would have it done at an Apple store, but if not then you can do it by following a take-apart guide. The connectors and screws used should be relatively standard, so a basic Phillips and Torx screwdriver set should get you through the process; however, you may need to use some special suction-cup lifters to get the glass display cover out to access the drive, depending on the model you're using. The site iFixit has a variety of take-apart guides for numerous Intel iMac models that you can follow to access the hard drive. I suggest you find and read through the one for your system, and if you feel you are up to the task then go ahead and give it a go.

Question: Safari downloading .js files

MacFixIt reader "Todd" asks:

I'm the tech support for my 76 y.o. friend who has a Mac. She uses website a lot but when she goes to the website this week a "download" screen pops up and downloads about 8 ".js" files onto her desktop. She immediately moved them to the trash bin but they come back each time she goes to the website. So I tried leaving them on the desktop then shut down Safari & opened Safari and went back to more files were downloaded onto desktop. Are these viruses? Or do we need to somehow install them? If so, how. Or do we need to change some settings? If so, how? Or something else? I have tried searching on the web and on macfixit but found nothing. Please help.

The .js files are JavaScript code that the Web site being visited likely uses for running various functions (displaying content, managing submitted forms, or various other functions and features). The files should not download, but instead just run in the background when the site is loaded. Try emptying Safari's cache and removing cookies for the Southwest Web site to see if that helps. To remove the cookies, go to Safari's preferences, then to the Security section and click the Show Cookies button. Search for "Southwest" and then select and remove all of the cookies shown for this site. After this is done, close the preferences and try loading the Southwest Web page again.

If the problem persists, then try going to the /username/Library/Preferences/ folder on her system and removing the file called "" and relaunching the program. This file is the preferences file for Safari, and if corrupted may result in odd behavior like this happening.

Question: Mail not showing animated images

MacFixIt reader "Kathy" asks:

I got a Mac mostly because people raved about their great graphics. I was very disappointed that my Mac email will not send or receive animated images such as .gif files. It also will not allow me to customize emails with my own background images, animated or not. Is there a way to fix this? I like to send greeting cards of my own creation via email (better for the environment and my wallet) and this restriction seriously limits my options. My Mac is a 10.5.8 version.

Apple purposely disabled support for animated GIF images in the Mail program. The images will send and show in other e-mail clients but they will not be animated when viewing in Mail. I do not know why Apple did this, but there is a workaround if you have the patience and resources. The first thing to do is host the image on a Web server and then create an HTML Web page that shows only the GIF image (optionally, you can add other HTML content, such as text for an e-mail signature). Then open the page in Safari and press Command-I to embed the contents of the Web page in the Mail message, and the GIF should now be animated. It may be a bit cumbersome to set up, but it should work.

Keep in mind that this limitation is just with Apple's Mail e-mail client. Other e-mail clients will support displaying animated GIF files.

Question: Mail hanging when quitting

MacFixIt reader "Donald" asks:

After upgrading to 10.6.6 on a new Intel Mac Mini, Mail 4.4 won't quit. Windows close and nothing further happens. Force Quit needed. Trashed and reinstalled by running 10.6.6 combo. Trashed preferences. Neither effected a fix. Suggestions will be much appreciated.

Have you tried rebuilding Mail's mailboxes at all? If not then select each and choose the option to rebuild it at the bottom of the Mailbox menu. Do you have many messages in your mailboxes? If so, then you might try thinning them out. Do you have any Mail plug-ins installed?

(Note: Rebuilding the mailboxes ended up fixing the problem.)

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