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MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a feature where we answer questions e-mailed to us by readers. This week, we have questions on an old PC hard drive not being writable on a new Mac, how to tell if Software Update is working properly, and OS X installation hanging with fans blowing.

MacFixIt Answers is a feature where we answer questions e-mailed to us by readers. This week, we have questions troubleshooting flash that is not working on a single account, a PowerMac G5 starting up on its own during the night, and a feedback suggestion for managing playlists in iTunes.

Question: Troubleshooting faulty Flash for a user account

MacFixIt reader "Jeff" asks:

Up until a few weeks ago, Flash was working just fine on my 3GHz quad core Mac Pro, 8GB of RAM and OS X 10.6.3. At some point, however, I began having trouble viewing many flash sites, including CNet videos like The AppleByte. I've uninstalled and reinstalled several versions of the Flash browser plug-ins, but the trouble affects all my browsers, including Safari, Firefox and Chrome. I've done all the standard maintenance procedures: starting up in Safe Mode, repairing my hard drive with Disk Utility, including permissions, running Cocktail in Pilot mode, and using Disk Warrior. I've even reapplied the OS X 10.6.3 Combo update. Nothing seems to help. Do you have any Flash troubleshooting suggestions I've not yet tried?

If I start up in a clean admin user account, Flash works fine, which suggests to me there is something in my regular user account causing the trouble, rather than in the root system. But I'd prefer a solution that doesn't entail moving everything to a new user account, with all the permissions issues and software re-registrations that would entail. To date I've not found anything useful on the Adobe forums. Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


Things that come to mind are other browser plug-ins you may have, especially if they deal with Flash directly such as "Click2Flash" or an ad-blocker of sorts. Troubleshoot these by removing them from your user and global libraries (relaunching your browser each time) and just keeping Flash installed. Keep in mind that some may not be directly in the "Internet Plug-Ins" folder, and instead may also be in the Application Support and other folders like Input Managers (especially for ad blockers).

Have you tried a complete Flash removal and reinstallation? Try doing this by running the Flash uninstaller from Adobe and then reinstalling the latest version. Flash puts several resources in the user and global libraries, including the Application Support in addition to the Preferences, so try removing flash-related resources from that folder (this may be difficult if you have Adobe CS installed). You may also have a flash quicktime component installed in the user's "/Library/QuickTime/" folder, so try removing that as well (though this should only affect QuickTime player).

Additionally, try resetting your browser's caches and other temporary items. Granted the problem affects multiple browsers but this may help. Lastly, go to a page that uses Flash and right-click the Flash content to get the Adobe Flash Player settings. Try toggling various settings, including hardware acceleration, the amount of local storage to use, and some of the AV settings. In the contextual menu, you may also have a "Quality" setting, which you can try the different settings to see if they help the problem.

Question: PowerMac G5 starting up during the night

MacFixIt reader "Charles" asks:

In relation to power fluctuations article (21 May) and just for interest: My Power PC G5 regularly "appears" to shut off at night, as it should, but in the morning on switching on the power it is clear that it did not close down: I mean the Mac switches itself on by itself!


This could be if you have the computer scheduled to start up. The system can do this, but so can other third-party programs you have installed. Go to the "Energy Saver" system preferences and click the "Schedule..." button. If the scheduling options are not enabled, try enabling them, restarting, and then disabling them to see if that clears any settings problems that could be causing the issue. In addition to this, you may consider resetting the system's PRAM and PMU (see these articles:, which may help.

Question: Feedback suggestion for iTunes

MacFixIt reader "Jay" asks:

This may be more a feature suggestion than a question. In iTunes, is there a way to see which playlists include a particular song without going through each playlist? It would be great if Apple included that info for each song via a contextual menu.


While I have not heard of this feature, and could not find it upon searching through iTunes' options, reader "caveguy" mentions it is hidden in the contexual menus in iTunes. Go to a song, right-click it, and choose "Show in Playlist." From here you will see all the playlists (besides the current one) which contain the song. These include standard and smart playlists, so it should cover all bases.

If you have a feature request for a program and cannot find it in the current version, my recommendation is that you send this suggestion to Apple by using application feedback page. In iTunes this is located in the "iTunes" menu, but you can also get to it through this link. Apple has numerous other feedback pages as well, so if you have comments or suggestions for other programs, system software, and services, you can send it to the appropriate feedback department at the following Web page:

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