MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a weekly feature in which we answer questions e-mailed from 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 questions e-mailed from our readers. This week we have questions on MacBook fans spinning at very high speeds when using an external monitor, how to automatically mount a NAS volume at start-up, Safari not understanding certain link types, and options for using Zune media players with OS X. We continually answer e-mail questions, and though we present a few here, we certainly welcome alternative approaches and views from readers and encourage you to post your suggestions in the comments.

Question: MacBook Fans spinning high

MacFixIt reader "Ian" asks:

The fan on my black MacBook runs at or around 6200 rpm most of the time. [I have a 22-inch Acer monitor attached], and what I have discovered is that if I use the computer without the monitor, the fan rarely goes as fast as 6200rpm but will cycle faster and slower, depending on need, which basically seems normal. Also, if I hook up the monitor and do not close the lid, then the fan acts fine, similar to not having the monitor attached. But, if I do close the lid on the MacBook, then the fan revs up to 6200rpm and basically stays there, fluctuating a bit but not more than 50 or so rpms in either direction. The drawback in not closing the lid is that my monitor real estate and resolution is not maximized. In other words, everything is big.


This is normal behavior. Usually the MacBook will vent through the keyboard, but when the system's lid is closed, it can still run but not vent as easily so the fans rev to prevent overheating. This is done deliberately.

One option when keeping the lid open is to run in extended desktop mode instead of the default mirrored mode (which can be set up in the Displays system preferences). This will allow you to set separate resolutions for each display, and then set the main display to be the Acer monitor so it will show your menu bar.

Question: Automatically mounting NAS or other network share

MacFixIt reader "Dennis" asks:

I have an external hard drive, a NAS in raid 1 directly connected to Ethernet. The NAS runs linux and its drives cannot be formatted in one of the Apple format. The NAS server appears automatically in the finder left middle pane like any other computer on the network. How can I get that the volumes it serves are also mounted automatically (appearing in the left upper part). Currently I have to click on NAS then on one of the volume contained.


The easiest way to do this is to add the NAS mount to the Login Items list for your account. This list is available by selecting your account name in the Accounts system preferences and choosing Login Items. You can then add the mounted NAS and it should mount and open the NAS every time you log in.

Question: Safari not understanding links

MacFixIt reader "Daniel" asks:

I have been having an issue where links that would normally download a dmg or zip file now show an error message saying safari can't understand the link. I can then press option return to force the file to be downloaded. I just got a call from a freind who is now having the same issue. I searched your site, but did not see anything related. I wonder if you can shed any light on this? Thanks again!


This may be caused by the launch system's launch services not working properly. The launch services are what associates protocols and file types with various applications. For instance, FTP is by default set to the Finder, so if you enter an "ftp://" URL in Safari it will launch a Finder window and attempt to connect through there. If the launch services are corrupted for some reason, then the system may reject or not save new settings for filetype and protocol associations (i.e., the Always Open With... settings for all files of a certain type). To clear the launch services, you can either use a maintenance utility (the free ones like OnyX should work just fine for this), or run the following command in the Terminal (the whole thing):

pport/lsregister -kill -seed -rfv -all user, system, local

NOTE: This command is usually put on one line, but the backslashes before the line breaks will, in the default "bash" terminal for users in OS X, allow the command to be put on multiple lines so it all will display here and not go off the edge of the page. All this command does is run the lsregister program that is tucked away deep in the CoreServices framework (hence the long string of folders before it), which is told to delete the database, seed it, then recursively forces all items in it to be rebuilt.

Question: Using a Zune player on a Mac

MacFixIt reader "Dawud" asks:

I just bought my Mac and love it, however, I think Microsoft's Zune HD is much better that the iPod. There is no mac compatible version of the zune software, but is there another way to get it to run on my Macbook?


There are some people claiming that the Zune software will be coming to the Mac, but currently that is more rumor and speculation than anything else. Here is a recent engadgenet article on some developments around the software.

Currently the only way to do it is to use a virtual machine or Boot Camp and manage the Zune through Windows on your Mac.

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