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 trackpads becoming very sensitive after using alternative pointing devices, desktop pictures not being oriented properly, and third-party menu extras not being removable from the system menu. 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: Hypersensitive trackpad on MacBook Pro

MacFixIt reader "Terry" asks:

Since I purchased and installed a Magic Track Pad, my trackpad on my MB Pro has become hypersensitive and picks up and moves files on the Desktop and from the Dock. If it picks up a dock icon and the cursor moves to the desktop, it deletes the icon from the dock just as you can intentionally delete an icon from the dock. It also can grab bookmarks from the bookmarks bar in Safari and move them or delete them if the cursor is moved away from the bookmarks bar.


Do you have "tap to click" enabled on the trackpad? If so you might try disabling it in the trackpad system preferences. This feature can be useful but can also lead to inadvertent clicks. Additionally, try resetting the system's PRAM, which holds a few mouse-related settings. To do this, reboot the system and hold the Option-Command-P-R keys all at once immediately after hearing the boot chimes. The system will continually reset while these keys are held. Let it cycle a few times and then release the keys and allow it to boot normally.

Question: Desktop pictures appearing sideways

MacFixIt reader "bewell" asks:

I want to use a folder full of (vacation) pictures as my randomly-changing desktop background (using a MacBookPro 17-inch OS 10.5.8). No problem: except for the pictures that were shot vertically. Those pictures show up on the desktop sideways. Is there any way to fix this?


If you use a folder for the photos, you can open the vertically-shot ones with Preview, rotate them, and then save them and they should now appear properly oriented when using slideshows and screensavers.

Another option is to use iPhoto and create an album of the photos you want to use for your screensaver. Then you can manage the photos in iPhoto and if you enhance them or rotate them they will appear in their edited form in the screensaver.

Question: Menu Extras not removing

MacFixIt reader "John" asks:

An application I no longer use installed an icon on the right hand side of the Menu Bar. After I deleted the application, the icon remains. I am unable to get rid of it. Dragging it out while holding down the command key does not work. Any suggestions?


If the menu item is not being loaded as a "Menu Extra" then it is likely being started at log-in as an application. Check the log-in items for your account in the "Accounts" system preferences to see if there is an entry for the application. Additionally, check the /username/Library/Application Support/ folder for any directory with the name of the application or the developer of the application you deleted, and remove it. Do the same for the /Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/ folder.

Lastly, go to the /Macintosh HD/Library/LaunchDaemons/ and /Macintosh HD/Library/LaunchAgents/ folders and remove any .plist file that contains the name of the developer and application that you removed. These files are one way developers can have the system will launch background processes that reside in other locations around the system.

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