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Q&A: MacFixIt Answers

We'll show you how to keep virtual machines and restore iTunes after an OS X installation, and more.

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

This week people wrote in with questions about the options for performing a clean install of OS X Lion, restoring an iTunes library after formatting and reinstalling the OS, and whether virtual machines will be affected after reinstalling OS X. In addition, some people have wondered about Intuit getting other older PowerPC-based software packages running in Lion, and whether Address Book contacts can be shared among local user accounts. We welcome alternative approaches and views from readers, so if you have any suggestions, then post them in the comments!

Question: Clean install of OS X Lion
MacFixIt reader Dinkeri asks:

I downloaded Lion when it first became available. The Apple Genius Bar is recommending a clean install now. Would you please let me know how to do this?

You have two options to do this. If you have the Lion installer available, you can use it to create a separate installation disc and then install the OS directly using it. Otherwise, if you have a Snow Leopard installation disc, you can use that to format and install OS X, followed by going to the Apple Store and redownloading the Lion installer (you will not have to pay twice) and installing it.

Question: Restoring an iTunes library
MacFixIt reader Gary asks:

I am using iTunes 10.6. I copied my iTunes folder from within the Music folder before I reformatted my HD. What parts do I copy onto the new install and where do I copy them into?

Copy the entire folder from its backup location to the preferred location on your hard drive or a secondary hard drive (the default location is the Music folder in your home folder). Then open iTunes and immediately press the Option key as it opens. The program will prompt you to select or create a new iTunes library, so use this to choose the library at its preferred location. Then when the program is open, go to the Advanced preferences and ensure the iTunes Media folder location is set to the appropriate folder containing the music files.

Question: Keeping virtual machines while reinstalling OS X
MacFixIt reader Andrew asks:

My MacBook Air is running Lion and with it I have installed Parallels 7 with Windows 7 and Preview 8. Parallels is working very well. My problem is that I have a bad Xcode install under Lion and fixing it has proven to be difficult.

My question to you is can Lion be reinstalled while still keeping the existing Parallels and Win 7 installations, as I have Windows software that would be difficult to install again due to limitations imposed on the number of installations.

You definitely can. Reinstalling OS X will replace the operating system files, but keep your user account, settings, and data like your virtual machines intact. However, before doing such an operation, be sure to back up your system (including your virtual machine files). If something does go awry during the OS reinstallation, you can ultimately format and reinstall OS X and Parallels 7, and then simply restore the backup of your virtual machines (each of which should be sequestered to one file) to open in Parallels and be back where you started.

Question: Possibility of other Intuit software working on Lion
MacFixIt reader Richard asks:

Just read your article about Quicken 07 working with Mac Lion. Any possibility for QuickBooks 09 to work with Lion?

Based on how these things usually take extensive pressure from the community for a company to implement, I'd say getting other older software working isn't likely. Intuit does have QuickBooks 2012 for Mac, and this upgrade likely contains all that QuickBooks 2009 has and more. The reason why people needed Quicken 2007 is because it contained a number of reporting features that were extensively used and which Intuit has not put into its "Quicken Essentials" package. Since the code for these features was very specialized, Intuit resorted to re-engineering its software (not an easy task at all) to get it working for these people. This was a very special situation.

Question: Options for sharing Address Book contacts with other user accounts
MacFixIt reader Mike asks:

I've been searching for years for a simple way to share my Address Book in Mac OS X Lion with other user accounts on the same machine. There is simply nothing written about this under Lion. Can you please help?

There is no way to easily do this. The Address Book is built to be user-centric, and syncing it between user accounts locally may cause havoc with Web-based syncing options. Your best bet for sharing contacts in this manner would be to create a Gmail or other account (Yahoo, Exchange, or even an OS X server account using CardDav) to use solely for your contacts and other shared items. You then can subscribe all user accounts to it (via the "Mail, Contacts, & Calendars" system preferences), so everyone can access the contacts and have the updates be pushed live to each account.

Questions? Comments? Have a fix? Post them below or e-mail us!
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