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Apple Mac OS X hints and tips

Start apps with Command-Option to fix faults

The features and functions of some applications can be extended by means of plug-ins and add-ons. These are not full programs, but are modules and when applications start up they look for these modules on the disk and they then incorporate them.

Plug-ins and add-ons are a great feature and there are some excellent ones that many people would hate to do without. However, sometimes they cause problems.

An update to an application can cause one or more plug-ins to stop functioning or to exhibit various problems. An update to a plug-in or add-on can have a similar effect. And operating system upgrades or updates can also casue problems too.

If you find that an application is not running as it should be, is faulty, or even crashes, it could be because of an incompatibility with a plug-in, add-on or extension. If we could somehow start the application without all these, it might just solve the problem. Well, we can. Hold down the Command and Option keys as you click a program to start it without all the extras.

iTunes safe modeThis will not work with every application that you have on your hard disk drive, but it is always worth trying.

Hold down the Command and Option keys at the same time and click iTunes in the Dock at the bottom of the screen.

Now keep holdng these two keys down until you see a message on the screen saying that iTunes has started up in Safe Mode. Click the Continue button to open the iTunes window. It works pretty much as it always does, except that any extras are disabled.

Firefox safe modeIf you have the Firefox web browser installed on your Mac you will find that when you Comand+Option+click on the application a dialog is displayed that has a total of five options.

You can disable all add-ons, reset the toolbars and controls, reset the bookmarks to Firefox defaults, reset all user preferences to Firefox defaults, and restore the default search engines.

All that you need to do now is to tick the options you need and then continue to safe mode. Firefox starts up as normal, well, apart from the missing extras.

iPhoto repair modeIf you try the same Command+Option+click trick on iPhoto, it will display a Rebuild Photo Library dialog that contains six useful options for fixing faults with your snapshots.

You can rebuild thumbnails, recover orphaned photos, repair permissions, rebuild the library from a backup, and reclaim unused disk space. Just tick the options you need.

These are just three apps, but there are bound to be more. The next time you have problems with an app, just Command+Option+click it and see if it offers a safe mode or repair options.



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