fixed : my Mac can’t unzip this file I’ve downloaded

Question :

Someone just sent me a file over WeTransfer. After downloading it turns out to be a .zip-file, but when I double-click on it to unzip as usual, the Archive Utility does start the unzipping but ends in an error each time, claiming the .zip-file is broken.

I’m pretty sure the .zip-file isn’t broken… what can I do ?


Answer :

Even though OSX/macOS’s built-in Archive Utility is your default choice for zipping and unzipping files and folders, it turn out not to be the best choice for unzipping. (Especially .zip-files created on Windows PCs seem to be problematic every now and then…)

The solution is simple : just use an other app to unzip.

There are various payed alternatives like Stuffit Expander and WinZIP, but there’s no need to buy an app for this as most FREE apps ( like The Unarchiver ) will do just fine.

To install & use another app to unzip do this :

  • download a FREE zip/unzip-app from the Mac AppStore
  • after installation, lookup the .zip-file on your Mac ( it will probably still be in your Downloads folder or on your Desktop )
  • right-click on the .zip-file’s icon and select “Open with…” from the pop-up menu
  • then choose your zip/unzip-app from the list
  • …and wait for the file to unzip

That’s it ! enjoy 😉

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fixed : quickly free up disk space on MacOSX 10.6.8 Snow Leopard

Question :

My son alarmed me today that his ‘good old’ Mac gives a “your startup disk is full” warning at startup. He has our old Intel CoreDuo MacBook that can only run MacOSX 10.6.8 Snow Leopard.

What is the easiest way to free up the much needed harddrive space ?


Answer :

There  are various programs that can do the job of identifying which files are cluttering your harddrive and deleting unneeded files.

If you have an older Mac that can not run the latest version of OSX, I would suggest using the DiskWave application to do so, because of 4 reasons :

  1. DiskWave is very small in size (only about 1MB), so you can even install and run it on an extremely full harddrive
  2. DiskWave is able to manage external drives, so you can also run it on a newer/faster/other Mac and connect the problematic Mac as an external drive [ in so called “Target Mode” by restarting the problematic Mac with the T-key pressed and connecting it to the other Mac with a FireWire-cable ]
  3. DiskWave is available for various old versions of MacOSX
  4. DiskWave is FREE to download and use

Using DiskWave is rather straight forward. A quick instruction video can be seen here :

DiskWave instruction video

Getting hold of DiskWave might be problematic however, as the developer’s website (Aymeric Barthe) seems to be down :

Aymeric Barthe website

And the DiskWave app is NOT available from the Mac AppStore either… [ beware not too be fooled into thinking it’s the same as the iDiskWave app ! ]

A secondary problem is that the best available version (DiskWave 0.4) does not support any pre-Core2Duo. For now, all (older) versions of DiskWave can be downloaded here :

download any DiskWave version at

Note that DiskWave 0.3.2 is the latest version of DiskWave to run on PowerPC (G3/G4/G5) Macs and 1st generation Intel (CoreSolo and CoreDuo) Macs.

And if those links stop working also, you can download DiskWave 0.3.2 here :


[ !! after downloading, replace the .doc file-extension by .dmg to get the installer !! ]

Enjoy !

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fixed : animated GIFs not playing in

Question :

For my work I regularly get animated-GIF for online advertising campaigns send to me offline. As it turns out I can only view them in the Finder’s preview, but when I double-click on them, they open in as a static picture…

What can I do ?


Answer :

As any .gif-file is considered as a picture by OSX, both static and animated GIFs will be opened in by default. Too bad, but can only display static pictures, no movies, nor dynamic pictures…

The solution is simple ; just make OSX by default open all .gif-files in an application that can handle animations, like your web browser.

to do so :

  • locate and select any of your animated .gif-files in the Finder
  • then press the [cmd]+[i] key-combo on your keyboard (a.k.a. “get info”)
  • in the info-window that opens, scroll down to “Open with:”
  • make sure the triangular arrow in front of “Open with:” is pointing down
  • if the triangular arrow is pointing to the right, click on it
  • just below “Open with:” you will see “Preview (default)”
  • click on that, and change it to “Safari” (or any other application that can handle animated GIFs, if you don’t see the application you’re looking for listed, select “Other…” and select the one you prefer from you Applications folder)
  • then, don’t forget to click on the “Change All…”-button also

…that’s it, from now on, any .gif-file on your Mac will be opened in Safari (or your chosen alternative) by default, and you will see all animated-GIFs opened as animations when you lick on them.

enjoy !


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fixed : use unsupported scanner in OSX 10.11 El_Capitan

Question :

I have a Canon CanoScan LiDE 20 that used to work perfectly in MacOSX 10.6 Snow Leopard. But now I’ve bought a new Mac which runs OSX 10.11 El_Capitan, I can’t seem to install it, since Canon doesn’t update the drivers anymore.

What can I do ?

Answer :

In OSX 10.7 Lion, 10.8 Mountain Lion, 10.9 Mavericks, 10.10 Yosemite and 10.11 El_Capitan, any TWAIN-supporting scanner can be used without any additional software.

A list of supported scanners for OSX 10.9 Mavericks can be found here.

Here’s a quick step-by-step instruction :

– connect your scanner directly to your Mac using a USB-cable

– open the System Preferences

– then click on “Print & Scan”

– then, just below in the list of printers on the left, click on the “+”-sign

– that will bring up the “Add”-window, which enables you to add a new printer or scanner

– if your scanner is TWAIN-supporting, it will show up there, and you just need to select it and click on the “Add”-button

– then it will be listed in the previous (“Print & Scan”) System Preferences window, and if you select it (and you put a piece of paper or a photo in the scanner), a Scanning Preview window will show up, allowing you to scan your document to file or eMail or something else…


…for some printers, like the Canon CanoScan LiDE 20 and LiDE 30, the TWAIN-drivers are not included in OSX. In that case, you will need to install some generic (FREE) TWAIN-drivers :

IMPORTANT : do not forget to read this entire post, even all the notes at the bottom ! e.g. if you have an old CanoScan scanner, you might have to reinstall also !

– for OSX 10.11 El_Capitan, download and install these files (in this same order) and restart you Mac after doing so, then your scanner will also show up in the “Print & Scan” System Preferences :

LibUSB for OSX 10.11

SANE Backends for OSX 10.11

SANE Preference Pane for OSX 10.11

TWAIN SANE Interface for OSX 10.11

for OSX 10.10 Yosemite, download and install these files (in this same order) and restart you Mac after doing so, then your scanner will also show up in the “Print & Scan” System Preferences :





– for OSX 10.9 Mavericks, download and install these files (in this same order) and restart your Mac after doing so, then your scanner will also show up in the “Print & Scan” System Preferences :





– for OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion, download and install these files (in this same order) and restart your Mac after doing so, then your scanner will also show up in the “Print & Scan” System Preferences :





– for MacOSX 10.7 Lion, download and install these files (in this same order) and restart your Mac after doing so, then your scanner will also show up in the “Print & Scan” System Preferences :





– if these files do not turn into regular .pkg-files when you click on them, you need unTAR-software like this :

The Unarchiver

– if you get an error-message telling you you can’t install this software (these drivers) since the are not from Apple-appoved developers, you need to :

– open the System Preferences

– then click on “Security & Privacy”

– then make sure the “General”-tab is selected

– click the padlock in the lower left corner and provide an Administrator name & password to unlock the padlock

– then at “Allow applications downloaded from:” select “Anywhere”

– and exit the System Preferences to make this setting stick

Note #1 :

TWAIN-supporting drivers (like SANE and the ones that come with OSX) will enable you to directly scan from within various applications like Photoshop, MS Word, GraphicConverter, OmniPage and OSX’s built-in Image Capture. [ please also read Note #7 and #8 for more tips on this ! ]

Alex Scheider has written a special SANE scanner app for OSX 10.7 and newer, you can download it here. A screenshot can be found here[haven’t tested it, so feedback on this is welcome]

Note #2 :

when using the SANE drivers, you will probably not be able to use the ‘one click’-buttons that are on the scanner itself…

Note #3 :

if your scanner lets you scan the first time, but after shut-down and restart scanning seems impossible because OSX can’t find the scanner, just plug-out the scanner’s USB-cable and plug it back in and everything should work again…

Note #4 :

if the “Scan”-button remains grayed-out, make sure that you have selected an area to scan… (put differently : if “Selection:” is set to “Off”, you will need to select an area to scan before the “Scan”-button will be ready to use…)

Note #5 :

if you get a distorted scan when scanning in landscape view (or any other rotated view), just scan normally in portrait view and rotate the scanned image afterwards (in Preview app or another image editing program, like Photoshop or Graphic Converter)

Note #6 :

if you are not able to scan as a JPEG (.jpg-flie), just scan as a TIFF (.tif-file) and convert the scanned image afterwards (in Preview app or another image editing program, like Photoshop or Graphic Converter)

Note #7 :

if your scanner doesn’t show up in Image Capture (especially in OSX 10.9 Mavericks), use this workaround :

go to System Prefecences –> Printers & Scanners –> [your scanner] –> Scan –> Open Scanner

Note #8 :

if your scanner doesn’t show up in Photoshop (especially in OSX 10.9 Mavericks), try this workaround :

go to Applications –> Adobe Photoshop CS# –> Adobe Photoshop CS# –> type “CMD” + “i” key-combo (on your keyboard) –> (in the Get Info window) select “Open in 32 bit mode” and exit Get Info

then open Adobe Photoshop (CS#-version) –> File –> Import –> SANE

Note #9 :

another option that might just work to get SANE drivers to connect with ImageCapture and Photoshop (especially if you have an older CANON scanner) is (re)installing the that Jan Egil has ready for download on his website.

for now, there is no version of that runs in OSX 10.11 El_Capitan, the alternative seems to be to use the old CanoScan Toolbox 5.0 software that can be found on the Canon website or here

Credits :

Matias Ellert and the Open Source developers of the SANE project

…and a special thanks to Mónica, Jorge Blasio, torrealta, dencho, BobD and Jan Egil for Note #7, #8 and #9 ! [see comments below]

If you encounter any problems with these SANE drivers for OSX, try contacting Mattias Ellert directly as indicated here.

If you want to un-install the TWAIN SANE drivers, either use an un-installer application like AppCleaner or follow the instructions for manual un-install as outlined in Mattias Ellert’s FAQ (last question & answer).

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fixed : get usable (.tif or .jpg) pictures out of a PowerPoint-presentation

Question :

My colleague sent me a PowerPoint-presentation with pictures in it that I want to use in my own Keynote-presentation. But, whenever I select a picture in the PowerPoint-presentation and drag-&-drop it onto my Desktop (as I usually do in OSX to get a picture out of a website or alike), I get a file named “Picture Clipping.pictClipping”. When I double-click on that, I get a Finder window with the correct preview and a line of info saying “Clipping contents: TIFF image”. But I can’t import that .pictClipping file into my Keynote-presentation as a picture. Neither can I find any way to get the TIFF-image out of the .pictClipping-file.

What can I do ?


Answer :

You’ve stumbled upon a hard-to-tackle problem with PowerPoint-presentations.

The solutions is rather simple, but takes a some effort. You can choose to either export  only one picture, or export all pictures from the PowerPoint-presentation :

If you only need one picture :

1- make sure you have GraphicConverter installed (if you don’t have it, you can download it from the website for FREE and use it in “try it”-mode)

2- open your PowerPoint-presentation and drag&drop the picture you need onto the Desktop ; it will appear as a file named “Picture Clipping.pictClipping”

3- right-click on the “Picture Clipping.pictClipping”-icon and select “Open with…” from the pulldown menu that appears, then select “Other…” and select GraphicConverter 9 from the list that appears

4- GraphicConverter will now display the picture ; select “File” from the top menu bar, and “Save As…” from the pulldown menu that appears

5- in the window that opens, select select the destination folder and at “File Format:” choose JPEG/JFIF, PNG or TIFF and click the “Save”-button

6- then in the Finder, go to the destination folder and drag&drop the picture into your Keynote-presentation

…that’s it 😉

If you need multiple (or even all) pictures  :

1- make sure you have GraphicConverter installed (if you don’t have it, you can download it from the website for FREE and use it in “try it”-mode)

2- right-click on the PowerPoint-presentation’s icon and click on “Duplicate” from the pulldown list that appears ; if your original was named “presentation.ppt” the duplicate will be named “presentation copy.ppt”

3- select the icon of the “presentation copy”-file and change the .ppt or .pptx file extension into .dat (when asked “Are you sure… ?”, click on the “Use .dat”-button)

4- now, right-click on the “presentation copy.dat”-file’s icon and click on “Open With” in the pulldown list that appears, then select “GraphicConverter” and click on it

5- in GraphicConverter, you will now see only the first picture from the PowerPoint-presentation, but in the bottom bar, you will see “Page: 1 of X” (in which X is the total number of pictures), there you can scroll through all pictures ; then, from the “File”-menu, select “Convert & Modify”

6- in the window that opens, you will see 3 columns : in the left column, make sure that “Function: Convert” is selected, and “Destination Format:” is set to JPEG/JFIF, PNG or TIFF

7- in the middle column, you will see the “From:”-button and the file named “presentation copy.dat” (with the first picture as it’s icon) ; in the right column you will see the “To:”-button ; there you should select your desired destination folder

8- then, click on the “Go”-button at the bottom of the left column (and all pictures will be exported the way you have asked)

9- do not forget to drag the “presentation copy.dat”-file to the Trash (and empty the Trash)

10- in the Finder, you can now open the destination folder and drag&drop the picture(s) you need into your Keynote-presentation

…that’s it – enjoy !

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fixed : What to do with a winmail.dat attachment ?

Question :

I recently received an eMail that should include various attachments, but it only included one : a winmail.dat file.

When I try to open it, OSX tells me there is no app on my Mac that can handle this file.

What can I do ?

Answer :

There are various ways of solving this. (or rather : ‘handling this’, as fixing the actual cause isn’t something an end user can do)

But first, a little insight into the cause :

Long ago, when eMails were still text-only without layout and attachments were added as plain files, a lot of eMail-client makers wanted to improve their user experience and provide their users a layout-option for eMails. Microsoft then developed TNEF as a protocol for communication between their Outlook eMail-clients. But TNEF never made it into an eMail-communication industry standard. HTML (the web-layout protocol) was adopted as the industry-wide standard. MS Outlook never fully adopted regular HTML as it’s eMail-layout protocol. So, even though Outlook calls them HTML-eMail, they are actually being sent as TNEF-eMail, which is HTML-ish, but still MS Outlook-only…

Sometimes (in the chain of eMail-servers involved in eMail-communication) the sender’s Outlook-app (or MS Exchange client) sends out a TNEF-eMail, not a regular HTML-eMail. All receivers of the eMail that use Outlook (or MS Exchange) will not detect any irregularity, but any recipient who’s not using Outlook as their eMail-client will receive it as a text-eMail with only one attachment : a winmail.dat file.

So… this is not a Mac-problem, it isn’t even a problem for all non-Outlook users, it is just that the only way to prevent this from happening to you, is to use MS Outlook…

…but for most non-Outlook users, using Outlook is not an option…

Anyway… the solution …or rather the various options for solving this, as either the sender can prevent this from happening, or the recipient can find ways to open the windmill.dat file anyway :

Microsoft provides 2 options for the sender who wants to prevent this :

1. set Outlook to only send ‘Plain Text’-eMail to any future recipient :

in Outlook, choose “File” (or “Tools”), then “Options”, then “Mail” (or “Mail Format”), and then in “Compose in this message format”, choose “Plain Text”, then click “OK”

2. set Outlook to only send ‘Plain Text’-eMail to this specific recipient :

in Outlook’s Address Book, double-click on the recipient’s eMail-address, then in the “SMTP – Address” field choose delete (un-click) the check-mark at “Always Send To This Recipient iIn Microsoft Exchange Rich-Text Format”, then click “OK”

More info can be found on Microsoft’s website :

Even though prevention is the better option, there are alternatives : if you are a recipient using OSX, you can find various apps to unpack winmail.dat files in the Mac App Store. Too bad, there are no free apps for this in the App Store, but there is a FREE one available here :

TNEF’s Enough

If you prefer an automatically updated app from the Mac App Store, and don’t mind paying for it, consider this one, which will unpack faster and has a more comprehensive and visually nicer interface :

Winmail Extractor

If you also need a winmail.dat unpacker-app for your iPhone and/or iPad, you can consider this one :

Klammer for iOS & OSX

There are FREE services available online also, that will convert your windmill.dat for you instantly. Just keep in mind that by using them, you are enabling these services to view the contents of your eMail and it’s attachments, so you are willingly giving up your privacy in suing them. An example :

But, again : even the service itself advices you to prefer a dedicated (offline) winmail.dat conversion app (on your Mac) over the use of their service.

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