fixed : spinning beachball on extremely slow MacBook Pro from 2012

Question :

I have a MacBook Pro from 2012 (maybe 2011) and it has gotten slower and slower each year, and now it’s even so slow that I constantly shows a spinning rainbow-ball and apps keep bouncing in the Dock : everything from opening apps to opening files takes forever… the response time to what I type on the keyboard is extremely slow… even though I am sure I haven’t even used 50% of my hard disk space…

What can I do to resolve this ?

 

Answer :

If you have a MacBook Pro ‘late 2011’ or ‘mid 2012’, and you have never upgraded the RAM, your MacBook may only have 4GB of RAM. Compared to current standards, that’s very little… especially if you are running macOS 10.13 High_Sierra or newer (macOS 10.14 Mojave will not run on the ‘late 2011’ model, only on the ‘mid 2012’ model).

There are various possible causes for your Mac running slow, to name a few :

  1. your hard drive is too full (not in your case as you stated, but still worth mentioning)
  2. you have too many processes running at once, so you’re short on RAM
  3. over time some things have gotten messed up on your Mac

So, start tackling these potential problems one-by-one :

  1. check your free hard drive space and free it up if needed :
    • go to the Apple-icon (top-left in the main menu bar)
    • from the pulldown-menu choose About This Mac
    • in the window that opens, click on the Storage tab
    • an info bar shows up :
      • if you have more than 25% of space available, you’re okay
      • if you have less than 10% of space available, you should free up space as soon as possible
    • to free up space on your hard disk, you can :
      • move files you do not use regularly to an external drive
      • delete apps you never use (apps from the Mac App Store you can delete, since you can re-download them if you need them in the near future ; other apps you should backup to an external drive if you want to be sure you will be able to re-install them in the future)
      • click on the Manage-button in the window you were in (About this Mac -> Storage) and follow the suggestions to free up space on your internal hard disk
  2. check your available RAM and shut down background processes :
    • go to the Apple-icon (top-left in the main menu-bar)
    • from the pulldown-menu choose About This Mac
    • in the window that opens, click on the Memory tab
    • if you only have 4GB of RAM, it would be a good idea to upgrade your RAM (but if you do not use your MacBook intensively or intent to buy a new one within about a year, it’s not a very cost efficient solution, so you can choose not to)
    • if you want to upgrade your RAM, you could ask your local Apple-dealer to do so for you, or you could do it yourself if you are a little tech savvy and have the right tools :
      • for a Late 2011 MacBook Pro you need PC-10600 (1333 MHz) DDR3 SO-DIMM, either 2x4GB or 2x8GB
      • for a Mid 2012 MacBook Pro you need PC3-12800 (1600MHz) DDR3 SO-DIMM, either 2x4GB or 2x8GB
    • whether you upgrade your RAM or not, you should also open the Activity Monitor app (that is in the Utilities folder within the Applications folder)
    • in the window that opens, you can see which apps and background processes take up the available RAM capacity
    • if you encounter any app in top-10 of the list that is either running slow or that you don’t need, you can Force Quit the app by selecting it from the list and then clicking on the 8-sided-X-marked-button top-left ( NOTE : only do this with apps you know, do not do this to processes from the list that you do not recognize, or of which you do not exactly know of what they do… it’s far safer to keep one process too much running than one process too little ! )
    • then, go to the Apple-icon (top-left in the main menu-bar)
    • from the pulldown-menu choose System Preferences
    • in the window that opens, click on Users&Groups
    • in the window that opens, click on the current user in the list on the left
    • then click the Login Items tab
    • there, make sure to only leave iTunesHelper there, so delete all other background-apps listed by selecting them from the list and clicking on the Minus-button bottom-middle ( NOTE : background-apps that are known to slow down your Mac extremely if you have little RAM are SpotifyHelper and Dropbox (DropboxHelper), so make sure you delete both of them if you are not planning on using Spotify or Dropbox regularly )
    • then restart your MacBook Pro ( go to the Apple-icon top-left and select Restart from the pulldown-menu )
    • after the restart, check to see if the background-app you had just deleted are really gone from the Login Items list, if they haven’t, delete them again, restart & check again
  3. if your Mac is still slow after doing all of the above, reset the PRAM/NVRAM/SMC by doing the following :
    • disconnect all cables from your MacBook Pro ( also disconnect from all USB-devices )
    • restart your MacBook Pro ( go to the Apple-icon top-left and select Restart from the pulldown-menu ) to ‘zap the PRAM’ :
    • when the screen goes black, immediately press this key-combo on your keyboard : [P] + [R] + [ALT] + [CMD] and hold all of them until you hear the second startup chime (sound), then release
    • then also ‘reset the SMC (Software Management Controller)’ :
    • make sure your MacBook Pro’s power adapter is disconnected
    • restart your MacBook Pro ( go to the Apple-icon top-left and select Restart from the pulldown-menu )
    • when the screen goes black, immediately press this key-combo on your keyboard : [SHIFT-left] + [ALT-left] + [CMD-left] and press the [POWER]-button at the same time for 10 seconds or more, then release
    • then press the [POWER]-button again to start-up your MacBook Pro

That should do it !

enjoy 😉

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fixed : where to get the OSX 10.8 Mountain_Lion installer ?

Question :

I have a Mac that can be upgraded to a more recent version of OSX (or macOS), but I never did so I’m still on MacOSX 10.7 Lion.

Today I need to install an application that needs a more recent version of OSX/macOS to run, so I need to upgrade.

I can find various new versions of OSX/macOS available for free through the Mac App Store application (which I have since I had MacOSX 10.6 Snow_Leopard), but I get an error saying that those won’t run.

Where can I get an official version of OSX 10.8 Mountain_Lion (or newer) ?

Answer :

If you have either MacOSX 10.6 Snow_Leopard or MacOSX 10.7 Lion installed on your Mac, your only option to upgrade your operating system to a newer version is to upgrade to OSX 10.8 Mountain_Lion first.

Here’s how to :

  • purchase OSX 10.8 Mountain_Lion from the official Apple-website here : www.apple.com/shop/product/D6377/os-x-mountain-lion
  • then wait to receive 2 eMails ; one including a PDF and one that includes a password
  • open the Mac App Store application
  • go to Featured –> Quick Links –> Redeem –> Redemption Code
  • typ the 12-digit Redemption Code from PDF in your eMail
  • then, wait for the download to complete (view in Mac App Store –> Purchases)
  • then, unlock

That’s it – enjoy !

fixed : SPL-C ERROR page printed by Samsung printer

Question :

when I tried to print to my Samsung printer via my Home-network today, the spooling process was very slow, then hung, and then a printed page rolled out of the printer with this text only :

SPL-C ERROR – Disconnected from Host. Please check the connection and try again.

POSITION : 0x3dc5 (252981)

SYSTEM : src_5.59/os_hook

LINE : 1978

VERSION : SPL-C 5.59 05-04-2012

So I restarted the printer, made sure there wasn’t any paper stuck, and tried again. This time I the spooling process was very slow again, hung again, and a similar page rolled out of the printer with this text :

SPL-C ERROR – Disconnected from Host. Please check the connection and try again.

POSITION : 0x15ea5 (89765)

SYSTEM : src_5.59/os_hook

LINE : 1978

VERSION : SPL-C 5.59 05-04-2012

So despite the difference in ‘position’, the problem remained.

What can I do to solve this ?

 

Answer :

This seems to be a weird bug popping up on some Samsung printers connected to Macs once in a while. To solve this problem, do this :

  • quit any printing jobs that are active
  • shut down the printer (take the power cable out)
  • on your Mac, go to System Settings > Printers & Scanners
  • there, delete the problematic printer (by selecting it in the list and clicking the minus-button)
  • then, restart your Mac
  • switch the printer back on (reconnect the power cable)
  • login on your Mac
  • go to System Settings > Printers & Scanners
  • add the printer to the list again (by clicking on the plus-button, and selecting it from the printers found)
  • then close the System Preferences and try printing your document again

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

fixed : download-version of Passpartout game for macOS without Steam

Question :

My children have seen all the raving YouTube-reviews about the painting game Passpartout The Starving Artist by Flamebait Games. Now they want to play the game themselves on their Mac. The regular version is on the Steam-platform, but that doesn’t work flawlessly on Macs with Parental Controls.

Is there a way to play a downloadable version of Passpartout The Starving Artist on their Macs ?

 

Answer :

Yes, there is an official downloadable version of the Passpartout The Starving Artist game for sale on the Flamebait website :

https://flamebait.itch.io/passpartout-the-starving-artist

If you buy the game there, you will be able to download the game for Mac, Linux and Windows, either in 32bit or 64bit version. For all Macs running MacOSX 10.7 Lion or newer (including macOS 10.13 High_Sierra), you should download the 64bit version. The 32bit version is only for ‘obsolete’ (according to Apple) iMacs, MacBooks and Mac minis with Intel Core Solo and Intel Core Duo processors (so ‘first-generation’ Intel-Macs that are  over 10 years old and run MacOSX 10.6 Snow Leopard).

fixed : MacBook’s external monitor screen stays black

Question :

In my office, I am using an external monitor as my main screen for my MacBook Pro. Today, the screen didn’t respond when I connected my MacBook however : the screen stays black and nothing appears on-screen. So I opened up my MacBook and used the built-in screen to figure out what’s wrong, but so far I haven’t found any indication in the Displays Preference Panel that my MacBook even detects the second screen…

What can I do ?

 

Answer :

In such situations you should always do this first :

Remedy #1 :

  • make sure your monitor is switched ON
  • then hit the SPACE-bar on your external keyboard several times (maybe once, usually about 5 to 10 times…)
  • the monitor should now appear and show the inlog panel to unlock your screensaver
  • then login

if this works, you’re good, if not, try Remedy #2

NOTE : if you have a Benq monitor (especially the BL2420TP), try this first :

fixed : Benq monitor stays black when MacBook is switched on

Remedy #2 :

  • unplug all cables between the monitor and your Mac ( DisplayPort / Thunderbolt / HDMI / DVI / VGA  and also USB, UTP, FireWire and PowerAdapter )
  • shut down your monitor
  • shut down your MacBook
  • reconnect all cables and double-check if they’re properly connected on both the Mac and the monitor
  • switch on your MacBook
  • switch on your monitor

if this works, you’re good, if not, try Remedy #3

Remedy #3 :

  • on your MacBook, open Apple [main menu bar top-left] –> System Preferences
  • in the System Preferences window, select “Displays”
  • in the Display Preferences window, see if there is a button marked “Gather Windows” bottom right
  • if there is no “Gather Windows” button, press the ALT-key on your keyboard and a button marked “Detect Displays” appears ; click on it when it appears

if this works, you’re good, if not, try Remedy #4

Remedy #4 :

  • on your MacBook, open Apple [main menu bar top-left] –> System Preferences
  • in the System Preferences window, select “Displays”
  • in the Display Preferences window, see if there is a button marked “Gather Windows” bottom right
  • if there is a “Gather Windows” button, click on it
  • then you will see 2 Display Preference windows on your MacBook screen
  • select the Display Preference window that has 3 tabs on it marked “Display”, “Arrangement” and “Color” (not the window that has “Display” and “Color” only)
  • first, press the ALT-key on your keyboard and a button marked “Detect Displays” appears where the “Gather Windows”-button used to be ; click on it when it appears
  • if your monitor switches on, you’re good, if not…
  • click on the “Arrangement”-tab and in the next window put a checkmark at “Mirror Display”
  • if your monitor switches on now, uncheck the “Mirror Display” option again and close your MacBook… you should be good now…

if this didn’t work, try Remedy #5

Remedy #5 :

  • unplug all cables between the monitor and your Mac ( DisplayPort / Thunderbolt / HDMI / DVI / VGA  and also USB, UTP, FireWire and PowerAdapter )
  • shut down your monitor
  • shut down your MacBook
  • reconnect your Mac to your monitor using a different type of cable then you normally would choose (e.g. if you normally use a DisplayPort/Thunderbolt-cable, use an HDMI or DVI cable now)
  • switch on your MacBook
  • switch on your monitor
  • if your monitor wakes from sleep now, open Apple –> System Preferences
  • in the System Preferences window, select “Displays”
  • in the Display Preferences window, see if there is a button marked “Gather Windows” bottom right
  • if there is a “Gather Windows” button, click on it
  • then you will see 2 Display Preference windows on your MacBook screen
  • now, remove the monitor-cable that you have just used to connect your MacBook to your monitor
  • then, reconnect your MacBook to your monitor using all cables you normally use to connect the two
  • if your monitor now wakes from sleep, you’re good
  • if it doesn’t, restart your monitor
  • it that doesn’t help, restart your Mac

normally your issue should be resolved by now…

if still the monitor stays showing a back screen, I’m sorry to inform you that your screen probably has a hardware problem… if so, get an authorized Mac-repair-centre to fix it, get the Apple Store support-crew to fix this…

that’s it !

enjoy 😉

fixed : where are my Office 365 AutoRecovery files ?

Question :

I accidentally messed up the Office documents (Word/PowerPoint/Excel) I was working on, and I didn’t save it before, so I wanted to get the auto-saved version from the AutoRecovery-folder as I’ve done in the old days of Office 2008 and 2004.

But now I am using Office 365, and I can’t find the AutoRecovery folder anywhere… where is it ?

 

Answer :

You might have guessed : nowadays, the AutoRecovery-folder is located in an entirely different location on your Mac.

If you are running Office 2011 for Mac (whether as part of Office 365 or not) the correct path to the AutoRecovery-folder is this :

~/Users/username/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/Office 2011 AutoRecovery

And if you are running Office 2016 for Mac (whether or not as part of Office 365) the correct path to the Word 15‘s AutoRecovery-folder(s) is :

~/Users/username/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Word/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery/

for PowerPoint 15 the correct path is :

~/Users/username/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.PowerPoint/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery/

and for Excel 15 the correct path is :

~/Users/username/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Excel/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery/

BEWARE : it’s not straight-forward to get to this folder in recent/current versions of OSX and macOS, as the user’s Library-folder is a hidden folder. So if you want to access it, the easiest way to do so is :

– in the Finder, click on “Go” in the top menu bar

– when the pulldown menu appears, press the ALT-key on your keyboard (a.k.a. OPTION-key) and an extra option named “Library” will appear in the pulldown menu

– while holding the ALT-key, click on “Library” and your personal (hidden) Library-folder will open in the Finder

– there you can navigate further using the paths listed above to find the AutoRecovery-folder you’re looking for

That’s it.

Enjoy !

😉

NOTE # 1 :

It is advisory to also switch on the “file overwrite protection” (or “double backup”) option as it stores the previous version of the file you are working on. In Word, you turn this feature on from Word –> Preferences –> Save and then mark the “Always create a backup copy” check box. This way, whenever you click “Save”, a backup version is made of the previous/stored version before it overwrites the stored version of the file… so with it turned on, you at least have one prior version of your file.

NOTE #2 :

If you do not see the autosave file you were expecting to find in the AutoRecovery-folder, you might need a ‘show hidden files’-app to find it. Especially Excel-autosave-files tend to be hidden.

There are various ‘show hidden files’-apps :

The FREE one in the Mac App Store is Show Hidden Files: best finder but you could also use another FREE app like Hidden Files Toggle (by ZandorSmith.nl) or Funter (by Nektony.com) or HideSwitch (by CreativeCag.com)

Just beware! that you can mess up OSX or macOS entirely is you accidentally delete or alter files that are hidden in regular use !

[ a big Thank You to thekurrgan for discovering this and posting this find here ]

NOTE #3 :

it turns out that there’s a bug in Excel 2011 for Mac : even though the Autosave does save  a file with an .xlsx file extension, it’s not a true .xlsx file ! trying to open it will lead to an “Microsoft cannot open this file”-error. The solution is to change the file extension to either .xlsb (Excel binary format) or .xlb (older Excel backup format), to enable Excel to recognize the file and enable it to open.

[ a big Thank You to Paul Preston for noticing this problem and for Bryan P for posting the solution on Superuser.com and to Rich Michaels for posting his updated solution on answers.microsoft.com ]

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