fixed : how to unzip downloaded .zip-file that appears as .exe-file ?

Question :

I have just downloaded some zipped archives from a support website, and even though most of them were .zip-files that were automatically unzipped by macOS, some are .exe-files which I can’t open or run on my Mac…

What can I do ?

 

Answer :

Sometimes, Windows computers create self-extracting Windows .exe-files instead of .zip-files or .rar-files when creating compressed archives to transport over the internet or using external drives or USB-sticks…

The built-in Unarchive.app in macOS cannot extract these kind of .exe-archives, but various other unzip-apps can.

Just go to the Mac AppStore, find TheUnarchiver.app, download it and use it for FREE ; the .exe-archives will now be extracted as if they were regular .zip-files or .rar-files

enjoy 😉

fixed : put iTunes Music database on external drive to save space

Question :

My internal HD is too full, so I want to make room for macOS to run smoothly again. As my iTunes Music database is huge, would it be possible to move that database onto an external HD that is continuously connected to my Mac ?

Is there any option to do so ?

 

Answer :

Yes, it is possible to move your entire iTunes Music database to an external HD. Apple does explicitly recommend to use an external HD that is connected to your Mac directly with USB, ThunderBolt or FireWire. (and Apple explicitly recommends against putting your active iTunes or Music.app database on a wireless drive or network drive)

To do this, do this :

  • get yourself an external HD, preferably one that is using a fast cable connection to connect to your Mac ; Samsung currently has some small and very good external HDs using USB-C for this : Samsung T5 Portable SSD
  • plug the external HD into your Mac
  • goto Applications –> Utilities –> Disk Utility
  • open Disk Utility
  • reformat the external HD as “Mac OS Extended”
  • now, in the Finder, create a new folder on the external HD named Music
  • inside that folder, create 2 new folders ; one named iTunes, the other named Music
  • then, in the Finder, goto Users –> [your name]  –> Music –> Music –> Music Library (if you don’t have one, skip the next step)
  • then drag&drop the Music Library folder into the Music folder inside the top-level Music folder on the external HD you have just created
  • …this may take a while
  • then, in the Finder, goto Users –> [your name]  –> Music –> iTunes –> iTunes Library (if you don’t have one, skip the next step)
  • then drag&drop the iTunes Library folder into the iTunes folder inside the top-level Music folder on the external HD you have just created
  • …this may take a while also
  • when done, open the Music.app (or iTunes.app if you are running an older version of macOS)
  • goto Music (or iTunes) in the top-bar of your screen –> Preferences
  • in the window that opens, select the Files tab, and at “Music Media folder location” click on the Change-button
  • in the Finder window that opens, select the Music (or iTunes) folder inside the Music folder on the external HD and click Open-button
  • back in the Files window, click the OK-button
  • now Music.app (or iTunes) will start up using the Music Library (or iTunes Library) on the external HD (and it will keep using the Music Library (or iTunes Library) on the external HD as its default library from now on)
  • check inside Music.app (or iTunes) to see if all your photos are now available (there’s no reason why they wouldn’t but just to make sure…)
  • now start using this setup as your new Music.app (or iTunes) setup, and if you don’t run into any problems in a few weeks (or even months if you need to) you can delete the Music Library (and/or iTunes Library) that was in the Music folder in your Home folder on your Mac’s internal drive to clear up some space

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

fixed : put Photos database on external drive to save space

Question :

My internal HD is too full, so I want to make room for macOS to run smoothly again. As my Photos.app database is huge, would it be possible to move that database onto an external HD that is continuously connected to my Mac.

Is there any option to do so ?

 

Answer :

Yes, it is possible to move your entire Photos.app database to an external HD. Apple does explicitly recommend to use an external HD that is connected to your Mac directly with USB, ThunderBolt or FireWire. (and Apple explicitly recommends against putting your active Photos.app database on a wireless drive or network drive)

To do this, do this :

  • get yourself an external HD, preferably one that is using a fast cable connection to connect to your Mac ; Samsung currently has some small and very good external HDs using USB-C for this : Samsung T5 Portable SSD
  • plug the external HD into your Mac
  • goto Applications –> Utilities –> Disk Utility
  • open Disk Utility
  • reformat the external HD as “Mac OS Extended”
  • now, in the Finder, create a new folder on the external HD named Pictures
  • then, in the Finder, goto Users –> [your name]  –> Pictures
  • then drag&drop the Photos Library file to the external HD you have just created
  • …this may take a while
  • when done, open the Photos.app while pressing the [ALT]-key
  • in the Choose Library window that opens, click on the “Other Library”-button
  • from the pulldown Finder window, choose your new external drive –> Pictures –> Photos Library
  • then click the Open-button
  • now Photos.app will start up using the Photos Library on the external HD (and it will keep using the Photos Library on the external HD as its default library from now on)
  • check inside Photos.app to see if all your photos are now available (there’s no reason why they wouldn’t but just to make sure…)
  • now start using this setup as your new Photos.app setup, and if you don’t run into any problems in a few weeks (or even months if you need to) you can delete the Photos Library that was in the Pictures folder in your Home folder on your Mac’s internal drive to clear up some space

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

fixed : swap Windows-key layout on PC-gaming keyboard within macOS

Question :

I’ve been playing online multiplayer games like Fortnite for a while now on my MacBook Pro, but the built-in keyboard is starting to cramp my hands & fingers…

So I bought an (external) keyboard, and since there are hardly any gaming-keyboards for Mac, I got myself a PC-gaming keyboard that is supposed to work with Mac also : Trust GXT860 Thura.

I love the metal housing, the mechanical keys and the huge space-bar. I could learn to work with the PC-layout of the ALT and CMD keys, but isn’t there an option to swap or remap the layout of the keys on my Mac so I can use the keyboard blindly without any practicing ?

 

Answer :

Yes, there is, and it’s even built into macOS.

To remap the keys of your (external) keyboard on macOS, do this :

  • make sure your external gaming-keyboard is connected to your MacBook using USB, RF or Bluetooth (even though a wireless connection is not recommended for gaming, it is optional)
  • if your external gaming-keyboard only has a USB-connector and your MacBook only has USB-C ports, use a USB-to-USB-C-adapter (e.g. this USB-C-connection cable or this USB-C-connection adapter or anything similar, most basic ones will do fine)
  • goto Apple-menu (top-left on your desktop)
  • select System Preferences from the pulldown menu
  • in the System Preferences window, click on the Keyboard icon
  • in the Keyboard window, click on the Keyboard tab
  • then, click on the “Modifier Keys” button (bottom right)
  • in the pulldown window, you can individually remap the function of any of the 4 keys that differ from Mac to PC
    • the standard Mac-layout (for desktop and external Mac-keyboards) is from-left-to-right : CTRL – ALT – CMD – SPACE – CMD – ALT – CTRL
    • the standard MacBook-layout (for internal MacBook-keyboards) is from-left-to-right : FN – CTRL – ALT – CMD – SPACE – CMD – ALT
    • the standard PC-layout (for desktop PCs and external Windows-keyboards) is from-left-to-right : CTRL – WIN – ALT – SPACE – ALTgr – FN – CTRL
    • the Trust GXT860 Thura keyboard-layout is from-left-to-right : CTRL – WIN – ALT – SPACE – ALTgr – FN – illumination – CTRL
    • check your PC-gaming keyboard to see it’s layout
  • in the pulldown-window, at “Select keyboard:” select your external gaming-keyboard from the list
  • then set the key-mapping to your liking : the key names (on the left side) stand for the actual keys on your keyboard, and on the right side you can choose the key-stroke they should invoke in macOS on your Mac
  • the default is everything the same on the left and the right side (of course…)
  • and if you want to blindly use the Mac-keyboard-layout on your PC-gaming keyboard, you should set it like this :
    • Caps Lock Key : Caps Lock
    • Control Key : Control
    • Option Key : Command [ connect the ALT-key to the Apple/CMD-keystroke ]
    • Command Key : Option [ connect the Windows-key to the Option/ALT-keystroke ]
  • …but you can choose any variation you like if that suits you better

That’s is !

enjoy 😉

fixed : need to run old 32-bit app in macOS 10.15 Catalina once or twice

Question :

I have just upgraded to macOS 10.15 Catalina, but I just found out that I still have an old iPhoto database somewhere that I want to integrate with Photos.app using the official Apple iPhoto Updater application. But that’s 32-bit software, so it won’t run in macOS 10.15 Catalina…

What can I do ?

 

Answer :

The easiest option is to find a Mac that still runs one of the latest versions of the 32-bit supporting versions of macOS like 10.13 High_Sierra or 10.14 Mojave.

In any version of macOS before 10.15 Catalina, the easiest alternative would probably have been to create a bootable external USB drive running an older version of macOS (like 10.14 Mojave), but by installing 10.15 Catalina you have also installed some drastic security which prevents your Mac from booting from an external drive easily…

So your best option at this moment is to create a virtual machine on your Mac (hoping you have enough internal disk space available – even though you might be able to pull the trick with 16GB free memory, you should be better off with at least 32GB of free memory before you try this).

First, get yourself an official copy of the macOS 10.14 Mojave installer :

  • search online for the official macOS 10.14 Mojave installer on iTunes / the App Store, or use this link to download :   https://apps.apple.com/sk/app/macos-mojave/id1398502828?mt=12
  • the AppStore.app will now automatically open on your Mac on the right page
  • click the GET button
  • now System Preference’s Software Update window will open with a pulldown window asking you if you are sure you want to download macOS Mojave (since you are running from macOS Catalina even macOS knows that normally doesn’t make sense) click the Download button
  • when the installer has been downloaded completely, it will automatically run – however, since your Mac is already running a newer version of macOS (you are running macOS 10.15 Catalina) you will get an error window saying ‘this copy of the “Install macOS” application is too old to be opened on this version of macOS’ so you will only be able to click the Quit button
  • then open a Finder window to check where the Install macOS Mojave application is located (it should be located in the Applications folder)

Secondly, get yourself a Virtual Machine application. I would suggest to use Oracle’s VirtualBox, as it’s FREE and the features are nearly identical to commercial Virtual Machine applications like Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion :

  • go to https://www.virtualbox.org and download VirtualBox
  • since you are ultimately trying to run 32-bit software, you might be tempted to download VirtualBox 5.2 which is the last version to run on 32-bit hosts ; there is nothing against doing so, but VirtualBox 6 should do great as well, since your Mac is capable of running macOS 10.15 Catalina ; it’s just the VM you’re trying to install (Mojave) that needs to be 32-bit capable, not the host (your Mac running Catalina)
  • install VirtualBox
  • run Virtual Box

Then, install macOS 10.14 Mojave within VirtualBox. There are various guides available on doing so, but the best way is using the guide created by TobiWasHere! on installing a macOS 10.13 High_Sierra VM, which is (nearly) identical :

VirtualBox: How to create a macOS High Sierra VM to run on a Mac host system

When done, run the macOS 10.15 Mojave VM. Then import the 32-bit application into it and run it.

As mentioned before, it’s far faster and easier to borrow a Mac that hasn’t been upgraded to macOS 10.15 Catalina if you incidentally need to run 32-bit software. And if you need to run a 32-bit application for daily use a Virtual Machine is not recommended (even though it can be done), in that case it is probably best to either use a ‘two Mac strategy’ with one running macOS 10.14 Mojave and one running macOS 10.15 Catalina, or – if you insist on using one Mac only – to run macOS 10.14 Mojave only until all applications you need have been upgraded to (or replaced by) 64-bit versions.

Good Luck !

enjoy 😉