fixed : macOS Sierra downloaded but installer won’t run

Question :

Since the latest version of OSX (entitled “macOS Sierra) has been yesterday, I wanted to install it on my Mac. I clicked on “download” in the Mac AppStore and  the download started ; on the dedicated product page I could see the status bar filling up and finally stating “downloaded”… but then, nothing happened…

The download wouldn’t install…

I re-checked if macOS Sierra does support my Mac, it does. So I tried restarting the AppStore-app, I tried logging out my iCloud/AppStore-account & than logging back in, I tried rebooting my Mac, I tried rebooting in SafeMode, I tried FirstAid in the Disk Utility app, I tried clicking 10 times on the “downloaded” button repeatedly, I tried installing the DeBug-menus & cleaning the AppStore cache, I tried deleting the hidden AppStore downloads folder… and I tried various command line solutions found online in the Terminal app… nothing helped… I am still stuck with the button under the macOS Sierra icon saying “downloaded”… and nothing happens…

What can I do ?


Answer :

You are probably not (really) going to like this answer, because this will set you back hours & hours, in which you can’t use your Mac ; but it’s the only way known to solve this, and you need to have a recent TimeMachine backup (or alike) for it :

  1. shut down your Mac
  2. disconnect all cables  from your Mac (except your keyboard & mouse if you haven’t got a MacBook)
  3. restart your Mac, and be quick to press the [CMD]+[R] key-combo during startup (your Mac will now start up in Recovery Mode)
  4. in the “OS X Utilities” window that appears, select Restore From TimeMachine Backup and click Continue
  5. in the next “Restore Your System” window, click Continue
  6. now first make sure that your Mac can connect to your TimeMachine-harddisk by plugging in it’s USB-cable, plugging in your Ethernet-network-cable or connect to your WiFi router
  7. then select the hard drive that has your TimeMachine backups on it and click Continue
  8. in the next window, make sure you select the most recent backup that is from before you tried to download macOS Sierra ; only if you’re sure you’ve selected the right backup, proceed and click Continue
  9. now wait (or do something more useful in the mean time) and wait and wait ; this is going to take hours and hours ; putting back a TimeMachine backup this way will go a a speed of about 30BG per hour, so if your hard drive is 500GB it may take you about 15 hours (yes, an entire night and an entire morning…)
  10. finally, once the TimeMachine backup-reinstall is done, your Mac will restart… just let it
  11. then, when logged in, open the Mac AppStore-app and notice that the button under the macOS Sierra now says “download” ; click on it
  12. after the download has completed, you should now see the installer window popup on your screen… proceed from there…

that’s it… it’s simple, but very time-consuming…

enjoy !

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fixed : changing the name of a Time Machine backup .sparsebundle-file

Question :

I have transported my user account from my old Mac to my new Mac (using the Migration Assistant application) some weeks ago. Yesterday, I happend to click on the Data-drive from my TimeCapsule in the Finder, and I noticed that the TimeMachine backup-file (.sparsebundle-file) is still named after my old Mac… the name hasn’t changed to the new Mac’s name…

I find this utterly confusing. Is there something I can do to change the name of the .sparsebundle-file ?


Answer :

Yes there is, but it appears not all versions of the TimeMachine software are happy with changing the name of the .sparsebundle-file by the user.

So if you want to change the name of a TimeMachine backup-file (.sparsebundle-file) but wish to minimize the risk of corrupting your entire TimeMachine backup-file (one thus loosing all your data), follow this procedure :

1- make sure you are operating your Mac from a user account with administrator rights

2- go to Apple –> System Preferences –> Sharing

3- there, change the “Computer Name” to a name that identifies you new Mac (and the .sparsebundle-file)

4- then, go to the TimeMachine-icon in the Finder’s top menu bar and select “Back Up Now” from the pulldown menu

5- wait for the TimeMachine backup has finished (this might take longer than normal), and check to see if the .sparsebundle-file has been renamed (go to your TimeMachine backup drive using the Finder to do so)

The above will probably be sufficient if you are running MacOSX 10.7 “Lion”, OSX 10.8 “Mountain Lion” or OSX 10.9 “Mavericks”, and if it works, it’s the preferred way for changing the name of the .sparsebundle -file, as it minimises the risk on corrupting your backups. So, always try the above procedure first !

If you are running MacOSX 10.6 “Snow Leopard” or earlier (probably even Mac OSX 10.4 “Tiger” and even PowerPC Macs with G4 and G5 processors that can run the Time Machine software), and the above procedure didn’t change the name of the .sparsebundle-file, try this :

– duplicate your .sparsebundle-file to another harddisk, or select a new backup harddisk to make an entirely new TimeMachine backup to  (to make sure you have a backup in case you accidentally mess up ; if your sparse bundle-file is your one-and-only and irreplaceable backup, make sure you do this !)

– make sure the .sparsebundle-file is operating correctly by testing it using the “Enter TimeMachine”-option from the pulldown menu that appears when clicking on the TimeMachine-icon in the Finder’s menu bar

– make sure you are logged in as a user with Administrator rights

– click on the TimeMachine-icon in the Finder’s top menu bar and select “Back Up Now”

– after the backup has finished, go to your (primary) TimeMachine-drive in the Finder, click on the .sparsebundle-file and change it’s name

– then, go to the TimeMachine Preferences (either through the System Preferences or through the pulldown menu from the TimeMachine-icon in the top bar of the Finder)

– there, switch off TimeMachine and exit the System Preferences

– then, open the TimeMachine Preferences (within the System Preferences) again, and switch TimeMachine back on, then exit the System Peferences

– then, go to your (primary) TimeMachine-drive in the Finder again, and check if the name of the .sparsebundle-file has changed

– if the name has changed, check if the TimeMachine-backup works (try to access it by clicking “Enter Time Machine” from the pulldown menu that appears under the TimeMachine-icon in the Finder’s top menu bar), if that works, that’s it, you’re done !

– if somewhere along the procedure, something didn’t work as expected, restart your Mac and try again

– if it name change still won’t stick after several tries, make sure the “Computer Name” of your Mac is named exactly as you like in the Network Preferences (within the System Preferences) and then create an entirely new TimeMachine-backup : add a new drive for TimeMachine-backups (or remove the existing drive and then add the same one again) in the Time Machine Preferences (within the System Preferences), then click “Back Up Now” from the pulldown menu when you select the TimeMachine-icon in the Finder’s top menu bar… and wait…

That should be it.

Enjoy !


Note : the .sparsebundle-file extension might not be visible ; you can turn it on (or off) in the file’s “Get Info”-window (accessible when right-clicking on the file’s icon in the Finder)

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fixed : use internal SATA hard drive in LaCie “Mac mini”-form factor housing

Question :

I have an old, square-ish Mac mini (2005 through June 2010), which back-ups to a LaCie FireWire 400 harddrive with the same square-ish form-factor. This morning however, the harddrive inside the LaCie mini has died…

I could just get a completely new external hard drive (with a different design) for my backups now, but I really like the square-ish housing of the LaCie mini together with the Mac mini, so I’ve decided to replace the internal hard disk.

However, it turns out that the internal hard disk of the LaCie mini is an IDE (ATA) hard disk, which are increasingly harder to get than the current Serial-ATA (SATA) hard disks, and generally even more expensive.

Is there a way to use an internal SATA hard disk inside the LaCie mini housing ?

Answer :

Yes, there is.

What you need is this :

– a high-capacity internal 2.5″ laptop SATA harddisk (it is possible using a 3.5″ desktop SATA harddisk, but that is not recommended as explained at the bottom of this post), like a Hitachi TravelStar 1TB SATA harddisk

– a 2.5″ to 3.5″ bay converter-frame, or preferably just the Digitus 2.5″ to 3.5″ bay converter-brackets or alike

– a Wintech SAK-65 bi-directional SATA-to-IDE converter (because of the limited space inside the LaCie mini housing, most other IDE-to-SATA converters will be too bulky too fit in one direction or another)

Note : the Wintech SAK-65 comes with all cables to connect a SATA hard disk to the LaCie mini IDE/ATA-internal

When you have all these parts, the build-in is rather straight forward, especially if you use the manual provided with the Wintech Converter. In short :

1- unplug the LaCie mini form the power and FireWire cables, then remove the white plastic triangular feet from the LaCie mini housing (the are sticker-type feet, so temporarily stick them to a clean smooth surface to store) and unscrew the  screws you find beneath them

2- gently open the housing, unscrew the broken iDE/ATA-hard drive, and take it out

3- gently disconnect the ATA-to-ATA cable, and take it out also

4- then put the new SATA-hard drive in and screw it into place

5- then connect the Wintech converter as outlined in the instruction manual (so, set it’s switch to “Device” and do not forget to connect it to the power using the provided Molex extension cable that includes an extra power connector for the Wintech connector)

6- then connect both Wentronic cables to the hard disk on one end and on the other end to the Molex cable and the Wintech connector

7- then make sure the Wintech connector is slightly twisted in such a way that it is a flat on the hard drive as possible and gently close up the housing (don’t forget the plastic feet)

8- reconnect the power and FireWire cables, and then the LaCie mini will be recognized as and ‘unreadable’ drive by your Mac mini

9- use OSX’s Disk Utility-app to format the drive to “Mac Journaled” format, and it will appear as a healthy drive on your Mac (ready for use, for Time Machine backups or alike)

That’s it



If you really want to build a 3.5″ SATA harddisk into this LaCie mini housing, it can be done, but it will fit so extremely tight that it comes with some extra things you need to address :

1- you will NOT need the 2.5″ to 3.5″ converter brackets

2- the provided cables will not fit in such a way that the housing can be properly rebuilt, so you will also need :

– a Wentronic 4p-Molex-to-angled-15p-SATA power cable (none of the cables with a regular straight SATA-connector will fit, and even most of the angled SATA-connectors will be too bulky too fit, and even this one leaves less than a mm of room for the housing) to extend the “Molex-with-an-extra-power-wire-for-the-converter”-cable

– a Wentronic SATA-to-angled-SATA data cable (most of the other angled-SATA connectors will be too bulky, but the Belkin SATA-to-angled-SATA data cable will fit as well), but you will even have to strip a little extra off the angled connector to enable the cable to make a ‘near-360’-corner

3- the Wintech SAK-65 bi-directional SATA-to-IDE converter needs to be used stripped of it’s plastic housing as it’s too bulky, and you will need to extend the IDE Master/Slave-cable (the wide and flat cable that looks like a lot of tiny wires next to each other) by opening the connection on the converter and putting the original one from the LaCie mini housing in it’s place (after having taken off the connector of that one also)

4- make sure you don’t adjust the 3.5″ SATA harddrive using the screws, just put it ‘on the floor plate'(to make a little extra space)

5- …and then you will have to puzzle quite a bit to fit all of that into the housing

As mentioned before : using a 2.5″ SATA harddrive is far more convenient and straight forward !

Whichever solution you choose :

Enjoy !


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tip : make sure your TimeMachine-update is useable

Question :

While doing a regular check on my Mac with Disk Utility, it just informed me that I have a potential hardware failure, should save a many data as I can and reinstall.

So I was planning on doing a TimeMachine-backup and disk-reformat, followed by a clean install of OSX and copy-back from TimeMachine.

But… I recently found reports on a bug in TimeMachine, that might prevent TimeMachine from recognizing the latest backup…

Is there a way to make sure that my latest TimeMachine-backup is useable ?


Answer :

This bug seems to occur with unfinished TimeMachine-backups, either due to disconnection, unplugging or switching from WiFi to Ethernet or vice-versa…

As with all things in life, nothing is 100% sure or secure…

But if you want near-100% assurance that your latest TimeMachine-backup will work after a ‘clean install’, do this :

– make sure your Mac is connected to your TimeMachine-backup-disk in only one way, so if it’s an external harddisk disconnect the Ethernet-network cable and set AirPort/Wifi to OFF, to have the connection ‘only via USB’ or ‘only via FireWire’ and if your TimeMachine-backup-disk is a NAS or TimeCapsule, disconnect from AirPort/WiFi (and preferably connect the Ethernet-cable from the NAS or TimeCapsule straight into your Mac, and if possible, stop all other network-connections over Ethernet, by disconnecting all cables, and shutting down AirPort/WiFi) to have the connection ‘only via Ethernet’

– do a new “Back Up Now” in TimeMachine, and make sure it finishes completely before you do anything else (preferably, shut down all other apps before backing up also)

– then startup the Migration Assistant-app (from the Utilities folder in the Applications folder), and type your Mac’s administrator-password when asked

– in the first window, select “From a Mac, Time Machine Backup or startup disk”, and click “Continue”

– in the next window, select the disk that your TimeMachine-backups are on (if you’re on a Time Capsule, you will need to type your TimeCapsule-password when asked), and click “Continue”

– in the next window, a list of all backups (a.k.a. sparsebundles) available on the disk will be displayed ; now you will have to wait a little for each sparsebundle to display what the date is of the backup-version that can be retrieved… if that date matches today’s date, you have a perfect backup available, and you can exit the Migration Assistant-app by repeatedly clicking the “Back”-button

…but if the date is different, or the “No Volumes Found in backup”-error is displayed, your backup is useless for easy recovery ; you will have to exit the Migration Assistant-app, and start over the entire backup-routine explained above, and then check again in the Migration Assistant-app …you have to keep repeating this entire routine until you get today’s date displayed below the backup’s name

If you do not do as described above, you are in serious, enormously time-consuming trouble…  (even though this doesn’t always mean that your personal data is lost… everything might be lost, but… it could also mean you will have to repair the sparsebundle-files and/or it could also mean that you will have to copy everything back ; folder-by-folder or even file-by-file… either in the Time Machine-app or in the Finder ; and all applications will have to be manually reinstalled again…)

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fixed : Time Machine backup error “sparsebundle in use”

Question :

When Time Machine tried to backup today, it returned an error saying “Time Machine Error. The Backup disk image ….sparsebundle is already in use”. As I am the only one using this backup, I hoped that just trying to do the Time Machine backup manually would help… but it didn’t… it returned the same error…

Restarting my Mac didn’t help either…

How can I fix this ?

Answer :

The “sparsebundle already in use”-error occurs if something went wrong during the last backup (which could be because your Mac froze during the Time Machine backup). In that case your Mac did not properly disconnect from the Time Machine backup, so you will have to do so manually.

Fixing this is rather simple :

If you still have ‘the old’ Airport Utility 5.6 on your Mac (more info on this can be found here : ), you should do this :

–  open Airport Utility 5.6 (which is in the Utilities folder inside your Applications folder)

– select your Time Machine backup drive on the left (e.g. your Time Capsule)

– click on the “Manual” button

– then select the “Disks” icon

– and click on the “Disconnect All Users…” button

– then exit AirPort Utility 5.6 and run Time Machine normally

– …and do not forget to check in the time Machine Preferences if Time Machine is switched ‘ON’

if you do not have AirPort Utility 5.6 (since your Mac has OSX 10.8 “Mountain Lion” in stalled, which only has the stripped-down AirPort Utility 6 without the “Disconnect All Users”-option), you could either download and install AirPort Utility version 5.6 (directly from Apple : ), or you should try this :

– shut down your Time Capsule a.k.a. “pull the power plug” (or other Time Machine backup drive)… and leave it disconnected for about 5 minutes or so

– restart your Mac

– power up your Time Capsule a.k.a. “plug the power cord back in” (or if you have some other sort of Time Machine backup drive, turn it back on)

– go to the Time Machine icon in the Finder’s top menu bar and click “Back Up Now”

– …and do not forget to check in the time Machine Preferences if Time Machine is switched ‘ON’

That’s it !

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tip : TimeMachine will also backup attached USB-sticks that are Mac-formatted

Question :

My old G4 iBook running MacOSX 10.5.8 Leopard has a hard drive of just 40GB inside ; upgrading that will cost far more than plugging in a 32GB (nano) USB-stick, but…

If I do so… will TimeMachine also backup the files from my 32GB USB-stick ?

Answer :

Yes !

TimeMachine will backup the data from any USB-stick without have to make any adjustments to TimeMachine, but you need to make sure that :

1- the USB-stick is properly plugged into your Mac (seems only too obvious, but since it is so easy to detach it without thinking about it… just double check !)

2- the USB-stick is formatted as a genuine Mac-drive, so in HFS+ format (PC/FAT-formatted USB-sticks need to be re-formatted to HFS+, else TimeMachine will not recognize them… but beware : reformatting a USB-stick will erase all it’s content… so start out by moving all data to your hard drive, then reformat the USB-stick and only after that, put the data back onto the USB-stick)