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

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 😉

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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 :

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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fixed : which version of Java do I have ?

Question :

I would like to know which version of Java I have installed on my Mac, since the software I want to use will only run on Java 7 or higher.

How can I check (and update) ?

 

Answer :

Java is a free software platform which is operation system independent (so Mac & PC) created and maintained by Oracle. Despite it always having been a very reliable way of making cross platform games & applications, Apple has restricted the use of Java to ‘only when needed’ by default in the latest versions of OSX and macOS, because of the security risks involved in using Java and similar software that can run autonomously on your Mac next to macOS.

To find out which version of Java you have installed, do the online check that’s on this official website :

https://java.com/en/download/installed.jsp

Just follow the instructions given and the result of the check will be shown : you will either have the latest version installed, or you won’t… in that case update instructions will guide you to getting the latest version available for your Mac.

enjoy 😉

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 : deleting photos to free up memory on your iPhone

Question :

I have a 16GB iPhone running iOS10, and it freezes whenever I want to take a photo… I get an error message that there’s no memory left on my iPhone so I can’t continue…

I checked and it turns out that I have literally 1KB (yes, only 1KB, not even 1MB…) left as free memory… and most of my 16GB is occupied by Photos.app (about 12GB)…

How do I free up space without deleting valuable photos and videos ?

 

Answer :

The best way (if not the only) to free up space on your iPhone will be to delete a lot of photos and videos, in your case. The way to do that without running the risk of throwing away photos and videos that you would have liked to backup it this :

  • connect your iPhone to your Mac using a USB-cable
  • open the Photos.app on your Mac
  • click on your iPhone, which is listed on the left side
  • now, in the main window, go to the photos that are displayed as ready to import (photos that aren’t on your Mac already are automatically filtered out by Photos.app
  • from that selection of (un-imported) photos and videos, select ONLY those photos you want to keep
  • import that selection onto your Mac
  • first check if all photos and especially all videos (as those are not being transferred automatically through iCloud syncing) you selected have been imported
  • then unplug your iPhone’s USB-cable
  • then delete all video’s you can, and if that isn’t enough, delete all photos older than about one year from your iPhone
  • Please, note that iCould will only contain the most recent photos (usually not the videos)
  • now, restart your iPhone by simultaneously pressing the two main physical buttons : both the menu-button (just below the screen on the front side) and the ON/OFF-button (top side or right side)
  • then check if you have enough free space on your iPhone now
  • if not, delete more photos from your iPhone (in the way explained above)
  • …then restart your iPhone

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fix/tip : how to handle spam iCloud Calendar event invitations ?

Question :

Lately, I received some spam event invitations in Calendar and in my notifications, both on my iPhone/iPad and on my Mac. What can I do to get rid of them ?

 

Answer :

This is a very new and very annoying kind of spam that especially targets iCloud. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t have a proper solution for this problem yet.

While we are waiting for Apple to come up with a solution (let’s hope it will be an “only contacts can send Calendar event invitations” option or a White List or Black List option), there are some things you can do to minimise the annoyance :

BEWARE : do NOT react to the invitation by clicking either “Maybe”, “Decline” nor “Accept” as each of those will send a notification to the sender ! doing so acknowledges to the sender that your iCloud account is active and will therefore trigger more and more spam Calendar invitations for you ! 

Apart from disabling iCloud Calendar event invitations altogether (which you can do on the iCloud.com website), the best option for now is this :

  • in Calendar-app on your Mac, go to File –> New Calendar
  • there you can create a new calendar ; you’ll see it appear in your list of calendars and name it something like “Spam” (or “Trash” or something alike)
  • then look up the spam Calendar entry in your Calendar and right-click on it
  • in the popup-list that appears, select Calendar –> Spam
  • now it will be in your Spam calendar
  • in the list of calendars (on the left) you can now uncheck the Spam calendar to hide this spam event from view
  • now, right-click on the “Spam” name in the list of calendars (on the left)
  • in the popup-list that appears, click on “Get Info”
  • in the pulldown-window that appears, put a checkmark at “Ignore alerts” and click “OK”
  • note : even though it’s annoying, learn to live (for now) with the fact that the spam event invitation will still be listed in your list of Calendar event invitations… if you accidentally clicked on it, click outside the popup-window to close it, do NOT click “Maybe”, “Decline” or “Accept” ! …and yes, the number-badge on your event inbox is annoying and confusing…
  • then, if you see a notification popup floating above your Desktop top right, click on “Close”, to make it go away… do NOT click “Accept” !
  • then, on your iPhone (and/or iPad), open the Calendar-app and click on “Calendars” (bottom middle, between “Today” and “Inbox”)
  • in the Calendars screen that opens, under ICLOUD, find your spam calendar (listed as “Spam” or whatever you named it)
  • first, uncheck the checkmark in front of it (to make the spam calendar invisible)
  • then click on the “i” (info) icon behind it
  • in the Edit Calendar screen that opens, scroll down, and make sure that at NOTIFICATIONS, the switch at “Event Alerts” is OFF
  • then click “Done” to save and exit and click “Done” again to also exit the next screen

Now if you get new spam event invitations, put them in your spam calendar to make them invisible also :

  • either [1] on your iPhone (or iPad) : look up the spam event in your calendar (not in your Inbox), it will be a greyed-out event, click on it and in the next screen (“Event Details”) at “Calendar” set it to “Spam” (or whatever you named your spam calendar)
  • or [2] on your Mac : look up the spam event in your calendar (not in your Event Inbox, nor in your Notifications), it will be a greyed-out event, right-click on it, then set Calendar to “Spam” (or whatever you named your spam calendar)

If you really want to get rid of all spam events, spam event badges and spam event notifications you can also completely delete your spam calendar, by doing this :

  • either [1] on your iPhone (or iPad) : in Calendar-app, click on “Calendars” (bottom middle) and in the next screen (“Calendars”) at “Spam” click on the “i” (info) icon ; then in the next screen (“Edit Calendar”), scroll down and click on “Delete Calendar”
  • or [2] on your Mac : in Calendar-app click on “Calendars” until the list of your calendars appears at the left, then go to “Spam”, right-click on it and select “Delete” from the popup-list

That’s it…

However : if you only get very few spam event invitations, you can delete the “Spam” calendar each time, but if you frequently get spam event invitations that will cost you too much time, don’t bother doing it each and every time…

Good Luck !

Let’s hope Apple comes up with a proper solution soon 😉

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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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