fixed : shared disks not visible in Finder

Question :

When I’m at home, I usually am able to see my Time Capsule in the paragraph named “Shared” in the shortlist on the left side of each Finder window.

But today, I don’t even see the “Shared” paragraph… How can I connect to my Time Capsule to view the files I’ve stored on it ?

Answer :

There can be several causes for your problem, but these two are the most common :

#1. you have accidentally switched off viewing of shared volumes in the Finder preferences

to correct this :

– click on the Finder icon in the Dock (the half-blue-half-grey square-face icon)

– then, in the top menu bar, go to Finder –> Preferences

– in the window that opens, click on the “Sidebar” tab

– then, in the “Show these items in the sidebar:” list, make sure there’s a checkmark in front of “Connected servers” (in the “Shared” paragraph)

– then close the Finder Preferences and you’re done ; enjoy !

#2. OSX has automatically logged on to a different WiFi-network than your primary WiFi-network (getting logged on to your Guest-network can cause this problem for instance…)

to correct this :

– click on the AirPort/WiFi-icon in the top menu bar (the ‘piece of pie’-icon)

– in the list of available WiFi-networks that appears, click “Turn Wi-Fi off”

– then click on the AirPort/WiFi-icon in the top menu bar again, click “Turn Wi-Fi on”, wait for the available WiFi-networks to appear in the list, then select your primary WiFi-network to connect to

– this should resolve your problem, but to make sure your Mac won’t auto-connect to the wrong WiFi-network again, do this also :

– go to the Apple-icon (top-left in the top menu bar) –> System Preferences –> Network

– in the window that opens, select “Wi-Fi” in the shortlist on the left

– then click the “Advanced”-button

– in the window that opens, select the “Wi-Fi”-tab and scroll down though the list of “Preferred Networks:” until you come to the name of your Guest-network (or other WiFi-network you unwillingly connected to)

– then click on the ‘Minus-sign”-button to delete your Guest-network (or alike) from the list of preferred networks, then click the ‘OK’-button to save and exit

…that’s it !

enjoy 😉

Note : if situation #1. occurs, your Time Machine backup would still be operating, but if situation #2. is the case, Time Machine won’t be able to see your Time Capsule either, even if you have internet access…

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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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fixed : use the Terminal to repair corrupt .sparsebundle-file

Question :

I have a corrupt .sparsebundle-file (a TimeMachine-backup file), that I would really like to fix, because there’s some files in there that I need.

I have tried using the Disk Utility app, but that didn’t work.

I also read that it should be possible to use the Terminal app to do this, but I’ve never used the Terminal app before, and I can’t find clear directions on how to do it…

What exactly should I do ?

Answer :

The Terminal app is not a regular OSX-application, it is a command-line tool (a.k.a. console) to program and reprogram in the underlings of OSX (more or less like the DOS-prompt in Windows). So, as you are going out of the ‘OSX comfort zone’ when you start using the Terminal app, you should beware since messing things up there can really mess up OSX, and lead to having to re-install OSX.

Having that said, here’s a step-by-step guide to fixing your .sparsebundle-file using the Terminal app :

– first, connect your backup-drive (the one with the broken .sparsebundle-file on it) to your Mac, using a USB- or FireWire-cable

note : if the backup-drive is inside a Time Capsule, you’ll probably be best of getting the harddrive out of the Time Capsule (as outlined in this iFixit How-To) and then temporarily hooking it up to your Mac using something like this SATA-to-USB connector (or an old USB-harddrive-enclosure). Even though this breaks the warranty on your Time Capsule, it’s probably the best solution since the direct USB-connection is much faster than the usual network-over-ethernet-connection… (and bringing the Time Capsule in to an Apple-dealer for repair, will definitely mean losing all your data, since that is part of the regular repair-policy… and bringing it to a specialized data-recovery company will cost more than buying a new Time Capsule)

– then, open the Terminal app (which can be found in the Utilities folder that is in the Applications folder)

– in the window that opens, you will see the name of your Mac followed by a colon (:) and a tilde (~), so if the name of your Mac is MacBook Pro, you will see :


that is the “prompt”, when you see that, you can start typing the commands

note : some basic knowledge about working in the Terminal :

  1. each line of commands (a.k.a. “command line”) you type should be activated by pressing the ENTER-key
  2. as long as you do not see the prompt, the Terminal app is still busy executing your last command line
  3. the Terminal can not handle names with spaces in them, as spaces play an important roll in a command line ; they separate the subsequent commands given in one command line, e.g. if your backup-file’s name is MacBook Pro.sparsebundle, the Terminal app requires you to type is as MacBook\ Pro.sparsebundle or you can type the entire path to the file in quotation marks, like : “…/…/MacBook Pro.sparsebundle” (another option is to temporarily change the filename to one that has only letters and numbers in it)
  4. you don’t need to type the entire path to a file’s location in a command line manually, you can just drag-and-drop the file itself onto the command line and the entire path to the file will be automatically generated (a handy trick to prevent mis-typing)
  5. when typing your password in the Terminal, the cursor will not progress, so there will be no visual feedback whatsoever about what you’ve typed… so, type your passwords only with total focus on what you’re typing !
  6. ! BEWARE : be sure to double-check your typing when using the command line, as one mis-typed letter can generate an entirely different, unwanted outcome, screwing up your entire OSX installation !
  7. when working in Terminal app on a MacBook (Pro/Air), the advice is not to use an external keyboard, but the on-board keyboard

Now, when you see the prompt appearing, type this (followed by pressing the ENTER-key) :

admin$ sudo su –

Then, when you see the prompt appearing again, type this (followed by pressing ENTER) :

root# chflags -R nouchg [drag .sparsebundle-file here]

Then, at the next prompt, type this (and press ENTER) :

root# hdiutil attach -nomount -noverify -noautofsck [drag .sparsebundle-file here]

And at the next prompt, type this (and ENTER) :

root# tail -f /var/log/fsck_hfs.log

Look closely in this next file when you need to type what, and what the feedback should look like (kind of) :

  • bold green text = this is the command line prompt
  • bold black text = you should manually type exactly this text
  • bold purple text = drag-and-drop your .sparsebundle-file here, and your sparse bundle’s path will be displayed
  • black text = this text is generated by the Terminal, indicating what is busy and/or finished, and will be the same when your replicate this proces
  • blue text = what is displayed here depends on your specific situation
  • if problems are found, they will be listed in-between these lines, and it will also be indicated how it was fixed

console log sparsebundle repair

note : as you can see from the time-stamps in the picture, the entire process will take quite a long time to complete (it took nearly 6 hours to repair this harddisk – a 500GB harddrive that was temporarily taken out of a Time Capsule and connected via USB2.0)

so, from there on it’s wait, wait, wait, do something entirely different, wait (again), get a good night’s sleep… and wake up in the morning with a repaired hard drive…

that should be it 😉

fixed : “No Volumes Found in backup”-error

Question :

I was trying to get Migration Assistant-app to put all my data on my new Mac, but when I select the sparsebundle backup-file from Time Machine in Migration Assistant, I get an error : “No Volumes Found in backup”.

How can that be ? I’ve made a new TimeMachine-backup just minutes before, and I didn’t get any errors there… what is wrong ?

What can I do to fix this ?

Answer :

Time Machine is great. But there seems to be a bug in the backup-software that causes this “No Volumes Found in backup”-error you’ve encountered. Normally, this error-message should only be displayed when a sparsebundle backup-file is corrupt (for some reason), but it turns out that it is now also displayed when a sparsebundle backup-file is incomplete…

This is probably due to a disconnection from the backup-disk during the TimeMachine-backup process (for instance because of shutting down the Mac, or switching from WiFi- to Ethernet-connection or vice-versa, during backup).

If the original files are still available on your Mac, the solution is rather simple : just go back to your Mac and use Time Machine to make a new backup. If you want extra insurance to prevent this error, either make a new Time Machine backup to a new/fresh harddrive (preferable an external USB- or FireWire-harddisk), or follow the backup-routine outlined in this post.

If the original files are no longer available on your Mac (e.g. your Mac is stolen, sold or you’ve just done a clean install on it, wiping off all of it’s data), you are in trouble…

…in that case, you could try using Disk Utility to repair the sparsebundle-file. If that works, you are in extreme luck… if that doesn’t help, you have very few options other than using the Terminal-app or a specialized expensive retrieving app like DiskWarrior (the cheaper knock-offs turn out not to work in most cases… too bad…).

I will be posting instructions on how to use the Terminal-app for this shortly (in a new post).

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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 : setup a LaCie Wireless Space WiFi-drive as a TimeCapsule alternative

Question :

I wanted to get wireless backup for my Mac using Time Machine, but since I’m on a rather tight budget, I searched for an alternative for the TimeCapsule…

I bought the LaCie Wireless Space, which is advertised as ‘wireless backup’ and ‘Time Machine compatible’ on the box, and the salesman even called it ‘a good Time Capsule alternative’…

…since it is advertised as such, I was hoping that the setup would be as ‘plug and play’ as the TimeCapsule, but even after a few tries, I’ve still not managed to get it working…

What should I do ?

Answer :

It’s true that the LaCie Wireless Space can be used as an alternative to the TimeCapsule (but for ease-of-use I would still prefer Apple’s own TimeCapsule, and the price difference is not that extreme as it used to be).

But setting it up can be quite a hassle, especially if you don’t get it right the first time.

The most straight-forward use would be to have the LaCie Wireless Space connected to your Internet-modem/WiFi-router using an Ethernet-cable. To get that setup (in the end), you need to first instruct the controller-software that’s on the LaCie to enable this. Here’s how to :

1- download the Wireless Space Setup software from the LaCie website :

2- disconnect your Mac from the internet (both Ethernet and WiFi/AirPort) and quit all applications that use internet-connection (so quitting all other applications is a good thing to do)

3- plug the LaCie Wireless into the wall-power, and push the power-button to switch it on (the light at the front will turn on to indicate that the LaCie is on, during the setup-process the color may vary from blue to green to read (and back))

4- then copy the Wireless Space Setup software to your Applications folder and run it

5- in the screen that opens, select your Language, and click “Continue” in the next screen

6- on the following screen, select “Enable Wi-Fi” and click “Continue”

7- on the next screen, select “NAS Extender Wi-Fi” and click “Continue” (note that the naming and additional texts on this page are very confusing to most, but the pictures will shed some light on their meanings)

8- connect one of the LAN-ports (so NOT the internet-port) on the LaCie Wireless Space to your Mac using an Ethernet/UTP/LAN-cable (note that the orange light next to the ethernet connector will light up)

9- then click “Continue” in the Wireless Space Setup software, and wait for the LaCie Wireless Space to be found and listed

10- the click “Continue” again

11- on the next screen you will be asked for the info of your existing WiFi/AirPort-network, so type your Network’s Name, select WPA2 (the default Security Protocol for current WiFi/AirPort-networks ; if you have a very old WiFi/AirPort-network you might have to choose WEP or WPA, but those are not recommended), and type and re-typeyour WiFi/AirPort-password

12- then click “Commit” and wait for the LaCie Wireless Space to restart (the front-light will turn blue when ready)

13- now disconnect the Ethernet/UTP/LAN-cable from your Mac, and connect it to one of the regular LAN-ports on your internet-modem/WiFi-router (to do so, you will probably have to unplug the LaCie from power, move it toward your modem/router and reconnect and switch it on again there)

14- then reconnect your Mac to the internet (by reconnecting to the WiFi/AiPort-network, or by plugging the network-cable (an Ethernet/UTP/LAN-cable also) back into your Mac)

15- now, on your Mac, open a Finder-window and see if the LaCie Wireless Space is listed there (in the bottom right corner, under the “Devices” chapter) ; you will probably see it listed twice : once as “LaCie Wireless Space (My Space)” and once as “LaCie Wireless Space (Open Space)”

16- then, open the Time Machine application on your Mac

17- click the “Select Disk” button, and in the list select “LaCie Wireless Space (My Space)”

18- then switch the slider on the left to ON

…and go get yourself a drink, a meal, or a good night’s sleep until your first TimeMachine backup is being done

(note that the first TimeMachine backup might take hours to complete… that is normal…)

That’s it 😉

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FYI : the manual for the LaCie Wireless Space NAS / WiFi-drive can be found here :