Category Archives: macOS

The macOS Installation couldn’t be completed. Now what?

My MacBook Pro (2011) recently developed an issue after I had tried upgrading it to the latest version of High Sierra. Some security patch came along, and after bugging me for several weeks, I finally gave in and installed it.

Sadly, after macOS tried to restart I got a message like this:

I tried restarting several times, but without luck. The message varies slightly at times, often accompanied by an error log and a more explicit message that something went wrong, but not with simple solutions on how to rectify the situation.

What worked for me to a certain extent was to start macOS with the ALT key held down, which would give me a selection of the boot drive. There are usually two drives: the “boot partition” and the “regular drive”. Clicking the latter will boot macOS without applying the update, and everything went fine again. Booting into the former would try to apply the updates, but since it failed every time, I either had to remove this behaviour or fix the underlying problem.

I looked into it and found these tips on how to proceed:

Boot with SHIFT (Safe Mode)

According to Apple’s Support Website, Safe mode can be initiated by holding down the SHIFT key while booting. This will take absolutely forever, during which time your Mac will do the following:

  • Verifies your startup disk and attempts to repair directory issues, if needed
  • Loads only required kernel extensions
  • Prevents startup items and login items from opening automatically
  • Disables user-installed fonts 
  • Deletes font caches, kernel cache, and other system cache files

On large drives, this does take a while. Mine is a 500GB SSD and it took my MacBook Pro several hours to do this. Sadly, without fixing the problem mentioned above.

Boot with CMD+R

Another nifty trick is to bring up the Disk Repair Tool. Start your Mac and hold down CMD+R until you see the Apple Logo. At that point you can let go of those keys. This will launch something called macOS Utilities. Note that your trackpad may behave slightly differently that you’re used to (for example, tap to click will be disabled), that’s just because none of your configuration preferences have been loaded. It’s all default, and booted from another portion of your hard drive.

Once everything has loaded, select Disk Utility. Run the First Aid option and see what happens. This will attempt to repair your disk by looking through every sector and fix any mishaps that may have been caused by files not closing properly. It will either tell you that everything is fine, or that it detected issues and how fixable they were.

Check Incompatible Login Items

Another item on the agenda to check is what login items are selected. Those are processes that start after your Mac has booted into macOS. Examples include cloud service sync services like Dropbox or Creative Cloud, or things like Discord and Spotify. I’m a big believer of starting those myself if and when I need them, but over-eager installers like to sneak them in there sometimes. Some of those items may not be compatible anymore after a software update and hence interfere with both the update and the new version of macOS.

To check what’s being started with your Mac, head over to System Preferences – Users & Groups – Current User – Login Items.

Click the little lock icon at the bottom left, then select what you dislike from the list and hit the minus button below the list. This will remove said login item and – hopefully – make your Mac start as it’s supposed to.

I’m still in the middle of my investigation and have a few more items to check, but I’ll report back with what worked well for me, and what else I find. Stay tuned 🙂

Where is Stream Deck profile data saved

I wanted to move my Stream Deck Profile Data over to another machine. I had previously setup several shortcuts and actions and wanted to sue the same setup on another system.

Turns out Elgato’s Stream Deck software saves such data in a similar location as OBS Studio does. Here’s the full path:

Windows

On Windows 10, you’ll find those files in the following location. For this example, imagine your user name is “you” and replace it with your correct one.

  • C:\Users\you\AppData\Roaming\Elgato\StreamDeck

macOS

On macOS, you’ll find those files in the following location:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/Elgato/StreamDeck

The Tilde Symbol means “your home folder”. If my user name was “you”, then the full path to the OBS Settings would be

  • /Users/you/Library/Application Support/Elgato/StreamDeck

Note that for either profile to work on another system, make sure all applications and their respective settings are also replicated. For example, if you’re switching OBS Studio scenes with your Stream Deck, both OBS Studio and the scenes/collections need to be configured the same was as before.

How to connect from your Mac to your Windows 10 Computer

Networking sucks, particularly when Windows is involved. I’m not actually sure why, but I guess it has to do with the fact that deep down, manufacturers and software developer really don’t want us to connect arbitrary devices to suit our needs. It’s just a fact of technological survival I guess.

I’ve recently re-installed Windows on my desktop, and now my Mac cannot connect to Windows anymore. I had to set this up again from scratch. While I remember how to do it, here’s how it (once) worked for me:

Continue reading How to connect from your Mac to your Windows 10 Computer

How to add files to a ZIP archive on the Command Line

Before submitting ZIP files to various third parties, I often have the need to ether remove superfluous files from my archives. Until today I’ve never had the need to add a file to such archives. Had that happened in the past, I would have probably just deleted the whole archive and crated a new one from scratch.

Today I felt adventurous and researched a way to add files to existing ZIP files and found a (not-so-obvious) solution to this puzzle, using the -r switch.

Let me show you how it works:

According to the man page, the r switch actually replaces an existing file in the archive, so this command can be used to update files in the ZIP file too. I’ve added the v switch for convenience (it means “verbose” and can be omitted.

Works on Linux and macOS.

How to remove files from ZIP Archives in macOS and Linux

When ZIP up directories, particularly on macOS, some files may find their way into our ZIP archives that were never meant to be there. I’m thinking of those pesky .DS_Store and __MACOSX files, maybe even .htaccess files. For *nix based systems, * really means “everything”.

The ZIP command line tool let us remove such unwanted files from an existing archive. Here’s how:

The -d switch tells ZIP to hunt for and delete the unwanted files. Files whose names contain spaces can be defined in “regular quotes”, and the * asterisk can be used as usual.

For example, to remove all DS_Store files and __MACOSX files, we can use this:

To verify that such idiosyncrasies have indeed been removed from a ZIP archive before we release it into the wide, we can check with the UNZIP utility:

This will simply list the contents of your-archive.zip without actually extracting it.

How to add files to an existing ZIP Archive on macOS and Linux

Sometimes it’s easy to delete a ZIP file and create a new one – say you’ve forgotten to include a file. Just drag it into the folder to be ZIPped up and start again.

However, the clever little ZIP command line tool has a built-in ability to simply add a file to an existing archive without us having to do any manual grunt work. That can come in handy when we no longer have access to existing unZIPped content.

Here’s how it works:

We can even add entire directories this way too, like so:

This will recursively add all files (indulging hidden and annoying ones) to our file.

Note that ZIP accomplishes this by temporarily extracting all files before creating a new archive for is (while deleting our original file). So in essence, the tools is doing what we’d do manually, just more conveniently and in the background without bothering us.

How to bring up the Emoji Keyboard on macOS

We all love Emojis, and it’s so super easy to insert them from an iOS keyboard. I do this frequently in messages. It stands to reason that it should be just as simple to do this on laptops and desktop Macs too – but how? Isn’t there some kind of shortcut we can use?

Well yes there is – I just keep forgetting which one it is ? so here it is:

CTRL + CMD (OPTION) + SPACE

This handy combination brings up an Emoji Picker. Find the icon you like, click on it, and the dialogue automatically closes again after it inserts your Emoji.

How to fix Spotlight Search stop it from disappearing on macOS

For a while now I’ve seen my poor Spotlight Search disappear on all my Macs disappear after typing only two or three letters. This has never been a problem since I’ve been using macOS. I have 4 systems in total, running Sierra and High Sierra, and all of them exhibit this problem.

However, my wife’s MacBook Air is still running Mavericks and – not having been updated for a while – is NOT experiencing this issue. So what’s going on there?

After some digging, I am not the only user who has an issue with Spotlight Search. Some suggest we all have to re-index Spotlight (which does take a while, multiplied by all the computers you’re using), but they report that the issue will come back sooner or later.

The most efficient way to make Spotlight Search operational again is to simply disable one of the items it’s searching when we use it – namely the Bookmarks and History option.

To access the above menu, head over to the Apple Icon and select System Preferences. From here, either click the Spotlight Logo (top right corner) or search for Spotlight. Un-tick the second box from the top, close the dialogue and – voila – Spotlight is working again!!

This thread on the Apple Forums suggests that the culprit is Safari 12 (I’m using 12.0.1 at the time of writing). Disabling Bookmarks and History means Spotlight is not accessing Safari’s (changed / faulty / updated / whatever) database and seems to work fine as a result.

Worked great for me – I hope it’ll work for you just as well 🙂

How to download older versions of macOS after Mojave was released

My good old MacBook Pro from 2011 can only supports macOS up until 10.13 High Sierra. It’s been purring along nicely with macOS 10.12 Sierra for the last couple of years, and I didn’t see the need to upgrade just yet. Why risk breaking things that are working, right?

A couple of weeks ago, macOS 10.14 Mojave was released, with which my MacBook is sadly no longer compatible (not officially at least). So when I searched for “High Sierra” on the Mac App store, I was surprised to learn that it didn’t come up. It appears that only the very latest macOS release is available to download from the Mac App Store.

So now the $100k question is: How can I get an official copy of macOS High Sierra, now that Mojave is out? I’ve never downloaded it before, therefore it doesn’t show up in my “previous purchases” tab either. Have I missed my 12 month window to download the last operating system that’s compatible with my hardware?

Lucky for us, Apple have made some contingencies. I did some research and found several older Mac operating system for ya’ll’s enjoyment. Might come in handy 😉

Continue reading How to download older versions of macOS after Mojave was released

How to transfer files from your GoPro to your computer via WiFi

There is an iOS and Android App available to transfer files directly from a GoPro camera to a mobile device. Those apps transcode files and compress them for easier viewing, and to save storage space.

While that approach gets footage onto my iPhone, I still need to transfer the files to my Mac for editing. Plus, there’s an additional compression step involved which can’t be good for picture quality. Besides, it takes forever to do its job.

A much more useful approach would be to hook directly into the GoPro and transfer files that way. This leaves the SD card place and doesn’t disturb the (sometimes hard to reach or difficult to recreate) position of the camera.

Here’s how to do it.

Continue reading How to transfer files from your GoPro to your computer via WiFi