The trouble with Macs is that they lull you into a false sense of security. If you spend your day using PCs, dealing with infuriating glitches becomes second nature. But Apple has made things so straightforward that you get used to stuff just working. When it doesn't, it comes as a nasty shock.
It's quite hard to identify the most common Mac problems, because most problems aren't all that common. They can range from minor annoyances that we'll all see once in a while, like applications slowing down or files behaving oddly, to the almost mythical calamities that many users will never encounter, like disk failures and kernel panics. Here are top 5 daily hiccups you're most likely to suffer.
1. Need to rescue my files.
If something's amiss with your Mac, copy off as much data as you can before anything else happens. This may be possible even when you can't access Finder, using FireWire Target Disk mode. You'll need another Mac: see this page, and compare specs in System Profiler (go to About This Mac on the Apple menu and click More Info).
Turn off the problem Mac, leaving the other running. Unplug any FireWire peripherals and connect a FireWire cable between the two (use one with a 6-pin connector, not the 4-pin video camera plug).
Start up your problem Mac, holding down T. This is the target Mac, while the other is the host. The target should appear as an icon on the host's Desktop, and you can drag files off it.
2. My optical drive won't read.
CD and DVD drives are susceptible to dust, which can build up on the lens that directs the laser onto the disc. In general, this isn't something you need to worry about; as attempting regular cleaning can do more harm than good.
But if the drive stops working, try a lens-cleaning disc such as the Philips SVC2520/10, £4 from amazon.co.uk. Follow the instructions and you could find your dead drive lives again. There's a small chance that it could make things worse – but it worked for our Mac mini.
3. Screen goes weird.
If the screen suddenly looks messed up, a restart is often all that's required.
With CRT monitors, it was possible to choose from a combination of resolutions and refresh rates that would result in an illegible display, but with today's LCDs the worst that can happen is an inappropriate resolution forces the screen to 'upsample', giving a slightly pixellated appearance.
If your display becomes illegible or blank, the video configuration has gone seriously adrift. This can often be fixed by zapping the PRAM: see tip 8.
11. I can't eject a disc.
You want to use a CD or DVD, but there's already one in your Mac. So you hit the Eject button and… nothing happens. What now?
Daft as it sounds, try holding the button down longer. A slight delay has been added to stop you ejecting discs accidentally. You can tap the Option key to hurry it up.
Still no joy? Find the disc on the Desktop and drag it onto the Trash icon in the Dock. Or click the Eject icon besides the disc's name at the left of any Finder window.
Still not coming out? Launch Terminal, found in /Applications/Utilities, type drutil tray open and press Return. That should do the trick.
No? The final option is to restart your Mac while holding down the left mouse-button. External disk and memory drives can also fail to eject, usually because software is refusing to let go of them. Close the likely culprits: for example, iPhoto. If you have this problem often, try the free utility WhatsOpen.
5. Flash drive won't read.
Unplugging a memory drive without ejecting it can leave it in an inaccessible state, and some computers not made by Apple have a habit of killing memory sticks.
If a flash drive is playing up, you can reformat it using Disk Utility, found in /Applications/Utilities.
When plugged in, the drive should appear on the left, even if it didn't show up in Finder. If not, it's time to buy a new drive. Having selected the device, you can check it in the First Aid tab and try the Repair option, but this is designed for hard disks and may not help.
More likely, you'll need to go to the Erase tab and reformat it. Choose MS-DOS (NASDAQ:FAT), which works with both Macs and PCs, and click Erase (not Erase Free Space).
About author: Synder Kal has been writing articles online for nearly 3 years now. Specialize in iphone transfer, More suggestion on: how to remove drm from itunes videos, how to remove drm from music. Any good ideas please leave your precious words.