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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...

Totally Trashed Finders, Organizer 2.0, & iMac Recordings
November 24th, 2000

Greetings, everyone! I trust that those of you in the US enjoyed your turkey yesterday. As I rose from my tryptophan induced stupor this morning, I decided it was time to get off my duff and write a column answering your favorite questions. We've got a slew of juicy ones today, ranging from booting a stubborn iBook, to recording crazy cow sounds, to upgrading an old Claris Organizer file. Read on, and enjoy!

Dan James writes, "I am trying to fix a friend's iBook and am running into massive problems. The problem is this: when the iBook starts up, all seems OK; icons march across the screen, finder loads, desktop is displayed. HOWEVER, about 5 seconds later, everything on the desktop except the foremost window disappears, and nothing within that window can be clicked. All desktop icons, all other windows, everything but the menu bar, the desktop pattern and the one window disappear. Curiously enough, this also occurs when I start up from a CD (I have tried booting from the MacOS CD that came with my G4, the AppleCare diagnostic CD, a MacOS 9 retail CD, and the Norton Systemworks 1.0 CD). None of these work, the desktop still disappears. In case the problem was more esoteric, I have tried: - booting with extensions off - rebuilding the desktop - zapping the PRAM - resetting the power manager - booting from CD via the startup manager rather than holding down C key.

My suspicion is that the hard drive's driver is toast, but I can't replace it without running Drive Setup, and I can't do that, because the desktop disappears and won't let me click anywhere. For the same reason, I can't run TechTool, Norton SystemsWorks, Disk First Aid, DiskWarrior etc. I even tried burning a bootable CD with those programs in the startup items folder, but to no avail.

This all started happening after she got a warning that she'd deleted her System Resources files, even though said file was securely in the System folder.

Please help, I'm at my wit's end!!"

Dan -- you certainly have yourself in a Catch-22 here! It sounds like either (as you said) the driver of the disk is damaged, or the desktop on it is so corrupt that it needs to be deleted and rebuilt instead of just "reorganized." Either way, there's something wrong for sure, and it's with that internal drive in that machine. Essentially what needs to happen is you need to be able to boot your machine straight into one of your disk recovery programs, like Norton Disk Doctor or Disk First Aid, bypassing the Finder which is trying to read this damaged disk. The easiest way to do this is to burn a CD (like you have done), and replace the "Finder" file in the System Folder with your disk utility of choice. The Mac OS is set to load a program called "Finder" in your System Folder when it starts up, so replacing that with something else is usually enough to do the trick in a situation like this. Just make sure, if it's Norton Disk Doctor, that the appropriate extensions for Norton to run are in either the System Folder itself, or the Extensions folder therein. Good luck!

Javier Rojas writes, "I have Claris Organizer 1.0 installed in my Powerbook 1400cs. It worked fine until I upgraded to Mac OS 9. I can't seem to find where and how to download a newer version of the organizer (2.0). I've found how to update to 2.0 +, but not from 1.0. Can you help me?"

Well, Javier, Organizer is no longer supported in that form, per se. Rather it has been acquired by another company who has rolled it into their product. Who? you may ask. Palm Computing is the answer here, which is a good thing! Palm Computing acquired Claris Organizer a number of years ago and has used it as the core to their popular (and, more importantly, free) "Palm Desktop" software. You can go and download this directly from the Palm site (and while you're doing this they're hoping you'll want to sync with a handheld and will buy a Palm PDA). Once you download it, it should import your existing Organizer database with ease.

Lesley Dahl writes, "I'm sure you have heard this question many times, but how can I record my voice on my iMac DVD SE with QuickTime4Pro and Mac OS 9.04 installed? My husband has this crazy way of "mooing" to cows as we pass by on our bikes, and I need to send it over e-mail to a friend. Please help, this is serious. I know you have election worries down there, but here in Canada, we will be having our share of an election soon, and I definitely would help you!

Well, we wouldn't want anyone to miss out on your husband's crazy mooing sound (you'd better e-mail me a copy!). To do this you'll need to download a small piece of shareware called SndSampler. It's fairly straightforward to use -- just go to the File menu and create a New sound. Select your input device and all that, and then record away! Once you've finished recording, the sound should "appear" on your screen. From here you can save it as a sound file and then e-mail it away (and send one to us here, too!).

That's all for this time, folks. Feel free to e-mail your questions to [email protected], or visit the Ask Dave Forums to poll the entire listening audience. Until next time...

PS. Have a nice day.

is President and CEO of The Mac Observer, Inc. He has worked in the computer industry as a consultant, trainer, network engineer, webmaster, and a programmer for most of the last 10 years. During that time he has worked on the Mac, all the various Windows flavors, Be, a few brands of Unix, and it is rumored he once saw an OS/2 machine in action. Before that he ran some of the earliest Bulletin Board systems, but most of the charges have since been dropped, and not even the FBI requests that he check in more than twice a year.

Ask Dave is here to answer all the Mac questions you have. Networking, system conflicts, hardware, you ask it, he can answer it. He is the person from whom all Mac knowledge flows....

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