MAC OS 9.1 Black Bookby Mark R. Bell
The Mac OS 9.1 Black Book focuses on the built-in capabilities of Mac OS 9 plus covers printing, networking technologies, and Internet services. It covers what's new in the latest version of the Mac OS, 9.1, and provides step-by-step solutions to everyday problems encountered when working with OS 9. Each chapter includes: technical review of a topic, step-by-step approaches to common tasks, quick reference information, and a utilities section citing the best tools for each task and how to access them. This book goes beyond the basics with technical references and practical troubleshooting, administrative tools, networking technologies, and more. It demonstrates how to perform the most common administrative tasks. In addition, the book shows you how to use the most popular tools and utilities. This book dives into networking and online issues like Internet access and security, publishing on the web, Internet applications and utilities.
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2. System Startup and Shutdown...Elements of the System Folder
In addition to housing the brains of the operating system, the System Folder contains many of the components that load by default. These components include System Extensions, Extensions, Control Panels, Preferences, Startup Items, Shutdown Items, and Apple Menu Items. The following sections cover these components.
Although there are not many System Extensions, they are among the first items to load during the booting process. One of the most useful is MacsBug, a valuable tool that can tell you what process caused the system malfunction. When a system crashed or froze in the days before MacsBug, the user's only recourse was to reboot immediately. The user was given no chance to reboot gracefully, or-even more important-to learn exactly what caused the crash. Now that it's routine to run multiple applications simultaneously (especially Internet-based ones that can cause a system crash while running in the background), MacsBug is more valuable than ever. It can identify the culprit behind your problem and even allow you to quit the offending program from the MacsBug command line.
Rather than write a new operating system every time a software program is released or a system component is tweaked, developers create Extensions that plug into the system to increase functionality or improve performance. More than any other folder, the Extensions folder has a tendency to get out of control, gathering cryptically named files that eat away at precious system and memory resources.
The files stored in the Extensions folder load after System Extensions. Most Extension icons have the distinct puzzle-like appearance similar to those shown in Figure 2.4 (even the folder sports a puzzle-piece graphic). The most well-known Extensions are printer, peripheral, CD-ROM, video, and network drivers, but there are facetious ones as well, such as singing trashcans.
Occasionally, Extensions or Control Panels fail to load properly and cause the system to hang. This condition is termed an Extension conflict, although the problem may be isolated to a Control Panel. Previously, we discussed options for booting the system and one of these options is to boot with Extensions off. For clarification, this actually entails disabling both Extensions and Control Panels.
Weed out those useless Extensions. If for no other reason than to tighten your system performance, it's one of the best things that you, as a user or administrator, can do. Several Web sites define what these Extensions do and whether you can live without them. The Extensions Manager also can provide some information about these files, such as the creator and version number.
One of the biggest differences between Control Panels and Extensions is that Control Panels have windows or dialog boxes that allow you to change Control Panel settings. Control Panels are among the last of the system components to load. They often deal with the way that the system looks and behaves and include some screen savers, appearance managers, network configuration applications, and monitor settings. Control Panel icons, like Extension icons, also have a distinctive appearance, as shown in Figure 2.5.
If a programmer wants you to have some control over how an application runs within the system, he will write the code as a Control Panel. Otherwise, the code is written as an Extension.
Every application that launches on a Macintosh creates a preference file. Even if you used the application only once, decided that it didn't meet your requirements, and dragged it to the Trash, there is still a file in the Preferences folder that indicates how the program should be run in the future.
Information stored in a preference file can include options input by the user, such as preferred email address, custom toolbars, default views, and so on, as well as window positioning of a particular document. Applications that keep a list of recently used documents store this information in a preference file.
Most users do not need to interact with the Preferences folder unless something has stopped working within a particular application. Programs that hang when launching (and those that are not functioning normally) may have a corrupt preference file. In most cases, removing the preference and allowing the program to create a new one will solve the problem. You'll need to input some user preferences again, however. Make sure that important information-such as the IP number assigned to the machine, serial numbers for software, and configuration optionsis available or documented, should you have to delete important preferences.
If you have applications that you use every time you launch the machine (such as Web server software, Internet applications, or client programs), you may want to take advantage of the Startup Items folder. As the OS nears the end of the booting process, it looks to this folder to see if any applications should be launched. Although you can place the actual application in the folder, it's better for system security to use an alias.
You can place multiple items in the Startup Items folder. Because they are launched alphabetically, you can control the launch order by manipulating the first character in the name of an item. For example, adding a space before the first letter of BBEdit will cause it to launch before Adobe PhotoShop; adding a bullet character before the first letter of Fetch will cause it to launch after Outlook Express.
Just as the Startup Items folder runs the programs within it during the boot process, the Shutdown Items folder runs applications during shutdown. Common applications that run at this time are disk utilities, optimization programs, and virus protection-although any application placed in the Shutdown Items folder will run. You'll find more information on shutting down a little later in the chapter.
Apple Menu Items
The System Folder also is home to the Apple Menu Items folder. This folder contains the applications or aliases that are available under the Apple menu, which is located in the top-left corner of the screen. You can launch applications from the Apple menu simply by selecting them. Figure 2.6 shows the Apple menu under Mac OS 9.1.
As with any graphical interface, you must exercise care when shutting down the operating system. There are several ways to shut down a Macintosh properly.
The most common method is to select Shut Down from the Special menu, as illustrated in Figure 2.7. The system will begin closing open programs. If you have made changes to any open documents, the system will display a dialog box that asks whether you want to save the changes. When all applications are closed, the system will shut down and turn off the power. Older Macintoshes that have a power button will display a window, indicating that you can now turn off the computer.
You can also shut down the computer by pressing the power key. This method is often discovered by accident. The dialog box shown in Figure 2.8 will appear, asking if you're sure you want to shut down the computer and offering you the option to restart, sleep, or cancel the command. Notice that the default shuts down the system. If you press the Return or Enter keys at this point, the system will begin the shutdown process.
Finally, some Macintosh systems have a Shut Down option under the Apple menu. This option will effectively bring down the operating system gracefully. It is not included by default in Mac OS 9.1, but is often found on systems as legacy software.
Should you turn your computer off whenever it's not in use? In most cases, it's perfectly fine to leave a system running. In many workplaces, backup systems run during the night and cannot back up a computer that has been shut down. At home, however, it's better to turn off the system because most home computers have long periods of inactivity. Running them while not in use wastes energy. Keep in mind that restarting a computer also provides useful benefits like freeing up memory and removing hidden temporary files...
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