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When your hard drive starts to fail, Disk Utility offers some useful disk repair tools. But if they don’t get it done for you, you may want to turn to one of the big guns: fsck. fsck, which stands for “File System Consistency Check,” is a command-line tool that reviews and repairs the underlying structure of a hard drive. The fsck tool in Mac is the same as the one found in Linux. This article focuses on Mac’s user interface and covers how to repair macOS hard disks with fsck – both mechanical and solid state drives (SSDs).

What Are the Signs of a Hard Drive Failing?

Usually, you’ll notice that a hard drive is failing on your Mac early on. Below are three of the most common signs:

1. Crashes

If nothing’s wrong with your Mac’s drives, the device will usually run smoothly. It’s a surefire sign that you need to look into an issue if you suddenly begin dealing with crashes.

Your device could crash because of incompatible files and folders, while overheating may also result in your device not working properly. Software errors could lead to the same.

2. Disk Errors

Another sign that your hard drive is failing is disk errors on your Mac.

These signs include your drive suddenly being unrecognizable to your computer, sluggish performance, and random ejections.

3. Error Messages

If you see error messages on your Mac, it’s often a certain sign that you should look at the state of your hard drive.

In many cases, you’ll see messages related to apps quitting unexpectedly or unexpected errors stopping your device from completing a certain task.

4. S.M.A.R.T. Issues

S.M.A.R.T. means Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology System. It’s used to keep track of the health of your mechanical drives.

If you’re having problems in this area, your device will warn you with a message saying that your disk has S.M.A.R.T. issues. Common contributors to this issue include mechanical failures and excessive humidity.

5. Programs Stop Running Properly

When you use your Mac, your device will store many of the apps and programs you use on your hard drive.

If this begins to fail, you may begin to notice that your programs stop running as smoothly. Your Mac may take longer to load, or you could struggle to open apps that you use regularly.

6. Files on Your Mac Become Corrupt

Another sign that your hard drive is failing is your files becoming corrupt.

Corruptions often occur during the writing phase. If a disk has stopped working properly, you may find that you can no longer use certain files or documents.

Mechanical Drives Making Strange Noises

If you hear these noises, it’s a sign that the Mac’s mechanical drives aren’t working properly. And if left unaddressed over time, these could cause significant damage to the drive.

Finding the Right Disk

Before you can run fsck, you’ll need to find the device node and identifier of the disk you want to target. We’ll use Terminal’s diskutil command to accomplish that.

1. Open Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app).

2. Type the following command, then press “Enter.”

diskutil list

3. This will produce a list of all the currently connected drives, both mounted and unmounted.

4. Locate the disk you want to run fsck on and find its device identifier. It will look like “/dev/disk1”, and will be found along the left margin of the Terminal window. Write this information down somewhere since you’ll need it in the next steps.

Running fsck from Single User Mode

macOS won’t let you run fsck from inside the operating system. You’ll need to reboot into Single User mode, which is a stripped-down, text-only, superuser interface for macOS.

1. Open the Apple menu and select “Restart.”

2. Hold down Command + S while your computer restarts. You can release the keys once you see white text start to appear on the startup screen.

4. To repair the boot disk, type the following command, then press “Enter.”

/

sbin

/

fsck

-fy

This runs fsck with the -f flag, which forces it to check journaled file systems like HFS+, as well as the -y flag, which automatically says “yes” to any prompts that fsck may encounter.

5. You can also use fsck to repair non-boot disks, but you’ll need to know the filesystem type. For example, if I wanted to run fsck on “/dev/disk2,” I would use the following command:

/

sbin

/

fsck_hfs

-fy

/

dev

/

disk2

That command will run the HFS sub-version of fsck on that drive. Other available filesystems include fsck_msdos, which runs on FAT file systems; fsck_exfat, which examines ExFAT filesystems; and fsck_udf, which looks at UDF file systems.

6. fsck will check the file system and attempt to repair any damage that it finds. If it finds no damage, it will exit with “OK.”

7. When fsck is finished checking and repairing the filesystem, type reboot into the command prompt and press “Enter.”

Frequently Asked Questions 1. Can I repair my Mac hard disks without using fsck?

Select “First Aid” and choose “Run.” Your Mac will search for problems and fix any that arise.

2. How long will it take to repair a disk using fsck on Mac?

The time it takes to repair the disk itself will depend on the extent of the damage and the size of your drive, plus whether your drive is full or not.

You can tell how damaged your Mac disk is by using Disk Utility; if it’s damaged beyond repair, a message will tell you that you have a fatal hardware error.

3. Is fsck safe to run on Mac devices?

When using fsck to repair your Mac hard drive, it’s important to remember that you may lose some of your files, since the command seeks to repair file systems that it checks and deems necessary to repair. As you may not know which important files fall into this category beforehand, it’s crucial that you back everything up beforehand.

Wrapping Up

fsck on the Mac isn’t as powerful as fsck on Linux, but it can still be a lifesaver if you end up with a corrupted boot disk or damaged hard drive. Read on to learn the things you should do before and after reformatting your hard drive on a Mac.

Danny Maiorca

Danny has been a professional writer for over five years. Now based in Copenhagen, Denmark, he plied his trade working for various companies in the UK — where he was born — before taking the leap into freelancing. He specializes in iOS and Mac.

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How To Password Protect Your Hard Disks From Bios/Uefi

All major operating systems offer a way to set up a login password. This gives people the feeling that access to their computer is protected, and their files are private. Unfortunately, this is only an illusion. If you boot, say, Ubuntu from an USB stick, you can mount a Windows partition and read all files without providing any password. People have a mild shock when they first find out how easy this is.

But this does not mean that protecting your login account with a password is useless, just that it’s meant more as a method of restricting access when you temporarily leave your desk. But what do you do if you want to make sure nobody can read your files while you leave your computer unattended for hours or days?

Your Disks Have Their Own “Operating System”

One solution to keep your data private is full disk encryption. Another simple solution is to password-protect the disk itself. Firmware is software that runs on a device, and disks have them too. This is independent from your operating system and can enforce its own rules, which means no one will be able to read and write to this disk without providing the proper password. The disk itself will refuse all access and can’t be tricked by a different operating system. Even if the disk is removed and moved to another computer, access will be denied.

How to Set Up Disk Password from BIOS or UEFI

You can consider UEFI as a sort of micro operating system that runs on your computer before anything else is loaded (like the bootloader, Windows, drivers and so on). You will enter its setup menu to configure the passwords. BIOS is similar but only used on rather old computers.

Enter UEFI/BIOS Setup

Unfortunately, there is no standard method to access this menu. Every motherboard manufacturer freely chooses the desired setup key. But, generally, after you press the power button on your computer, you will quickly have to tap DEL, ESC, F1, F2, F10, F12 to enter setup. If you have BIOS, this is the only way to access its settings. Tap one of these keys multiple times to be certain UEFI/BIOS picks up on it. If none of the keys work, read your printed motherboard manual or search for it online to find the required key.

On modern UEFI implementations, you can reboot to this setup menu directly from Windows.

Password Lock Disks

UEFI/BIOS setup menus also have no standard set in stone. Each manufacturer implements their own desired version. The menu may include a graphical user interface (GUI) or a text user interface (TUI).

Use the left or right arrow keys to navigate to the “Security” tab (or equivalent) if your setup which will look like the following image.

Otherwise, browse until you find a similar setting, where you can set disk passwords. Consult the motherboard manual if you have trouble finding it.

You will usually need to find the disk’s codename in that list, select it, and then set a user password, and possibly, a master password.

Warning: if you forget the password, there is no magic reset method. You basically lose your drive; it becomes a useless brick. It’s true that some drives will let you completely wipe them to clear the password, but those are the exception and not the rule.

Don’t confuse the user disk password with the UEFI/BIOS user password.

If the options to set the user password/master password for the disks are grayed out, it means you have to power cycle the machine. Simply power it off, power back on, and then press the required key to enter UEFI/BIOS setup. This has to happen before booting to Windows, otherwise the UEFI/BIOS will lock disk security settings again as a protection measure against unauthorized changes (for example, malware could use this to lock you out).

Set the disk user password. After you save it, the computer will ask for this password every time you power it on to unlock the drive. If you have the option available, set the master password, too, just to make sure you overwrite the factory default.

Save BIOS/UEFI settings and exit. (The proper key to do this should be displayed somewhere on the screen.)

Conclusion

At this point you know that your disk is safely locked when you leave your computer unattended. And, if you desire, you can also password-protect access to your BIOS/UEFI settings. This will usually be called an “Administrator password.” The “User password” is used for a different purpose and is not really required in this particular case. But if that is the only one you have available, set that to prevent unauthorized changes to your BIOS/UEFI settings. It should be noted, however, that if someone opens your computer case, this password can be reset. Consider it a “light” security measure.

Alexandru Andrei

Fell in love with computers when he was four years old. 27 years later, the passion is still burning, fueling constant learning. Spends most of his time in terminal windows and SSH sessions, managing Linux desktops and servers.

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How To Update Macos Catalina To Macos Big Sur

How to Update macOS Catalina to macOS Big Sur Is Your Mac Compatible With macOS Big Sur Update?

Since the macOS Big Sur update has been released for quite some time now, users are going gaga over it. However, please know that upgrading to Big Sur isn’t available for everyone of those users. The compatibility issue of the macOS Big Sur update will fully depend on your computer.

So if you do not have those mac computer versions, the only option you have is to buy a new Mac. You can check out the list of the macOS Big Sur update compatible mac versions to know if yours is listed here or not.

Things to Consider Before Updating macos catalina to macOS Big Sur

1. One of the first things before going ahead with the upgrade to macOS Big Sur is backing up your system. All you need to have is the Time Machine & an external hard drive and in a few minutes, you will be able to backup your mac.

3. Cleaning out the junk or unnecessary items from the mac is extremely important as there are plenty of them on your device. So please delete all those items from the mac to have a smooth transition for the macOS Big Sur update.

How to Update macOS Catalina

Now if you are one of those users who didn’t get a chance to tap on the macOS Big Sur update notification or use the above mentioned path, you can use another option as well. All you need to do is, visit the Apple official website (macOS Big Sur) & download the latest macOS update from the same platform.

Please know that the macOS Big Sur update is a bit over 12 GB, it will take some time for the update to get downloaded. Once the whole “upgrade to macOS Big Sur” file has been downloaded, your mac will start the installation process by launching the installer automatically. The next steps wouldn’t require anything specific from users end as all they need to do is follow the instructions through the installation process. And within a while, the macOS Big Sur update will be installed on the system successfully. The average time it takes to update macOS Catalina to the macOS Big Sur is about 30 minutes so please be prepared to have patience for that much time.

Get Exciting Features With The macOS Big Sur Update

Each & every update on different devices brings many features to explore and at the same time, instant bugs as well. For example, the macOS Big Sur update that brings many features from user interface to exciting features that can give your system a whole new makeover. I strongly believe that once you are all set with this macOS Big Sur upgrade, you yourself will know that the experience cannot be described in words. So without further ado, check if your mac comes under the list of the compatible macbook versions, & if yes then download the macOS Big Sur installation files right away.

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Ankit Agarwal

How To Locate And Delete Duplicate Files On Macos

If you like to make multiple backups of various files, you may tend to be confused sometimes by different versions of a file at different locations on your Mac. If you don’t clean these up regularly, you may find a bunch of duplicate files on your system that can take up a lot of your Mac’s disk space.

The issue is that it’s not that easy to find and delete duplicate files on your Mac. In this guide we’ll first show you how to find and delete duplicate files on your Mac using Finder. However, if you find the method a bit tiresome, you can choose to download a dedicated free or paid software to automatically do this job for you. We’ve also detailed one such app below.

Using Finder to Locate and Delete Duplicate Files

The great thing about duplicate files is that they usually have either a common name, a common date of creation and/or a common file type. We’ll use this exact function to locate duplicate files on the Mac. This method involves creating a smart folder in Finder and sorting files according to name, date and/or type. The exact method is detailed below:

1. Open Finder on your Mac. Open a location of your choice to create the temporary smart folder (example: Desktop, Documents, etc.).

4. From the drop-down menu, select a particular category to use to sort you files. For example, if you know the file name of the duplicate files, you can enter in the name, and Finder will instantly show you all files with the exact same name.

In the screenshot below I’ve entered the file name “General Navigation,” and all files with the exact same name have appeared. I can now choose to delete any previous versions or duplicates I would like.

As you may have guessed from the guide above, manually locating and deleting files can be a long and tiresome process. A simpler method is to use a dedicated app to locate duplicates and delete them. We’ve listed a few apps for you below that do this exact function.

Using a Dedicated App to Delete Duplicate Files

There are many apps available on the App Store to automatically locate and delete duplicate files on your Mac. We’ll be covering one such app, known as Duplicate Cleaner.

Once you open the app, you’ll be presented with an option to select a folder to scan for duplicates. Once the app completes its scan, it’ll show a list of all the duplicate files retrieved.

The list will include the name of the duplicate file, number of duplicates and their locations on your Mac. You can view them and choose to delete a duplicate(s) accordingly. It’s quite simple and works well.

Some other apps that also provide the same function are Duplicate File Finder Remover (free), Duplicate Detective Cleaner ($4.99), and Duplicate Cleaner ($9.99). The apps mainly differ in some specific features (such as custom scanning, easy drag-and-drop features, etc.). If the free version we mentioned above works for you, you shouldn’t feel the need to purchase any paid app for this purpose.

Shujaa Imran

Shujaa Imran is MakeTechEasier’s resident Mac tutorial writer. He’s currently training to follow his other passion become a commercial pilot. You can check his content out on Youtube

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How To Repair Walls Before Painting

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Learn how to repair walls before painting. Get your walls ready for a fresh coat of paint with these simple tips.

If you’re new to DIY, you might enjoy this beginner’s guide to painting walls.

This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing an item through an affiliate link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Like all things, the prep work for painting is really important. You can’t get a flawless paint job unless you fill all the holes and patch all of the blemishes.

It sounds easy but even after years of painting, I continue to learn new tricks. Here are some of my favorite tips.

How to Repair Walls Before Painting

Tools Needed:

A note about plaster walls

These instructions are for repairing drywall but work on plaster walls as well. Spray the plaster walls with water before applying the joint compound. This helps it stick to the wall better

I’m adding this disclaimer because some would argue that it’s not the authentic way to fix plaster walls. Done is better than perfect is my motto.

Removing Nails, Screws, and Wall Anchors

The first step is to remove all of the nails, screws, and wall anchors.

If you’re going to put art back in the same place, you can skip this step. I always like to start with fresh clean walls though in case I change my mind about where art goes.

Remove all nails and screws from the walls. Pliers remove nails without damaging the walls.

Wall anchors can be removed with adjustable pliers. Just grab the anchor with the pliers and pull it out.

If the wall anchor is brittle and breaks, you can cut the protruding part off with a utility knife. Then use the pliers to shove it into the wall. It doesn’t need to disappear into the wall, but you shouldn’t feel the plastic when you run your finger across it.

Nail and screw holes can be made smooth in a couple of ways. Use a putty knife to scrape against the hole. This removes any loose debris and makes the edges smoother.

The 2nd way is by poking something inside the hole. You can use a screwdriver tip, but I like to use the tip of the pliers. Make sure the excess drywall paper pokes into the hole.

Peeling paint is pretty easy to fix. Remove as much of the peeling paint as possible. I typically use a putty knife to scrape it away. Then patch it with joint compound as explained below.

How to Fill Holes in Walls

Once everything is removed from the walls, it’s time to fill the holes.

This stage is messy so remove anything from the room that is sensitive to dust. You might want to cover the floors as well. It’s actually a good idea to cover the furniture as well. It’s a pretty dusty step.

Spackle VS Joint Compound

When repairing walls, you can fill holes with spackle or joint compound. But which should you choose?

Spackle is great for small repairs, like holes from nails and tacks. I like the kind that goes on pink (or purple) and dries white. Spackle dries really quickly and it’s available in tiny containers.

Just spread it on the hole. You can even use a finger to get it smooth. No tools are required! It needs to be sanded before painting.

However, spackle is not great for larger holes because it shrinks a bit when it dries. You will never notice a tiny hole, but larger holes will need more than one application.

I typically fill nail, tack, and screw holes with spackle. If there’s an anchor or anything larger, I use drywall compound. It’s also great for repairing cracks.

I also use it if I have a lot of repairs. Really large repairs will need more than one application.

Joint compound comes pre-mixed or in a bag that you mix yourself. For convenience’s sake, I use the pre-mixed kind. Since I have a ton of repairs to do in my home, I buy a larger container but it’s available in s 3 lb size.

Joint compound takes a longer time to dry than spackle. Large repairs may need to dry overnight or longer.

Apply it with a putty knife. The knife should be wider than the entire repair spot if possible. This makes it easy to feather it out with the wall.

Using Drywall Mesh Tape

Large repairs may need drywall tape. Really big repairs will need to be patched with pieces of drywall, which is a whole other tutorial.

I wouldn’t use tape for anything larger than about 3″ in diameter.

Drywall mesh tape will stick to the wall. Cut a piece that’s larger than the hole and apply it to the wall. If you need more than one piece, cut more.

Then cover the hole with joint compound. It will need 2-3 coats of joint compound to cover the mesh texture.

When the spackle or joint compound is dry, sand the spot smooth. I like using sanding blocks for this. Use your hands and feel for ridges. Your repairs should be smooth.

The joint compound is still wet if there is a dark spot.

Finishing the Repairs

Now it’s time to finish the repairs so that you can get painting.

Clean the Drywall Dust

After sanding, the walls need to be cleaned. Depending on the level of dirt, you may need to wash your walls. Small repairs can be wiped clean with a microfiber or damp cloth.

Drywall dust on the floor can be swept and mopped away.

Textured Walls

If you have textured walls, the repairs might look a bit flat now. Small repairs aren’t very noticeable, but large ones are.

Texture spray can be used to disguise those spots. There are many texture types to choose from. You can also choose to add more or less texture by twisting the dial on the spray can.

When you spray it on, it looks bad. It will evaporate a bit and look more subtle as it dries. And it looks gross when it starts to dry (like someone sneezed on the wall). But when it’s painted, it looks a lot better than a flat patch.

Priming the Spots

Always prime the repaired spots before painting. This seals the very porous surface.

If you skip priming, the paint will absorb differently in those spots and your paint job will look patchy. It’s really noticeable with darker colors, so don’t skip this step.

Now it’s time to get painting!

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Emy is a vintage obsessed mama of 2 DIYer who loves sharing affordable solutions for common home problems. You don’t need a giant budget to create a lovely home. Read more…

How To Repair Facial Blemishes In Your Photos With Pixelmator For Ios

Pixelmator is a powerful and extremely useful image editor for both Mac and iOS. While its features and applications are numerous, one of its most common and easy to use is the ability to remove facial blemishes via the retouch brush.

I am going to show you how to remove facial blemishes using the iOS version of the app. If you do not already own Pixelmator for iOS, it is a fantastic image editor that is absolutely worth its $4.99 price tag. I will be using the app with an iPad Pro 12.9” aided by the Apple Pencil, but Pixelmator is also functional on iPhone and iPod touch.

Finding the tool

As you can see above there is a variety of retouching tools available to the user. But how do you find these tools?

As you can see in the photo above, there is a row of icons lining the right side of the upper toolbar. All tools available within Pixelmator for iOS can be found by tapping the paintbrush icon in the list of icons to the right. In this list, you will want to select the retouch option, and this will open up into a new menu presenting you with a grid of nine retouch tool options. As denoted by the red arrow above, you should select the Repair tool represented with a bandage icon.

Once you have selected this option you can begin to retouch and remove unwanted blemishes from your photographs, but first you should select how big you would like your repair tool to be. You can do this by tapping the percentage icon located at the upper right of your screen. This menu is pictured below.

Editing your photo

Once you have found the repair tool, you can begin to carefully retouch commonly found blemishes in your photographs by simply painting with your finger, stylus or Apple Pencil. As you do this, I suggest you zoom in closely on the area you are retouching in order to be as precise as possible.

An Apple Pencil will provide an additional level of precision, but it is by no means necessary. As you brush, be careful to only brush over the area of the blemish and avoid brushing over wide swaths of area with dissimilar textures. Doing this will maintain the natural and unedited look of your photos.

As you edit, be on the look out for common blemishes such as wrinkles, smile lines, stray hairs, unwanted freckles, and moles. Be mindful and careful with your editing in order to maintain a natural look. An over-edited photo is often just as unpleasant as an under-edited one. I have provided example before and after shots below.

Recap

This retouching ability is just one of the many features available in Pixelmator for iOS, and if you do any amount of image editing on iOS, I strongly encourage you to go right now and drop the $4.99 for an excellent experience. Pixelmator is a key part of my workflow, and there is a strong chance it is powerful enough to be a key part of yours as well.

Special thanks to Hannah Wilson for modeling.

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