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Xeb's Wonderous Adventures as a Mac Tech

66011 Views 862 Replies 143 Participants Last post by  Lord Xeb
Hey guys, this is going to be my on going thread to help out the community and to explain my....annoyance of my every day job as a mac tech. This thread will be periodically updated with stories, situations, and what I had to do to solve them. Some may be the same, others may be different, but bare in mind on one thing: This is to help you guys... and to vent my rage before I pop a vain.

People who I will refer to (Not real names):

Lee - Service Supervisor - Chill dude
Jim - GM - <3 this guy. BEST MANAGER EVER!
Francis - New guy and fresh meat.
Pete - PC tech
Serg - Another PC Tech
Ali - My fellow mac tech.
Larry - God among gods. Old service manager and he knows something about something about something. Guy is a problem fixer and a damn good one at that. Works upstairs as well.
James - The owner, boss.
Gilbert - Another sales guy

SC - Sister Company - Upstairs and where men are men.
TL - Tech Land. Where I work and the otherside of the business.

Betsy - The ever so loving trash can.
Adventures with a wonderful machine.... and file vault...

Double trouble?

SHE RETURNS!

OH DEAR GOD! MAIL! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Broken LCD...

The Fans...THEY HUNGER! FOR MORE!

WOAH! WOAH! WOAH! Hold on a second! You did what?!

So... Why is your machine shipped wtih a single tissue in the box and no packing?

So... Why won't you install?

IPHOTO!!!! DAMN YOU!!! AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHY IN THE HELL CAN'T THINGS JUST GO AS PLANNED?

Herka Derk, mah be no boot

Xeb is working on a PC job? wut?

ITS GONE! ITS FINALLY GONE! OMG I AM GOING TO CRY, BUT IT IS FINALLY GONE!

I thought this upgrade was suppose to be easy...

Dust? Wait what? Dust? WHY THE HELL WON'T IT GO AWAY?! FAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Another monstrous iPhoto Libra- Wait, what the hell is this?

So... What kind of mess is this crap? And why the hell am I always getting mixed up in this?

An ANNOYING continuation to somethingPrevious...
Ah poop...

Someone... Please, for the love of god, kill this lady!!!! I think she broken....

WHHHHHHYYYYY????!!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Who the... what? WHY! JUST FREAKING WORK GOD DAMMIT!! mad.gif

Hold on... wait.. what the hell? THERE IS SOMETHING GROWING INSIDE THIS THING!

So you cannot delete these files, huh?

Wait, whao. Um... can I say it? Holy-! THIS THING IS FAST BRAH! Wait... hold on... what? WHY IS IT DOING THAT?

Wait... Um... is that 2.. What? These are new? WHY!??!?

A Month... of Hell

LET THE TANKING COMMENCE!!!!!

What in sam's hell is this mess?

FUUUUUU MOUNTAIN LION!!!! GAHAHAuhasdiufhasiudnhfuiabewghnSFRiuyaWSE$FRYIUbgnhazsweÏ˝ˇ¨ˆnhbaejswuiFgr

O-o Uh...gaiz, we gotz a problemz!

And the importance of Permissions IIISSS!!!!

Oh the doom! THE DOOM! THE DOOOOOOOMMMM!!!! AHHHH SPOTLIGHT Y U NO SHINE?

FUUUUUUUUUUUU Y U NO RUN FAST?

Oh boy... Mac Pro with now power, a time limit, and.... a Challenge?

Oh, why hello thar. I see wha- OH FOR THE LOVE GOD AND MOTHER OF ALL THAT IS HOLY!

Well... herb-derb Apple does it again.

Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but it sure in the hell seems to be something it is not.

OUTLOOK!!!!!!!!!

OH HAI GAIZ! I HAZ UPDATE!

Oh Outlook. How I hate you so. Please, take this bottle of cyanide and DISAPPEAR!

Keychains and Mail. Oh boy!

An Act of Vengeance...

Oh the joys of Entourage. Oh such crappy software, why do you make me want to dangle from a tree?
^^^^ I did all that without messing up once.
wheee.gif
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Adventures with a wonderful machine.... and file vault...

Friday, a customer brought in her machine to upgrade the RAM. Usually these are quick things that I knock out in about 5 minutes... but things went south fast.

After installing the RAM, I give the machine back to the customer (who shouldn't even be allowed to use a computer to begin with... this thing was gross and dirty. Desktop was full of clutter). As soon as I give it back, she checks the machine to see how it is running. Well, to no surprise (as I knew there was further work that needed to be done) the machine still ran like crap. She begins to test various apps, of which Word is crashing on start. She starts to freak out (because she had a paper that was due in 2 weeks). It took me, the Supervisor (I will just call him Bob), and the GM (Lets call him Jim) to get this lady to check her machine it so I can fix it. This is where the fun begins.

When a machine gets checked in, they all go through diagnostics (full ASD (Apple Service Diagnostics), hard drive scans, and general functionality testing) before reaching a tech. Well... the diag guy found that this wonderful lady had FileVault enabled (on 10.5 and 10.6, it encrypts the user folder). This just made my job a lot harder. Luckily the drive was sound.

The machine took about 5 minutes to boot and almost another 2 minutes to load the profile (FileVault encrypts and decrypts as you go). Once I was in, I had to turn off FileVault so I can work on the machine properly. This is a simple act (as long as you know the user password).

System Preferences > Security > FileVault tab. Click "Turn off FileVault"

Now here is what sucks. I could have had this machine fixed in about an hour, but I had to have FileVault decrypt everything which takes a while. Well... the sparse bundle didn't have enough room to decrypt, so I had to move data from her home folder (at least 17GB) and then delete it. Afterward, I was able to turn off FileVault... which took 30 hours.

The weekend passes

I come in today, and the machine had finished its task. Now I can FINALLY fix this lady's machine.

After doing some browsing through her machine (which it is MUCH faster now), I found out why Word is crashing. It is on the root of the drive. YOU NEVER PUT APPS ON THE ROOT OF THE DRIVE, ESPECIALLY OFFICE! So I move it back to the Applications folder, under Office 2011 folder. No joy. Word is crashing and now PowerPoint is too... The only way to resolve this is completely removing Office 2011. For this process, you don't have to get rid of anything under Application Support under Library and the User Library. This process takes about 30 minutes, but for me it was done in less than 10.

Afterward, I reinstalled Office, and everything was working.

Onto the next issue - Safari.

When Safari is running like crap, I do 3 things: Reset safari, rip out its plist from ~/Library/Preferences and remove all plug-ins in /Library/Internet Plug-Ins.
To reset Safari, you got to Safari, at the time, click Safari, and click "Reset Safari". Select everything and click Reset.

For the plist, got ~/Library/Preferences (press CMD + Shift + G and type in the path). Find the item that says "com.apple.Safari.plist" and delete it.

Then go to ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins and check for anything plug-ins in there. If there is anything.
Next go to /Library/Internet Plug-Ins. Create a folder called Disabled Plugins and move everything BUT the following:
  • JavaAppletPlugin.plugin
  • nslQTScriptablePlugin.txt
  • Quartz Composer.webplugin
  • QuickTime Plugin.plugin
You remove any of the above and you break Safari.

BOOM, Safari should work like a charm.

She also had some keychain issues, so this one is simple. Since she was running Snow Leopard, I fired up a 10.6 install disk and went to the Utilities tab. Select "Reset Password".
Select your drive and select your user name. Click reset password. I don't put anything for a password. Click save.

While I am here, I also go to the bottom where it says "Repair ACL (Access Control Lists) and Home Folder permissions". Click Reset. This will fix any kind of funky permission issues that may be in a home folder and access issues.

Also, go to Disk Utility and run permission repair. This will fix permission issues in the system.

After all this, I booted from my trust super stick (OSX on a stick) and ran disk warrior to repair the volume and fix other issues.

When I logged back in, I was prompted with something about a keychain. Here, always select "Create New Login Keychain". This will fix all keychain issues, but you will have to reenter all your passwords for mail and stuff.

After all of this, her machine was FINALLY fixed. I am tired... Anyone got a beer?
 
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I'm going to put a link to this in the MacBook club, gives us OSX users something to read
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Double trouble?
Today was another day with another adventure, but with 2 machines.

I am going to go by Joe and Larry when I refer to these machines.

Larry's iMac was brought in because it wouldn't boot. The Apple store took a look at it and said failing hard drive. GENERALLY when Apple says it is a failed, usually the drive has failed, but not in this case.
I boot up the machine using my trusty Super Stick (I love this thing) to take a look at the drive. After reading the diagnostic notes on the drive, it turns out that there are no bad sectors and the machine passed diag with flying colors, though the volume structures failed. What this means is that there is volume damage and it needs to be repaired. In some cases I can get the drive to mount and proceed to pull the data off. In this case I was successful in mounting the volume (somewho...).

After copying the Larry's User fold over to an external drive, I attempted to repair the volume. Well... this didn't go so well. I rebooted the machine and dropped down into single user mode (As soon as you hear the chime, hold CMD + S). From there I ran an fsck -fy. Fsck couldn't repair the disk. So i booted back into my super stick and tried to repair with Disk Warrior. That didn't work either. The drive after mounting refused to unmount. So I put the machine into our NCA pile (Needs Client Approval) to have the Supervisor call the customer and get permission to save data restore (back off user folder, wipe out machine, reinstall OS and applications, updates. Move user folder back and rebuild user profile). I will come back to this.

Joe's machine was a Macbook that was running slow... This thing was painful. Surface scan passed, checked SMART and it was fine. So the drive was in good health. I put in a test hard drive (with OSX installed on it) to see if that also ran slow. It did not. So back to the original drive.

First I repaired the iPhoto library (which customer said it was taking a LONG time to load which it did). To do this, hold Option + CMD while you click on the iPhoto application until a menu pops up. Select everything and let it repair. This took a while. After it was done, iPhoto worked like a dream. The system was still running slow... So I start looking around and I spot something horrid:
McAfee and MacKeeper.

"Oh dear god," I thought to myself. Any time you have McAfee installed on a mac, it ALWAYS runs like crap. So I uninstalled it. Instant improvement. To do this, you have to go to /usr/var/McAfee and run the uninstaller. Afterward it will be removed.

Next was MacKeeper.
For all of its "praise" around the web, it is actually all crap. MacKeeper, when it repairs the disk and permissions sometimes deletes, breaks, or even destroys the machine (not kidding). Other times it does good. Sadly, it does more harm to good. GONE!

Machine now runs great, so i rebuilt directories and permissions with disk warrior, installed updates. The backed everything up onto the customer's time capsule. All done. Sent the bad boy on its way.

Back to Larry
I thought on this guy for a while and finally I had an revelation. FORCE UNMOUNT! I snatched the paperwork for the NCA pile and went to work.
Fired up my Super Stick, got the drive to mount, then dropped down into terminal. From here I ran the command:
sudo diskutil unmountDisk force /Volume/Volume_Name

This forcefully unmounted the volumes but didn't eject this disk. Now everything was greyed out in Disk Utility. Good.
Fired up Disk Warrior and it ran. After letting it do its thing, it found a BUNCH of critical volume information that was damaged. Let it repair the drive and BOOM! Drive was repaired and machine booted normally without issues. <3
 
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Are you even allowed to tell us about all this?
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Whatever, do go on. I like hearing about hardware/software problems of stuff I don't own
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't work at Apple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
SHE RETURNS!

Remember that lady from the first post? Well... is having issues. Apparently she wasn't able to log into her machine using her old password or the new one I made (blank) after resetting here keychain... *long sigh*

I told her to come back in.

2 hours later she arrives and is upset that last time no one let her check the machine before she left. This is something we usually do but it was probably because we were busy, but she could have still checked the machine at our other counter. ANYWAYS, back to business.

I take the mac back to my work bench and imediately see the problem. Corrupted keychain. When this happens, it is almost like the system decides on a password even though you changed the password so you become locked out of your account. I got to work.

First thing I did was drop down into single user mode (see my previous post) and ran this:

mount -uw /

What this does is mount root (in UNIX it is / ) with read/write permissions. From there I changed directory (cd) to the Users's Library

cd /Users/ThisGodAwefulLadyKillMeNow/Library/Keychains

Then did a quick ls. What this does is listeverything in that directory.
I think proceeded to delete everything inside the directory that ended with .keychain. To do this, you do the command
rm -rf (nameoffile/folder)

BE CAREFUL WITH THIS! YOU CANNOT RECOVER WHAT YOU DELETE!

After deleting everything from keychains, I booted to a snow leopard install disk, selected reset password and reset the account password and rebooted.

Working fine.

NOW LADY, PLEASE LEAVE (inside my head)!
 

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Subbed, good reads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
2TB drive cloning to 3TB...

OMG THIS IS TAKING FOREVER! *needs a gun*
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Xeb View Post

2TB drive cloning to 3TB...

OMG THIS IS TAKING FOREVER! *needs a gun*
i got plenty for ya.
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Moar storiez plz.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Not at all. I love my job.
 

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Enjoyed reading this.

I should blog about all the dumb people who come into the place I work at and all the dumb tech questions they ask. xD
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
OH DEAR GOD! MAIL! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Have I told any of you how much I hate mail issues? Well, I HATE mail issues. Generally the issues I deal with are stupid stuff caused by mail breaking and being stupid. One prime example of this is when a malformed message get stuck inside of mail and gets recovered over and over again till your hard drive fills up or mail breaks down and cries, "Mommy!".

Well this lady has some rather stupid mail. It is not like yahoo, gmail or... should I say it? *squeaks out a word* AOL. No, this lady has a publishing site with some weird email setup that has to be custom entered both incoming and outgoing mail servers which BTW had DIFFERENT PASSWORDS FOR EACH! There were 7 of these. This crap all broke and tumbled... dear god.

Half the stuff was sending, some was receiving. Gmail and icloud were broken. Only 2 of the 9 accounts there were actually WORKING. I ended up calling down a one of the senior techs to help out.

Anyways, long story short. The emails this lady setup for her website had to all be custom done. Then from there figure out what was the proper passwords for the incoming and outgoing parts. After this everything worked fine... After I got to a week later
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Broken LCD...

A good customer of the store came in with a new Macbook Pro 13" with a broken screen. Guy is pretty nice, but then I look at the damage. LCD is broken, glass is not.... First thing that went through my head was



Unlike the Apple store where they will simply replace the clam shell (the part that the LCD resides in), we will open the clam shell up and replace the LCD and put it back together. Well, me being the only mac tech for a majority of the day makes that job mine... And these jobs suck.

To get an idea what is involved, the process is similar to opening an ipad 2... but harder. And getting the glass off without breaking it is even harder... Because the glass always breaks.

http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing+iPad+2+Wi-Fi+LCD/5375/1

Except I use a heat gun.

After taking the clamshell off the machine and having room to work on the clamshell itself. Then getting the glass off and replacing the glass, nearly an hour has passed.. I REALLY hate replacing these things. Did I say I REALLY hate these things? After you get the LCD back in and get the machine back together, you have to put new double-sided tape around the bezel. then go to town cleaning it so no dust is behind the glass when yous tick it back on.

I REALLY REALLY hate these things.

Then once you think the glass and LCD is clean, you clean it more, peel the cover off the tape and stick it, but not pressing. Clean the glass and look for dust and dirt. Well... I have some dust behind it...



Well I am done. Good day. *puts gun into mouth*
 
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