MacFixIt Answers is a feature where we answer questions e-mailed to us by readers. This week, we have questions on recovering accidentally deleted files, retrieving files off iPhones, where the QuickTime preferences went in Snow Leopard, and external drive compatibility with the Mac.
Question: Recovering accidentally deleted files
MacFixIt reader "Les" asks:
I deleted a photo library and lost all of my holiday photos from remote Bhutan. I emptied the trash too. Is there anyone or anyway someone can recover deleted files from the hard drive if they have not been written over?
The best thing to do is for now to not use your system, or use it minimally. Depending on the system you have, you can boot it into Target Disk mode (restart and immediately hold the T key) and then access its hard drive from another Mac using a FireWire cable (the drive should mount like an external drive). On the second Mac, install a file recovery utility like Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery for Mac, and use it to scan the drive for the lost album. It is important you do not use the system, because even running programs can have the computer write data to the hard drive, chancing the deleted file will be overwritten with new data and lead to a permanent loss of the files.
Question: Getting files off an iPhone
MacFixIt reader "Roland" asks
You posted a link to an apple document that explains how to get files from the iphone to a desktop. On the mac, it's to use iPhoto to fetch your videos. That's far from intuitive or logical, and took me quite a bit of hunting around to find this last weekend. Why can't iMovie see the movies? Why can't they sync with the movies folder. Why do I have to use a program that downloads the movie to a labyrinthian folder system within the iphoto database? That's not a good thing.
I agree the use of the home folder organization would be a good thing; however, Apple has for now used the iTunes folder for storing all the iPhone media so they should be in subfolders of that one. There is a small program called iPhone Explorer that allows you to browse the files on your iphone and download them as you wish
Question: QuickTime preferences in Snow Leopard
MacFixIt reader "Chris" asks
There is NO preference pane for QuickTime 7 in System Preferences. Now, I understand this perfectly well for QuickTime X, but....
Is this true even if I have done the optional install for QuickTime 7? I remember there being an Advanced tab in the prefs for QT7 where you could check/change the MIME settings etc. (there were a few other tabs as well). The only way to get there was going to System Preferences and clicking on the QuickTime icon. These were not the same preferences that you could set when having the application open under QuickTime > Preferences. Now there is no system prefpane for QT7 at all. I suppose I haven't tried to access these prefs in so long that I didn't even notice it was removed from Snow Leopard (if that is indeed the case).
Unfortunately with the move to QuickTime X Apple has changed a few things and these settings are no longer available. It appears for now Apple is starting QuickTime X at the bare minimum of what people need, and will hopefully start tacking these settings and other features onto the program as QuickTime X matures, but we will have to wait and see.
Question: External drives incompatible with the Mac
MacFixIt reader "Bill" comments (referencing this article):
I purchased a Seagate external drive which would not boot my iMac. I was told by a Seagate Tech that their drive was not designed for booting and he could not figure out why I would even want to boot from an external drive. He was a PC-Windows person.
Lesson here is to be sure that the drive you are purchasing is able or designed to boot the Macintosh.
That is true that some external drives, while built on "universal technologies" such as Firewire and USB, have controllers or firmware that are incompatible with certain system functions like booting, or even may be incompatible with the Mac itself. Despite this, most should work just fine so unless the manufacturer has a specific "Mac Version" of their device, chances are it will work.