Take Control of Troubleshooting Your Mac, 2nd Edition
Publisher: TidBITS / Take Control Books
Final Release Date: June 2011

Updated for OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion!

We may love our Macs, but they can still suffer from significant problems. In the second edition of this essential guide from best-selling author Joe Kissell, you'll learn 17 basic troubleshooting procedures and how to solve 15 common problems, along with an easy-to-follow way to troubleshoot novel problems. Whether your Mac won't turn on, experiences kernel panics repeatedly, or won't print or connect to the Internet, this book has the calm, friendly advice you need to find a solution.

This ebook contains a lot of information for $10. Seriously, I thought it would be much lighter than it was. It's actually pretty much indispensable. Well done, Joe Kissell and Take Control, I say. —Mark Webster in his mac.nz book review

The 17 basic troubleshooting procedures (along with the reasons why they can help) you'll learn are:

  • Restart your Mac
  • Force-quit an application
  • Start up from another volume
  • Run disk-repair utilities
  • Erase and restore from backup
  • Repair permissions
  • Start up in safe mode
  • Turn off login items
  • Check preference files
  • Reset PMU, SMU, SMC, NVRAM, or PRAM
  • Use Activity Monitor
  • Check free disk space
  • Check log files
  • Clear caches
  • Check your RAM
  • Test for reproducibility
  • Get system information

Joe also explains how to solve 15 common problems, including:

  • Your computer won't turn on
  • Your computer keeps turning itself off
  • You experience repeated kernel panics
  • Your Mac is abnormally slow
  • You can't empty the Trash
  • An application grinds to a halt
  • An application crashes
  • The keyboard or mouse doesn't work
  • You lose your Internet connection
  • Printing doesn't work
  • Spotlight searches fail
  • Keychain (seemingly) forgets passwords
  • Apple Mail fails to connect
  • Time Machine misbehaves
  • A volume won't unmount
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oreillyTake Control of Troubleshooting Your Mac, 2nd Edition

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(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


An Essential Tool for Any OSX User

By shawnday

from Dublin, Ireland

About Me Developer, Educator

Verified Reviewer


  • Accurate
  • Concise
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written


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    Comments about oreilly Take Control of Troubleshooting Your Mac, 2nd Edition:

    It would be wonderful if books like this were not necessarily...well at least from the user perspective. The third book in what Kisell terms The Mac Fitness Books series is Take Control of Troubleshooting Your Mac. He completes his trilogy as he deals with general and sometimes fatal issues such as slowdown in system operation (much of which is dealt with in his speeding up your Mac volume) or the peril of kernel panics to basic application issues such as mail connectivity or keychain issues. This is the most familiar of the three volumes and is possibly the most fluid read. Prudently there is a section on preventing problems which should of course be mandatory practice for anyone. These are superb, well explained and offer the hands-on direction to actually lead one to use them (I installed applejack in case of eventualities and frankly was unaware of its purpose or value). The entire volume is chock full of useful advice, dealt with largely as a cookbook allowing it to be consulted when needed in a to get right to the exact information needed in timely manner.

    From a personal standpoint, I was particularly struck with his approach to the problem "Your Mac won't turn on"...OK...is he really going to say it? And he does...'Check your entire power path' says Kissell...Brilliant and diplomatic way of saying is it plugged in. I loved it. He's actually far better about this than the mere chuckle that anyone who has had to perform technical support personally or professionally is bound to utter on this one. There are a few less than obvious technical things with power-strips and fuses that could cause issues, but I can recall in my youth an irate customer demanding that I do an onsite visit because the piece of junk that he had just bought was dead on arrival...of course only to demonstrate that you actually had to plug it into the mains to make it work.

    The thoroughness of Kissell's approach to this problem...step by step is a mark of the book as a whole. He even includes simple terminal commands at one point that may even be approachable by novices. At one point, frankly a book like this may have been less necessary, but I am forced to admit that some of these issues have befallen me as of late and there are problems lurking out there that more OSX users than in the past are having to face. The system that prides itself on delivering a smooth user experience where you don't have to worry about what's going on under the hood has so many third party products that complicate the mix that a book like this is an essential companion. I would recommend this one to any OSX user and say its is well worth it and an essential buy.

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