Basic Mac troubleshooting procedure

This is the basic troubleshooting procedure that I recommend when first dealing with a Macintosh computer that's not working correctly.


  1. Start the Macintosh with the CD or Disk Tools diskette that came with computer and run the Apple Disk First Aid tool.
  2.  Run a diagnostic program such as Norton Disk Doctor or TechTool Pro.

How do I rebuild the desktop for Mac OS X 10.0 or later?

Rebuilding the desktop is less of an issue in Mac OS X and is only applicable to the Classic environment in Mac OS X
  1. From the Apple menu select Choose System Preferences
  2. Click the Classic icon from the System section
  3. Click the Advanced tab
  4. Click Rebuild Desktop

Zapping the PRAM

Zapping the PRAM (Parameter RAM) resets the PRAM settings back to their default values. Resetting the PRAM may be helpful if your computer is having startup problems, or other miscellaneous problems. For more information on what is stored in the PRAM settings, view the following Apple article:
Macintosh: How to Reset PRAM and NVRAM (outside this site)

To reset the PRAM, do the following:

Step1: Shut down the computer
Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command, Option, P, and R. You will need to use these keys in the following next step.
apple command key
Step 2: Turn on the computer
Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys. Press this key combination before the Mac gray screen appears.
Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
Release the keys. All done!
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