Answering your most common questions

There’s no such thing as a dumb question. If it’s in your head, it’s worth asking. We’ll guide you through your technology questions in style. To get started, here are some of the most common questions people ask. If you don’t see it here, get in touch.

How do I backup my email and Address Book?

If you use Apple Mail, the files you want to backup are in your Home folder, under Library. Please be careful in there! That is where the Mac stores all your user-specific settings and preferences, so if you move or delete anything then your Mac will not behave as it used to.

If you use Microsoft Entourage, you need to backup the folder called Microsoft User Database found at Home > Documents. You may also wish to migrate your email into Apple Mail. Of course, we can help with that.

How do you know if your Hard Drive is dying?

Sometimes it starts clicking, clunking, or grinding, and sometimes you get no warning at all before the computer stops booting and displays a flashing question mark instead of the grey Apple logo.

With a good backup system like Time Machine with an external hard drive, you never have to worry!

What is the difference between RAM and Hard Drive memory?

Hard Drive memory (usually called “space” or “storage”) is where you store your saved files such as music, documents, and pictures. The average new computer these days will come with anywhere from 150 to 500GB of storage. One gigabyte (GB) is about 1000MB, and the average photo is around 1MB. The average song download is around 5MB.

RAM generally dictates how many programs you can comfortably have open at the same time, and the more RAM you have the faster your computer will feel while multi-tasking. Most new computers usually come with between one and four gigabytes of RAM.

To find out how much Hard Drive space you have available, highlight the Macintosh HD icon in the top right of your Desktop and press Command-I. If you have less than 5-10GB free it is time to look at deleting some files or adding some internal or external storage space.

To find out how much RAM you have installed, go to Apple menu -> About This Mac and look at Memory. If you have 1GB or less, you would benefit greatly from a RAM upgrade.

Why does Mail show a little picture icon in the top right corner of messages I’ve sent?

We get this question a lot. This is purely cosmetic, and only you see it. That icon can be changed by going to System Preferences > Accounts.

Don’t worry about your privacy in terms of the picture. The only way other people will see that image is if you sent them your vCard by dragging it out of Address Book and attaching it to an email message addressed to them.

I spilled wine or coffee on my keyboard. What do I do?

Follow the same steps as in the previous FAQ on spilling water, but also add: “Pray.”

That kind of sticky mess is not good for sensitive electronics.

When it is definitely not going to get any better, you can bring it in for hardware repair, and the affected parts will need to be replaced. That is not something that is covered by warranty, unfortunately.

I spilled water on my keyboard. What do I do?

First and foremost, unplug the keyboard to prevent electric circuit shorting. If it’s a laptop, unplug the power and take out the battery.

Now the hard part: Leave it unplugged for 24 to 48 hours so it can dry completely before reconnecting. If you have rice handy, put it in a container with rice, which will help to absorb the moisture a little more rapidly. If it doesn’t work after 48 hours, you’ll have to look at hardware replacement options.

How does a Macinhome service call work?

To get started, we encourage you to use our quick and convenient online form to request an onsite visit. If you don’t have an account with us, it takes about a minute to fill out a short form and act on one account activation email to get setup. If you do have an account with us, it takes less than 30 seconds. In either case, you can anticipate a callback within 10 minutes.

When your mobile Apple consultant calls you to set a time for the service call, he or she will ask a few quick questions, confirming the nature of the service request.

Once the service call’s complete, your mobile Apple consultant will present you with our electronic checkout system for payment processing. Only at this point is your credit card charged.

An electronic invoice and satisfaction survey are sent to you immediately upon payment.

A few days after the service call, we will call you again to ensure everything is working smoothly.

What’s the difference between what Macinhome offers and AppleCare?

The AppleCare warranty you bought with your Mac is a great investment. It covers your Mac for all hardware failures for a total of two years in addition to the one-year standard Apple warranty. You also get phone support from Apple for the duration of that time, and the resale value of your Mac remains high.

The Macinhome service offering covers all your software repair and personal tutoring needs. We come to your home or office and work with you one on one when you need help with something. If your software programs or operating system are misbehaving we will get it working for you in no time.

I thought Macs don’t break down

It’s rare, but it can happen. A Mac is a well-built machine with hardware and software both developed and assembled by the same great company. Macs last a long time, and they are pretty resilient to common viruses. They multi-task like no other personal computer, and their UNIX operating system foundation is rock solid.

That being said, they are still a computer, and they can run into problems with software or hardware from standard day-to-day wear and tear, just like any other computer. It’s just far less frequent on a Mac, and it’s far more upsetting when it happens.

When something happens (or doesn’t happen when it should), you want professionals on the case, treating your Mac with the specialized care it deserves.