I suddenly found myself dealing with a frustrating problem this week. I suspect some troubleshooting steps to get my Magic Mouse 2 working again caused the issue. Specifically, I reset the Bluetooth config and then reset the SMC. I’m not positive this is what caused it but the timing seems to be more than just coincidental.
I was unable to unlock my MacBook Pro using my Apple Watch. It had worked flawlessly for some time. Toggling the Handoff settings on the phone and the watch, toggling the “Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac”, and any other settings I could find that were even remotely related, including the Wrist Detection, did nothing to solve the problem.
I finally found the solution in a suggestion from someone on Mac Rumors to sign out of iCloud via System Preferences in macOS and then sign back in. Sure enough, that immediately solved my problem and now I’m back to unlocking my system using my Apple Watch.
Back at the house the cable modem and router usually operate just fine but every now and then something hangs up and unfortunately it’s not always practical to go by to reset the gear. And asking a friend to do it for me, even when they’re eager to do it, just seems unfair.
So I searched for a device on Amazon.com, as usual, and sure enough someone has a product that is intended for exactly this need. The NetReset NR100US, which cost about $45$60 $73, can be set to automatically reset the power to both outlets on the device using a set delay between them. It will turn off one outlet for a minute, turn it back on, and then a minute later do the same for the next.
I’m departing from the usual purpose of this blog to take a moment to rant about software updates changing settings, especially when previously selected options still exist in the updated software.
My annoyance of the week goes to Apple for changing the security setting that permits the installation of any third-party software. I changed this setting in Mountain Lion a long time ago so I wouldn’t be restricted to using only software developed by Apple partners.
Sure enough, on every computer we installed Mavericks on, this setting had been changed. Previously, we had it set to allow apps downloaded from “Anywhere” but after the update it was set to the second option of “Mac App Store and identified developers”.
I suppose this might be an effort to curb future malware problems though, even if that is the case, it shouldn’t be reset after any update. I realize this is a minor annoyance but it’s not uncommon to experience similar problems with iOS updates and these particular options seem, in my opinion, to be modified in order to “encourage” a specific end-user behavior.
A long-time offender includes Mozilla with Firefox updates, which is why I created a post with specific settings that I could refer back to after installing browser updates.
My wife’s grandfather recently ran into a problem with his new laptop. At some point he had to restart his laptop but wasn’t able to login Windows (Windows 7 Home Edition). We’re not sure if someone changed the password without his knowledge or if he forgot that he had a passwords (it’s possible that he simply hadn’t restarted his computer since it was given to him).
The simple solution is to download a Windows password reset tool. There are many free tools available for download from the Web. In this case, I chose to use the Offline NT Password and Registry Editor.
However, the plan was to have his laptop for only a short window. My wife picked it up last Sunday and planned to return it the following Friday. Normally, that wouldn’t be an issue, except I was out of town and my wife had not used this type of tool before.
Fortunately, we both have Macs. Specifically, MacBook Pro systems. By using FaceTime and Screen Sharing we were able to burn the tool to a pre-built ISO, run it on the laptop and successfully clear the password.
I used Screen Sharing to see and chat with my wife. I also used it to view the display of the Windows laptop (from the camera on her Mac) and inform my wife which options to select. Screen Sharing was useful because I could guide my wife through downloading and burning the ISO image for the tool.
You certainly don’t have to use Macs to remotely diagnose and provide assistance. Combinations of devices, such as an iPhone and an iPad or even a mix of Windows and Macs can be used, though Windows to Mac setups will require cross-platform tools to replace FaceTime and Screen Sharing.
The point of this article is simple to serve as a reminder that remote diagnosis of a computer can often be done using built-in or free tools.