Mac Daniel's Advice

Three Tips for OS X Users

Evan Kleiman - 2002.04.24

Now that I've been using OS X for some time now, I've discovered that it is not immune from the common bug of most "new and improved" operating systems: They're too new and improved, thus effectively doing things that you'd rather not have them do on their own.

Today I'll help you remove these "features" and make OS X the new and improved operating system it should be.

The Root User

Who is the "root" user? Why does OS X want one? How do you get one?

The root user (or super user) is the person who is the system manager. No, this is not the system administrator account you set up and are probably using since the first time you installed OS X. It's like that, but different. Sometimes you need to be the root user to change around some things in OS X. This is probably the best definition I can give without getting into anything really technical.

Other than that, the root user is just like any other user, and logging into that account won't look much different than any other on your computer. However, you must first enable it, because just typing in "root" in the OS X login box won't work. To do this, first get into the Net Info Manager application program (it's located in your applications/utilities folder).

Now that you're in, go to the "domain" menu, then select the "security" submenu and select "authenticate", now type in your password. Next go to the security menu again and select "enable root user" after this, you're good to go!

(Thanks to the guys over at for this one!)

Stay Connected

Why do I keep getting knocked offline every fifteen minutes or so if I am just leaving my computer on to download something, and why do I keep getting asked if I wish to stay online every half hour?

This problem is a very easy one to fix. However, it's not really a problem - it's a "feature." To switch it, first go into "system preferences." Then select the "network" icon and go to the "PPP" tab. After that you will see a button entitled "PPP Options" - clicking this should bring up a dialog box which will present you with the two options of "automatically disconnecting" and "connection reminder." Turning both of these options will stop your previous problems from arising.

The Moving Dock

Why is my dock on a different part of the screen than last time?

Some people (me for one) have started up their Mac only to see that the Dock is no longer where they left it. The simple solution would be to control-click the divider line between the Trash icon and your application launcher on your dock and select the "right" position on screen. However, once you do this, you discover that the dock's contextual menu reads that it is in fact in the right place, but your eyes tell you other wise.

What happened? Why is your dock not in "left, right, center" but rather a combination of the two. Well the solution and cause of this problem are both of the same nature; the problem is a damaged or corrupted Preferences file.

You thought you got rid of them with OS X? Not even close!

Here's the solution to your problem. You must delete the prefs file for First go into your user folder (click the little house in your tool bar), then go into library, then to preferences, and delete the file called Upon restart this file will regenerate itself, and your dock should return to its normal position.

(Thanks to the guys at the "Mac Community" chat room in AOL [Keyword: Mac Community] for this one. Check it out if you can, it's a great resource).

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