Q & A: MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which I answer questions related Mac e-mail to our readers.

This week readers wrote with questions about how to read the documents in AppleWorks old new versions of Mac OS X, how to get all files open in a specific application, file recovery a Mac Mini from a system that does not start, and whether or not cleaning utilities are useful. I look forward to readers, so if you have suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!

Question: Managing old AppleWorks documents
MacFixIt reader Don asks:

    I have dozens of AppleWorks documents drawing program. "Cwk." How can I convert? Pages I hoped would work, but apparently not.

Unfortunately, Apple has removed support for these older formats, so your best bet is to have access to an older Mac on which you can run AppleWorks (you should be able to do this in OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard) and then use it to convert older documents to a more universal file format that can be opened in Pages, Word or other word processor.

If your Mac is capable of running Snow Leopard at one time and that you have the installation disks available, then one option is to install Snow Leopard on an external hard drive, and then start to work on the AppleWorks and convert your documents .

Question: Setting a default application for a file type
MacFixIt reader "tytwins" asks:

    I'm trying to get all the jpg files. Open with Photoshop by default. I go through the Get Info window to make this change, and it sticks until I turn the computer off or restart. Short of reinstalling the operating system, is there a way to correct this behavior so that it works correctly?

Try using Get Info and selecting the desired application, and then click the Replace All button below the menu where you select the application. If it does not, this indicates a problem with the system startup services. Try running the commands that I mention in this article to delete it and rebuild the hope of solving the problem. Then try again by clicking on the Replace All button to assign the file to your application of your choice.

Question: Recover files from a Mac Mini, so it can not be repaired
MacFixIt reader Burneto request:

    My Mac Mini is dead. I think it overheated. Is it worth fixing? Can I retrieve the contents of the disc?

This may be simply a matter of supply death, which can be easily corrected, but I'm not sure of the cost. If it does not light, then you'll need to take it into a repair estimate, and if you find it is not worth fixing after obtaining repair estimates, then you can always retrieve the contents of the disc by deleting (see procedure guides iFixit), then using a external drive enclosure to connect the drive to another system, which should allow it to read like any standard USB or FireWire.

Question: Whether or not cleaning utilities are useful
MacFixIt reader Michael asks:

    I toured the Apple support forums long as a user and throughout my members, I have heard the arguments for and against the use of cleaning utilities such as OnyX on your Mac. Action against public services is that they obstruct the operating system normally taking care of old caches and hidden maintenance routines, which can lead to problems in the future. Another opposing viewpoint is simply that Macs behave differently than Windows PCs when it comes to cleaning and ... these cleaning utilities are more for the world of Windows in a Mac.

    Because of this confusion, I was wondering what is your decision on this issue and it is necessary or not to use cleaning applications such as OnyX (or even MacKeeper) on your Mac. All I can say is that I personally use OnyX to clean Internet cache and nothing else.

My position on these utilities is that they should only be used when necessary. Often, they offer scheduling options for cleaning many features at once, but if your system works well when it is not necessary to run periodically. If you find system slowdowns and some of the routines these programs can be beneficial.

Ultimately, they should target the temporary files and should not affect anything, but as with any program there is the risk that a bug or two might cause problems. This is why it is best to leave well enough alone. However, clearing caches and running maintenance scripts other will not hurt the system as some have claimed.

The Windows registry has been a source of performance problems in certain situations, which explains why some people have assumed that these programs are needed on this platform. However, even the "need" for them is often questionable.I OnyX keep on my system as well, but have not configured to automatically clean or run on a schedule.
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