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Ask TUAW: Menubar output source, resizing a Boot Camp partition, Mac DVR and more

Mat Lu

This time in Ask TUAW we'll be looking at questions about changing our sound output source in the menubar, changing file permissions, resizing a Boot Camp partition, tiling windows and more.

As always your suggestions are most welcome, and questions for next week should be left in the comments. And now, on to the questions!

vulgo asks.

Is there any way to add a "open sound system preferences" button to quickly switch between the sound output devices just by pressing the speaker icon in the menubar instead of going the longer way to system preferences? I often switch between my Soundsticks and headphones and wonder why this button for system prefs is missing in the pulldown menu of the speaker icon. In the menubar there are also the icons for screens and network and energy and there is always a button that brings up the preferences with one click.

There are a couple of different little programs that will help you do what you want. Your best bet is perhaps PTHVolume 2 which you can use to replace the default menubar icon (turn it off in the Sounds Pref Pane). It will allow to both switch outputs and adjust their volume. An alternative is SoundSource from Rogue Amoeba. but it does not offer volume adjustment.

Rainer asks

I recently moved all of my files from my old PC to my Mac Mini. For some reason, the majority of the folders I moved over are locked, even though they and their contents are accessible. The little lock symbols over the folder icons are bothering me. Is there some way to mass-unlock all of my folders, as opposed to individually command-i and unchecking the lock for each folder?

Well perhaps it will help if you use the "Apply to enclosed items" in the dropdown gear menu at the bottom of the Get Info inspector. If you do this to a folder containing all the files you've transferred over it should change them all.

jadedcritic asks

DVR-ish sort of question. Essentially, it's making less sense to me to wait for Cupertino to make the A-TV DVR capable, and more sense to just look at what's already out there. What reading/clicky-clicky I've been doing suggests that Elgato and EyeTV are really what I need to be looking at. As a precaution though, I like to ask around, solicit advice. Is EyeTV a good option? are there better ones out there?

While some other companies are starting to get into the market on the Mac, Elgato and their EyeTV application is far and away the most mature Mac solution. If you want to do DVR type stuff on the mac then that's probably where you want to turn.

Nassim asks

Can I increase the size of a BootCamp partition after I have everything already installed, without loosing my info?

I've never done this myself, but I found these instructions which seems right to me (same basic idea here and here). Basically what you want to do is image your Windows install with something like Winclone, then repartition your hard drive using the Boot Camp Assistant (which involves deleting your present Boot Camp partition then starting over). Finally, restore your Winclone image to the new, larger partition. Now before you do anything make sure you have up-to-date backups of everything on your disk that you can restore if something goes wrong.

Seamonkeas asks

I've switched from pc to mac about 4 years and there is one thing that macs don't do that p.c. s do. It has to do with windows managment. Is there any 3rd party application that will tile your open windows vertically, or horizontally. I do alot of draggin and dropping and i hate to have to resize the windows manually.

Well basically I think Exposé is supposed to deal with this problem on the Mac. I did find this AppleScript that will apparently tile all the windows in the front application, but frankly it seems a lot easier just to hit F9.

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