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Ask TUAW: Removing printer drivers, renaming partitions, running your Mac with the lid closed and more


Once again, it's time for another edition of Ask TUAW, where we try to answer all your Mac and Apple-related questions. This week we're taking questions about keeping your Mac laptop running with the lid closed, removing unwanted printer drivers, renaming partitions and the best way to prepare for a clean install of Mac OSX.

As always, we welcome your suggestions and questions for next week; they should be left in the comments to this post. When asking a question please include which machine and which version of Mac OS X you're running. If you don't specify, we'll assume you're running Leopard on an Intel Mac.

Okay, let's get to it.

Our first two questions today come from Quasimoto, who asks:

On my Macbook, is there a way I can keep my computer running without it having to automatically fall sleeping when I have my lid closed?

Absolutely. Just head on over to developer Semaja2's website and download the InsomniaX utility. This handy piece of software will keep your Mac running with the lid closed and prevent it from going to sleep. One thing to consider if you do decide to use this software, however: Even though Apple supports using a MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air and a Powerbook G4 with the lid closed, you may want to keep an eye on your laptop to help prevent any potential overheating issues. This is especially true if you plan on never letting the computer go to sleep using a tool like InsomniaX.

Quasimoto also asks:

I have a partition running Windows 7 perfectly, but when I'm on OSX, it shows that partition as 'Untitled' on my desktop. Is there a way to rename that partition to say 'Windows'?

Sure. It's as simple as using a tool you already have on your Mac: Disk Utility. Just go to Applications>Utilities>Disk Utility and double-click to run. Once open, select your Windows partition and then simply replace 'Untitled' with the name of your choice.

Imat77 asks:

I Installed and ran Monolingual to get rid of additional languages. Was it a smart idea to do what I did?

I've run Monolingual on probably hundreds of Macs and have never had a problem with it. It's a great tool to free up space on your Mac's hard drive. So, you should be fine. It's worth noting, though, that you should leave Microsoft Office's files alone if possible to avoid problems with updates later on.

Imat77 also asks:

I've also got a lot of unwanted printer drivers on my Mac. What's the best way to get rid of those?

To remove unwanted printer drivers, I use a tool called Print Therapy from the folks at Fixamac. This tool will perform a host of printing system diagnostics on your Mac and will also allow you to select one or more of default printer drivers and delete them.

Davis D. asks:

Could you please go into more detail about preparing for a clean install of OS X?

Performing a clean install of Mac OSX is not something to approach lightly. It's not particularly difficult or dangerous but it does take some thought. I could tell you the best way to go about it but instead, I'm going to go right to the source and tell you what Apple says you should do -- with a few additions by me.

Make sure that your user data is backed up using your preferred backup method.

Also, I make sure to de-authorize iTunes and any other programs requiring authorization, such as Adobe Photoshop, before performing an erase and install.

For portables: Verify that your Mac has uninterrupted AC power (also a good idea for desktops, if your electricity is prone to flakiness -- might be time to invest in a UPS).

For faster migration of user data, Time Capsule/AirDisk users should connect their Macs directly to their Airport device via Ethernet.

Insert your original Mac OS 10.5 Leopard DVD and reboot while holding down the "C" key.

At the "Welcome" screen click "Continue."

Click "Agree" to the user agreement.

Select your Mac's internal hard disk and click "Options."

Select "Erase and Install."

Select "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" for disk format. (Avoid selecting "Case-sensitive" unless you know what you are doing.)

Click "OK."

Click "Continue."

At "Install Summary" click "Customize" if you would like to eliminate certain Print Drivers, Fonts, or Language packages from being installed. Otherwise, click "Install."

If you wish, you can click "Skip" when the DVD integrity check begins. (I always do.)

Once the install completes, your Mac will restart and you'll have a fresh, clean almost-new computer at your disposal. Then, you can run Software Update to bring your machine up to date (you can save time by downloading the Combo system update in advance and saving it to an external drive) restore your user data, install any third-party Applications you want and get back to work.

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