Some macOS / OSX notes

Started 5Jan2013, updated 7april2017. This page is in group Technology.


  1. This “Mac OS X”, “OSX”, “OS X” or soon to be “macOS” again blog note – will mention concrete products and manufacturers. There is no money involved with this, I just happen to have learned something about them that I think is ok to write about
  2. I do try to be accurate in my descriptions, but I cannot guarantee that it will work for you. I write after some time, and what I write may not be completely correct. Please comment if you find any inaccuracies or errors

OSX aborting session when stumbling on a single file

Published 5Jan2013

Some times I need to move large amounts of files or a single very large directory around. I think it often involves an external disk. It could be moving the iTunes library media files to an external disk (see my old blog 003 or new [1] at Ars Technica), or some other need.

After some years of sitting where they are, Mac OSX might find at least one of the files not possible to move. OSX then stops the copying or moving! In the middle of the work, with a cryptic error message in the form of some negative number! It doesn’t tell where it stopped, and there is no way to “continue” that I have discovered.

But there is an easy solution: instead of copy or move – synchronize!

Some years ago I found that I had a tool right on my mac to get this work done. I assume that any synch tool could do the work, but I use ChronoSync [2]. It’s just to set up a new “synchronizer” for moving in one direction. You can use Backup, Blind Backup or Mirror modes. Experiment.

The good thing is that you can try it first and see how it will go by doing a Trial Sync, and after real Synchronize you will find a log, also containing errors describing what was not successful. You can tell ChronoSync how it should handle errors: Report to user, Skip, Exclude or Abort. Except – you don’t want Abort, because that’s the default OSX semantics, the reason for using the synchronizer tool.

OSX Mavericks error: windows stuck in ackward positions

Published 29Jan2014, updated 15Feb2014

  • OS X Mavericks OS X 10.9.1 (13B42)
  • Error windows stuck in awkward positions
  • Screen clips from MacBook Pro, Retina, 13-inch, Late 2012
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000 1024 MB

Below is a slideshow with two pictures. The first picture shows the window for handling of AirPlay speaker positioned ok. In the second picture the main window was moved, but the dialogue window reappeared at the same place as. It should have stayed close to the mouse click.

Finder may also show a rename file text entry window that’s positioned at wrong places, even out of the screen! Also the top menu bar some times has the drop-down positioned wrongly; it’s difficult to realize that to navigate to the drop down menu one has to do it from the left of the natural start trace. And rescaling or moving a window may cause it to rescale and position at strange places. These are all matters I am experiencing.

This problem is described in at least this thread at Apple Support Community: “Windows Stuck In Akward Positions After Maverick [sic] Update” at The points below so far I believe give zero useful information (so instead skip the list and jump to the work-around):

  1. It is suggested in the thread, but in my case it does not help, to remove automatic entering of machine idle mode. But now I have also removed auto idle for the screen, so I’ll see if it helps. I go to idle manually anyhow, so I could do that until Apple fixes it. Actually I set the timeouts to so long that they won’t happen. If you have got the problem you need to restart after changing the configuration. I have never seen the machine start with this error.
  2. The thread also suggests to turn hiding on and then off in the dock.
  3. I worked in Pages’09 (4.3) when the problem appeared. I then tried (a shot in the dark?) to switch dock hiding on, off, on – but it did not seem to help. But after a while I saw it was ok again (on some of the windows only..), before I shut Pages. I had not been in sleep during this session.

I have reported this to Apple at and it was registered as “Windows stuck in ackward positions”, number 15944471.


A work-around is described by Kees de Wit here It worked when I tried it for Finder: the rename text field after this was positioned correctly!


Disclaimer, speculative paragraph: As a programmer I would not be surprised if this were an error that’s caused by some OO problem, as described in this reference: Typically the x.y-pos of the window is not set to new values, but the old value is being used. This may be an aliasing or some OO-circular problem as described in Peter H. Welch’s referenced paper.

Sharing from OS X Preview with Messages

OS X Yosemite 10.10.4 (5July2015). See my “Not so blocking after all” blog note chapter with the same name as above, here.

Windows 10 with Boot Camp by Parallels Desktop on iMac 4K retina

(17July 2016 ver.1.0.3) I bought a version of Microsoft Windows 10 and installed it with Boot Camp. I then booted up in Windows and was able to find out how to boot again in OSX (OS X El Capitan 10.11.5 – next version will be macOS). I then installed Parallels Desktop for Mac to serve as a virtual machine for Windows 10. It’s “Windows on Mac without Rebooting”.

I did all this to run winf and learn about Windows 10. I had already tried, XQuarts and X11 (see 057) on MacBook Pro and didn’t want to repeat that for the new 4K retina 21.5″ iMac.

Getting Windows up was well described by Apple (here) and by Parallels (here). READ THEM. I thought I did. But still struggled a lot. Here are some extra tips. But do read them first, then do nothing, then read this, then start off with their texts and then press their buttons.

Below are camera pictures, since I don’t know how to do screen grabs/cuts in these intermediate modes:

Boot Camp-install in Windows 10

Boot Camp-install in Windows 10 (press for more pixels)

  1. For some strange reason I wasn’t able to install Windows 10, run Boot Camp Assistant and Parallels install tool piece by piece. I ended up, when I found out what really to do, to start all over and run all in a sequence. There should not be “state” in this, requiring this sequence, but this is how I ended up doing it when I finally succeeded:
  2. I bought (a long process in itself, leaving me with a feeling that Microsoft had been nice with me and allowed me to pay a lot for a product the world is so lucky to be blessed with) a Windows 10 licence and pasted the key into a Notes document. That was luck, because when the install screen later came, I had to type the key in. No paste. I found it in the note that had appeared on my iPhone through iCloud. Even simpler: write the key down on a piece of paper. I needed it many times..
  3. Microsoft said on the download page that “the link” was valid for 24 hours. That means I had 24 hours to do that download. It gave me a time 24 hours ahead in UTC and AM/PM, silly. We have 24 hours clock here and why they use UTC for non-astronomers I fail to understand. Central European Time is just as formally defined as UTC
  4. I downloaded the ISO image file. Microsoft gave me a list of several possible downloads, but didn’t tell me which I should use, or what they were. Just some nomenclature. There seemed to be a special “N” variant for Europe (Google helped), also an “NK” variant for Korea I found out (?) (hey, I live in Norway!) I tried the “N” but failed (probably it’s some finger trouble of mine), but I ended up downloading the standard variant. In addition I had to select basic language. Fair enough. When I failed I had a feeling that I needed to download again, so I ended up with several downloads. With deletes in between
  5. I then started Apple’s Disk Tool (“Diskverktøy”) just to follow what I had read about. There was no partition there called BOOTCAMP. I let it sit open. I have an SSD-only machine
  6. I then started the Apple Boot Camp Assistant. (“Boot Camp-assistent”). It discovered the Microsoft Windows ISO image file. It also suggested the minimum size of a new BOOTCAMP partition it was going to make for me (instead of having Disk Tool do it). That was 32 GB. I pushed the line between the main partition and the BOOTCAMP partition, and it seemed to move somewhat to the smaller. Maybe this was the cause of the warning from the Windows installer later on that the partition it had got was too small (it wanted 33838 MB). I don’t know. It seemed just to be a warning, I was so happy then that I had gotten so far, so I let it go; it seemed – with Microsoft’s blessing). Since I am not going to use Windows much, I am simply not going to let it completely pass by when I next year exit work, then mininum is what I gave it. (Aside: When I failed this several times then Boot Camp Assistant also removed the partition. It either makes one or removes it)
  7. Watching Disk Tool while Boot Camp Assistant was working I could see how the BOOTCAMP partition came into being. Boot Camp Assistant was supposed to restart the machine. It surely did, all of a sudden. After several rounds with this I observed that it was only after the Apple rotating wheel spun for some seconds that it restarted with the Windows set-up tool. If there was no spinning wheel then it restarted with OS X again, and I started from square one, since there was nothing telling me what was (not) going on
  8. When the Microsoft Windows set-up screen arrived it was so tiny on my 4K retina screen that I had to find a magnifying glass to read the text. By analysing the picture below that window should cover 640 pixels (15,6% of 4096) which makes sense since the basic Windows screen at least was 640 pixels. This tiny patch in the middle of my screen certainly isn’t much up to date. The mouse worked ok, but the rest of the screens reminded me of Windows 3.1 in the early nineties.  
    Windows 10 setup on iMac retina 4k
  9. I found out that I should select the manual set-up mode (not “upgrade” but instead “advanced” (“egendefinert” in Norwegian)). If not it would complain that it couldn’t find a partition. In manual I went down to the BOOTCAMP partition and (after I read one of the install notes in detail – after having gotten a complaint that the partition wasn’t NTFS file system (Boot Camp Assistant had made FAT32)), then I pushed the “Format” word button. The tiny Windows set-up tool in the middle of the screen indicated some activity and went on
  10. Finally Windows came up. I had to fill in several details about myself several times, this is rather paranoid. I assume each of them has a good reason..
  11. I found my winf32 file and downloaded it with the new Edge browser (here, pw is “W..”). This is the nineties, but still, no other code editor does folding as fluently.. But the font’s rendering and the nineties look didn’t give me an optimistic start. The start window in Windows, with animated tiles gave me the impression that someone had tried to sell me a Mercedes but thrown in a tabloid newspaper to run it by. Why did Microsoft think I wanted fresh info about games or their selection of news as the first impression? Hmm..
  12. I found a Boot Camp icon in the Windows right, bottom corner and told it to restart in OS X again. That menu is not seen in the picture. Boot Camp in Windows 10
  13. Back in an OS X boot, now came the time for Parallels Desktop for Mac – since I didn’t want dual boot with. I wouldn’t have bought an iMac for Windows only. I wouldn’t have any Windows without OS X right there. When I started it, it saw the Window’s BOOTCAMP partition and I asked it to install from there. (I had tried starting with letting it do the Windows install, too (with 20 GB it said it would let it go with?) – but I didn’t succeed. But this time it did)
  14. Windows now seems to be running fine under OS X. Parallels now has its virtual machine (VM) run “Windows on Mac without Rebooting”
  15. I had tried to install two VMs, but Parallels helped me in Twitter (here) to get one removed. I did try to start a thread on Parallel’s discussion forum, but it didn’t think I wrote in “English”, so I was stopped. There was no sic there and no Norwegian. I had to do it through the Twitter straw instead
  16. I may try it with Google’s Chrome OS one day, too. Instead of buying a chromebook machine. My grandchildren will soon come with these, as the schools in Trondheim already have replaced more than 3000 WIndows machines with chromebooks (7.2016)
  17. Comments welcomed! On Twitter, here, or mail me. I will of course fix!
  18. Observe that Time Machine (TimeMachine) will not backup the (BOOTCAMP) Windows partition! (By the way, naturally it doesn’t backup the OS X trash, either.) So, either find a way to do it (Windows? Parallels? Third party? By hand?) or have files as much as possible on the OS X partition
  19. Now I have to “activate” Windows 10, to avoid it timing out in a month. This is something else than registering. Windows keeps telling me this, which I presume is fine. I tried the other night by copy-pasting the 25-character product key. It didn’t accept that, so I need to try to type it it. Which didn’t help. I’m sure Microsoft has some reason to impose this on me. This article descibes more. It’s got to do with anti-piracy, which I presume is especially annoying if you live by charging 1199 NOK (USD 119,99 – which is cheaper) for every copy – and you’re big and targeted. And I did this very voluntary, also paying almost that amount for Parallels. I’m simply not going to let Windows 10 (an then Chrome OS) go by when I retire from my daily dose of Windows. OS X has ruled at home and it still will. But not completely.
    1. I got error code 0xC004C008, it’s described on Microsoft suport here. One Windows 10 says I need to activate, and another says I’ve done it? But I have only one machine!
    2. Parallels has a thread about it here. Ok, so this is about it being activated already when I started it in dual boot. And now I’m in Parallel’s virtual desktop
    3. Problem solved: I pressed the Microsoft Help in the Activation window containing the error report and called the telephone number that was there. A machine lady’s voice answered:
      • I had to type in nine different 7-digit numbers that was shown in the window. This was the Installation-ID (“installasjons-ID” in Norwegian). The voice at the other end helped me
      • I then went to the next screen and was asked to type in eight 6-digit numbers (A-H) that the voice spelt out to me. This was the Acknowledge-ID (“bekreftelses-ID”). The next key to press on the screen was Activate (“Aktiver Windows”). It worked! My machine now is activated both under Dual Boot and with Parallels

Command-tab application switcher

(Update 16Nov2016) My cmd-TAB horisontal application bar of icons didn’t switch to the application I had selected (OS X 10.11.6). I closed Parallels Desktop (force quit, actually). Voila! The application switcher switches again! And I didn’t lose it when I restarted Parallels Desktop and logged into Windows. Parallels Desktop had been running for a long time unattended.

Never-ending mails from Parallels?

(Update 2Jan2017) After some months now (with no need for Windows yet) I still have not managed to get Parallel ad mails off my back. It doesn’t seem to help to unsubscribe. The impression I get of Parallels from this is easy to guess..

Bad old Windows font smoothing on 4K screen

The left part here is XMOS xTIMEcomposer (Eclipse based) running on a 4K iMac. The right is my very old winf32 folding editor that I don’t seem to get rid of. The latter is an exe file running in Windows on Parallels. Press to get one-to-one pixels from the screen clip.

Winf32 (Windows exe on Parallels, right) and Eclipse (MacOS, left) on iMac 4096 pixel screen
Press for pixel-to-pixel screen grab

Now, is there a way to have Windows or Parallels do a better job? I know it’s hard since the basic DPI is so different, if it’s bitmap based. But it’s not winf32 that does the font rendereing, it’s a call to the Windows version at the time (some twenty years ago). Is there a change to get as crisp fonts as I do in xTIMEcomposer? Observe that Eclipse is even Java based, which seems to be very good on macOS.


  1. How to offload your iTunes library to a NAS. Free up your local disks by shoving that iTunes library onto external storage. Lee Hutchinson – Dec 26 2012″. At Ars Technica, there
  2. ChronoSync from Econ Technologies
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