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Encrypting folders and requiring passwords for access is an excellent way to store and protect private data on a Mac. Now, there is a new means of password protecting folders and sensitive files introduced in Mac OS X that lets you create a new encrypted disk image directly from a specified folder.

Though you can still create a blank disk image and fill it as you see fit by using the older trick, this new option in Disk Utility is easier to use and extremely quick, making it the preferred method to add a very strong layer of encryption to a folder, securing itself along with all of its contents.

How to Encrypt a Folder in Mac OS X

This specific “Image from Folder” trick requires a modern MacOS release, anything from Mac OS X 10.8 or later will have this as an option to use:

Open Disk Utility, found in /Applications/Utilities/

Pull down the “File” menu and select “New” and then “Disk Image from Folder”

Set the Image Format to “read/write” and the Encryption to “128-bit AES”

If you do not intend on using the encrypted image as a working folder that you can add and remove documents from, you can choose an Image Format other than “read/write”.

An encrypted disk image will be created based on the folder you specified, it may take a while if the folder is large or your Mac is slow.

Accessing the Encrypted Folder & Contents

After the encryption procedures is finished, you’ll now be able to access and use the encrypted folder. To summarize steps of accessing the encrypted folder and how to properly use it to maintain security:

Enter the password used during the initial encryption setup – do NOT check “Remember password”

Access the encrypted folder and the contents as a mounted virtual disk, you can modify, copy, edit, delete, and add to it

When finished, close the files and eject the virtual image to re-secure the folder and files and require a password for future access

Just as when creating the disk image password, always uncheck the box saying “Remember password in my keychain” or else you will store the password and lose the security benefit of the encrypted image since anyone with access to your user account could open it. This also applies to transferring the encrypted folder image to another Mac.

With a readable and writable encrypted disk image, you can treat it as a normal folder and copy, delete, or move files from the image. Anything brought into the image while mounted will become encrypted automatically under the same protective layer with the same password.

When you are finished working with the folder and want it password protected again, simply unmount the disk image.

Regaining access again will require the password before it can be mounted and available.

The short video below demonstrates the entire process, in less than a minute you can encrypt a folder with password protection and mount it for access.

Remember, do not forget the password, or else you will lose access to the data stored within the encrypted folder for good. This is important, because the security level of the encryption format is so strong that it’s virtually impossible to break, thus a lost password means lost data.

Note: This will only encrypt and password protect the folder specified, if you are looking for full disk encryption for literally every single thing on the Mac, you would want to enable FileVault instead. FileVault applies similar encryption methodology to the entire hard drive automatically.

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Cut And Paste Files & Folders In Mac Os X

The Mac now has the highly desirable “Cut and Paste” file feature throughout the Mac OS X desktop and Finder, allowing users to truly cut and paste to move the selected documents or folders to a new location, rather than just making a copy of them. In this sense, the cut & paste ability behaves much like the Windows explorer counterpart, and it represents a fast and efficient way to move and relocate files from one location to another location, without using the standard drag & drop approach that has been standard on the Mac since the origins of the OS.

Using the cut and paste file feature can be seem a little tricky at first, but it’s really not complicated. All you need to do is learn to differentiate the keystrokes that make the action happen. Let’s cover exactly how to cut and paste to move files and folders around on the Mac.

How to Cut & Paste Files and Folders in Mac OS X with Keyboard Shortcuts

What you need to do first is select files in the Mac file system browser, known as Finder, and then combine a series of keyboard shortcuts. The keystrokes necessary for cutting and pasting files on the Mac are as so:

FIRST: Command+C copies the files or documents in the Finder, note they won’t be ‘cut’ yet

SECOND: Command+Option+V pastes the documents into the new desired location on the Mac, cutting it from the prior locating and moving it to the new location

Remember, you must have a file selected for the cut & paste to work on Mac.

Important: If you just hit Command+V you will only move a copy of the files into the new location, as in a true copy and paste, rather than a cut and paste function. Notice holding down the Option key also changes the menu text to show “Move Items Here” to further signify the difference if you use the menu based approach described below.

Cutting & Pasting Files on Mac with Menu Options

You can also cut & paste files and folders entirely from the Edit menu in the Mac Finder.

Select the files / folders you wish to move in the Finder, then pull down the “Edit” menu and choose “Copy”

Now navigate to the new location in the Finder where you want to ‘paste’ the files to

Go back to the ‘Edit’ menu in Finder and hold down the OPTION key to reveal “Move Items Here” (the Paste command changes to this, choose that to complete the file cut and paste in Mac OS X

You must hold down the “Option” key to reveal the “Move Items Here” choice to actually cut and paste (move) the files.

You’ll notice that you can’t select “Cut”, which is why you choose “Copy” in the Finder instead. The Copy command turns into “Cut” when you go to “Move” with the Paste command. You can watch this sequence directly by pulling down the menu itself to see the accompanying keystrokes as well, you’ll find it in all modern versions of MacOS and Mac OS X:

Being able to cut and paste files and folders is a feature many Windows converts have been wanting for a long time. Prior to this, users would drag and drop items into their new locations to move them, or use the command line mv tool. Those methods still work too as well, obviously, but the cut and paste methodology is a very welcome addition for many Mac users.

This works the same within MacOS Mojave, Sierra, macOS High Sierra, El Capitan, OS X Yosemite, OS X Mountain Lion and Mac OS X Mavericks, and will likely continue as a feature in the future versions of the MacOS desktop as well.

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How To Encrypt Files And Folders With Veracrypt In Ubuntu

It may be a good idea sometimes to keep certain files and folders in an encrypted location to prevent unauthorised access. This is especially important on a shared computer where you might have some sensitive documents that you don’t want other users to see.

A common technique used by some people is to hide the files in obscure locations, such as a deeply nested folder, where other users cannot easily find it, but that’s not entirely foolproof, as it could show up in search results.

Short of removing the file from the computer completely, the next best way to prevent unauthorised access to your private files is to store them in an encrypted location.

There are several ways to encrypt a folder in Ubuntu, but I will show you how to use VeraCrypt, a free, open-source and cross-platform data encryption tool.

Install VeraCrypt

To install VeraCrypt in Ubuntu, run the following commands in the terminal:

sudo

add-apt-repository ppa:unit193

/

encryption

sudo

apt update

sudo

apt

install

veracrypt

Once installed, launch it from the Unity Dash or your preferred application launcher.

Create an Encrypted Volume

The first thing you need to do is create an encrypted volume where you will store all folders you’d like to protect.

3. Choose “Standard VeraCrypt volume.”

6. In the next step choose your preferred Encryption Algorithm and Hash Algorithm. The defaults should be okay for most uses.

7. Next, you need to specify the size of your encrypted container. Specify a big enough size to hold all the files you’d like to store there.

8. Now choose a complex password for your container. This is the password that will be used to mount the container and access any files stored there.

9. Next, select a filesystem for your container. FAT is the safest option because it works on all operating systems.

10. Move your mouse randomly on the window, preferably until the bar is full. This helps to increase the cryptographic strength of the encryption keys.

Mount Encrypted Volume

To mount the encrypted volume, open VeraCrypt and select the file you created in the previous step.

You can use your encrypted volume just like any other partition on your hard drive. Anything you keep here will be encrypted and inaccessible to other users once you dismount the partition.

We’d love to hear how you protect sensitive documents on your Linux PC. Any thoughts, questions or suggestions are welcome.

Ayo Isaiah

Ayo Isaiah is a freelance writer from Lagos who loves everything technology with a particular interest in open-source software. Follow him on Twitter.

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Cog: A Great Itunes Alternative For Mac Os X

After iTunes erroneously deleted my music collection a few years ago, I started looking for alternatives. Being a part-time Windows user, I had grown to love the simplicity of Winamp, with its file and folder based music management. Unfortunately there was no port available on OSX. Thankfully, I stumbled across a little open source project named Cog.

Cog is a lightweight music player,  which supports many audio file-types including MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, AAC, Apple Lossless, Musepack, Monkeys Audio, Shorten, Wavpack, Wave/AIFF and much more. It also offers HTTP streaming, as well as some neat features like gapless playback, support for Apple remotes, chúng tôi integration and Growl notifications. Additionally, it lets you specify which audio output device to use, should you happen to have more than one.

Layout

The layout is as straightforward as they come. It has a window which serves as the playlist, into which you can drag and drop music from Finder or the “file drawer”. You are able to save and load playlists, and both m3u and pls formats are supported. There are also options to turn on shuffle and repeat as one would expect from any music player, and you are able to search the playlist to jump quickly to a specific file.

Music Library

Some people find iTunes’ management of our music folders less than ideal, in the way that it reorganises and renames files and folders. As mentioned earlier, my music collection suffered a catastrophic setback a few years ago when iTunes decided to delete the entire collection of files. I was able to recover most of it, but needless to say I’ll never trust iTunes again. Thankfully, Cog takes a very hands-off approach to managing your music.

Cog has what it calls the “file drawer”, which is basically an integrated finder window attached to the main playlist window. The first thing you’ll need to do is specify which folder to use as the base for the file drawer in the application preferences, as per the image below.

Shortcut Keys

Cog supports the Apple remote and also lets you specify shortcut keys in the preferences, under the “Hot Keys” tab.  It also offers full support for media keys, should your Mac keyboard have them. One issue you might run into, however, is that iTunes might also start when you use one of these keys.

Conclusion

All in all, if you’re looking for a music player that won’t chew up a lot of RAM and is fast and functional, Cog’s the app you’ve been waiting for.

You can find and download the latest release of Cog here.

JJ

JJ runs a company that specialises in IT Support and cloud IT Solutions in Australia. He also moonlights as a tech blogger.

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Useful Terminal Commands & Tips For Mac Os X

Disclaimer

Some tips may only work for a particular OS, though I’ve taken care to only select Terminal commands which should mostly work on Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion.

Show Hidden Files

Though OS X doesn’t really place much emphasis on hidden files and folders, some files and folders are hidden by default. This is usually for good reason and deleting the wrong thing can cause issues, but if you wish to show the hidden files, then enter the following code:

defaults

write

com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles

true

To undo this command, replace true with false.

Enable 2D Dock

If you’ve ever moved your Dock to the left or right of screen (depending on which OS X version you’re running), you may have seen the 2D Dock shown above. If you’d like to enable the 2D Dock in all positions, enter the following into Terminal:

defaults

write

chúng tôi no-glass

-boolean

YES

Now restart your Dock to make the changes take effect by entering

killall

Dock

To put your Dock back to normal, replace the “YES”‘ in the above code to “NO” and restart the Dock once again by entering the above killall command.

Disable Dashboard

I’ve never been a big fan of the Dashboard as it’s something of a RAM hog and I like it to be completely disabled in case I accidentally launch it. If you would like to do so too, enter this into Terminal and hit return:

defaults

write

com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled

-boolean

YES

Once again restart Dock to make the changes take effect.

killall

Dock

To undo this command and bring back Dashboard, just change “YES” to “NO” and restart your Dock by entering the killall command once again (note: the killall command can actually be inserted into the same line of code to save time, I’m making it separate here to give you a sense of what exactly is happening).

Show The Library Folder In OS X Lion

OS X Lion comes with the Library folder hidden by default but this can make troubleshooting any issues with your Mac, deleting the cache or just plain “tinkering” very difficult. In order to bring back the Library folder permanently, enter this command into Terminal:

chflags nohidden ~

/

Library

/

Hide Desktop Icons

A nice clean Desktop looks great but sometimes it’s not practical to keep all your files organised. If you’d like to hide all the icons on your Desktop through a Terminal command, enter the following:

defaults

write

com.apple.finder CreateDesktop

-bool

false

Then our friend the killall command once again

killall

Finder

When you wish to bring your Desktop clutter back, copy and paste the following:

defaults

write

com.apple.finder CreateDesktop

-bool

true

Then enter the killall command.

Launch An Application

In order to launch applications from the Terminal, just follow this template, replacing Twitter with the name of whichever program you’d like to launch:

open

-a

Twitter Kill A Process

If you need to quickly kill a process or application, type the following into Terminal, replacing Twitter with whichever process you’d like to kill.

killall

Twitter Open A Finder Window In Current Directory

To quickly open a Finder window in whichever directory you’re currently in, enter the following into Terminal

open . Change Grab’s Default Image Format

OS X’s built-in screenshot utility Grab is very useful but if you’d like it to save files as JPG, enter the following into Terminal:

defaults

write

com.apple.screencapture

type

jpg

(note: You can also change jpg to png if preferred).

Conclusion

Adam Williams

Adam Williams is a journalist from North Wales, regularly covering music and technology for websites such as Make Tech Easier, Mac.Appstorm, iPad.Appstorm and Fluid Radio, in addition to writing weekly content for Apple Magazine. Follow him or contact him on twitter here

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Drag & Drop Not Working In Mac Os X? Simple Troubleshooting Tips

Drag and drop is an essential feature on the Mac that is used frequently for interactions in the Mac OS Finder and throughout other applications, so obviously if drag and drop stops working seemingly out of the blue, you’ll want to resolve that fairly quickly. While this is a somewhat rare issue, a failure of drawing and dropping capabilities does happen frequently enough that we get questions about it, and it’s thereby worth covering. You’ll find that if you can’t drag and drop at all, troubleshooting the issue is the same regardless of whether you use a trackpad or mouse with a Mac, so read on to resolve the issue.

How to Fix Drag & Drop Not Working on Mac : 6 Troubleshooting Tips

For best results you’ll probably want to try these in order, they’re arranged in order of simplicity to slightly more complex.

WAIT! First, Check the Hardware for Gunk & Grime!

Before we get started with any of the software based troubleshooting tips, check to see if there is any material, gunk, or grime buildup on the surface of the trackpad, or in the tracking surface of the mouse, and in the buttons. If there is, clean that off first, as physical obstructions can definitely cause weird behavior with input interfaces. If you’ve done that and you’re certain it’s not the cause of an inability to drag and drop, carry on with the tips below.

Wait! Is the Mouse or Trackpad Bluetooth?

If the Mac Trackpad or Mac Mouse is Bluetooth, try simply turning Bluetooth off, and then turning Bluetooth back on again.

An easy way to turn off and on Bluetooth is through the Bluetooth menubar item near the top right corner of the Mac display. You can also toggle Bluetooth off and back on again from the Bluetooth preference panel within System Preferences, accessible from the  Apple menu.

Sometimes simply toggling Bluetooth off and on again resolves quirky issues including a failure of drag and drop to work. You will also want to make sure the batteries or battery of the Bluetooth mouse or trackpad is charged and they are working, if the battery is low you may notice weird behavior like some mouse and cursor activity not working as expected.

If you’re still experiencing issues with drag and drop on the Mac, proceed with the next set of troubleshooting steps.

1: Forcibly Restart the Mac Finder

If drag and drop is failing in file system interactions, often the easiest solution is to simplyrestarting the Finder, which is quite easy:

Hit Command+Option+Escape to bring up the “Force Quit” menu

Close the Force Quit menu

Try using drag and drop again, does it work? It should work fine now, but if it doesn’t we have a few other troubleshooting trick…

2: Reboot the Computer

Rebooting often works to resolve drag and drop issues when restarting the Finder has failed. This is particularly true if you’re one of us who basically never reboots their Mac.

Go to the  Apple menu and choose “Restart”

When the Mac boots up again, try to use drag and drop as usual

Drag and drop working in Mac OS X now? Great! If not… well we have yet another solution, so fear not!

3: Trash Related plist Files & Reboot

If you have already forced the Finder to relaunch and rebooted the Mac but you’re still experiencing issues with dragging and dropping, it’s quite likely the problem comes down to a preference file. Thus, we’ll trash the preferences and start anew, which is an effective technique for troubleshooting strange behavior for a Mac mouse and trackpad, and then reboot the Mac again.

You’ll be deleting some user level preference files here, it’s a good idea to complete a back up of the Mac first just in case you break something:

Locate the following plist file(s) from the user Library Preferences folder:

Delete those preference files and reboot the Mac again

Once again, try using drag and drop where you were experiencing the original failures in Mac OS X, it should work just fine at this point.

Go to the  Apple menu and to System Preferences

Choose “Trackpad”

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