5 Sanity Saving OS X Mountain Lion Tips

Oh Mountain Lion! While your most anticipated feature...the one that had us all scrambling to update...do not disappoint, my-oh-my, do you have some quirks! If you're an early adopter like I am and have come across a few things that have you cringing… take heart, do not despair, and do read on for some tips to help your way through the trials and tribulations of upgrading.

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5 Must Know Mountain Lion Tips:
1. Installing Software Message pop up informing you that you're unable to install a program because it isn't from the Mac App Store or from an Apple blessed/trusted developer? Don't worry, you can still install whatever you like, you just need to change a setting in System Preferences. If you are security conscious, you might want to leave it as is, but for me, way too many applications I needed fell into this category, so I had to disable it. The setting can be found under System Preferences, Security, General.

2. Connecting to an External Display Has your Mountain Lion powered Mac decide that no external displays exist even after toggling the "Detect Display" (Option key under Displays in System Preferences)? Do a PRAM reset. Instructions via Apple can be found here. Once I did a PRAM reset my shiny new Retina MacBook Pro went back to detecting my projector. Whew!

3. Changes in Software Update Surprise, the iOS-ification of the Mac continues with OS X software updates handled via the Mac App Store! I dislike being nagged about updates and have found out my sneaky little computer was automatically detecting and installing updates. Being the control freak that I am, I wanted more say in the matter.

If you also would like to control which updates are installed and when, go to System Preferences, Software Update. If you would like for your Mac to install these updates on its own and you happen to have a mid-2011 and later MacBook Air or the new MacBook Pro, you can have these run while your computer is napping thanks to Power Nap. Power Nap will not only perform updates from the Mac App Store, but it will also get iCloud updates, back up with Time Machine and allow your computer to be found via Find My Mac. To enable Power Nap, go to System Preferences, Energy Saver.

4. Microsoft Office Fun One of the programs I have had the most issues with since updating to Mountain Lion is the Microsoft Office suite. It will work for a few days and then another update from either Microsoft or Apple will come along and it will break again.

I use Outlook in Office 2011 pretty heavily. After the latest Microsoft update two days ago, Outlook regularly crashes every 5 minutes. There's a tedious solution to fix each update incompatibility: I have to remove the Microsoft Database from my Login Items folder and then rebuild the Database.

To do this go to System Preferences, Users & Groups, Login Items, and remove the Microsoft Database from these items. To rebuild the database go to Applications, Microsoft Office 2011, Office, Microsoft Database Utility. Oh the fun of being an early adopter…

5. iMessage Interruptions Have you discovered the joys of the persistent Messages interruptions? Fun times. Even if Messages isn't open (no little indicator in your dock) you can still receive pop-up notifications! This is a big change from iChat, since quitting the app or minimizing the message screens does nothing to impair the visibility of incoming iMessages.

If Messages is not running, you won't be able to receive messages from other chat services like Gchat, but you can still see incoming iMessages thanks to Notifications, a key new feature of Mountain Lion. Now with Notifications not only will you be alerted that you have an iMessage, but the entire text will show up on your screen. This, as you can imagine, is not ideal, and I wonder why in the world Apple decided to have Badges as the Messages setting by default. After a few embarrassing iMessages showed up in meetings (I didn't even have the Messages app running), I decided to turn these off. To adjust how your messages show up, go to System Preferences, Notifications, select Messages and choose Calendar alert style: None. You're welcome.

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Are you on Mountain Lion? What tips and tricks have you discovered?

(Mountain Lion image from Flickr member Jashua Barnett licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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Tech, Computers, Software & Apps

Joelle loves technology and making things and is in an almost perpetual state of problem solving. She's quite fond of airplanes and coffee and is pretty sure she will eventually read all of the books in her library.