Chip's Technical Blog

Tech commentary of thoughts, challenges, how-to's, and the mundane.

Archive for February, 2009

Latest Mac OSX Blunder

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

In the things-which-demonstrate-mac-is-not-strictly-better-than-windows category, I have had the latest of such issues. In this case, I found on two occasions recently that the keyboard and mouse built into my macbook pro suddenly stopped working.

It appeared that the laptop was frozen, though it wasn’t. The power button brought up the shutdown dialog (which of course I couldn’t do anything with since the keyboard and mouse weren’t working). I did find that if I attached a USB keyboard/mouse, they would work. But in this case, even the “Windows” fix didn’t correct the problem. That is, even after rebooting, the keyboard and mouse continued to not work. After an hour or so of looking around for the solution, I discovered I had to reset the PRAM, which is part of the power functionality. Apparently, the laptop was in a quasi-confused state where it was powering most of the laptop, but ignoring the keyboard and mouse.

So I figured that would be it, and I wouldn’t see this again. But within 24 hours, the laptop did the same thing. Thankfully, this time I recognized it quicker, and it only took me 45 minutes to re-find a webpage where I could re-learn how to reset the PRAM. Granted, those 45 minutes were supposed to be minutes I was sleeping, but we won’t split hairs. Thankfully, the 36 hours since it hasn’t happened, but I’m just waiting for it to happen again. Unfortunately, when it does happen, the fix involves rebooting the laptop, thus losing any sessions you are building up.

For reference, to reset the PRAM (at least on the model MBP that I have), do the following: reboot the laptop. While it reboots, hold down the command key, option key, the ‘p’ key, and the ‘r’ key. Continue holding them down until you hear the second booting chime. Release the keys, and at this point the laptop will boot normally.

Sadly, this is only a corrective action, not a preventative one. Who knows how often I will have to do this. Hopefully, it won’t happen to you.

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