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Mac 101: Comprehensive Mac system information

More Mac 101, our series of tips and tricks for novice Mac users.

Last week we pointed out some documents Apple has made available for storing important information on your Mac. Information that you might need when talking to a repair tech or Apple Genius. In that post, TUAW reader Tom pointed out another way to generate a thoroughly comprehensive report of similar information without all that pesky "writing."

Basically, it's a printout of all the information that's stored in System Profiler. Here's how to do it. From the Apple Menu, select About this Mac. A new window appears. Click More Info to launch System Profiler. From there, select print and watch as your Mac prepares the System Profiler info for printing.

You'll notice that it's taking a long, long time. That's because there's a huge amount of information being compiled. Aside from the basics that we addressed last time, it's grabbing every error log entry, vitals on every app you've got installed, network information and a whole heck of a lot more. When I ran this report the resulting document was 2.7MB and 500 pages!

So don't print. Unless you're at work. I kid!

Instead, you can save to PDF, encrypt it with a tool like Knox and store it in a safe location. Note that some of the information will change between the time you create the file and when you're likely to need it, like the list of installed apps and log reports. Also, Apple's forms make it much easier to get to the information you're likely share with a tech. Finally, much of the information in this report is sensitive and you'll want to keep it away from less-than-savory characters.

It's overkill, but someday you might need something in that report to revive an ailing machine.



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Mac 101

More Mac 101, our series of tips and tricks for novice Mac users. Last week we pointed out some documents Apple has made available for...