spinning drives next to standard ssd and Apple flash storage

Flash Storage Data Recovery from Mac Laptops

Truong Nguyen Mac Repair Insights

Data loss is one of those things you hope you never have to deal with. Macs are often perceived as well-built and extremely reliable. However the reality is that data loss can and does happen. It may be due to a failing hard drive, full hard drive or liquid spill. As we store more and more of valuable data on our computers, data recovery has become increasingly difficult with Apple’s introduction of flash storage hard drives to their laptop lineup. Let’s talk about the evolution of hard drives and why data recovery for Apple Mac laptops has become more challenging. As …

FirstTech World's first Apple computer specialist

FirstTech – World’s First Apple Computer Specialist

Truong Nguyen Mac Repair Insights

FirstTech was an important place to me. It was where I first explored Apple computers and began what is now a decade-long journey into Apple computer repair. FirstTech was not just the first Apple reseller in Minneapolis; it was the first Apple reseller anywhere, right here in Minnesota in 1977. In March 2014, FirstTech closed its door after nearly 37 years in business due to heightened competition. With retail, repair and managed service offerings alike, it had been a great alternative to larger box stores and even regular Apple retail stores. What I liked most about FirstTech was its unassuming, plain exterior …

Free up Disk Space on your MacBook or iMac

Truong Nguyen Mac Upgrade Insights

Running out of disk space on your MacBook Pro or iMac? You may notice a slowness when running programs, accessing files or saving documents. You may begin to see warning messages that “Your startup disk is almost full”. Your startup disk or internal hard drive is a lot like your house. It’s a place where you store your things, your digital belongings. Just as you can outgrow your house, so too can you outgrow your laptop’s hard drive. So how can you find out if you are running out of space? The first step is to know how much space …

Custom Mac Pro Modifications

Custom Mac Pro. Built for the Pros.

Truong Nguyen Mac Upgrade Insights

The last time Apple refreshed its Mac Pro was nearly three years ago. Even back then, the components Apple used to build its halo Mac were not the latest and greatest. As longtime fans and pro users, you and I know this is the typical offering from Cupertino. For many years, this wasn’t a big deal because you could simply upgrade the internal components as faster hard drives, newer graphics cards and more powerful processors became available. That was the appeal of the Mac Pro for hardcore Mac users. That upgradability ended with the Mac Pro trashcan design. Almost every component …

Inside view of a traditional spinning hard drive and a solid state drive

Sluggish MacBook Pro? Revive with a Solid State Drive

Truong Nguyen Mac Upgrade Insights

“My MacBook is sluggish and unresponsive.” “My MacBook Pro is insanely slow!” “I can barely use my Mac laptop. It’s crawling and takes forever to get anything done.” I hear these comments from customers all the time. Many deal with a sluggish MacBook for months, even years. If your MacBook or Macbook Pro is more than three years old, the hard drive is most likely to blame for the slowness you’re experiencing. The good news is that the hard drive can be replaced. MacBooks produced prior to 2013 typically contain a traditional spinning hard drive. A traditional spinning hard drive …

2012 MacBook Pro Randomly Crashes, Shuts Down, Beeps

Truong Nguyen Mac Repair Insights

I’ve had several customers bring their 2012 Macbook Pro 13″ laptops to me with the same issue. Their MacBook Pro randomly crashes, shuts down or beeps on start up. Pressing more firmly on the casing next to the left side of the trackpad seems to cause these crashes. Here is video capture of this issue. It happens when increased pressure is applied beneath the keyboard on the left side of the laptop. This shows that Apple Hardware test and other software-based diagnostic tools are not always accurate. Apple Hardware Test ran a scan and confirmed no trouble was found. My …

Best Apple WiFi Router for a Home Network?

Truong Nguyen Apple Product Reviews

What’s the best Apple WiFi router for my home network? I get asked this question from my customers all the time. Apple currently offers three wireless/WiFi routers: AirPort Extreme, AirPort Time Capsule and AirPort Express. Below is a breakdown of the purposes of each router and my typical recommendation, the Time Capsule. Which Apple WiFi Router?   Choose the AirPort router that best suits your WiFi needs. If you have a complex wireless setup and would like assistance with your home network, please contact me for an on-site consultation in the Twin Cities area.

Apple MacBook Pro Battery Replacement and Maintenance

Truong Nguyen Mac Repair Insights

If your Mac laptop isn’t staying charged as long as it used to or won’t hold a charge at all, it may be time to consider replacing the battery. When you click the battery icon on the top right of your desktop, you may see these warnings to service the battery or replace now: The life of your Macbook Pro battery is measured in cycle counts. One cycle count is using all of your battery’s power fully. You could use 75% of the battery one day, recharge it to 100% and then use 25% the next day. This would count …

How To: Remove iOS Ransomware on the iPhone and iPad

Truong Nguyen Internet Safety Tips

Has your iPhone or iPad been affected by ransomware? Are you seeing messages like this? They demand that you call a number and give out your credit card information or send a PayPal payment. Your browser seems to be locked. You can’t get into a new tab or close the message out even when you quit Safari. First, don’t call and give out your information. Try these simple steps instead to clear the message: Put your iPhone or iPad into airplane mode by going to Settings. Airplane mode is the first choice. Within Settings, scroll all the way down to …

iMac graphic card vs. desktop GPU

iMac Graphics Card GPU Overheating and Failure

Truong Nguyen Mac Repair Insights

There is a common flaw in the all-in-one iMac design. Due to internal space constraints, many iMacs develop an overheating graphics card issue that results in a black/blue/grey screen while the computer is powered on or a screen that shows vertical stripes or columns. Early symptoms are an iMac that fails to wake up from sleep or one that wakes up but only shows a black screen. In the iMac heat is transferred from the graphics card chipset via copper pipes. The copper pipes then transfer heat to the silver cooling fins and out the backside of the iMac through …

EU MacBook Pro keyboard layout

Mac Repair for Minnesotans… and International Travelers

Truong Nguyen Mac Repair Insights

Throughout the years I have had the pleasure of helping many different customers with their Mac repair needs. Most have been local customers here in Minnesota, while others have been traveling from around the world. I have helped clients visiting Minnesota from Norway, Sweden, Finland, China and Israel. It’s always fun to see the variations in Mac computers from around the world. Here are recent photos of a European model of the MacBook Pro. The keyboard layout is varied slightly. I’ve been able to coordinate both large and small repairs and upgrades for these clients. Some have had the misfortune …

Trackpad Won’t Click on your MacBook or MacBook Pro?

Truong Nguyen Mac Repair Insights

Trackpad won’t click? Does your MacBook’s trackpad look like these photos? Or even worse… It’s not a pretty sight. Your trackpad won’t click, can’t click, outright refuses to click! And you’re stuck. This is an issue I’ve worked on again and again. The culprit is not always obvious, especially when the problem first starts. The troublemaker is often no other than your battery. As your Mac laptop ages, the battery can degrade. The cells within the battery can begin to expand. One these unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops, the battery is located beneath the trackpad, and as it expands it pushes up against the …

Ransomware, Malware, Adware and Virus Removal for Mac OS X

Truong Nguyen Internet Safety Tips

As Mac OS X platform has increased in popularity, so have the needs for ransomware, malware, adware and virus removal/protection. The number of Macs affected by ransomware, malware and spyware has unfortunately been on the rise. These attempts come in many different forms. Malware (Spigot, Genio, etc.) often portrays itself as security protection software but is really doing almost the opposite. On older Macs, it may take up such a large amount of the computer’s resources that there will only be a constant beach ball (or spinning wheel of death). Another issue is Adware. Adware floods your computer with annoying …

MacBook 12″ retina vs. PowerBook G4 12″ – The 10-Year Mac Laptop Evolution

Truong Nguyen Apple Product Reviews

I love 12″ display Apple laptops. My very first Mac was a 12″ iBook that my brother bought me for college, and one of my all-time favorite Macs is the 12″ PowerBook G4. It remains to this day one of the best Mac laptops I’ve ever used. So when Apple announced a new 12″ laptop after a 10-year hiatus, I was excited to see what was in store. A decade in the technology world is comparable to a century in a human lifespan. In 2005 Facebook was only available on a few college campuses. Google was nowhere near the household name it has …

imac dual ssd upgrade

Apple 27″ iMac Dual SSD Upgrade

Truong Nguyen Mac Upgrade Insights

One of the most effective upgrades for an aging Mac is an SSD (solid state drive) upgrade. I received an inquiry from a freelance video editor in St. Paul about speeding up his Apple 27″ iMac. This iMac had gotten so slow that it was used as a glorified display to a MacBook Pro retina. We both agreed an SSD upgrade was the right path to take. Having worked on these iMac before, I know there’s a hack to mount a second hard drive which I proposed could be used as a scratch drive – very beneficial in video post editing …

jon music studio

Jon’s Music Studio

Truong Nguyen Mac Upgrade Insights

One of the best perks for doing my kind of work is the many creative people I get to meet. Jon Erickson, owner of Ultimate Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning is a prime example. Besides running his successful business, Jon spends most of his free time with family and pursue his passion of music production. His MacBook Pro was in need of an upgrade to make use of Logic Pro X and Jon hired me for the job. We put a 240GB SSD (solid state hard drive) and 8GB of RAM in his laptop. We then updated the software to Mac …

dust filled imac inside caused overheating

Dead Hard Drive Caused by Overheating due to Dirty iMac Innards

Truong Nguyen Mac Repair Insights

A couple weeks ago I got a call to assist with an Apple iMac desktop that failed to boot into Mac OS X. A quick assessment over the phone gave me enough information to know it’s likely a dead hard drive issue which prevents the iMac from booting and stuck at the flashing question mark folder screen. I took the iMac home attempting to retrieve the data on it and to replace the dead hard drive with a new one. It’s worth mentioning this iMac was not even two years old – it is very unusual for a hard drive to die in such short …

G4 Cube, a failure that made Apple successful

Truong Nguyen Apple Product Reviews

Almost 11 years ago, Apple unveiled a very special computer to the world. It was truly a “magical and innovative” product back then and still has a very strong fan-base today of which I’m a part. That computer is the beloved PowerMac G4 Cube. Never before had that many features and power been made available in such a compact and beautiful design of a computer. In fact, it was one of the most powerful offerings from Apple at the time with all the latest technology (in 2000) such as G4 PowerPC processor, discrete Nvidia video card, Airport card for Wifi …