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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping System 10.6
Previously on Intel machines, zapping PRAM was limited to two restarts. Under Snow Leopard, it seems it's back to as many as you want, just like the old days.
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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping | 30 comments | Create New Account
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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: ShadowBottle on Oct 07, '09 07:42:24AM

Interesting find. Any particular reason you've found for more than that?



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: robogobo on Oct 07, '09 12:00:18PM

I always used to do it three times. But Apple always recommended two, and warned never more than three. Not sure what would happen with two vs three vs four.



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: asmeurer on Oct 07, '09 08:34:58AM

Could someone elaborate what this means? I never knew about any kind of two restart limit and am not sure what that is supposed to mean.



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: lugal on Oct 07, '09 09:01:51AM

I'm pretty sure that there is no two restart limit under Leopard. I maintain hundreds of Intel Macs, and think I would have noticed if, when I've had to zap their PRAM, I didn't hold the keys down for three or more chimes (as is my habit). Do you mean something different by the two restart limit?



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: lugal on Oct 07, '09 03:20:55PM

Wow, decaffeinate a little. Your "tip" should be deleted, not because it isn't sufficiently technical, but because it just isn't true. Snow Leopard makes no change to the PRAM zapping behavior. Pointing this out isn't snobbery, it's an attempt to keep Mac OS X Hints a great resource of factually-correct information. You've contributed enough to this resource in the past that I'm sure you can agree with that goal.



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: lugal on Oct 07, '09 04:11:22PM

...and somehow I end up commenting on my own comment, instead of the original poster's comment, below. (I blame too little caffeine.)



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: robogobo on Oct 23, '09 03:53:41AM

I get your point, and this site is excellent for inside tips and sharing info that would be otherwise undocumented. But Rob can't possibly test every hint, and so it's not his responsibility to make sure everything is factual. That's why we have discussions. But some people here, the "snobs", are crass and disrespectful, and just want to prove their superiority by knocking what they think are bad hints. Many times I've seen a bad hint turned good by users who prefer discussion and examination over jabs and pissing contests. In this case I had to dig deeper myself only after I realized other people weren't seeing what I was. A bit more brain power and less snobbery would have made it a much more effective search, I think.

Just keep in mind there are different configurations out there, and systems are so complex, that even people who admin 100s of machines don't see every possible scenario.



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: leamanc on Oct 07, '09 09:09:17AM

Isn't PRAM zapping a hardware function, and not a software function anyway?

I mean, I've been able to zap the PRAM on machines with no OS on the hard drive to prove this point.



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: montylee on Oct 07, '09 09:11:05AM

Not that it really is that important, but I've never been limited to two on any of my Intel Macs. I routinely do 3 (old habit pattern) even though Apple said only 2 was needed, but there never has been any restriction. So I have no idea what this message is about.



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: bbb3 on Oct 07, '09 09:33:02AM

Patently false.

Intel machines have never been limited to 2 restarts in PRAM restart.



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: macslut on Oct 07, '09 10:21:15AM

This hint should be deleted. Zapping the PRAM occurs before the startup drive is even polled...which is often one of the reasons for zapping the PRAM to begin with.



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: robogobo on Oct 07, '09 11:33:53AM

tough crowd. Anyway, when I got my first Intel machine, a core duo iMac, I discovered I could only zap PRAM twice. Same thing when I first got my Mac Pro. I submitted this hint under Snow Leopard because this is the first I noticed I could do as many as I wanted again. Maybe we should chalk it up to a firmware update somewhere along the lines.

In any case, I'm happy I could surface some of the new generation osxhints snobs who think all but the most nerdy hints should be "deleted". Give me a break. Certainly you guys have tried every combo of hardware and software possible, so of course YOUR experience is absolute, right? You're the same ones who complain about a simple hint that is helpful to newbs but you want it removed because you've known about it for years. Congrats, really, bravo.

Seriously, I'm not making this up.



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: excarnate on Oct 11, '09 08:51:38AM

When I worked at Apple there were arguments based on belief, not fact, about how many extra chimes were sufficient to reset the PRAM.

I escalated all the way to He Who Was In Charge of PRAM.

The answer is: You hear the initial restart. You hear an additional chime. Anything more does NOTHING AT ALL.

If it makes you feel more manly, by all means, do it, but don't tell other people it does.

This is the absolute dumbest, most useless, and bogus "hint" on this site. It should be removed.



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: UberFu on Oct 13, '09 12:28:09PM

First off - Firmware Updates are completely seperate from OS Upgrades. There have been some Firmware/ System Upgrades simultaneously - that's usually when you do an install and the computer takes 15-30 minutes to reboot and then does it a couple of times.

Also - having Leopard vs Snow Leopard installed is not going to affect the Firmware or the PRAM.

Not sure what you were doing correctly or wrongly with your 2 computers but Apple has not currently changed or previously prohibited the PRAM Reset from multiple occurances.

I agree - Rob you shouldn't have let this one thru - or at least heed the readers comments on this one.



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: Stormchild on Oct 07, '09 12:40:21PM

The future is here.



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: robogobo on Oct 07, '09 12:47:11PM

you said it bro.



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: Detrius on Oct 07, '09 01:38:15PM
<tech-snob rant>
I think it's funny how ancient troubleshooting steps carry on well beyond their usefulness. As of OS X, resetting your PRAM does very VERY little.
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1242


In OS 9 and before, it was important, and it really DID fix things.
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1379

</tech-snob rant>

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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: robogobo on Oct 07, '09 01:49:30PM

interesting. Explains alot.



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: ewelch on Oct 07, '09 06:22:42PM

Sorry, but you are mistaken about it not being important in OS X. I've had some RAM problems in the past where RAM wasn't reporting it's real size when newly installed. Zapping the PRAM fixed it every time.

I've also found it has occasionally resuscitated a Mac that wasn't starting right.

---
Eric

Ernest Hemingway's writing reminds me of the farting of an old horse. - E.B. White



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: babbage on Oct 08, '09 01:17:12PM

Read the Apple support article that Detrius posted: Mac OS X: What's stored in PRAM

Specifically, read this section from it:

Some information stored in PRAM includes:

  • Display and video settings such as refresh rate, screen resolution, number of colors
  • Startup volume choice
  • Speaker volume
  • Recent kernel panic information, if any
  • DVD region setting

Note: Mac OS X stores your preselected DVD region choice in PRAM for easy access. Resetting PRAM does not allow you to change the DVD region.

Unlike prior versions of the Mac OS, Mac OS X does not store network settings in PRAM. If you experience a network issue, resetting PRAM will not help.

If PRAM is reset, you may need to verify your time zone, startup volume, and volume settings using System Preferences. Certain firmware updates may reset PRAM as a normal part of their installation process.

Basically, if you're having an issue with video settings, startup drive selection, or speaker volume, then resetting PRAM *might* help.

For anything else, it won't help.

And if your time zone happens to not be US Pacific time, then you introduce a new problem by zapping PRAM.

Go ahead, keep zapping PRAM. As Douglas Adams said, it's mostly harmless.

But as Apple's support site says -- and really, I think they would know -- if you're trying to solve any other problem, it's very unlikely to help.

---

--
DO NOT LEAVE IT IS NOT REAL

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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: RickoKid on Oct 08, '09 03:31:02PM
Read the article a bit closer and you'll see it says "Some information stored in PRAM includes" (emphasis added), which seems to indicate it is not an exhaustive list. For example the list doesn't say anything about time zone information, but the text below explicitly says time zone information should be checked, indicating that is stored in PRAM too.

Short of you calling ewelch a liar for saying it has worked for him in the past I can't see how you can continue this line of reasoning. I'll add that I've certainly seen zapping the PRAM fix all kinds of weird behaviour from not listing boot volumes to audio corruption.

That said (and back to the original topic), I can't say I've ever come across a limit to how many times PRAM can be zapped, and I'm not sure why I should care. Surely twice is sufficient?

---
Visit my technology (and Apple in particular) blog at http://tumbleseed.torrfamily.org/

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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: flammable on Oct 07, '09 07:05:20PM

Agreeing - I'm a tech, and I do this all the time for all kinds of Macs running all kinds of operating systems. Nothing's changed with regards to this in Snow Leopard.

Also, in some cases, Apple recommends to technicians to reset the PRAM - it's definitely still an important troubleshooting step.



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: cliveports on Oct 08, '09 12:34:30AM

As one of the things PRAM zapping does is "DVD region setting" then a two go limit would be understandable, as I recall on PCs you only get a couple of attempts allowed at setting/changing the DVD region of the drive so this actually does make sense to me.



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: palahala on Oct 08, '09 02:49:11AM
If I understand correctly then it's not about the total number of times the PRAM can be reset. It's about how often one can do it while holding down the keys in a single attempt. So: how many times one can hear the startup boing using the procedures from Resetting your Mac's PRAM and NVRAM.

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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: flammable on Oct 08, '09 12:58:55PM

Resetting the PRAM doesn't change the DVD drive's region - that would be catastrophic, as there is indeed a limit as to how many times you can change that (it's 5, if I remember correctly).



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10.6: The return of unlimited PRAM zapping
Authored by: robogobo on Oct 23, '09 03:33:03AM

not to open an old wound (and not that it should have to come to that, no thanks to the snobs here) but just to shed a bit of light on the discrepancy... After discussing with an old Mac guru of mine, we concluded that the apparent PRAM zapping limit I experienced was caused by the fact that all three Macs, two of mine and one of a friend, had bluetooth keyboards attached, and after the second zap, they became unrecognized until the startup completed. I have no way of testing this now, but it's the only explanation that makes sense, because I'm 100% certain I'm not imagining the stuff.

And whether or not this is correct, wouldn't it be great if the übergeeks around here would dig in a little on stuff like this to examine some possibilities instead of knocking people for posting "non-hints"? I wasn't totally on the mark with my first conclusion, but damn, some of you guys are not so cool.



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How-to: open an old wound
Authored by: palahala on Oct 23, '09 08:06:09AM

Typical how you're writing "wasn't totally on the mark" when in fact your "zapping PRAM was limited to two restarts" was plain wrong. Why is it that hard for you to admit you were wrong?

And typical how you're saying "not to open an old wound" and then use phrases like "no thanks to the snobs here" and "some of you guys are not so cool".

I'd say: find a mirror, and look in it. Do you see someone cool?

Good thing: this hint is no longer relevant, so let's hope robg just trashes it, including all comments.



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How-to: open an old wound
Authored by: robogobo on Oct 23, '09 08:15:58AM

Well, if that's what it all comes down to for you, who's right and who's wrong, I was wrong. Totally wrong, dead wrong. I'm so gosh darn sorry. Whatever I can do to make it up to you, oh wise and mighty one, please tell me and I'll prostrate myself before your greatness and beg for forgiveness. I mean, how dare I submit an observation here, without being TOTALLY RIGHT!

Man, you're just stepping forward when I call out snob, aren't you.

If I didn't have such a long experience with good people here who were willing to troubleshoot and get down to the nitty gritty and have some fun, I'd be taking my thoughts elsewhere. Fortunately the good still outnumber the bad, though you wouldn't know it just from this thread.



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How-to: open an old wound
Authored by: palahala on Oct 23, '09 08:50:18AM

Did you have any chance to look into that mirror yet?

(I am not the one who's calling people names here.)



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How-to: open an old wound
Authored by: robogobo on Oct 23, '09 09:51:54AM

Yes, I looked into the mirror, and I am so uncool. I'm consulting my self help books now to see how I can avoid all this projection in the future. Thank you so much for helping me see the light. I mean, it feels great to admit how wrong I am on a tech site. Nevermind the discussions, I was WRONG!



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