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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.


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.



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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?

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