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Zoom into trouble— Mac trouble

July 6, 2009

Here’s an edited version of what I wrote my friend, Larry, last night after spending three days of a holiday weekend trying to fix my computer:

My Mac is making me nuts. I can’t work with it this way. The display grows past the size of the screen is the best way I can explain it— when I move the mouse, the entire desktop moves. Doesn’t matter what program I’m using, or what resolution I set for the display. Also the fonts change. On some lines they are bigger than others and as the lines scroll where it gets bigger stays in place and the lines change. Like keeping a magnifying glass in place while scrolling the text behind it.

I’ve already stripped most of the login progams, so that’s not the problem, and I’ve first repaired permissions, then got out my install disk and repaired the disk (something was repaired, but it still didn’t solve the problem.) Then I reinstalled the system from my disk, taking system 10.4.11 back to 10.4.3 and THAT didn’t do it either. Have updated back to 10.4.11 and it’s still crazy-making. Can you help?

Now, I normally don’t have simple problems. I’m pretty good at troubleshooting Macs, and am one of the go-to people for my Mac-loving friends, just as Larry is. And I’d never seen this before (in hindsight I may have, but it was so long ago and part of exploration— not a problem— that I don’t remember).

Larry said he had seen it before, and fixed it before, but couldn’t remember how. Both of us spent time on the Apple Knowledgebase site looking for answers and didn’t find it. I know I was using the word “expand” as a search term. Perhaps if I’d used “zoom” the answer would have shown up.

Luckily for me, Larry’s son Gary is a Mac-fix-it-pro and when he saw the email, he said:

Sounds like she’s got the Universal Access option(s) enabled. If so, then she needs to go to the System Preferences, select Universal Access, and turn off the Zoom option under the Seeing tab.

Really? Could it be that simple? Yeah, it was. Gary was right, and Larry remembered having done that before. I finally realized, too, why this happened— because I know that I didn’t turn on the zoom:

I figured out how I turned on zoom by mistake. It has a 3-key shortcut and I was trying to either, do a bullet mark with option-8 and included the shift key by mistake, or was trying to figure out how to do a true em dash in a new-to-me program, and hit the 8 instead of the hyphen-minus key.

So now, I’ve run “Software Update” repeatedly until it told me there’s nothing left to update and will be getting back to work, to the twitterverse, and all things computer— tomorrow. Merci beaucoup to both Larry and Gary for helping me out!

Apologies to my PC friends who may be thinking this post doesn’t make much sense; and to my Mac-loving friends, here’s hoping that if you get into similar trouble with a Mac that expands, or zooms, past the size of the monitor frame, that you’ll remember reading this and know how to fix the problem.

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