PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 October, 2008, 12:00am

I was using Apple's Disk Utility when I received this message: 'Group differs on 'private/etc/cups', should be 0, group is 26.' What does that mean?

Samantha, Mid-Levels

DQ: Cups refers to the Common Unix Printing System, designed for Unix-like operating systems (such as Mac OS X) to allow a computer to act like a print server. If you are able to print without any kind of problem, you can ignore the message. It is a good thing to occasionally run Disk Utility, a Mac program designed for disk-related tasks, including mounting and ejecting disks, erasing and formatting, copying content to a CD or DVD, and troubleshooting. Set it to 'Repair Disk Permissions', though sometimes this option is not available. This is usually because there are things you can't do on a start-up disk. To get round that problem, you need to start up on a different disk. To do that, boot off from the DVD-Rom installation disc that came with the computer. Do not reinstall anything. Go to the menu and click on 'Disk Utility'. This will allow you to run the application without having booted off from the computer's internal hard disk.

There are two options for Disk Permissions, one lets you check them and the other lets you repair them. If you simply check them, you will get a list of files with 'incorrect' permissions. Click on 'Repair'. Don't worry if you do not understand the messages that appear; you are not really meant to. The operating system usually takes care of this. I wanted to use my new Apple MacBook Pro for editing movies shot on my old Sony Handycam DCR-TRV33E, but found the laptop's Mac OS X Leopard operating system did not support the camcorder's software driver. Sony had no updated device driver and using an old version of iMovie didn't work. What should I do?

Nick Cuthbertson, Aberdeen

DQ: Based on my experience, brand-name devices such as Sony's Handycam rarely need a software driver to work with Mac OS X. That does not mean they never need one, only that it seems to be rare. A look on the internet says the same thing.

But there was some interesting information about connecting the Sony device to the Mac. Many people online say connecting the camcorder to a Mac via the Universal Serial Bus interface is not a good idea. The serial bus interface standard known in Apple products as FireWire (Sony calls this iLink, while Texas Instruments refers to it as Lynx) is the best way to go.

I suggest deleting all drivers and starting afresh on your new computer. Make certain you install the latest version of iMovie. You should connect the Handycam to the Mac laptop using a FireWire cable. If the problem persists, I hope you are on good terms with the shop that sold you your Mac; if they are good, they should also be able to help sort out your device support issue.