How to turn that blind MacBook Pro into your new server.

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Example of a busted screen.

Is your MacBook or MacBook Pro giving issues with its graphics? If it’s still under warranty then there isn’t a problem. However, if it’s out of warranty, you unfortunately come to the cross-roads of “repair vs. replace”. No matter whether the MacBook is a few years old, they can still give a good punch for performance if needed. 
What I’m getting at, is that if your laptop is going to be replaced due to screen issues, then don’t dispose of it just yet, there might be a 2nd chance after all.

Before you decide on replacing the faulty Mac, it is always a good idea to have a professional look at it.
Have a look around for places in your area that will do some troubleshooting and replacing of your screen or more if need be. I found a great local company in Cape Town called iRestore, with awesome service and good pricing too. If you can’t find a place, drop me a mail and I will try assist. 

Some important points from iRestore:

  • They won’t charge a cent to troubleshoot your Mac display issues. They will only invoice upon successful repair, or replacement of course. So no need to worry about an exorbitant invoice before any work gets done. 
  • The graphics chipset for the Macs are built into the main logic board, and so are not replaceable. They can however try to repair the chipset, of which they have a high success rate, for a rough price of R1450.
  • Should the physical screen need replacing, there are 2 main components involved. The screen glass, at roughly R1000, and the LCD ranging between R1500 and R2500. Naturally these prices will vary here and there, especially depending on the size of the Mac. 
If you are keen to let iRestore look at your Mac for you, or would like to get some clarity or more info on the above, feel free to get in touch with Craig at

If after all of this, your Mac has an unusable display, or is simply too expensive to repair, you can convert it into a choice of 3 different kinds of servers for your small business or home. If your are really up for it, choose all 3!

1. Media Server

This option will probably be most common at home, but could also be used if your boss has a “sharing is caring” policy at the office as well.

Blotches all over screen

On the faulting laptop, open up iTunes, get to the Preference option, and click on the Sharing Tab. There you can activate the “Share my library on my local network” option. You can choose to share the entire library or just selected playlists. You can also choose to enable a password if you feel so inclined.
Once this is done, iTunes users on the same network will be able to play the media on their own computers. IOS users will also be able to play the media, if you enable the Home Sharing option from iTunes’ Advanced menu.
You can now happily close the lid and put the laptop in a place that is out of that way, and enjoy your new media server.

2. Backup Server

Once again, if your home consists of a few Macs, this option will be great, but I think the small business could richly benefit from this one.
Simply attach a high-capacity drive to the Mac and use it as backup location for everyone to store their personal and work items on. For capacity, check this drive out. For high-capacity, check this one out.
The location would be accessible in the same way they would access any other computer on the network. See the next option for details on connecting to the server itself.

3. Office Server

The last option, is turning the laptop into a full-blown server, useable to manage Mail, Internet sharing, Calendars and maybe even hosting a website too.
This option is going to need the “server” to be able to still provide remote graphics. If the chipset is completely non-functional, this won’t work.
Make sure the Macbook/Pro is running Leopard or later. Go to System Preferences, and select Sharing. Here you can enable Screen Sharing. Choose who you would like give access to, bearing in mind that the user/s you allow will have access to the entire server, so it might be a good idea to choose your power users or administrators.

In order to access your new server from your working Mac, simply open Finder, and look for your new server in the sidebar. Select it and choose “share screen”, input your credentials, and viola. You will now have full access the server as if you were sitting right in front of it.
Another method that you could use to connect to your new server from the Finder window, is to select Go, and then Connect to Server. Type in vnc://ip_address_or_name.domain. For example, vnc://leeoldmacbook.home or vnc:// would be what I would use.

I hope this is useful to some of you.

Either way, Enjoy!

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