Apple Knowledge Base: Pathetic search engine

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
September 1st, 2004 • 12:31 am

I have an iMac G4 that won’t start. I suspect a problem with the Power Management Unit (PMU) that might be fixed by resetting it. I know that Apple has the instructions to do that somewhere in their Knowledge Base. But do you think I can find it?

I go to the Support page and type in “reset PMU iMac“. Search returns “No Results”. I go to the Advanced Search page, select the “iMac” option in the computer model option, and search for keywords “PMU reset“. Nada.

Finally I ask it to search for “Power Management Unit” instead of “PMU“. And I get a few results, including a page whose title is “Macintosh: How to Reset PRAM and NVRAM” and whose body text contains both “Power Management Unit” spelled out in full and “PMU” as the abbreviation.

So what’s the deal here? Well, there’s apparently no page in the Knowledge Base that contains bothiMac” and “PMU reset” or “Power Management Unit reset“. That’s one problem. The page about resetting the PRAM says:

If you are comfortable doing so, reset your computer’s Power Management Unit. Specific directions are available elsewhere in the Knowledge Base.

Trouble is, “elsewhere” is basically nowhere. There’s no page about resetting the PMU in an iMac.

In addition, surely Apple is able to come up with a search engine that can at least give me some results when I type the keywords “iMac reset PMU“. No results is not an option here, Apple. Yet it’s exactly what happens.

Anyway, I’m going to take a look at this machine right now and I’ll have to use my own memory to remember where the PMU button is exactly. Grrr.

8 Responses to “Apple Knowledge Base: Pathetic search engine”

  1. Josh says:

    IIRC, it’s a small silver circular button you can kinda see beneath a thin opaque layer of plastic shielding. Press down and you’ll feel it “click.”

    I had to do this for a number of brand new FP iMacs in the first month they were introduced, it had me concerned for awhile.

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    Thanks Josh. Interestingly, I didn’t see your comment before I examined the machine this morning. I remembered that the button was behind the opaque plastic shielding, but that was all.

    So I opened the machine and pressed on what looked like a button, and it clicked like a button would. But it was a rectangular black button with a small metallic insert — not the round silver thing that I saw elsewhere under the plastic shielding and looked like it was too flat to be a button.

    Needless to say, the rectangular black button didn’t do a thing.

    I just phoned my colleague to ask her to do the round silver button instead, but it doesn’t seem to have done anything either.

    Oh well. The machine is going to the repair shop, I guess. Thanks just the same. But really, Apple should have this in a readily accessible KB article. Why is there an article for PowerBooks and iBooks and not one for iMacs?

  3. sdimbert says:

    I hate to suggest the obvious, but did you look in the machine’s manual? I manage a lab at my school full of Macs of all ages, so I am good friends with the various manuals; I’m almost certain it’s there.

  4. Pierre Igot says:

    I suppose it could be in there… I don’t have one of those manuals with me right now and the download is 7 MB. In any case, the word from the repair shop is that the power supply is toast. $400CDN repair. Bummer.

  5. Pierre Igot says:

    Oh, I will readily confirm that the Microsoft KB is no better :). For Microsoft, yes, the newsgroups are better, although there’s lots of “noise” to get through, obviously.

    For Apple, their own discussion groups are probably good, but they are a bit of a pain to use and search. Still, I can’t help but think that this kind of information should be available in the KB. And things like “directions are available elsewhere in the Knowledge Base” (without a link!) are just unforgivable.

    As for litigation issues, etc., there’s certainly an element of that, especially in the case of MS. Properly documenting all the bugs in Word on their own web site would just be beyond embarrassing!

    I would give up on the official KBs, but sometimes they do contain valuable information. And at least if it’s on the company’s website, you can assume that the information has been verified.

    In this case, however, it’s a hardware issue, and resetting the PMU is a standard troubleshooting procedure, used by Apple’s own tech support staff all the time.

  6. Radardan says:

    I can safely say that the Microsoft Knowledgebase is no better.

    Probably your best bet when stumped, on both Apple and Microsoft, is to search the newsgroups. I notice that recently most of the good Microsoft help is via their “pro posters” who then refer you to what look like third-party help sites on specific products.

    I’m assuming that both Apple and MS are veering this way so they don’t have to admit software failures on their own web sites, and thus maybe be sued — altho these would be legitimate law suits in my mind.

    So, search the newsgroups. The knowledge base is for corporate BS.

  7. Pierre Igot says:

    Chris: Thanks for the link to the picture. This might help other people.

  8. Chris McKay says:

    Seeing as you show up first on Google for the search “PMU reset iMac 17” and I concur with the MS and Apple KB responses:

    Here’s a photo!

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