Charles Moore's Mailbag

Upgraded Beige G3 Problems, More on OS X on the Beige G3, OS 9.2 on Pre-G3 Macs, and More

Charles Moore - 2003.05.19 - Tip Jar

Beige G3 Shut Down Problem

From Malcolm Lubliner

Hello,

Last November I decided to have my stable-as-a-rock beige G3 upgraded to a G4, added a bigger hard drive and more RAM. I spent more than two months, every other day on average, back at the shop trying to get the machine to work without crashing. Directory problems were rampant, and finally I gave up returning to the shop and hired a talented tech. Over the last few months he's tweaked and upgraded and cleaned and reinstalled, but somewhere there is a gremlin code that changes its ID but remains.

The machine now runs better than ever, but nearly every time I boot up I get the Disc First Aid message that the computer was not shut down properly. After several of these events, a critical mass is reached and I need to run Norton. The report is similar - directory problems, and a several having to do with the shut down clock. I've hunted Google and can't find a fix or even the same experience. Any help? I've now spent more than I would have buying a brand new G4.

Thanks,
ML

Malcolm Lubliner
Malcolm Lubliner Photography
http://www.cityvisions.com

Hi Malcolm,

Wish I could suggest something, but I expect that the professional help you've already received is over my head. If any readers can suggest a fix or workaround, please wade in.

Your experience is a prima facie example of why upgrading an older Mac is not always the ideal path to pursue. I've been tempted several times to stick a G4 upgrade in my old Umax S900, but I would also have to upgrade the hard drive, video card, RAM, etc., to make the upgrade worthwhile, and by that time I would have spent a good percentage of the cost of buying a used G4 tower, which would have a faster system bus and a whole lot of other built-in stuff that's better than what the old S900 can offer.

Charles

Editor's note: Try testing one upgrade at a time - the CPU, the hard drive, and each individual memory module. Poorly seated memory could be the problem, so I'd suggest you start there.

First put in your old memory and see if the computer works. If so, remove all the old memory and install one new DIMM. Reboot and see what happens. If that works, install the next. If not, remove it and try another.

If you have problems with your original memory, RAM is not the problem. Remove the G4 and put your original G3 back in. If the problem goes away, you've found your culprit. If not, go back to your old hard drive. If that fails, check your drive cables.

One of these should point to the cause of your troubles.

Do not rely on Norton to accurately diagnose and repair hard drive problems. It not only misdiagnoses things, but it can sometimes create more problems than you had to begin with. You are far better of with DiskWarrior, TechTool, etc. dk

Re: PowerBook ATA hard disk replacement

From Martin van Luijt

Hi Charles,

I think the USB-initialized drive is missing its (OS 9) disk-driver. This means you cannot boot from it. You don't need the driver for a USB drive; all disk-handling is defined in the USB Mass Storage Protocol.

Under OS X, Disk Utility offers the option for adding/omitting an OS 9 compatible disk driver when you connect an unformatted drive. I'm not sure how OS 8/9 handles this.

regards,
Martin

Hi Martin,

That could be it, all right.

Charles

Fragile Power Mac 8600

From Jason Green

Charles,

I note that you and your son have done several rescues of old Macs. I have bounced this question off a discussion board or two with no luck.

I recently purchased a used Power Mac 8600. It crashes often. I have a version of TechTool that says all is well, but the System just isn't stable. I can run XTension (home automation software) on it for hours without a problem. It seems that use of the ethernet port (Internet use or large file sharing transfers) seems to trigger crashes. Do you have any suggestions on how to diagnose what's really wrong?

Jason Green

Hi Jason,

You didn't say what version of the Mac OS you are running. I would suggest upgrading to at least OS 8.6 - and if your processor is 180 MHz or better, OS 9.1 would be my pick.

There might be some sort of hardware problem with your ethernet support, but my suspicion is that it's a software issue. The later OS versions are more robust at handling networking.

You could also try running with just the bare minimum of system extensions activated to see if you can identify an extension conflict.

Charles

Editor's note: TechTool is a fine utility, but it doesn't scan individual files looking for damage. This is the one area where Norton excels and the primary reason it remains in my troubleshooting arsenal. If you can identify and remove a damaged file (probably an extension, control panel, or preference), that may solve your problem.

The other good idea is a clean system install. Don't install over the old copy of the Mac OS. Use the installer with the "clean install" option to be sure there are no corrupted files or other things that may be causing trouble. dk

HELP!

From Thomas Price

I have a Power Macintosh 9500/120 that I recently acquired. Could direct me to anyone that can tell me how to upgrade it to run OS 9 or maybe even OS X? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated

Hi Thomas,

OS 9 is easy. Just get an OS 9 install CD and install it. Don't expect scintillating performance with a 120 MHz 604e chip, but it will certainly run fine. I would suggest OS 8.6 or even OS 8.1 as a more satisfactory Mac OS version for this speed of machine. That's what I use on my 117 MHz PowerBook 1400.

Incidentally, the 9500 is a very easy machine to processor upgrade. The motherboard is essentially the same as the one in my Umax S900, and the processor daughtercard just slots in. A few minutes job to change it. You should be able to pick up a faster 604e processor card (up to 300 MHz) for a pittance these days. There are also a large number of G3 and G4 processor upgrade options for these machines. You can go to an 800 MHz G4 if you want to.

As for OS X, it's doable, but I wouldn't suggest it unless you upgrade to at least a 400 MHz G3. You will need Ryan Rempel's XPostFacto installer hack (free from Other World Computing) in order to install OS X on this officially unsupported machine. Also, don't bother with OS X unless you're prepared to upgrade the RAM to at least 256 MB (and more is desirable), have a 4 GB or larger hard drive, and a video card with at least 8 MB of VRAM.

Charles

Editor's note: One more thing. Unless you upgrade to a G3 or G4 processor, you will not be able to install OS X 10.2; you'll be limited to 10.1.5 or earlier. dk

Macintosh MTU for IP over Ethernet

From Anonymous by request

See AppleCare Knowledge Base Article 107474: Mac OS X 10.2: How to Set the MTU Value During Startup.

This is a very detailed explanation , I have tried it and it works.

Anonymous

Got Redux!

From MUGWump

I want to thank you guys on the Mac-N-DOS list for your help over the last few days in securing a complete set of the files of Redux Backup 2.6.2. And none too soon. A neglected Tucows mirror site in Australia that I got a copy of Redux PPC from only a few days ago got updated and overhauled, and now that link is gone. To my knowledge, there's only one link to a combined archive of the FAT edition and the HTML manual and 2-3 links to the PPC edition. Plus, there's a MUG which has the FAT edition on disk.

While I'm grateful to all of you, I have to put in a special thanks to Dermot Geaney; he's the only source I've encountered who had a copy of the 68K edition.

I just read Charles Moore's mailbag on the LEM site; the URL is </1996/umax-supermac-j700//misc/03/0512.html>. He published my letter from an earlier stage in the search, so I'm cc'ing him and Dan Knight to let them know that I've got 'em all now.

I haven't gotten a reply from Dan since I last wrote him, so I don't know if what I sent him will satisfy his permission concerns, but as soon as those concerns are satisfied, Redux Backup will have a stable home on Low End Mac.

There is one piece of information that Dan may need to be satisfied. Information I read on another site (I think it was something like "Brave New Mac") stated that the rights to the program had reverted to the original developer of Redux. It would be good to have it for the record to get an okay from him/her/them. Does anyone know who the original developer of Redux Backup was and, if so, any ideas on how to reach this person? Since it's been distributed as freeware and has been on Tucows with no restrictions from distribution to other people for personal use mentioned, he may give it the go-ahead on that basis, but maybe not. An earlier article by Charles mentions a restriction, but his wording sounds more like the restriction is against OEMs distributing Redux with commercial products, not distribution in and of itself. I'm sure Dan and Charles are confabbing on that if Dan's read my last email. And Charles is probably scratching his head and going "now what was my source for that piece of information?"

Anyway, thanks again for your help with this. Looks like Redux Backup is going to be available one way or another as long as there are Macs that can run it.

Editor's note: Based on our reading of the Read Me file and documentation, it appears that Redux can be freely distributed as long as there is no cost involved. We are hosting a copy of Redux PPC 2.6.2 on our Select Mac Software Available for Download page. If this is not acceptable to the original developer, we will remove it. dk

Addendum on XPostFacto, OS X, and the Beige G3

From Jay Prince

Charles,

Oops! Just found several references to the Beige G3 by searching on "Beige" on this page:

http://eshop.macsales.com/OSXCenter/XPostFacto/framework.cfm?page=XPostFacto.html

Jay

Mac OS 9.2 on pre-G3s

From Jason Green

Here is the URL of OS 9 Helper, a hack to install 9.2 on pre-G3 Macs. Haven't tried it myself.

http://eshop.macsales.com/OSXCenter/OS9Helper/framework.cfm?topic=32

OS 9.2.x on pre-G3 Macs

From John Cate

Just go here:

http://www.os9helper.com

OS 9.2 on unsupported machines

From Mike Jarve

Hello from sunny northern Minnesota!

OS 9.2 can be installed on unsupported systems. There are a few ways to do it, but the easiest is to do it is use OS 9 Helper from http://www.os9forever.com. I have found this to be useful for installing OS 9.2 on unsupported but capable systems (particularly those upgraded to a G3, and plenty of RAM).

Mike

Upgrading from OS 9.1 to 9.2

From Jim Brandt

Hi Charles

Wanted to let you know that I always enjoy reading your articles and ramblings on Low End Mac. Since I came across Low End Mac a couple of years ago, I have sold both my Windows computers and have purchased four different Macs via eBay - one for every member of the family! My last couple of purchases have been a used PowerBook and iBook, and I found your commentary on each very helpful.

You had a question on yesterday's "Miscellaneous Ramblings" regarding upgrading a Power Mac 7500 from OS 9.1 to 9.2. OS 9 Helper is some software you can use to upgrade "unsupported" Macs like the 7500. I've used it to upgrade both my kids 5500s (with G3 upgrade cards), and it worked very well. I really haven't noticed a big difference between 9.1 and 9.2, but it makes me feel more up to date :-)

The software is available at http://www.os9forever.com. The website is hosted by Other World Computing - maybe you could give them a little plug for their support of low end computing.

Thanks,
Jim Brandt

Editor's note: There are a lot of wonderful Mac dealers out there, but only a handful provide exemplary support for older Macs. OWC is one of them, and we're very happy that they also support Low End Mac. dk

OS 9.2.2 on unsupported machines

From Jay Prince

Greetings Charles,

I saw a request for reader help on installing OS 9.2.2 on unsupported machines in the section "Mac OS 9 Compatibility, Upgrades, and Resources" in your Miscellaneous Ramblings column of 2003.05.12. Oddly enough, I spent hours on the Web researching this (and all things OS 9) yesterday, as my hope is to move to OS 9 soon. The following link to "OS 9 Helper" appears to be what's needed:

http://www.os9forever.com/os9helper.html

I spent hours following links and reading the MacFixIt forum thread on this, and it seems it has been a stable and finished product for about six months now. Hope this helps Guillermo get to 9.2 on his 7500.

Regards,
Jay

9.2 on pre-G3

From Peter da Silva

OWC (http://www.macsales.com) has links to 9.2 helper.

Ah yes...

http://eshop.macsales.com/OSXCenter/OS9Helper/framework.cfm?topic=32

Mac OS 9.2.x on pre-G3 PowerMacs

From Ron Kataoka

Charles,

OS 9.2.x can be installed on pre-G3 Power Macs with OS 9 Helper:

<http://www.os9forever.com/os9helper.html>

I used it to Upgrade my PM 9600/OS 9.1 to 9.2.1 then to 9.2.2. I didn't notice any "improvements" over OS 9.1. I did have to disable Norton FileSaver 5.0.3, as it caused freezes on shutdown/restart.

Ron

RE: serial bus on an S900

From Kort Jackson

Perhaps I will make an 8.1 floppy for him. He just needs to get it started so that he can get into the control panel and change his memory settings that he messed up. And, yes, I was talking about the ADB bus (some early Apple docs used to call it the serial bus).

I guess having irreplaceable broken parts is the pitfall of owning a "clone." He needs a new Mac.

Thanks
Kort

Hi Kort,

Apple has a downloadable disk image of an OS 8.1 Disk Tools Floppy (Macintosh/System/Mac_OS_8.1_Update/Disk_Tools_PPC./2012/charles-moore-picks-up-a-new-low-end-truck/.bin) on their software support Website.

http://www.info.apple.com/support/oldersoftwarelist.html

Best,
Charles

Boot floppy for an S900

From Jay Prince

Greetings Charles,

In regards to Kort Jackson's need to boot an S900 from a floppy, I'd like to suggest the following. Go to

http://download.info.apple.com/Apple_Support_Area/ Apple_Software_Updates/English-North_American/Macintosh/System/ Mac_OS_8.1_Update/Disk_Tools_PPC./2012/charles-moore-picks-up-a-new-low-end-truck/.bin

to download the Disk Tools Floppy image, make a floppy from it on a new (or newly initialized) floppy disk (you're going to need all the room you can get, and the desktop files can get too large on floppies that have been reused repeatedly), then go to

http://hyperarchive.lcs.mit.edu/HyperArchive/ Archive/cfg/cd-sunrise-22c.hqx

to download CD-Sunrise, a freeware CD-ROM driver that works with any SCSI CD-ROM drive (it does not support audio or ISO CDs, though that's of no concern here, just as it wasn't when it saved my bacon with an OS install CD that wouldn't boot). Copy CD-Sunrise to the Extensions Folder in the System Folder on the Disk Tools Floppy you've just made. The Disk Tools Floppy PPC image (from my OS 8.1 CD) has Disk First Aid 8.1, Drive Setup Lite 1.4DT, and the System Folder on it with 40K available; my Disk Tools Floppy disk has those, plus CD-Sunrise, with 19K available. CD-Sunrise takes 1 K on the floppy, the 1K difference presumably due to three additional invisible files and/or two additional preference files on the physical disk that aren't on the image (I've got them both open and have been going back and forth constantly, comparing things and whatnot, trying to be certain I'm getting this right; it's been a long time since I made that floppy).

By the way, the OS 8.5 CD also has a Disk Tools Floppy image on it.

Hope this helps,

Jay

Thanks Jay,

I must look at my OS 8.5 CD for that Disk Tools image.

Charles

Advice for Kort Jackson

From Steven Hunter

It may be possible to force booting off a CD by disconnecting the power cable from the hard drive. Boot the system until you get to the blinking disk and then insert a bootable CD. Once it starts to boot, reconnect the power to the hard drive. It should then mount normally. You can then weed out the offending extension or whatever and itself.

Of course hot-powering any component may ruin it and possibly the rest of the computer as well. And it may not boot from the CD at all, so YMMV.

Also, I assume that you've tried pressing the CUDA switch and replacing the original CPU?

Steven Hunter

S900 memory configuration problem...

From Peter da Silva

OWC has 200 MB SCSI drives, which should be large enough to fit a minimum OS 9 install on, for $5. If Kort Jackson disconnects his system disk and installs one of these (with a different SCSI address, of course) instead and then boots with the CD-ROM in, it should boot from the CD-ROM and let him install OS 9 onto this drive. Then simply reattach the original drive, boot on the new one, and do whatever he needs to do.

http://eshop.macsales.com/ Catalog_Item.cfm?ID=2923&Item=IBMWDS3200

Alternatively, he might find it worthwhile upgrading to a new drive for not a lot more. <
http://www.softwareandstuff.com/h_65gbhdrive.html>

USB under OS 8.1

From Torsten Enn

Hello Charles!

You told your reader Kort Jackson OS 8.1 does not support USB. "Officially" this is correct, but I had my beige G3 running OS 8.1 (with which it came delivered) for about half a year with a generic USB card I had picked up cheaply. True, Apple says you need at least OS 8.6, and the installer refuses to do its work under OS 8.1 - but it works if you simply drag the extensions to the Extensions folder. At least it did for me. I didn't even need TomeViewer or something like that; the installer had both extensions ready to use in a folder. Although I don't remember if it was the version 1.2 or 1.4 of the extensions. Apple had some recommendations using the versions under OS 8.6 or 9.0, but if I remember correctly I used the one Apple recommended for OS 9 and not 8.6 worked perfectly for my machine.

So perhaps Kort has a chance to make an OS 8.1 boot disk, in case the OS and the USB extensions fit on one disk.

Torsten

Hi Torsten,

Interesting. I'm always glad to hear of thing that work even when they're not supposed to. ;-)

Charles

PCI Modem for Macs

From Brandon Starkey

Hi Charles,

There actually are PCI modems for Mac, or that work in them - I happen to own one. It is a US Robotics 56k Pro - it works on PC and Mac systems. I paid about $80 for it, and it's currently sitting in my Windows desktop. I think I might have ordered it from Comp-U-Plus, but it's been over a year, so I can't be sure. Hope this is helpful.

Brandon
West Virginia Wesleyan College

Thanks Brandon,

Forwarded the info to Frank.

Charles

Editor's note: We've added a link to a USR modem that seems to be the on Brandon Starkey is referring to, but USR makes no mention of Mac support on their website. dk

OS X on the beige G3

From Jay Prince

Greetings Charles,

In regards to Tim Larson's inability to get OS X to install on his beige G3, just a couple of hours ago I finished listening to Gene Steinberg's (of The Mac Night Owl) radio show of 5/9/03 (The Mac Night Owl LIVE). One of the segments was an interview with Ryan Rempel, the author of XPostFacto, which makes possible the installation of OS X on a number of unsupported machines.

Part of the interview dealt with the fact that, for reasons not yet known to Ryan at the time of the interview, XPostFacto has been reported to make installing OS X possible on a number of otherwise recalcitrant beige G3s. This certainly sounds worth a try, especially considering the cost - free. Go have a look around at:

http://eshop.macsales.com/OSXCenter/XPostFacto/

The beige G3 is not mentioned on that page, but there is this: "Version 2.2 of XPostFacto adds limited support for the original PowerBook G3, the 3400, and the 2400."

Wishing you luck,
Jay

Beige G3 and OS X

From Ed Hurtley

I had similar slow/no install difficulties. The fix? To remove all but one stick of RAM. (At that, remove all but the smallest stick of RAM.) It installed like a charm. For some reason, OS X doesn't appear to be able to install on a beige G3 with 256 MB or more of memory. X will install on 64 MB, though, so if your reader removes his two 256 MB DIMMs, he should be fine.

I read this on some forums somewhere a few months ago when my problem cropped up. It also appears to be worse on 10.2.x than on 10.1.x. (I didn't have to remove memory to get 10.1.x installed, it just took a couple tries. I had to remove memory to get 10.2 installed.)

Ed H.

OS X on Beige G3s...

From Peter da Silva

If Tim Larson doesn't know about OWC's program XPostFacto that allows you to install OS X on "unsupported" hardware, he should power over to macsales.com (No, I have no connection to these guys, other than they've sold me a bunch of hardware and it's all worked, and they're totally on top of the technology) and get it:

http://eshop.macsales.com/OSXCenter/XPostFacto/

Thanks guys.

He knows now. :-)

Charles


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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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