Format Any Drive for Older Macs with Patched Apple Tools
With these patches and tips, you'll never need an unreliable, inconvenient third-party hard disk driver again.
Apple HD SC Setup and Drive Setup are the standard tools that everyone has used to prepare vintage Macintosh hard drives. They're not as glamorous as FWB Hard Disk Toolkit or SoftRAID, but they're dependable day-in and day-out computing companions.
Their biggest limitation is that they are only compatible with a drive that came stock in a Mac.
Since we often upgrade our vintage Macs with more modern hard drives, we've been forced to use third-party hard disk drivers. This is inconvenient (and may even be technically illegal). Also, while many have had good luck with third-party hard disk drivers, they've been a source of heartache for me.
Wouldn't it be great it we could just use the appropriate Apple tool with any hard drive?
With these patches, it is possible - and it works great!
Introducing the Tools
Apple HD SC Setup (named for the first external SCSI hard drive for Macs, Apple's 20-megabyte HD SC) is the venerable old standby. When Macs started coming with internal hard drives, its audience broadened, but its name never changed.
Drive Setup arose with the introduction of the Power Macs in 1994. When the LC 630 shipped a few months later, its IDE hard disk was also to be formatted with Drive Setup. Apple HD SC Setup and Drive Setup coexisted until Mac OS 7.6, which dropped the older program.
Two versions of Drive Setup are of current interest: 1.5 and 1.7.3. There are a few versions of Drive Setup newer than 1.7.3, but they are not available for download, so we won't worry about them. Drive Setup 1.7.3 does a fine enough job all the way up to Mac OS 9.2.2.
Choosing Your Formatter
The best tool to use depends upon your Macintosh situation.
For all Macs running "old" System Software from 6.0.1 through 7.1.1, I recommend Apple HD SC Setup. It is broadly compatible with these older System releases and is the tool they were designed to work with.
When I updated from HD SC Setup to Drive Setup on my SE/30, my hard drive performance doubled!
For 68030 and 68040 Macs (like Mac II and Quadra models) running newer Systems from 7.5 up to 8.1, I recommend using Drive Setup 1.5. Using Drive Setup instead of HD SC Setup can increase speed under System 7.5, and it's required for 7.6, 8.0, and 8.1. When I updated from HD SC Setup to Drive Setup on my SE/30, my hard drive performance doubled!
This version avoids a couple of nasty bugs present on 680x0 Macs in Drive Setup 1.6 and higher. See Joerg Erdei's Drive Setup FAQ for more information on why version 1.5 is the best Drive Setup for 680x0 Macs.
For Power Macs, I recommend Drive Setup 1.7.3 regardless of System software version. This latest downloadable version is compatible back to System 7.1.2 on the NuBus Power Macs and up to 9.2.2 on the last Classic-booting eMacs.
HD SC Setup
HD SC Setup is easy to download and patch. Grab the latest version (7.5.3) of the program from Apple (link at end of article). Next, download this patch. It will unstuff into a simple application that updates your copy of HD SC Setup to work on any drive.
Now you can format any extra hard drives by hooking them up to your Mac or copy the patched version onto your boot disks. Enjoy your newfound freedom to use Apple's HD SC Setup with any SCSI drive!
Patching Drive Setup is also a simple two-step process. Choose the appropriate version of Drive Setup and download it (links at end of article). Make sure to grab the right patch, too: version 1.5 or version 1.7.3. Unpack the program and the patch, launch the patcher, and follow the directions.
When you're done, you'll have a new copy of Drive Setup that identifies itself as having been patched. Launch this application or copy it to your boot disks and enjoy genuine Apple drivers on any hard drive!
Driven by Simplicity
As you can see, it's easy to use Apple's hard disk tools with any drive you might have. You'll gain the familiarity of the old standby tools and can forget all the hassles of discontinued, hard-to-find commercial software.
Next time you need to format a hard disk connected to a vintage Macintosh, consider using HD SC Setup or Drive Setup in their patched incarnations. I think you'll like the experience.
Links for the Day
- Mac of the Day: Macintosh 512K 'Fat Mac', introduced 1984.09.10. The first Mac with enough memory for serious work.
- Support Low End Mac
Low End Mac Reader Specials
Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
Mac Driver Museum
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ