Charles Moore's Mailbag

Beige G3 Upgrade Problems, Unsupported OS 9.2, Crashing 8600, Boot Floppies, and More

Charles Moore - 2003.06.16 - Tip Jar

APM tuner for Mac OS X

From Pratya Levan

Hi do you have a copy of APM tuner for Mac OS X ?

It seems like link to APM tuner web page doesn't work anymore.

Pratya Levan

Hi Pratya,

You can download APM Tuner X here:


RE: USR PCI modem for Mac

From Ruben DeLaRosa

Mr. Moore:

Mr. Starkey is incorrect in his insistence that the aforementioned US Robotics modem is compatible with Mac OS. It is not. This modem is for Windows and Linux Intel-based machines only.

I have never heard of or seen a Mac PCI modem in all my time as a computer technician. Have you?


Ruben DeLaRosa

Hi Mr. DeLaRosa,

I would be a complete bounder if I tried to pass myself off as a computer technician. I am a moderately well-informed journalist.

However, no, I've never encountered a PCI Mac modem, but my frame of reference is limited.


In response to "Sleep of Death" article

From Blake Irvin

I work as an Apple Product Professional and as-needed technician at an Apple Specialist location (MacOutfitters of Cranberry, PA). Quite a few of our clients have had WallStreet PowerBooks that, after having 10.2 installed, would immediately shut off their backlights upon boot in OS X, then keep it off after being woken from sleep.

The solution, apparently, is to do several PMU resets (waiting about 10 seconds between each one). The keyboard command is fn-shift ctrl power.

Blake Irvin

Thanks for the tip, Blake. I was never able to get OS X to install on my (now dead) 233 MHz WallStreet, but I know that many WS owners are using OS X.


Shut down clock

From Malcolm Lubliner

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 it's 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 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.


Hi Malcolm,

You're far ahead of my expertise on this one already, but perhaps someone in readerland can help.


Editor's note: First suggestion: Ditch that copy of Norton Utilities for Macintosh (NUM)and get a copy of DiskWarrior and/or TechTool Pro. As many Norton users have learned over the years, while Norton can sometimes be a life saver, at other times it can actually create problems. Ever since my one bad encounter with NUM (see Norton Utilities Warning), I've only used Disk Doctor as a last resort when DiskWarrior and TechTool fail to find the problem.

It would also help with diagnosis of your problem to know a lot more about your system: What OS are you using? What brand of hard drive did you install? Which G4 upgrade? Does it require drivers, and (if so) do you have the latest drives installed? Do you have Norton FileSaver installed? If so, dump it immediately, as it causes far more problems than it will ever solve.

The problem could be a poorly seated RAM module, an overheating drive, a G4 processor that isn't designed for your 66 MHz bus, defective RAM, a surface defect on your hard drive, or several other things. This is one reason it's best to upgrade your computer one component at a time. It makes it much easier to determine which piece is causing the problem. dk

Mac OS 9.2.x on pre-G3 PowerMacs

From Ron Kataoka


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

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.


Installing 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:

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.


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 PowerMac 7500 from OS 9.1 to 9.2. OS9Helper is some software you can use to upgrade "unsupported" Macs like the 7500. I've used it to upgrade both my kids 5500's (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 The website is hosted by Other World Computing - maybe you could give them a little plug for their support of low end computing.

Jim Brandt

Hi Ron, Jay, and Jim,

Yes, OWC is a great resource for the low-end Mac user. I've bought several hard drive and RAM upgrades from them over the years, plus my Umax tower, and I've always been happy with their service.

I also notice little difference in performance between OS 9.1 and 9.2. There are some compatibility reasons for making the 9.2 upgrade, but if they don't apply, then my counsel is to stick with 9.1 on unsupported machines.


Fragile 8600

From Jason Green


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 which 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,

It's often difficult to diagnose faults like this even hands on. I had a heck of a time with my Umax S900 when I first got it. It turned out to be a faulty hard drive (new).

I expect that you've tried the usual stuff - a clean system reinstall; turning off unneeded extensions, etc.

Another possibility is a bad RAM module. However, it could also be a motherboard issue. Let's hope not. It tends to be a process of elimination, trial and error.


Editor's note: I haven't seen this specific problem, but at my last IS job we ran into all sorts of network problems when we used the built in ethernet on Quadras and Power Macs on 10/100 hubs and switches. The solution was to only connect these Macs to 10Base-T hubs or install a third-party ethernet card that supports 10Base-T and 100Base-T. Hope this helps in this situation. dk

Re: Question for Misc. Ramblings: fragile 8600

From Jason Green

Thanks for the thoughts. I added 128 megs of RAM to bring the total to 208. Since then, IE crashes from time to time, but I think that's just IE. It now doesn't take the system with it.

Hi Jason,

The real cure is to use a decent browser. ;-)


Macintosh MTU for IP over Ethernet

From anonymous by request

See AppleCare Knowledge Base ID: 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.

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:

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,

Addendum on XPostFacto, OS X, and the Beige G3

From Jay Prince


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


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 (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:

Thanks guys.


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, disc utility offers the option for adding/omitting a OS 9-style disk-driver when you connect an unformatted drive. I'm not sure how OS 8/9 handles this.


Thanks for the info, Martin.


Boot floppy for an S900

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

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

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 40 K available; my Disk Tools Floppy disk has those, plus CD-Sunrise, with 19 K available. CD-Sunrise takes 19 K on the floppy, the 1 K 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,


Thanks, Jay.


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 this one, and do whatever he needs to do.

Alternatively, he might find it worthwhile upgrading to a new drive for not a lot more...

Thanks for the tips, Peter.



From Adrian Abraham

Dear Charles,

Something quite upsetting happened to me recently and I though I would share it with you:

My account at was suspended, and when I wrote in to their support, this is what they had to say:

Dear Customer,
Thank you for your e-mail.

As a part of our anti Spam policy we have suspended your account due to suspicious E-mail activity.


Technical Support @MacMail

All my queries since that have been ignored. I had used that account for communicating with my Mac friends and subscribing to the various lists from Low End Mac. After losing my and now, me thinks I shall have to migrate and restrict all my e-mailing to the peecee. :( I hope not anymore of your website following experience this.

Best Regards
Adrian Abraham

PS: Love your rants :)

Hi Adrian,

I queried a contact who has connections at MacMail, and apparently the issue with your account was that you were sending out bulk mailshots (perhaps a small email list?). This was probably perfectly legitimate (I operate an email list [subscriber only] myself). However, maintaining a mailing list or sending bulk mailshots is not a permitted use of a MacMail account, as noted in the service's Terms & Conditions.

MacMail's sysadmin told my contact that sending "suspicious" emails does not automatically result in the suspension of an account - there may be legitimate reasons for sending a message to multiple recipients without wanting any to know the others. But the overall pattern of usage of the account strongly indicated it fell outside MacMail's permitted uses, so they exercised their right to terminate the account.

Hope this helps explanatory wise at least.


Widescreen Wallpapers

From Dustin D

I was just reading the latest "'Book Review" and noticed a link to Apple widescreen display wallpapers. There is a site that offers similarly sized wallpapers for free (though the images there are a bit more abstract) -

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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 and a columnist at If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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