Apr 212010

6.0.8 system startup window

I took a few moments to launch Mini vMac and play with Mac OS 6.08 on my MacBook Pro that runs Snow Leopard. Since Snow Leopard will not let you write to or create HFS disk images I was limited to what was available on the 6.08 Disk Tools disk, namely the venerable Disk First Aid and Apple HD SC Setup.

I was very proud of myself for remembering that there is a secret key combination to expose the logging window of DFA so you can see what it is doing. Back in the early days DFA just worked it’s magic and expected you to wait patiently for the watch cursor to disappear and the application to report it’s cryptic results.

If you press Command-S while DFA is open a window underneath appears that displays the status of the DFA processes. Since this always begins¬† and ends with a date/time stamp and the message “Scavenging begun” or “Scavenging ended” I presume Command-S was chosen to display the Scavenging process.

Disk First Aid 1.4.3

Disk First Aid 1.4.3 with secret window revealed

Later versions of Disk First Aid by default display the disk examination and repair process, but back in the System 6 days you had to know the magical keycode to watch its inner workings as it churned away performing its diagnostics and repair.

Apr 142010

I completed my project to install 3 different versions of the Mac OS onto my recently acquired PowerBook G3 “Lombard.” Below are the resulting screenshots of the computer started into Mac OS 8.6, Mac OS 9.2.2, and Mac OS 10.3.9 “Panther.”

About this Mac - OS 8.6

"About this Computer" window under Mac OS 8.6

Startup Disk control panel - Mac OS 8.6

Startup Disk control panel from Mac OS 8.6

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Apr 122010


Last week I posted an article about acquiring a 333 MHz PowerBook G3 “Lombard” to add to my collection of classic Apple computers. During my research about this computer I discovered that it has the ability to operate under three different major versions of the Macintosh operating system: 8, 9, and X.

Thus was born my idea to configure the Lombard with the ability to boot into each of these operating systems so that it might be a self-contained demo of the evolution of the Mac OS from 8.6 (May, 1999) through 9.22 (December, 2001) all the way to 10.3.9 (April, 2005).
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Dec 052008

If you aren’t sure which versions of the Mac OS are compatible with your Macintosh, here are some excellent resources to find out:

AppleCare’s Knowledge Base includes several relevant articles on the topic:

My favorite tool for finding a quick answer to this question is Ian Page’s awesome MacTracker, a comprehensive collection of vital information about every model of Macintosh that is available as a free Mac OS X or Windows application, or via a web site that’s optimized for viewing on an iPhone or iPod Touch.

Now, as for which version of the Mac OS is optimal for your model of Macintosh, well, that’s beyond the scope of this article. The folks over at lowendmac.com have a number of helpful articles on this topic, though.

Dec 052008

Dan Knight wrote an article for lowendmac.com back in 2001 entitled System 6 or System 7? In the article he describes several ways to switch between using System versions on the same Macintosh, and recommends a utility called System Picker:

System picker is a freeware utility that lets you pick which one of two or more System Folders on your hard drive will be active at the next startup. Kevin Aitken’s little utility does this by “blessing” the system you select. (Blessing is Apple’s name for selecting one System Folder as the active one.)

Unfortunately, the link to download System Picker from Apple’s Developer site no longer works. I was able to locate a copy after a good bit of hunting, and that experience led me to decide that I would begin to collect and archive legacy Mac tools to save myself and others the time and frustration in the future. Until that archive is established you can find System Picker here.

I do not yet have personal experience with System Picker but plan to test it soon. Be sure to read Dan’s excellent article for tips on how to install two different operating system versions on the same drive. Not sure which versions of the OS your Mac supports? See this article to find out!