Feb 12, 2001
Installing OSX On Unsupported Macs and Clones
Do you own an older mac or mac clone that's been upgraded to a G3 or better?
Feeling a little left out of the OSX mania that seems to be gripping the mac
world these days? Do you wish you didn't have to go out and buy a new mac
just so you could try OSX for yourself?
I know the feeling. I own a much - upgraded Umax S900, and I optimistically
bought a copy of OSX Public Beta (PBX) as soon as it came out, hoping that it
would either install on my Umax outright, or that someone would quickly
figure out a way to do so. I installed it, without trouble, on my wife's
Blue & White G3, but I couldn't get it to install on my Umax. I couldn't
even get the 'System Disk' app to 'see' my PBX CD as a startup disk, and
every time I ran it, it said it couldn't work on my hardware. My install
attempts proceeded no further.
While waiting for news of a sucessful PBX install on an S900, I purchased a
cheap used 4x Apple CDRom drive and a discounted ATI XclaimVRPro video card
to ensure compatibility. I had heard reports of problems with non Apple
video cards like my Voodoo3.
I scoured the internet, searching sites like xlr8yourmac.com for hints on how
to make the elusive install possible. Eventually, reports of sucessful
installs on older machines like 7500's began to give me hope that someone
would figure out a way, and I tried every tip I found. 'Only install on
external SCSI drives' and 'remove all non Apple PCI cards' come immediately
to mind, but the System Disk app still didn't work, even when I stripped my
Umax of all non-vital hardware and software. I was starting to lose hope.
One day, I found mention of a 'hacked' System Disk application, for use on
unsupported machines like mine. One site had instructions on how to perform
the required modification on the System Disk app, and I tried it immediately.
With PBX in my external Apple CDRom drive, the installer actually allowed me
to 'choose' PBX as my startup disk. A quick restart, and I finally got the
spinning 'beach ball.' My install was starting...
After what always seemed like an awfully long period (I must have tried 30
different iterations of PCI cards and software) I got what I've come to know
as the dreaded 'kernel trap' - the install stops with a cryptic message that
means 'Command Option P R' time. I was fortunate enough to have read all
about the secret to reviving a seemingly dead mac after one of these
attempts, and I even had the smarts to have an emergency floppy disk handy to
disable 'speculative processing' on my XLR8 Zif Carrier after zapping the
PRam, so my Umax wouldn't wind up with terminal 'rigor mortis.' Don't forget
that part, boys and girls...
It seemed that some incompatability was being detected by the PBX installer.
I searched the internet further, and eventually came across a site detailing
a PBX install on a 7300:
PB on a 7300
By: Steve Setzer
November 28, 2000 - 04:41 PM
Clever fellow, this Steve Setzer. He found a way to install PBX on a NON-G3
7300 using Darwin and a version of the PBX kernel 'hacked' to work on a 604.
Basically, he downloaded Darwin
it on 2 hard drive partitions, downloaded a 'hacked' kernel, swapped the
hacked kernel for the one in Darwin, booted Darwin, and used a utility called
'pax' to copy all PBX files from the PBX CD to their same locations on the
other drive partition also containing Darwin. Then he used 'pax' to replace
the PBX kernel (on the hard drive) with the 'hacked' one. Use a modified
version of the Startup Disk app to choose this partition as your startup, and
install PBX (with hacked kernel) on the other partition.
This sounded promising, except that he specifically mentioned that this
hacked kernel WOULD NOT WORK WITH G3's! At least I now knew what I needed -
a 'hacked' kernel that WOULD WORK on G3's. Back to the internet. Soon, I
found another site:
Installing OS X Server on unsupported machines
By David J. Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org) Rev 1 2/17/00
This site gave instructions on how to modify OSX Server to run on an S900
(YES!) Equally clever David Clark found that by installing OSX Server on a
supported machine and hacking it's kernel (does this sound familiar?) he
could then move the hard drive with OSX Server installed on it to an
unsupported machine (his S900) and run it. Trouble was, he was talking about
OSX Server, not PBX, and his 'supported' machine apparently had native SCSI,
which my wife's B & W doesn't.
Installing her IDE drive in my Umax was out of the question, even with my
TurboMax, because PBX wouldn't recognize it. I also wasn't sure if the
'hack' to the OSX Server kernel would work on the PBX kernel, but I had to
try. But how was I going to get PBX on a SCSI partition so I could 'hack' it?
Can you see where this is going? I installed Darwin on two drive partitions,
'hacked' the PBX kernel with Mr. Clark's instructions, swapped the 'hacked'
kernel into Darwin on one, booted it (Darwin) and used it to create a
'hacked' PBX installer on the other, which I then booted to install PBX on
the first. It worked. I now have PBX running on my Umax S900. Here's how I
Go to both Steve Setzer's and David Clark's web sites (above) and print ALL
of their instructions. While you're at Mr. Setzer's site, look for the link
to download Darwin (noted above) and copy it. At Mr. Clark's site you'll
find the link to a utility you'll need to hack the kernel called 'Quadrivio
General Edit Lite.' I had to dig around a while to find it, but eventually I
did. Download it.
You'll notice I didn't say to download Darwin yet. That's because Darwin is
HUGE (135 meg) and it will take a bit of planning to get it, even if you have
DSL, Cable or better. I tried to download it at work, where a TI took 45
minutes to download it. Almost download it, I should say - it always seemed
to stop just before the end, and it wouldn't unstuff. I tried several times,
but no luck. Apple - get a better server for this, would you?
I finally found a way - at home, with my 56k modem, believe it or not. I
found that if I enabled the 'automatic password' feature of Internet
Explorer 5, I could leave Darwin in my download manager over night, shut down
my computer in the morning (leaving Darwin in the download manager) and
resume the next night, until I got it all. You see, to get Darwin, you have
to register with Apple and get an id and password (it's free,) but this kept
my usual 'resume download' application (it's called Monica - highly
recommended) from being able to resume. It actually took 3 nights to
download Darwin. Not really - the connection got slow, and downloading
stopped after several hours each time. Anyway, that's how I did it. Apple
will also sell you Darwin on a CD, if you prefer...
The last piece of software you need is a hacked version of the 'System Disk'
application that comes with PBX. Mr. Clark describes how to do it using
ResEdit. Read <Modifying System Disk.> I got my MachineID (68) from Apple
You'll need an Apple supported video card (I only got a black monitor when I
tried to run the installer on my Voodoo3) but here's the weird part - once I
installed PBX, I tried using my Voodoo3 and it now works. Apparently, the
secret is having a supported video card in a higher (lower numerically) slot
than your unsupported video card. More on what works and what doesn't
Look at Mr. Clark's instructions: <Kernel Modifications.> You need to know
your machine's "compatible" string. Do what he says. I was lucky - mine was
the same as his: AAPL,???? corresponds to a Umax S900. Once you know what to
look for, mount your PBX CD, launch Quadrivio General Edit Lite, and open the
file 'mach_kernel' on your PBX CD. You'll need to uncheck 'read only' when
you open it. Set the display to ASCII, and under 'View' click 'Unlock Data.'
Don't worry - you can't hurt the file on your CD. Click somewhere in the
lower window, and under 'Find' click 'Find Data.' Key in the id that your
machine most closely resembles. My Umax is basically a 8500, so I searched
for 'AAPL,8500.' Note the capitalization - caps count here. When you find
the string you want, click 'Replace Data' and key in your machine's
"compatible" string. Mine was 'AAPL,????.' No period, no spaces, type
carefully. Check it twice. If you want to make sure you got the right
string, 'Find Data' again. The string you replaced shouldn't be there. Look
for the new string. It should be there. Save the file on a hard drive where
you can find it, and quit Qaudrivio General Edit Lite. Now you should be
done with Mr. Clark's instructions.
Look at Mr. Setzer's instructions. Skip to step 4, unless you want to try
installing PBX on a 604 processor, in which case you've gone to a lot of
trouble following Mr. Clark's instructions. Anyway, double click
Darwin1.2.smi (self mounting image) and 'install' it (actually - you're
'restoring' Darwin) on both of your blank partitions. You'll need to run it
twice. I haven't mentioned it, but I used an internal 1 gig partition to
build my 'PBX Installer,' and installed PBX on a 4 gig external one. It
happened to be in the same case as my Apple 4x CDRom. OSX would have fit on
a 1 gig partition as well, but I wanted some room for 'goodies.'
Rename the partition you want to install OSX on 'NewOSX' (or something - just
so you know which is the 'installer' partition, and which is being installed
to.) Open the NewOSX partition and drag over your hacked 'mach_kernel,'
replacing the original. Mount your PBX CD on the desktop, and use your
hacked System Disk app to pick NewOSX (the partition) to start from. It will
be listed twice, once as NewOSX,MacOS and once as NewOSX,MacOSX. Make sure
you pick the one with MacOSX after the comma. Pay close attention to Mr.
Setzer's instructions. Don't get confused as to which partition is which.
Restart. Cross your fingers.
Darwin should start. It's not much to look at, kind of like DOS.
Fortunately, we only need it briefly. Follow Mr. Setzer's instructions 'From
within Darwin on final' EXACTLY. Type CAREFULLY. Note ALL spaces. When you
use pax to copy your PBX files (step 5) it will take a LONG TIME. Don't
worry - there are a lot of files to move. BE PATIENT. Wait for the command
prompt to return. Darwin gives no indication of activity while these files
are copying, and you might think the thing locked up, and re-boot like I did.
DON'T DO IT. You'll have to re-install Darwin and (nearly) start over. One
other thing - I never tried putting my PBX CD in my 36x non-Apple CDRom
drive, so I don't know if this procedure required an Apple compatible CDRom
drive or not. My guess is, if you don't 'see' PBX in step 3, you need an
Apple compatible CDRom drive. I had one, so I used it...
Don't forget to replace the 'mach_kernel' file with your hacked version.
Type 'reboot,' hold the 'option' key (to get back to OS9.04) and follow the
rest of Mr. Setzer's instructions: drag the remaining 2 files to your
'installer' partition, use (hacked) System Disk app to select it as your
startup disk, restart, and install PBX. Don't forget to erase the partition
before installation (it's an option in the install.)
Remember that PBX is incompatible with OS9.1. I have 9.1 on my main startup
partition, and 9.04 on my 'Classic' partition. You can't even run the System
Disk app (hacked or not) in OS 9.1 without getting an error, so don't bother
trying. You'll need to re-install 9.04 on a partition if you've gone to 9.1,
and I've seen web sites describing how to run 8.6 (and earlier) with PBX, if
you really want to do that. Furthermore, to go to OSX (from 9.1,) I have to
use the 'Startup Disk' control panel from 9.04 to reboot in 9.04, and then
the System Disk app to boot to OSX. To go back to 9.1, restart OSX holding
the 'option' key (which boots to 9.04,) use the 9.04 'Startup Disk' control
panel to select 9.1, and reboot (again.) Wonder why I specified the 'Startup
Disk' CP from 9.04? The one from 9.1 won't select a startup partition older
than 9.1 (it gives an error), and every time I use it to try to boot to 9.04,
I end up booting from 9.1 instead. Fortunately, all this hassle will go away
with OSX v1, which IS compatible with OS 9.1.
My configuration is as follows:
Umax S900, XLR8 Zif Carrier w/ 400 mHz G3, 176 MB Ram, 2x 30 gig ATA100
drives on Ahard RAID Card, 1x 2 gig SCSI internal drive, 1x 9 gig SCSI
external (2 partitions), ATI XclaimVRPro and Voodoo3 video cards, OS9.1/9.04.
I also have a TR5 Tape Drive, 36x CDRom and CDRW on my internal SCSI, and an
old Syquest 105 on my external.
When I did the install, my PCI slots were filled as follows, top to bottom:
Miles UltraWideSCSI (not currently used)
Ethernet (T100) (generic PC)
USB (can't remember brand)
Apple System Profiler (in OS9.04/9.1) only 'sees' my top 3 slots, but all my
cards work in OS9x. Interestingly, in OSX, Apple System Profiler 'sees' 7
slots, (number 3 is called 'PCI Bridge') but doesn't fully recognize the
bottom 2 cards. My Kensington Optical Pro (USB) mouse wouldn't work during
the install, even though the light on my 'power meter' USB hub came on. I
assumed the problem was the position of the USB card, so I used my ADB mouse
until I had a chance to move the USB card to PCI slot 3. My Kensington Op
tical Pro mouse now works, at least partially - the left and right buttons
work, but not the center or scroll wheel. I now suspect it would have worked
equally well with the USB card in slot 6, once OSX was fully installed.
I don't yet know about the Ethernet port, though I suspect it will need some
sort of OSX driver to work (I can always go back to built-in-slow.) I still
can't 'see' my AppleTalk network, but I can't 'see' it from my wife's
computer (running OSX) either, so at least it's not (necessarily) my Ethernet
PCI card. I'll do some more research - maybe I just don't have the settings
As I mentioned already, the PBX installer wouldn't run on my Voodoo3 video
card (black screen/orange light) but once PBX was installed, the Voodoo3
seemed to work fine. Just a warning, though - my 19" Viewsonic stays black
during bootup until just after the 'spinning beach ball' would have gone
away. Incidentally, I got a great deal a few weeks ago on a 4 meg VRAM
upgrade for my ATI XclaimVRPro at www.compgeeks.com (it was $2.) I took a
chance - it was listed as a Compac Video Upgrade that was rumored to work in
mac ATI video cards. Works like a champion.
Not surprisingly, OSX only 'sees' my (native) SCSI drives. I can hardly wait
for Acard to release their OSX drivers for my AHARD RAID card. The thing
flat hauls with my IBM ATA100 drives. I only got PBX working late last
night, so I haven't exactly had a lot of time to tweak it, but I have ordered
OSX (v1) now that I know I'll be able to install it on more than my wife's
Since installing OSX, I've gotten sound and my backside cache working, both
with programs I found on xlr8yourmac.com. I wish sure wish I could print to
my Ethernet/AppleTalk connected Epson printer, though...
There may be easier ways to accomplish this install, but I couldn't find
them. I'm no expert, so please don't blame me if my procedure doesn't work
for you as it did for me. You would probably be wise to back up any mission
critical data before attempting this. Note also that I had all my PCI
cards/unsupported hard drives/USB devices in place when I did the install,
with no apparent problems. I first ran the installer with my USB mouse
connected, before realizing it wouldn't work, but the installer still ran.
Incidentally, Mr. Clark has another, newer web page where he gives simpler
instructions for patching OSX DR3 and OSX Server to work on clones, as well
as links for downloading the patches. I contacted him by e-mail to ask if he
had updated patches for PBX. He never replied.
I hope this somewhat lengthy and rambling article is of some help to those
among you willing to push the envelope. I can't really take credit for this
solution - I just assembled the work of others more gifted than myself. I'd
like to thank Steve Setzer and David J. Clark for their help in making this
possible, and I hope they don't mind my referencing their work. At least I
gave credit where credit was due.
By the way - it was worth it. OSX is COOL!
Remember if you have 3rd party PCI cards (SCSI cards, etc.) there is no support for most of them in OS X Beta. On my loaded Genesis for instance, even if the cache enablers like Ryan Rumpel's worked (see the FAQ's OS X beta section here), I'd still lose a lot of functionality I have with OS 9, so I've avoided installing OS X beta on most of my machines for this reason. I'd suggest having a complete backup of your drive/data before attempting OS X beta installs just in case.
I was able to install Mac OS X PB on a PowerWave 604/150 w/G3 upgrade
104MB of RAM after seeing the kernel edit posted in reader reports.
Actually that was the only thing I needed in order to install the PB on that
machine as I was getting a kernel trap error when booting from the CD or any
darwin 1.2 compatible kernel. After editing the kernel install was a
breeze, and I thought I should add that you don't need to mess with Darwin
to get OS X installed.
All that's needed is to copy the Mac OS X PB CD to one of your drives or
partitions and replace its kernel with the edited kernel. Conceivably
considering the nature of System Disk, all you would actually need to do is
create a folder on any drive with the contents of the CD and the edited
kernel, and you should be able to boot from it. I edited System Disk 3.1
although an edited version of 2.6.2 works as well.
One note on that though,
is to make sure to boot with 'V' held down so you can tell if there is a
hang(usually after regency copyright info)...if there is one, all that is
needed is for you to restart with the option key down, and select the drive
again, in whichever version of System Disk you first ran.
Hope that makes it easier for everyone to install...pretty much a breeze
considering all of the time and effort I put into trying to get it running
in the past.
(I asked for more details like HD/CD drivers used, etc. and he wrote)
I have 3 internal drives, and one external, all SCSI. The first is a
Seagate 1GB with Apple HD Driver. The second is a 1GB IBM SCA to 50 pin
unsupported drive with FWB drivers. The third is a 500MB Quantum, standard
issue. The external is that hunk of junk Seagate 10.8 GB full profile 50 pin
with Apple HD driver...I did not use the external drive in the installation
nor did it matter if I attached the drive for the install to work.
CD-ROM is the standard 8x TEAC that comes with the PowerComputing
Clones...Only problem I experience with it (its a bit damaged) is that it
does not allow me to use a CD unless the CD is in the drive at boot time. I
have used 4x standard Apple drives and there is no difference.
I have an ATI Mach64 based vid card, standard on the machine and two V2's in
the adjoining slots.
I copied the Mac OS X PB CD to the unsupported IBM drive with the FWB
drivers and booted off of it using System Disk 3.1(doesn't matter what
version as long as its hacked correctly). Installed onto the 1GB Seagate,
although it would not have mattered if I installed from the 1GB Seagate to
the IBM (I have booted Darwin 1.0 on the drive with no problem).
I think the two most common problems people encounter when attempting to
install OS X PB is:
1.They get a black screen when attempting to use System Disk even after
Reason: Most likely reason is that System Disk is not hacked correctly...if
you have a clone you are going to need it to boot from System Disk using
the S900 startup script...that script is a part of David Clark's System Disk
2.6.2 patch and can be applied to any later version of System Disk.
Happened to me a few times.
2. The kernel does not support the ???? Option for booting....prior to
kernel 1.2 either the 1.0 kernel did not check System Disk's choice for a
machine ID, or had an entry to include unsupported clones. As in my case a
kernel hack changing the value of the corresponding Motherboard (8500) to
???? Allowed the machine to boot. The trap error that would occur for this
problem is Unimplemented trap error, error reading Memory ( registernames
here)...Memory Access Exception(1,0,0)"