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Reader Tips: OS X BetaReturn to News Page

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Reader Report/Tips on Installing OS X Beta
on Unsupported Macs and Clones:

Published: 2/13/2001
(Last Updated: 4/3/2001)

Additional Notes and Updates: The previous page info here is very old, but for the latest (and best) utility for installing OS X on legacy (unsupported) Macs - see Ryan Rempel's XPostFacto page. (Also has links/info on his CacheConfig utility.
(Older info from before Xpostfacto was released follows.)

A reader sent an article on installing OS X beta on unsupported Macs and clones.

" 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 (http://www.opensource.apple.com/projects/darwin/1.2/release.html), installed 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 (davidjclark@home.com) 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 did it:

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 System Profiler.

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 later...

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 right...

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 computer.

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!
Bob Gale
Whittier, CA "

Updates - Additional Reader Reports/Tips: (from the 2/14/2001 main site news page)

Another Reader Tip on Installing OS X Beta on Unsupported Macs: Another reader sent a tip on older Mac installs of OS X Beta using an external SCSI drive:

" Hiya
I was sure I had already emailed you this, but here goes:
Easiest way to get it to boot on a __stock__ 9600/200MP (only 1 cpu working so far..)

Install OS X on an external SCSI hard drive from a machine that IS supported. I used a Beige 266 Tower.

Reboot to normal OS 9.

Make visible the kernel files, delete them (or move them somehwre so you can alsway boot again from the installer machine) and replace them with the ones from www.fh-trier.de/~hitterm/files/mach_kernel.Apple-103.for604.gz

Put the disk on the 9600/200MP.

Start the machine, booting as normal.

Use the System Disk "control panel", version 2.7 or 3.1.1 (people are gonna have to dig for these; 3.3 may also work) so you can set the SCSI disk's X partition as the boot device/boot target.
Done. Booted first go.
Ben "

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.

OS X Beta Install on PowerWave: A reader replied with comments on getting OS X Beta installed on his PowerComputing PowerWave.

" Hey Mike,
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.
-Joseph Kennedy

(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 hacking it 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)"

Last last year I replaced the CDRom drives in my PowerTower Pro and PowerCenter Pro with Apple ROM OEM drives to avoid the issue of driver support in later OS versions. (The PowerCC clones shipped originally with Personal Editions of FWB's HD and CD toolkit drivers.)

See the FAQ's OS X Beta section here for more info and links to cache enablers and other tips/info. Our Discussion Forums also have OS X Beta forums including one dedicated to reports on pre-G3 mac models.

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