Herb's Mac Stuff FAQ

My Mac customer's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's). Copyright (c) Herb Johnson 2020. Last reviewed completely in 2014. Some additions up to July 28 2020. This document cannot be copied or reproduced in part or in whole unless you have specific permission from Herbert R Johnson.


This is a list of my Mac Frequently Asked Questions or FAQs, authored by myself, and based on real inquiries and responses to my Macintosh business.Please check this FAQ for your question before sending your question to me, it will save you time. If you have questions about ordering or selling, check my Ordering page first. Many specific questions and answers have been moved to my ordering details Web page. If you have technical questions, look here but then check relevant pages of my site as linked from my Mac home page. I also have a list of other informative Web sites. I don't guarantee any technical information on my site is complete, correct or accurate; use such information at your own risk.

Broadly stated, my business is to provide good hardware at good prices and to provide fast service for your requests and orders. But if you want recommendations, or advice about buying, or about how to use this or that, generally I'll decline - others do that better, without my seller's bias, and with more knowledge and experience than I have. -----

Back to my Mac Web home page


0) What is your warrenty? terms of payment? Shipping?

These questions are answered in my Web section on Ordering, Terms and Conditions, please review it before purchasing. Software has no warrenties, check this note for details. Orders from outside the United States have different terms of payment than US orders, again check that ordering Web page section for details. My warrenties are also listed there. But in general my warrenty for items sold as working is "working when shipped". Review our terms of sale when you order, for specifics.

0.1) I have an old "classic" or "original" Mac to sell you....

I have some general info about how I buy stuff in my Web section on Ordering page about customer sales to me, please review it. Specific comments about buying Mac 128K, 512K, 512KE, are below, but I'll have similar questions about any Mac or Apple items offered to me. Briefly, I want to know what you have by brand and model, its cosmetic condition, and its working condition. I have grades of cosmetic condition on this Web page. And I need your city/state/zip, so we can figure out what shipping will cost, or if we can meet. Specifics for the "compact" Macs are as follows:

0) I'm glad your Mac has "all the signatures" inside it: ALL THE OLD MACS DO, sorry.

1) If I am to make an offer I'd need to know cost of shipping. For that I need your city/state/zip and I'd presume you'd ship by FedEx ground which is cheapest. Keep in mind the fuss and cost of packing and shipping SAFELY. I'm in New Jersey; if you are in California you'll have the maximum costs for shipping, less if you are closer.

2) You may not have told me what model Mac you have. Is this a Mac Plus, or 128K or 512K? The upper left corner of the back of the Mac will have some information, and maybe on the front below the screen as well - tell me what is written on those two spots. The Mac's model and serial number is underneath the lower front edge.

3) You have not described the cosmetic condition, or whether it works, or whether you have any bootable disks. Is the color of the Mac white, or grey, or tan, or orange? These Mac fade over time. I have grades of cosmetic condition on this Web page. Hint on fading: compare the color of the BOTTOM of the mac with the sides and top. The Mac may have faded in color but the bottom should not be faded as much for comparison. Or check the BACK of the little door that holds the battery. By the way, check the battery compartment, see if the battery has corroded the contacts there.

4) If you don't have floppy disks, what happens when you power it up? There will be something displayed on the screen you can describe, and a sound. If you have disks, what does the system do with them?

5) If you have other items associated with this Mac, like floppy drives or keyboard or mouse or printer, all the same questions apply to those items. Is the external floppy drive about 2 inches tall (and say "800K" underneath) or is it about 4 inches tall (a 400K drive)? Mice and keyboards have lables, tell me what the label says.

I hope these hints are helpful. While I may not buy your Mac, anyone who will buy it will ask these questions, so you may as well answer them now. Most of these questions apply to most ANY MAC you'd offer me, so also check my FAQ item below. I look forward to your reply.

0.2) I want to SELL YOU a Mac or printer or ?? ....

My short response is "where are you, what do you have, what do you want for it?" Read the note above for some details. The more info you give me, the more likely I can determine if I make an offer that you would find reasonable. If you want to GIVE me your Mac stuff read this linked note.. Keep in mind there are costs of shipping, packing materials, and your time and fuss. And I have to put time and space into what I get, at any price. So I must be selective.

I keep my buying policies on my ordering page. Please look there for more information.

0.25) HELP ME SELL a Mac or printer or ?? ....

I don't provide an appraisal or a how-to-sell service. 1) I can't predict prices 2) I'm asked to work for free, so someone can make money. Is that fair to me? 3) Yes, it's work on my part if I have to figure out what someone has, where they are, if and how they can ship. I do serious work, y'know?

If you want ideas about selling, look at I ask people when they have items to sell to me. And look at my Web pages where, er, I sell things.

As to where to sell: depends on where you are. Surprisingly, most people don't tell me that up front.

A Web search on "vintage Macs" or on your computer model name and words like "sale" or "auction", will find various venues with a Web presence. Possibly there's something near you, as there are local and regional (state) sites for individual sales. Social media screen out Web search, search the social media sites you use for venues where sales and purchases are presented. There's Web sites where vintage Mac owners email each other: see if they have a for-sale section.

If you fail to find a buyer, consider computer or electronic recyclers which are local to you. In some areas, one cannot dispose of electronics in trash; it's also bad for the environment. Some recyclers sell computers if they can. Or you may "find a home" locally through the means I just described. "freecycle" and "Craigslist" are well established venues with local listings. Thrift stores may just trash your computer or they may not, they probably won't pay you (many get their inventory by "donation pickup" services).

I warrant none of these in any way of course. I've not said if your computer is valuable or not, it will have value to someone who wants it. Look around the Web to find such persons.

0.3) I want to GIVE YOU this Mac or printer or ?? for FREE...I can't just throw it away.

This question is not as odd as some might think. Many people appreciate the years of service they have had from their Mac. They also know that other old Mac users may find THEIR Mac items useful even if it is no longer useful to them. In addition, some cities CHARGE FOR DISPOSAL of computers, so paying to ship it to me is a reasonable alternative. Finally, some people want to support my old Mac services with their "donation". If you want to GIVE ME YOUR ITEMS FOR FREE, please let me know that up front to save some time. If you want PAYMENT, let me know that as well. I try to accomodate these requests, but I can't accept everything offered because even "free" items must be tested and stored, and I must manage my time, and my storage space. Most people want "cost of shipping", that's not free to me. Check my FAQ on selling for a little more discussion.

I keep my donation policies on my ordering page. Please look there for more information, then contact me accordingly. Thank you for your considerations.

0.4) I emailed you and you did not reply. Why did you not reply to me?"

If you don't hear from me in a day or two, send another email and mention that. I try to reply to EVERY email I get, every day. However, not everyone recieves my replies! Your system may have a spam filter that removed my email. Or any number of other problems may have occurred; either at your end or at mine. So try again, and SOON. Keep this in mind: I don't know that you have recieved my reply until YOU TELL ME SO, AND SOON - EMAIL IS NOT 100% RELIABLE.

I can recieve email from two different Internet Service Providers. If one does not work, try the other. Check my ordering page for those addresses, and that advice.

0.5) What is your warrenty on software? Will the Mac I buy have software for (the Internet, word processing, etc.)? Will it have a complete operating system?

I offer no warrenties or guarantees whatsoever on any software. What I sell is "good hardware at good prices" - with two exceptions, namely original disks and copies of freely-available operating systems. Some of the systems I sell may have some software on them. But that software is not part of the sale, I make no guarantees about that or any other software, including fitness for use, completeness, or reliability. Software residing on used systems is not part of the sale, it is not part of the price. We simply don't own that software, so we don't have the right to sell it, so we can't warrent it - it's that simple.

Our hardware prices are low in part because we don't offer complete, configured systems with software, ready for use. IT IS UP TO YOU TO DO ALL THAT, including obtaining such software as you believe you need, including operating systems. A number of vendors specialize in software sales, some individuals sell software they are no longer using. They may or may not offer advice or support. In any event I leave it up to YOU MY CUSTOMER to obtain software and to install and configure it yourself. Again, that keeps my costs and time down, and that KEEPS MY PRICES LOWER. And many people buy Macs because of the ease of software installation.

But I do sell or offer some software. I mentioned two exceptions to my hardware-only sales: I also sell either original disks; or in a few cases copies of software which are freely available for download. These are in my Mac books and software page. When I sell these disks or manuals, all that I warrent is that you are getting what is described - period. Again, no warrenties of completeness or fitness for use. But if these disks are not as described when sold, contact me as soon as possible after reciept.

0.6) "I'd like to buy a (system, part, etc.) as a joke gift..."

This item is now part of the question on the value of these systems and my services.

0.7 "My Mac has start up problems, it needs several power-button pushes to start up..."

It's typical that power-restarts on most old Macs as you describe, suggests that either the power supply or the start-circuits on the CPU/motherboard, has failing capacitors. Capacitors are electronic components, you can look up details. With age - and these computers are a decade or more old - these caps fail. In the startup circuits that read the on-off power button, those caps can fail. And in the power supply, there's large-value capacitors which fail. When the failures are marginal, you get these intermittant problems.

There's another possibility. The PRAM battery may be too low in voltage and need replacement. One symptom of that, is the time and date on your computer is always incorrect. That's another issue, check this FAQ about PRAM battery problems.

Anyway, your Mac is old, and these failures occur eventually. You can either see about replacing the power supply or motherboard, or look for what's called a "recapping service" to fix your boards (you have to remove them and install). Or, easier and cheaper, find another iMac and hope it won't have the same problem anytime soon. If you get another Mac, pull the PRAM battery from the broken Mac and keep it for parts.

I may or may not have a power supply or working motherboard for your Mac model. Ask and I'll tell you, or look on my Web site. I don't do that "recapping service", I don't sell complete Macs. I don't take yours in for repair. As far as I'm concerned, owners do these repair themeselves, or find another Mac. I provide parts.

You likely can't find someone to fix your Mac (nothing personal, it's everyone's problem). Electronics repair services will simply tell you "this is too old, we can't get parts, get a new computer". So don't give them your iMac and pay a fee, to get that message, OK? An honest repair service will tell you that for free.

If you buy someone's Mac: shipping a computer, particularly ones with CRT monitors in them like iMacs, risks physical damage from poor packing. If you buy from some "web auction site", the sellers often don't pack well (or their shippers don't pack well).

So my apologies if any of this response seemed rude or harsh. Maybe you can find a local repair service. I hope you can do your own replacments. Maybe someone will sell "recapped" power supplies or Mac motherboards, and they aren't hard to swap out. In some cases, you can find a working Mac locally and not ship, and that may be the cheapest solution.

In this general response I can't do more than suggest the likely problem and describe all possible actions you can take. If you contact me, be specific about your Mac model and it may be one that's easier to fix as I described. If you find repairs or replacments that work for you, let me know. Good luck with your use of these vintage Mac.

1) "Could you put together a complete quote for me, for a system that can do (some application) or can be used for (some personal, office or school use) that has (some set of features) and runs (some software package)? I have limited experience or knowledge of Macs."

I appreciate your situation. But I do not offer "packages" to any customer, nor quotes for "complete systems" that you just plug in and use. Also I do not warrent or guarantee ANY software at ANY time, check this note for details. When you order, it's up to YOU to decide what items you need from me, you have to tell me EXACTLY what you want. See my response to requests for recommendations and other related questions for suggestions about where you might get some assistance to determine your needs for yourself.

1.1) "Please advise me as to what (printer, computer, operating system, etc.) to buy. Here are my needs..."

Broadly stated, my job - my business model if you will - is to provide "good HARDWARE at good prices" and to provide fast service for your requests and orders. I also have some original software and manuals for sale. But if you want recommendations, or advice about buying, or about how to use this or that, generally I'll decline, or direct you to a place on my Web site which lists what I have, or direct you to my Mac Web links.The bottom line is that it is up to YOU, not I, to determine what you need and how you would use it.

My prices are low because my efforts are directed to buying, repairing, and selling hardware: I spend little time on software or advice. Also, I leave recommendations, advice about use, and software support to those sites that are not trying to sell you anything. That avoids a "conflict of interest" between selling equipment and advising about its use. Please keep in mind my business goal is to provide good hardware at good prices. For me to do more would ultimately cost you more one way or another, or leave me less time to get you that hardware.

There are many Web sites that offer good information, and newsgroups that discuss uses and offer advice. Check my Web pointers via this link. Or, I may have a few books that can inform you better, check my book section for what I have currently.

Or, you may find someone among the customers or groups you deal with who can offer you the advice and support you need, without any conflicts. They can look over my Web page and recommend for you the hardware you need to order, to do the things you need to do. Good luck in your efforts, and thanks for contacting me.

1.2)"I have some kind of Mac [no name or model] and I'm looking for some kind of upgrade for it..... I want to move up to some kind of newer technology...."

I'm not sure WHAT you are asking for - "something" is not at all descriptive.

I would be glad to be helpful, but YOU, not I, have to determine what you want to buy. My business is pretty simple: my site shows what I sell, a customer sees what they want and asks for it SPECIFICALLY; I quote prices and shipping, they send a check and get it! I'm glad to have a LITTLE discussion, but there are a number of Web resources, email discussion groups, and books that may inform you further about what you have and what you might want to get to suit your needs. Check my list of Mac Web sites or use Google to find those Web sites.

Good luck in your use of Mac equipment, If you see something of interest on my site you are welcome to ask for a quote for that SPECIFIC item. If you want something I don't have on my site, you can ask me about it, that may encourage me to obtain it later.

1.3)"I now have a Mac (128K, 512K), tell me what you have available for it.

I've put some of my oldest Mac items, or links to those items, on my Mac "collectables" Web page. The 128K, 512K, and other "compact" Macs, are on my Compact Mac page. Please look there. If you are interested in old Mac 400K or 800K floppy drives, check those pages and my Parts page specifically for those drives. Old Mac hard drives (HD20, HD20 SC) are described in brief on my Mac hard drive page. I have a general Mac software page, you can look for older software there. Items like printers, internal cards and parts are on other pages, linked from my Mac home page. Some of your questions about use or selection of these items may be listed in this FAQ (frequent questions page).

If you have a later model of Mac, similar systems will be on one of my pages by system (Power Mac, or Compact Macs, etc) which are linked on my Mac home page.

IT IS UP TO YOU, NOT ME, to know what "goes with" your Mac, or what you "need". Check the other "frequent questions" in this category for why I have that policy, but in brief the more YOU know the better; and there are already many sites which can offer you advice and suggestions, even discussion - for free, with no "sales" bias. I have some Web links to other sites including Apple's archives on another page. leaves me more time to handle your order, maintain my site, and to find more stuff for you!

1.5) I collect Macs and want to discuss buying an original Mac [model] in mint condition...?

I appreciate that you find my site useful and interesting, and that you are interested in collecting Mac computers. I try to accomodate such interests in two ways.

One, I offer some older Macs as "clean and working" and in good cosmetic condition. I also offer parts from these Macs so that people can keep their Macs working. Two, I offer some Macs in "superior" cosmetic condition or that are particularly desirable on my Mac collectables page for the interests of those who desire such items. Look on that Web page for what I offer for early Macs.

If you want a Mac in a particular cosmetic condition, please describe that condition and I'll see if I have one. For some early Macs, I have grades of cosmetic condition on this Web page. Otherwise what I sell is "clean and working" and its condition is described by in my quote and in related email discussions of your order. In general I have cosmetic conditions described with the PARTICULAR item on my Web site, if I'm selling it that way. General statements of cosmeti condition are my orders Web page. For

What I do not offer is a LOT of discussion, explanation, history, or personal technical support. (I have many Web pages which provide some technical information or links to other sites.) Also I don't offer any warrenties about the history or completeness of ANY Mac I offer, beyond information that is either well known or information which is apparent from a visual inspection. I rarely know anything about the prior ownership of any items I sell. Information about what was original to a Mac model is described by Apple in their technical archives' summary of every Apple product (and some licensed products). Check my Mac Web pointer page or use Google's search engine to find those Apple product descriptions. Other sites may have more info.

Also, I just don't have time or knowledge or evidence for much of this sort of discussion. I can to some extent "date" an item based on some technical information printed on the item. As for what other sites and people claim about "originality", I cannot speak for those claims, I only speak for myself. I leave support, discussion, compatibility, historic context, etc. to those sites which have the time and interest and information and experience to do that - and for free. And I leave it to my CUSTOMERS to determine the value and reliability of the information offered by others.

2) "I recently purchased a used Macintosh SE with an 800k floppy drive. I'd like to use (or read, or write) 1.4M disks. Is there a utility I can use to do this? Is there a hardware upgrade for the SE to 1.4M disks and diskettes? "

To upgrade an SE to an SE with FDHD or Superdrive requires the 1.4M drive and three chips replaced on the logic card (2 ROMS and 1 IWM chip) - or the SE FDHD logic card with those chips. I offer the logic card with or without RAM, and then you'd need the 1.4M floppy drive.

The Mac 1.4M drive format can be read by IBM-PC compatibles with a variety of commercial or shareware or freeware programs. THe PC cannot read or write older Mac 800K or 400K diskettes with ANY software. I have a document on this subject, look it over.But mostly all I can do is provide hardware, you the customer must determine what you need and how you can use it.

You may be able to read the 1.4M Mac disk on a PC and use a serial file transfer program to move the files to your SE over a cable between your Mac modem port and the PC serial port. A number of Mac shareware terminal emulating programs will work with simple terminal emulating programs on the PC. Check my Web site for pointers to various Mac Web sites with such programs or information.

Or, more simply, you may find someone with a Mac that will read the disk and convert it onto two 800K diskettes. That is provided there is no file on the disk that is more than 800K. There are compression programs to handle files larger than 800K.

2.1) How can I read 800K Mac disks on my new Mac? or my Windows-based PC?

PLEASE READ THIS PARAGRAPH TWICE. NO USB external floppy drive will support Apple 400K or 800K diskettes. Period. Also, there are NO EXTERNAL SCSI-BASED floppy drives made today. Period. And Apple's older external floppy drives for 400K, 800K and 1.4Mb are intended for use ONLY with Apple Macs which already have an INTERNAL floppy drive. If you want the details and some difficult options, read this linked Web page.

Summary: Mac 400K and 800K diskettes are written in a unique fashion, no standard IBM-type floppy disk controller card in a PC can read them. So there is no PROGRAM that can be run on a Windows PC, to read 400K or 800K Mac diskettes. None. This is also why those external USB floppy drives cannot read those disks - they have an internal "program" and hardware, same problems. (But both Window's PC's and Macs with USB floppy drives CAN, with a little software, read Mac 1.4M format floppy diskettes.) Read my FAQ on Mac SE upgrades for more info about diskette formats.

So you have one of two options:

1) You could get an older Mac with a 1.4M drive to read the 800K disks and then to write those files on 1.4M disks, or to a writable CD, or to a ZIP disk. Those are readable by newer Macs and by Windows PC's, with appropriate drives of course. There are programs for the PC to read 1.4M Mac-formatted disks, or a later-model Mac can rewrite PC-compatible 1.4M diskettes.

2) Or you might network an older Mac to your newer Mac or PC; then read the 800K disks on the older Mac to files which you can then read across the network on the newer Mac. "Network" does not necessarily mean Ethernet. For more information on connecting Macs and PC's, look at this document I've written.

Most old Macs (except the earliest) have 1.44MB drives. When they run later versions of System 7 (7.5, 7.6 is typical) they will probably also support PC-format diskettes. System 7 tools for PC compatible disk read, write and format include "Macintosh PC Exchange" and "Apple File Exchange" Here's some Web links which discuss this issue:
Wikipedia on System 7 and PC's
Apple on File Exchange
Wikipedia on Apple file exchange

I hope these clues will point you in the right directions.

More information about networking may be found on my Web site, on my Networking page and on my Printing page as many printers have networking features. Useful Web sites may also be found via my list of Web pages.

I do not guarantee any of the advice I've offered.

2.2)"Can you read data or files from my old computer or hard drive, and write them to another drive, or a CD, floppy, ZIP disk?"

Also review my answer to reading 800K diskettes, at this link. Also review my answer on connecting and reading drives and disks at this link.

Customers ask me to read their old drives, often in a casual way - that is for little or no cost. I consider file transfer or file recover as a professional, business service. I don't do such work casually, as it takes time; there is a risk of loss of your files; and there are no guarantees of success. You have not described your situation, so I really can't respond in detail. What computer, running what operating system, produced these files, for instance? To what computer do you want to "move" these files? And what kind of files, that may or may not be important. And what can your new computer read - floppy, CD, ZIP disk, etc.? It takes time to work through all that, plus the work itself, and my time has a cost. The specific risks are: loss or damage in shipping of your drives, possible damage when hooking the drives to a new computer, loss while at work with your drive. Also, your drive may be damaged already. We take every precaution, but we sometimes lose drives in our own work. So we generally advise customers to try to do this themselves.

You have a few choices. 1) Buy a computer like the one which wrote the files. Connect the drive, confirm you can access the files, then use THAT computer to "send" the files to your current computer. In a general way, you can either network the two computers; or write files to a media compatible with both computers; or connect the two computers via their serial ports and use "file transfer" or "telecommuncations" programs on both computers.

2) With Macs of course you can hook up an external SCSI drive, so you can also move the files from the computer with your drive to an external SCSI drive; and then connect that SCSI drive to your "current" computer. If your drive is a SCSI drive (and not from a laptop, check elsewhere in this FAQ about that), you may be able to put YOUR DRIVE in an external enclosure and read it on your "current" system.

3) Find a LOCAL friend or colleage who has a computer which can read your drives, and write to a media or drive which your new computer can read. 4) If you can't do it yourself, or find a friend to help you, then ask me. But my terms will be something like "no guarantees, no warrenties whatsoever, best efforts only, and no liability for any loss of drive or data - and no refunds.". When I've had to do this, I've often been successful. But you should try to do it yourself.

Look elsewhere in this FAQ, or on the Web, for details - I've given you some keywords. For more information on connecting Macs and PC's, look at this document I've written.

2.25)I want a new or refurbished or the most reliable SCSI drive for my old Mac?

I don't offer recommendations for "most reliable". All these older SCSI drives under a few gigabytes, and especially under 500MB, are old and well past their design and operating lifetimes. Repairs are not practical, as original parts are not available or would have a decade's or more time on the shelf. Mechanical repairs to the interior of a hard drive requires parts, skills, equipment which are very expensive. Those are engineering facts, and I am or was an engineer. I do not even know that, if you bought an UNUSED drive that sat on a shelf for a decade, it would have any profound advantage, because age and environment alone could cause problems. I have tested and examined many drives, and sitting unused creates opportunities for damage.

That's why I test drives and sell them working but without further warrenty for modest prices. Those prices are consistent with those considerations and my time spent in testing and culling damaged drives. In fact, as used working drives are harder to find, my prices will go UP and not DOWN.

Some companies offer "refurbished" SCSI drives. Frankly, I doubt most of them do more than test and eliminate drive with likely problems. If you consider a "refurbished" drive, challenge that company to describe EXACTLY what they do, and if in fact they do physical repairs of any sort. Paying more for a drive may simply mean you've bought the right to a replacement drive for "free". Always know what you are buying.

2.3) How do I move files from my old Mac, or my old Mac external SCSI drive, to my new Mac?

Several FAQ's numbered 2.3something, cover this topic. They follow the responses below.

If you have your files on an old Mac with a SCSI drive internal or external; and your new Mac does not have a SCSI external connector or use SCSI drives internally, what can you do? I'll discuss many options. My GENERAL advice is as follows. EITHER use some kind of Mac which HAS SCSI to read your drive, and use it to transfer files either by connection or by transfer to another media (floppy, CD, ZIP disk). OR, you add some kind of SCSI hardware to your new Mac to read the drive. HOWEVER, new Macs running OS X may or may not support the "file systems" used on drives from OS 9 or OS 8 or OS 7 - check with your OS documentation about this. Read this Web page about USB adapters for SCSI devices like SCSI drives.

NOte: if your hard drive is IDE or ATA, you MAY be able to use external hard drive cases which connect to USB or FireWire. See if your Mac's operating system supports these external drives. Again, see if your OS will support "file systems" from an older OS.

Small files can be moved by floppy diskette. (You can get USB floppy drives even for iMacs.) Check this FAQ for discussion about reading floppy diskettes, not every Mac diskette format can be read by a modern Mac.

Or, you can attach your SCSI drive to your older Mac, but also attach a SCSI ZIP drive, and write files to the ZIP drive. Then attach a USB ZIP drive to the newer Mac and read the ZIP disk. (It's not quite that simple to read Mac ZIP disks on a Windows PC, see connecting and reading drives and disks at this link.

See my hard drive Web page for Iomega brand ZIP drives. Or, use a CD writer on your old Mac, and read the CD-ROM on your new Mac. (But many of the oldest Macs may not be able to write to CD-ROM drives.)

Or, you may be able to connect your two Macs "serially", by what was called "telecom" or "modem" programs used in the days before the Internet. You'd need a serial port, or a modem port, on your new Mac, via USB or an added card. Check this FAQ for my question about using telecomm programs.

But, if you want to add SCSI support to your new Mac:... you can see if some kind of SCSI card can be added to your new Mac. That may be a PCI card for SCSI, or a PCcard for a Mac laptop that supports SCSI. There are also USB to SCSI devices by a few manufacturers. (Adaptec USBConnect 2000, Xircom Portgear USB SCSI Converter, Microtech USB to SCSI, etc. Search the Web for these.) USB to SCSI "cables" is an incorrect way to describe what is a USB to SCSI device or controller on a cable, powered by USB. These are not wires or cables but electronic devices. See my USB to SCSI controllers Web page for more information.

Internal SCSI hard drives can be made "external" by putting the drive in an external, powered box for SCSI drives. We sell such boxes, they are just a power supply and a cable adapter for SCSI use. But these boxes do NOT connect to USB or FireWire, only to SCSI. Likewise, those boxes which DO connect to FireWire or USB, *generally* don't support SCSI hard drives (only IDE or ATA drives).

There may be other options. Or you may find a Mac person with a number of Macs, who can do the transfer for you; or some company which will do it. I do not offer that service, the costs and the risk of loss is just too much. Good luck with your transfer of files.

I do not guarantee any of the advice I've offered above.

Check my Web page for Mac hard drives, the ZIP drive section via this link for the ZIP drives I offer. I have drives for old Mac internal or external use, and for Windows systems too. For a bit more discussion, check the discussion above on recovering files from drives.

2.35) I want to use a hard drive with Apple operating System 6 or 7 (or later) and initialize and partition it....

Here's the issues, and please be patient and read through this description. A hard drive requires "initialization" and "partitioning", in order for Apple's operating system to know what to do with the drive, and to set up the drive into areas for use. Each partition appears on the desktop as a "drive", even though there's only one physical drive in reality. (This does not apply to floppy diskettes.)

I provide hard drives as tested and "initialized" and partitioned under System 7.5.3 or under OS 8, depending on the customer's likely use. However, customers may need to re-partition or init the drive for their own use and hardware and OS. Partitioning sets up a portion or all the drive for use, and causes that portion to appear on the Apple screen desktop as a "drive". One can make multiple partitions on a physical drive, which will appear as multiple "drives" on the desktop. Drives bigger than 2 gigabytes MUST be partitioned below that size. "INitialization" of a drive includes putting a bit of "driver" software on the drive, used when the Mac starts up to recognize the drive.

Apple's System 6 and 7 uses utilities like "Drive Init", "Disk Test" or "Drive Setup" to partition and initialize a hard drive. Those utilities, "looks" at the SCSI drive to see if it was sold by Apple, and will NOT initialize or partition the drive if it was not. (The utility will say "this drive can't be initialized"). Drives sold by or for Apple, have a printed lable with an Apple logo on them. Apparently the internal ROM of the drive includes an "Apple" identification, which is what these utilities looks for.

Once a drive is init-ted and partitioned, Apple's and other programs "don't care" whether the drive is Apple-branded or not.

If you use a drive that is not "Apple branded", then you need to use a non-Apple "Drive Init" program of some sort, to partition or initialize the drive. Once a drive is initialized and partitioned, then this issue does not matter, any other program will use the drive without regard to "Apple branding".

Additionally: System 7 will not recognize a drive partition larger than 2 gigabytes. You can use a bigger drive, but you have to partition it into smaller drives below 2Gb. These will appear on the screen desktop as multiple drives with whatever names you give them. They are of course on one physical drive.

These issues of Apple brand, ended with some version of OS 8, I don't know which one. Also, it was popular at some point, to "patch" Drive Init for System 7 to bypass the "check for Apple brand" code. I have no idea how to provide that patch or that patched version.

What I offer in drives, are both Apple-branded and non-branded drives, tested and initialize and partitioned. I can offer with the non-Apple branded drives - at no charge, no warranty, no documentation, no support - a non-Apple program to test and initialize the drive. I never EVER warrant software in any way.

If the above technical issues and defintions are cryptic, you now have some "keywords" to search the Web (or books) for, to learn more. I do not guarantee any of the advice or information I've offered above.

2.4) How do I read files directly from my old laptop hard drive?

These notes are particular to laptops; the issue of file recover or transfer is otherwise covered in a number of FAQ questions in our section 2.0. In particular read read the response to question 2.3 above.

First, determine whether your drive is SCSI, or ATA (or IDE, same thing). A SCSI laptop hard drive has 50 pins, or possibly 54 pins (four for power); an IDE laptop hard drive has 40 or more likely 44 pins. IF the drive is IDE, you can't connect it as a SCSI drive and vice versa. Apple does not support external IDE drives.

Second, laptop drives are much smaller drives than the ones used in desktops. So you can't put this drive in a desktop directly, or in a SCSI external enclosure. The solution is to obtain a "laptop drive adapter" which converts from the small sized connector to one compatible with desktops; put the drive in a desktop; and recover the data accordingly. I do not sell such adapters but they are available on the Web for a few tens of dollars. Search for (SCSI 2.5" drive adapter) or (IDE 2.5" drive adapter) to find them - they are often under $20.

If the drive is SCSI, and you get an adapter, then you may be able to put in an external SCSI enclosure and then connect it via a SCSI cable to another Mac. If the drive is IDE or ATA, you'll have to put it in a Mac as another drive, to read it.

Another solution is to obtain a laptop of the same model, or at least supporting ATA or SCSI drives as appropriate, insert the drive, and recover the data between two computers, as described by other FAQ items in section 2).

2.5) How do I move files from my old Mac to my Windows PC?

IOMega ZIP drives and ZIP disks may offer you a physical way to move megabyte-sized files from old Macs to new Macs, or from your Mac to a Windows/Pentium PC. but read connecting and reading drives and disks at this link for problems with reading such disks on Windows systems. Check my Web page for Mac hard drives, the ZIP drive section via this link for the ZIP drives I offer. I have drives for old Mac internal or external use, and for Windows systems too.

For a bit more discussion, check the discussion above on recovering files from drives. Alternatives to using a common drive between systems are discussed on thiw Web page. That includes a FAQ about "telecom" between the systems' modem ports to run telecommunication programs. There's also questions about file transfers between two Mac computers. The FAQ items immediately below note specific issues about tranferring or processing files once transferred.

2.53) Can I use "Ethernet" to move files from my old Mac to my Windows PC?

It only appears reasonable to consider "ethernet connections" between some old Mac and a Windows computer. But connecting wires, doesn't "just work". Sorry. I'll describe below, the issues on the Mac side. I know NOTHING about Windows, and there are many versions over time. But most Windows owners, already "network" their Windows system, so the problem is on the Mac side, and generally a temporary problem for file transfer.

The first problem is, it's possible your old Mac doesn't even "network" with Ethernet. On the oldest Mac, they likely run System 6, OS 7 or OS 8 (in order of age). Mac OS support of Ethernet networking varies - that is, your Mac may or may NOT have the software necessary to "talk" to any Ethernet hardware. That software includes system extensions and Control Panels for specific Ethernet hardware; and the same for "TCP/IP" which is the kind of the "alphabet" for any Ethernet networking.

The next fundamental problem, is that any Apple networking operating software, is DIFFERENT than any networking software under Windows. If TCP/IP is the "alphabet", then I'm talking about the "vocabulary" and "language" of Ethernet networking. YOur networking Mac may be able to "talk" to other Macs; but not to Windows systems.

So, just physically connecting these by Ethernet, guarantees NOTHING about network operations between them, to exchange files. You will have to find (if it exists, past or present) any Windows (or Mac OS) software support for the other's Ethernet networking. I simply don't have, or keep track of, such software. Sorry.

2.54) Can I read files from my old Mac's hard drive or diskettes or ZIP disks, on my Windows PC?

There are ways to physically connect, and power, Mac hard drives, onto a Windows PC. There are external drive cases, and connections or controllers, for either IDE (ATA, PATA) hard drives or SCSI hard drives. Some PCs have the SCSI or IDE hardware, or there are USB-to-SCSI devices and USB-to-ATA devices. And Windows PCs have floppy drives, or USB floppy drives. But that does not mean you can "read" those Mac drives or diskettes. The problem is, Mac drives and diskettes have a Mac "file system", which is the structure and information ABOUT files and where they physically reside on the drive.

An example of a "file system" is the format on old floppy disks. Macs format disks for the Mac file system; or for later System 7 and OS 8 versions they can also format "PC format" disks (which is the FAT12 or FAT16 file system). If your Windows system has a USB floppy drive, it can ONLY read PC "FAT" 1.4MB disks (or possibly PC 720K disks). You can check your Mac for PC format diskette support, by putting in a diskette (contents you don't care about) and using the desktop menus for "init disk". If the disk is already PC format, the Mac may "mount" the disk on the "desktop" and the diskette icon will say "PC". Or if you try to "init" the disk, you may be given a menu with "Mac format" and "PC format" choices.

If your Mac support "PC format" diskettes - then you have that very limited means to transfer some files. if the files are bigger than one diskette's capacity, there may be ZIP-compression programs (not the same as "Iomega ZIP drives") that may allow you to create multiple-disk files. But test to make sure your PC also has ZIP software, to "accept" those files and put them back together again!

The same "file system" problem occurs, with IDE or SCSI Mac hard drives - Windows won't recognize the Mac file system on Mac hard drives. There may be some programs for Windows, which will "read Mac file systems" - look for those programs, confirm they are compatible with your version of Windows. This is at your own risk of course.

There's also Iomega ZIP disks, which are usually 100MB diskettes - they are either Mac or PC format; and there are ZIP 100 drives for Macs and PC's. On the Mac side, generally both Mac and PC Zip disks are "mountable", if you have ZIP software "drivers" (control panels, system extensions) to support ZIP drives. I cannot predict what Windows will do, if you put a ZIP drive on a Windows system. Or if older ZIP drive "drivers" for older Windows, will work with later versions of Windows. I don't support Windows use of hardware I sell, sorry.

2.55) How do I convert files from old (spreadsheet, word processors, database) to my newer software?

Typically, someone has used Microsoft Works, or Word, or Excel; or a database program; or some other kind of software to create data or document files. Now they want to move that stuff to a newer computer, but the software on that computer can't read (interpret) those files. (Questions about moving files from an old Mac are elsewhere in this FAQ.)

I never offer software advice, I don't pretend to know about that stuff. As general advice, you might see about running your old software on an older Mac, produce "report" files in what they call a "comma delimited format"; and then try to read those files through Excel or Access or other programs you are currently using. How you do all that, you'll have to determine. But a Web search on the old program and the new one, such as "MS Works Excel" may be informative. Be sure to *identify your old software and new by brand, name and version number* so you can search for specific information, or ask specific questions on sites which accept questions or posts.

Check my list of other Mac Web sites at: this link.

2.6) I need a 800K floppy drive for my Apple IIgs system.

First, check my descriptions of 800K drives on my Web page for floppy drives. chances are you need the 661-0345, "red" labled 800K drive if you want just the raw internal 800K drive. If you want the external drive you probably want the A9M0106, labled "Apple 3.5 Drive", case top has ridges, has "red nameplate" drive inside. For more information about Apple II's and drives, check the FAQ for the Usenet group "comp.sys.apple2"; a Web search using those keywords will likely find it. I make NO GUARANTEES about Apple II or IIgs use of what I sell, I cannot test on those systems, I cannot guarantee this information here.

2.7) I have problems reading Mac floppy diskettes....

Your Mac will report errors like "this is not a macintosh disk" or "disk needs repairs" or otherwise will not be able to read some files from a diskette. Use "Disk Test" and see what it says. Or the Mac may not easily eject a disk. Or the diskette will make a lot of noise. (Some diskettes rotate in a noisy fashion all the time: put them in other drives to see if that is the problem.) If you have another Mac, try to read the floppies on that Mac and see if the floppy diskettes are the problem.

Generally, floppy drives have problems for one of two reasons. Either the floppy drive is dirty, gummy, and/or has read/write heads which need cleaning. Or, on the small "compact Macs" or the "all in one" Macs with an internal monitor or CRT, the high voltage on the CRT's power supply (which connects to the CRT and IS LETHAL TO TOUCH when in use and sometimes even when off) is arcing and the electrical noise from that arcing interferes with the floppy drive's data.

If you have other Macs, you may be able to swap the floppy drive and test it on another Mac. Look carefully at the drive and determine if it is 400K, 800K, or 1.4Mbyte. I do not suggest swapping between these kinds of drives.

I have descriptions of various floppy drives on my Mac parts page in the floppy drive section. There are also prices there.

Regarding the HV "arcing", it's something you can sometimes hear if you listen closely at air vents inside the Mac, especially with the oldest "compact" Macs. DON'T PUT YOUR EAR ON THE CRT!! Sometimes you can see a little "waviness" on the CRT screen. But don't put your Mac next to another Mac to observe this: they will interfere with each other! Or sometimes you can smell an "ozone" smell at those vents, if the arcing is severe.

If your CRT power supply is arcing, it needs to be replaced. We offer power supplies on this page of my Web site.



2.8) How do I get files from an on-line Web archive to my Mac?

This is usually a pain in the ass.

Apple and other on-line archives of old Mac files, use some variation of a ".bin". or ".sea" format for their files. In the "normal" 21st century course of downloading or copying those files, maybe via a Windows or Linux system, the recipient Mac system loses any "sense" of what the files "are". In the Mac file system world, particularly older System 8 or 7 or 6 OS's, files include descriptive information. Also, there are particular ways files are compressed or archived in the Mac universe.

What apparently works, is to find various versions of "Stuffit" utility programs and to use them to interpret, "extract" or otherwise process these files after they are transferred. A Stuffit utility on a Windows system, may be able to produce an unstuffed form of the file. A Stuffit utility used on the recieving Mac, may be able to produce the final form of the desired file. YOu may need to do both.

In some cases, these final forms are in .img "disk image" format. That's used by the Apple "Disk Copy" utility to create either a virtual diskette (on the desktop) or an actual diskette. That's particuarly important if the final disk is a 800K Mac format diskette, which is impossible to produce on a modern Windows or Mac system (even with a USB floppy drive).

Once the final file format on the end system is produced, all is well. If not, you've got files that can't be processed. If this explanation is confusing or incomplete, I have another note on the subject of disk and file compression.

I don't pretend to understand this process well. I simply fumble about, to find whatever versions of "Stuffit" I can obtain for whatever computer I use to download the file, and whatever Mac I'm trying to move the file to. I suggest you Web search for these utilities as well. Here's a list of old Mac Web sites that may be helpful.

Chances are a Google search for ".bin .sea to Windows" or ".bin .sea to OS X", "stuffit Mac", etc. will find these utilities and explanations for their use. Additionally, in the Windows world, possibly in the OS X world, you may need other utility programs to read System 7 or System 6 files and disks (but not all disk formats CAN be read). Again, some Web searching will find these too. However, many of these utilities will cost money, or you get versions which are free but limited to small files. Free and older versions may be adequate, but for mass conversion of many files you may be willing to pay for efficient results.

3) "I want to use my old Mac on the Internet. How do I do this? Do you have the (software, hardware) for this?"

Also read question 17.1: "I have a old PowerMac. How do I go about setting it up on my home network?" ; and question 17.2, "How do I "connect" my old Mac to a newer Mac, or a Windows or Linux computer, for "telecomm" file transfers?"

First, you need the networking hardware to get physical access to "the Internet". "Hardware" means either a wired-phone modem to CALL a computer with another modem which has Internet access; or an Ethernet interface to connect to your local Ethernet router; or a serial-to-serial link from your Mac to another computer that acts as a "server" to access its Internet connection. A lot of people just find some kind of Ethernet card or SCSI/Ethernet device for their Mac and go from there. The "serial" stuff is less common to do in the 21st century.

Second, you need networking software plus whatever software "drivers" are needed for the choice of hardware listed above. For "Ethernet" hardware on your old Mac, there's generally bits of software the hardware vendors provided with that hardware. For using a "serial link" or "a dial up modem", you need some software that provides "PPP or SLIP" - those are serial hardware networking protocols, to talk through serial hardware, and to talk with higher-level networking "TCP/IP" protocols. If that previous sentence, or this whole paragraph, means nothing to you - then just search the Web for the magic words in quotation marks.

You also need at least System 7 (probably) on your Mac, to run a Web browser and to support TCP/IP. BUT, you can use a communications program (also called a terminal emulator) under System 6 to use TEXT-BASED "terminal" access to some Internet sites, or for simple email access.

There are Web sites that explicitly discuss and provide software you can download to your system, that will provide various kinds of Web or Internet access supporting software. I don't provide the TCP/IP software (which is part of some versions of System 7) and other tools (like SLIP or PPP for serial-serial links), or info on how to use them.

Check my Mac Web pointers list for details. A number of books have been written about using (now-old) Macs on the Web or Internet. Book titlse are something like "Internet on your Mac" or "System 7 and the Web", etc. etc. The usual on-line book dealers offer most of those books pretty cheap now, or you may find them locally whenever there's someone selling a lot of old computer books.

You can do limited Web browsing with almost any compact Mac. Keep in mind the graphics are limited on the Compact Macs, they will not provide speedy connections (the fastest modem baud rate for most Compact Macs is 9600 baud; SCSI to Ethernet device speeds are limited to the speed of the CPU in the Mac). The Mac II series has faster modem ports and will support color cards. Other Macs have more performance. Again, look over the Web sites that support Macs on the Web for more info.

Otherwise, I just provide the hardware and the "driver" software for SCSI/Ethernet devices.

If you want a wired modem, check my Web page section on modems for some details. I sell wired modems, some Ethernet hardware, on my Mac network hardware Web page.

As for on-line information: again, there are other Web sites. A Web search for "Mac System 7 internet" or something of that sort may find such sites. You might add "SCSI ethernet" to the search. I list a limited number of Mac support sites on my Web page of Mac Web pointers.

4) "I'd like to know whether you have any 128K Macintoshes for sale currently; if so, please let me know what you have available. I'm having trouble figuring how much one would be worth to me, but I'd like to offer you $XXX if you have one in (some kind of) condition."

The Mac 128K's have become of interest to collectors. As of the 21st century, a 128K Mac in very good cosmetic condition, no scratches or dings, and in working order, with keyboard and mouse, would likely sell for "hundreds" of dollars (I can't predict prices), plus shipping. I have grades of cosmetic condition on this Web page.

Keep in mind: It takes a fair amount of work just to get the old 400K drives cleaned and working, they are almost always gummed up. And a machine that is almost 25 years old will very likely have dings and scratches and color fading; hence the value of one that is not cosmetically damaged. Look at Web-based auction prices for these systems, to get some idea of value for "collectable" systems. Note that minimum shipping costs for a compact Mac system within the USA will be from $30 to $50. Shipping costs outside the US are discussed in my terms and conditions document.

4a) "I want a 128K Mac in mint condition...original configuration and accessories..."

I frankly don't know what to say about "mint condition" for a computer that was manufactured over 25 years ago. I simply don't offer such a description, as it would not be possible for me to verify such a condition. I have no information as to what was "earliest" or "original" inside a Mac, other than simply looking at the dates imprinted on the parts. I know of no reliable and authoritative resource to inform me on what internal parts were used when. I leave it to others who apparently make such statements as "mint" to back up their claims, to their customer's satisfaction.

I sometimes have a few 128K's in excellent condition, including repaired and working 400K floppy drives. (Incidently, those floppy drives were factory lubricated with a substance that turns to rubber cement like stickyness: consequently it is practically impossible to avoid servicing those drives.) I may have matching keyboards and mice for these machines. They have some kind of fading - after years of being asked, I now have a set of descriptions for fading of Classic Macs. Finally, while I may have a few accessory items I don't have "complete" sets most of the time.

In summary, I generally leave these sorts of considerations to others who, for various reasons, believe they can make such claims; and for customers who believe or who can confirm such claims before or after they purchase. When I sell such items of what I call "collectable interest", I describe the features and condition of the items themselves - I avoid making claims I cannot prove, or give accounts of the history of Apple Computer which can be found elsewhere.

4b) I'd like to buy a "compact Mac" (128K, 512K, SE, Plus, Classic) CASE ONLY...

A typical inquiry is something like this: "I want to get a Compact Mac [128K, 512K, Plus, SE, SE/30, Classic] CASE ONLY for use (as an aquarium, to put in new hardware, for decoration, etc.). How much for a totally NONWORKING unit?" (If you want a Mac case for another model, read this FAQ item.)

This is a frequent question. Usually the customer just wants a dollar price. They generally don't provide a shipping address (so I can't quote shipping and packing). If you just want a price: I will not bother to sell a very good case, completely empty, for LESS than $35 plus shipping and packing - THAT IS NOT A QUOTE - and shipping and packing could go from $15 to $25 or more - NOT A QUOTE. Wanna know why? Read on. Want a quote? tell me condition desired, Mac model, internal parts needed, and your city/state/zip.

1) Shipping or packing costs ALONE will add anywhere from $15 to $25 to that price, depending on weight and distance shipped. Shipping costs are what I pay to ship; packing and handling cover my packing materials and time.

2) It takes time to remove parts from the case. Loose parts are less convenient to store, harder to test again before sale - again, more time taken. My time for all that is worth a few tens of dollars to me, and becomes part of my prices.

3) I sell GOOD WORKING MACS - that is my business. Any customer of mine who wants a Compact Mac will GENERALLY want a good case. So why should I sell a GOOD CASE for a few tens of dollars, if it means I can't sell a COMPLETE WROKING MAC for much more?

4) For a POOR-LOOKING case, it's just not worth my time and fuss to sell or even keep. Should I sell a $20 case (which still costs you maybe $20 more in shipping and packing), and spend my effort on THAT order and packing it? Or should I spend the same effort for the order and packing of a more expensive "compact" system, in the same box and materials? And should I waste stock space with cases in poor condition; or should I make space for systems with cases in better condition? Space is not free. I have a mortgage, I pay storage costs, etc.

4c) I'd like to buy a Mac CASE for display or as a prop, cosmetic replacement, etc.

If you want a Compact Mac case for a 128K, 512K, Plus, SE, SE/30, etc. read this FAQ item.

Most later Macs are built in cases that are easily disassembled, so I can provide the case without much fuss. I have accumulated some good cases. Still, it takes time to disassemble, space to store the cases. And even an empty case must be shipped carefully, and shipping has costs. (I discuss this in my FAQ about cases for Compact Macs). If you just want a price: I would not bother to sell ANY case for less than $20 each plus shipping and packing - that is NOT A QUOTE. And please no "pickup" offers, I don't have a store for you to stop buy for "whatever I have", I ship what I sell.

5) "I need an operating system for my Mac....."

More information about older versions of Apple's operating systems is on my software Web page for OS's, which shows what I have available.

As of 2006, there are three versions of the Mac OS that are freely distributed by Apple. These three versions - 6.0.8, 7.0, and 7.5.3 - are available for free download from Apple's web site. Check my Mac Web page pointers for links. This FAQ response is mostly about System 7.t and older OS's.

The download-able system disk images from Apple's Web site, are generally in the form of diskette image files. The disk images require a later version of Apple's "Disk Utility" program, also available from the Web site. That program on a Mac will let you either create physical diskettes from the images, or it will "mount" the images on your Mac desktop (held in memory until you reboot).

Version 6.0.8 is the last version of System 6. The installation disks are 4 800K diskettes. It will run on most of the Compact Macs up to the Classic II, and many of the Mac II series and some later systems. You need System 7 to support TCP/IP (i.e. a Web browser, Internet use).

Version 7.0 with an update is the first version of System 7. It will run on some of the Compact Macs and most of the later Macs and Power Macs. The installation disks are 8 800K diskettes or (I think) 6 1.4M diskettes. There is an update that requires another diskette, the updated version is then called "seven point oh DOT".

read this FAQ question about Mac and PC format diskette support when considering versions of System 7, because you may be interested in obtaining Apple File Exchange, to support reading and writing PC-format diskettes.

Version 7.5.3 is also freely downloadable from Apple. It is about 20 (!) 1.4Meg disk images. It's for Mac II's and later through many of the Power Macs. For very old Macs, the smaller size of 7.0 is preferable to 7.5.3.

For the 128K Mac, it can't run System 6, it does not have the memory capacity. You need a System Version 5 or older: Apple does not provide this. But the 512K Macs will run System 6, as well as System 5.

Check my Mac Software Web page for how I offer these or other operating systems. Check my Mac Web pointers for other sites (including Apple's) where you can obtain these and other operating systems, or very old op systems for the 128K Mac.

There is a Linux for the Mac 68030 series and PowerMac series systems. A version of BSD Unix has been available for some time for the Mac. Check my Web pointers page, or search the Web, for the status of these projects.

6) "I need a startup disk (boot disk) for my Mac..."

Check the FAQ question about operating systems for some information about older Mac OS's and what I have available, and what Apple offers on their Web site. Check my list of Mac Web pointers for links around the Web to more info about your Mac and about Mac OS's.

But you need to get your Mac running SOME version of the Mac OS, if only to load other versions or to test your computer. Check my Mac Software Web page to see what operating systems or boot disks I have available. The Macs I sell often have some operating system on their hard drives (without warrenty).

For Macs that can run System 7, you could obtain an external hard drive with System 7, then boot it up and copy it to your internal hard drive (presuming your system works, and it has a hard drive in it). Or you can buy an internal hard drive. I sell hard drives and I could provide System 7.5.3 or System 7.0 or System 6.0.8, as Apple provides those for free download. There may or may not be an additional charge for selling a hard drive with an operating system on it. Check my Web page for hard drives for details.

Macs with a CD-ROM drive can be started from the CD-ROM. HOld down the "C" key during startup to boot from a CD drive. Check my Mac Software Web page to see what system CD-ROMS I have. System 7 CD's may only install on specific models of Macs. System 8 and 9 CD's are often less specific.

If you are having a problem with an internal drive, try starting up from an external hard drive. To startup from an EXTERNAL hard drive, power up both the external drive and your mac, and immediately press and hold the "apple" key, Option, Shift and Delete SIMULTANEOUSLY. This will boot from your external drive but it will not display your INTERNAL drive. You man need to use a utility like SCSI Probe, a control panel add in, to survey SCSI drives. Then it will supposedly find the internal drive and add it to your desktop. Also, you can try selecting "startup disk" via the control panel, and see if you can select your external drive instead of your internal drive; then reboot. (I can't check out everything!)

OR: you can boot from a floppy. Check my Mac Software Web page to see what I have in boot diskettes.

7) What is the best operating system for my Mac?

Apple's Web site may have some answers to this question for specific needs. Check their technical archives for the operating system and the type of Mac you have, particularly for PowerPC and PowerMac systems, and for OS 8, OS 9 and OS X questions. Check my list of Mac Web pointers for links.

For older Macs (not PowerPC/PowerMac) using System 6 and System 7, the following is quoted from the Mac Classics digest:

Q: Given enough memory, what is the best System for 68000 macs?

A: It really depends on what software you want to run and with what System it is compatible.

System 7.x needs at least (2.5-)4MB RAM. System 7.1 may be the stablest 7.x. There is some stuff that needs 7.5, but little of it runs on a 68000 anyway. Of course, 7.1 is not available for free like 7.0*, 7.0.1*, 7.5.3rev2 and 7.5.5 (which is the last System that runs on 68000 macs).

System 7.5.5 takes a little more memory (2917K vs 3238K free RAM on a 4MB PB100, Extensions off, 32K Disk Cache) and somewhat more HD space than 7.0.1*.

Of Systems 7.0* vs 7.0.1*, it may be easiest to use 7.0.1* with HD floppy drives and 7.0* with DD floppy drives (although you can always custom install from HD floppies on another mac with HD floppy drive). The biggest gain in 7.0.1* was updated math routines, but this speed gain was not available to the 68000 anyway. Still, 7.0.1 uses slightly less memory. Both systems *need* "Tune Up 1.1.1" installed - this is important both for better memory use and not loosing files! You can confirm that the Tune-Up is installed by selecting About this Macintosh from the Apple menu - the bullet (*) after System version means that the Tune-Up is active.

When it comes to speed, 6.x is always a lot faster than 7.x but then again, most newer software need 7.x. System 6.0.5 is the first to support MacTCP 2.0.6, MacPPP 2.0.1 and TrueType 1.0. Many prefer 6.0.5, but 6.0.7 or 6.0.8 can run a few more things (Text to Speech, Sound Manger, AOL 2.7, some games and control panels, for example).

System 6.0.7 may be the stablest 6.x and it uses System 6 printing software. Actually, if you install the Style Writer (you can use a SW I or SW II with System 6) you get updated to System 7 printing software anyway. System 6.0.8 is otherwise identical to 6.0.7 but it comes with System 7 printing software which saves time loading drivers back and forth if you are sharing a laser printer on a network of both System 6 and 7 macs. If you use a laser printer on a System 6-only network (or a single mac) then it is faster to use System 6 printing software that comes with 6.0.7 and earlier.

System 6.0.8L is a special version for Classic, Classic II, PowerBook 100, LC and LC II (although also 6.0.5 seems to work on a PowerBook 100).

8) "I have the following Mac items to sell / for sale...."

If you want to offer me Mac equipment, PLEASE include your city/state/zip and a complete list of the items you want to sell, and their condition. Let me know if you want to ship or drop off or if you insist that I pick up. As my stock and my needs change, I cannot list in advance what I will accept. I'm sorry but I have to be selective, even "free" items cost me time and storage, and shipping costs. But shipping is cheaper than you think. It's cheaper than driving to and from even if you are near central New Jersey where I am.

I've put detailed information on this linked "want to sell" section of my ordering Web page.

9)Where can I find more info on old Mac's?

Any technical information can be obtained from Apple or from Mac-dedicated Web sites. Do a Google search (at google.com) using some keywords such as "apple Mac [model name] technical information manual.." and so on. Apple's Web site has ALL their manuals online in PDF format. They have in their technical archives a summary for EVERY Apple product. Also there are many Mac Web sites with information online, for free. But in general, when I myself need some technical info, I use Google with some keywords. If I need something from Apple's site, I use the "hits" returned from an Apple Web site (something.apple.something.com).

One Web site I use often is "Low End Mac" at this link. They have tremendous information, old and relatively current. I also use Apple's technical specs page at this Web page. If you locally search Apple's technical pages and documents, you will likely have to check a box which says "Include content created prior to 1997".

In 2006 I learned of A FREE database of information about Macintosh systems. Runs on Windows or Mac. Check Mactracker at their Web site. Highly rated by a number of Mac oriented magazines. Run it on your own system, no Web access needed.

Check my list of Mac Web pointers for pointers to some informative Mac Web sites including Apple.

Also, I sell some original manuals, books and software. Check my site in the "Apple manuals" section to see what manuals I have available. And I do offer some software: again check my books and software section for specifics.

Otherwise, I advise my customers to turn to other on-line resources, which are for free, and generally they are not trying to sell you something so they are honest to that extent. Meanwhile, my business is to offer "good hardware at good prices" and that is what **I** provide. My time is better spent on that "good hardware" than in providing information that is already available to you elsewhere, from others who know more than I do.

10) This item was moved.

11) What is the "right" keyboard or mouse for my Mac?

Almost ANY older Mac keyboard or mouse is usable on almost any older Mac, from the SE to Power Macs. They are connected to what Apple called the ADB port. Check my parts section for such keyboards. Use the images, name or model number to select which keyboard you wish. I simply don't know which keyboard was shipped when with what system; or if your system uses another keyboard. They will all function, each offers features or additional keys which may be useful to you. The same is true of the Mac mice.

The exception to the above are the keyboards and mice for the Mac 128K, 512K, and Plus. They are NOT compatible with the "ADB" keyboards sold with later Macs, they even have a different connector. Check my parts section for those keyboards. The "long" keyboard shown there was shipped with the Plus but will work with the 128K or 512K; the "short" keyboard will likewise work with the Plus but many people like to have the numeric keypad on the "long" keyboard. There is a subtle difference between the 128K mouse and the 512K and Plus mouse; the connectors look different, the mice are built a bit differently, but they are otherwise completely cross-compatible. Also, the "platinum" and "tan" mice and keyboards are otherwise identical in use.

12) How do I format a Mac hard drive?

Check question number 6 about startup disks; most people need these because of hard disk problems. Apple provides an "erase disk" option on their main menu which will re-initialize some but not all hard drives. Apple also has a "disk test" utility to test formatted disks. There is also a popular control panel add on for "SCSI probe" which is helpful, check various Mac shareware sites for it.

But you may need to use a commercial program to format or reformat a hard drive, especially one that was not originally used by Apple. I do not offer these commercial programs at this time, and the Apple programs are available from me via obtaining the operating system disks I provide as per question #6.

13) I have some parts (problems) with these specifications.... for which I need these kinds of parts (computers) with the following specifications... do you have something that can do this?

Sometimes I get requests from customers who are trying to make various bits of computer hardware work together. They see that I have a variety of equipment and request detailed, technical information about it so that they can see if it will work with the equipment THEY have or wish to have. These are applications and situations beyond the typical customer inquiries I receive. Most of my Mac customers request either a Mac computer, or a Mac device, or a part by function for a particular Macintosh. I don't keep Apple parts by Apple part numbers: I find it is rarely necessary to do so for my customers, most of them don't use those numbers anyway.

I try to be thoughtful about my response to all my customers. However in order to provide "good hardware at good prices" and to process those orders quickly, I can't provide technical analysis, detailed specifications, a technical review of my stock or its capabilities and limits, and so on. However, there are many other Web sites which provide technical information on line (but not sales or orders). Give them a try to get the info you may need.

My remaining time is spent either acquiring stock, testing stock, or packing and shipping stock. We are a small business, but what we do we try to do well. Consequently, my business model is to concentrate on providing good and working hardware, and to provide quick RESPONSE to orders. I leave the technical discussion, problem determination, and detailed information to OTHER resources on the Web, in libraries and books, etc. where such "support" is often offered freely and without conflict of interest. Please note: companies which offer both a lot of tech support AND sell products often charge much more than I. If they do not, they don't stay in business for very long, from my experience.

Most of my customers are glad to find someone who offers such a variety of old Macs and parts at modest prices, with quick service for orders of those Macs and parts. I regret there are a few customers who simply need more services or more support than my business can provide. I respond to ALL customer's inquiries, so I try to be clear but brief about this policy. When possible I offer comments or raise technical points, but sometimes I point out the difficulties in providing the services they request. And, sometimes, those customers are not happy about that response. I can only say that I would rather lose a customer due to their "disappointment" about what I can NOT do, than to offer services or products which do not do as I have "promised".

14) I need a part or toner cartridge for my Apple laser printer; I was told they were "no longer made" for the Apple [whatever model] printer.

I do not carry new toner cartridges, I may have some old unused carts or some used cartridges. I have some old-stock Apple printer parts. Check my Apple printers Web page for what I have. Meanwhile there are many suppliers around the US who specialize only in laser toner cartridges. Some of these companies offer "remanufactured" cartridges: they refill used cartridges and clean and check out the components. Any Web search for your printer model and "toner cartridge" should find a number of sellers. Also in larger cities there are a number of small businesses who refill or "refurbish" toner cartridges.

Keep in mind, that most Apple-brand laser printers use many of the same printer parts as older HP (Hewett-Packard) laser printers. A former product line manager at Apple explained: "Both Canon and HP at one time got their print engines from Peerless Systems. The devices were manufactured by Canon at their site in Japan for Apple." The "print engine" is the mechanical parts and the electronics which run them, excluding the "controller" that was made by Apple (or HP or other companies). So for most Apple printers there is are corresponding HP laser toner cartridges or other major parts which are compatible. Try to determine which HP print is similar to your Apple printer. Some Web sites may have that info.

15) I'm having trouble with my hard drive... system won't start..date and time are incorrect..PRAM battery is dead

With Macs that are a decade or more old, they either develop hard-drive problems or electronic problems with their motherboard (the board with the CPU processor and stuff) or the power supply. Those are usually component-failures of the capacitors. Look at this FAQ item for some discussion of those failures.

Hard drives use spinning platters to store data. If the platters don't spin, the drive will not work. You can generally hear the hard drive spin up when you power up the computer (seperate from the sounds of the fan). Sometimes you can hear the hard drive "seek" as the heads move around the platters. If you have problems with hard drives starting up, or if the operating system does not start up sometime and you have to turn your Mac off and on a few times: it may be because the hard drives are damaged or are wearing out. These can not be repaired, they can only be replaced.

If you need hard drives I sell them on my site in my "Mac...drives" section for a variety of prices based on capacity. They are not hard to install, generally the drives I offer are the same physical size and will fit the same screws and locations of screws as the drives you remove. Be sure to mention the model name and number of your Mac when you order as some Macs use SCSI drives and some use EIDE drives.

You may have a problem with the PRAM battery, see the FAQ item 15.1 below.

15.1) PRAM battery problems

Another startup problem (see above 15.0) with very old Macs, are problems due to corrosion, rust, mold, or the consequences of a dead "PRAM" battery.

Macs have a battery which powers the date "clock" called the PRAM battery. A typical symptoms include the date and time are wrong on startup, "it works but there is no sound", or intermittant starting. MOst Macs use what's called a 1/3AA sized 3.6V battery. I sell some of these, but you can buy them on Amazon or from some electronic component dealers. Here's notes and photos about corrosion problems. If you see "crud" or green-fuzz on parts of the motherboard, or a mess near the battery, then you have a leaky battery - pull it out IMMEDIATELY and clean up that mess if you can.

But in the LONG term of years, dead batteries LEAK and the corrosion KILLS your Mac. Always take PRAM batteries out of ANY Mac you store away. If you don't the battery will turn to goo which destroys anything it touches.

16a) I would like to connect my old (printer, scanner, other device) to my newer Mac via a (SCSI-to-USB, USB, FireWire). The issue for your scanner or other external device, is not just "connection" but "software". I have no idea if your newer Mac would have any software support for your scanner. You can buy USB-plug-in adapters to run SCSI drives. Will that adapter "run" your device? You will have to investigate yourself how device could be used by Mac OS X *software*.

Read the item below about connecting older Macs to newer printers. It's the same problem but the age issue is backwards.

16b) How can one connect an older Mac computer to a new (2002) PC-type printer that has a USB or a parallel connection?

The very short answer is: you can't do this, you have to buy an old Apple printer. I have some of those. If you want details about WHY you can't use new printers, read on. Otherwise check my Web site for old Mac printers.

The Mac modem/printer port is properly called a DIN-8. On a Windows/Intel computer, they use a "DB-9" connector for similar purposes, known as "serial" communications. Either are called "serial" devices as they send information on one wire, one bit at a time. Modems and some printers are serial devices.

Printers which use USB connections or parallel port connections have a VERY different way of communicating, it is not a matter of just a cable. In effect you are asking something like "how can I connect my TV to my computer?", it's not just about connectors. If you want to get more technical information about these sorts of connections, check the Web using some of the keywords in this FAQ item, or browse a bookstore.

Meanwhile, the short answer to your question is that you CAN'T use these newer printers. First, you can't connect them as you might wish as they use physically different connectors. Regarding adapters, there are some adapters from serial to USB, but they don't work "backwards", that is you can't hook a serial COMPUTER to a USB PRINTER. But, there are some serial to parallel adapters which you CAN use from a serial computer to a parallel printer.

Please note: USB to SCSI "cables" is an incorrect way to describe what is a USB to SCSI controller. These are not wires or cables but electronic devices. See my USB to SCSI controllers Web page for more information.

However, your Mac will have NO IDEA how to make that USB or parallel printer print, even if you CAN connect them! Printers expect information in a certain format or "language". Macs (and Windows machines) have bits of operating system stuff called "extensions" in the Mac world (drivers in the Windows world) that allow the operating system to convert the information from your editing program (like Word as it prints your document) into printer commands. That is what a printer extension does, and for every model and make of printer there are DIFFERENT sets of commands. If you don't have a printer extension FOR THAT PRINTER in the Extensions folder, you can't use that printer on your Mac.

One other comment, thanks to a customer. If you have both Macs and PC/Window systems, you might consider connecting the PC-type printer to one of those Windows systems, and connect your Mac to the PC network. I'm told (in 2002) a software product called "Dave" for Macs will facilitate this. That's all I know, check this pointer to Thursby's site for details, and perhaps do a Web search for more info.

More information about networking may be found on my Web site, on my Networking page and on my Printing page as many printers have networking features. Useful Web sites may also be found via my list of Web pages.

17.1) I have a old PowerMac. How do I go about setting it up on my home network?.

Also see question 3: "How can I use my old compact Mac on the Internet?"

A typical request is: "I have a old PowerMac, I would like to get it up on my home network. It has a lan card in it. How do I go about setting it up?"

I understand your request, and I'm sorry that I can't help you in any detail. I don't provide either free or paid-for personal setup support. But here's what I DO provide: 1) hardware 2) basic terminology which may help your search for more info and 3) links to other sites with info. Some sites have a lot of info.

I have some references to sites and basic information and terminology on my networking PARTS Web page. You will have to look at a Mac OS manual, and also manuals on networking on whatever system and network you are running at home. I have Web links to Apple's manuals in PDF form for download. If you find some good sites with info, you are welcome to inform me and I'll consider adding them to my Web links page. Good luck!

17.2) How do I "connect" my old Mac to a newer Mac, or a Windows or Linux computer, for "telecomm" file transfers?

Also read question 17.1 up above.

One problem with owning a really OLD Mac is moving files to and from your newer computers. The oldest Macs only read/write 800K (or 400K) diskettes; other older Macs write 1.4M diskettes. YOu might download an old Mac program from the Web on your current computer, but not be able to "send" it to your old Mac. There are ways to read and write some "formats" of diskettes between these computers, see my other FAQ questions. Other FAQ questions are about connecting drives (ZIP drives or SCSI drives) to both old Macs and to modern computers.

Another solution is to physically "link" your newer and older systems and do a file transfer. ONe kind of "hardware" to do that is a simple connection between the serial ports; you need the wires and correct pin connections to do that, and software. I won't discuss the details here, but I'll describe it generally and you can look up the details relevant to your kind of Macs and modern computers.

The physical connection is what's called a "serial link". It's a connection between a serial ports. These were once used for either "modems" - old devices to use dial-up wired telephone lines to call other computers - or for things like printers and some other devices. Old Macs have what is called a "miniDIN-8" connector and cables with those connectors. They are also called RS-422 ports, that's an electrical spec not a connector spec.

The software is what is called a "terminal emulator" or "telecomm program". That software lets a system send and recieve files to some other computer running it's own telecomm program. In the old days, before the Internet, people "dialed up" computers via the phone and then used simple text-based commands to send email and messages as well as to access files. Those same programs can run between more modern computers today, without the Web or Internet or modems. You have to properly wire the serial ports together.

Networking hardware and software, do all of this work for you, automatically. These "telecom" programs and their hardware, has to be managed by you, wired up by you, and run file by file by you. But it works when you can't find Ethernet hardware for your old Mac, or make that hardware work with your modern computers.

Windows- based systems have telecomm software called "hyperterminal". In the old MS-DOS world there were many telecom programs as shareware, such as PROCOMM and QMODEM. And there were similar programs in the old Mac world, Red Ryder and so forth. KERMIT was a ancient program used to talk to minicomputers and even mainframes. Programs like XTERM, YTERM and ZTERM were used among computers of the 1980's. "ZTERM" will run on the oldest of Mac and is small enough to put on a 400K diskette. Apparently the author of this program offers it for download for trial, and sold for a fee. A Web search on "Zterm mac" will find that site. Other Web searches can find other telecomm programs.

The Mac world went through these kinds of "telecomm" programs and connecting Macs issues of connecting old Appletalk/Phonenet networks to more modern Macs, a few decades ago. Much of that information should be on the Web somewhere and in old books, and in old Mac discussion groups's contents. I leave it to Mac owners, to find and review all that stuff and sort it out. I supply the hardware, and some clues about your options and what to look for.

Look at other FAQ questions on this page. Also, relevant pages on my Web site are:
books and software about telecomm stuff. If I decide to offer any telecomm software, it would be listed here. Also check my Mac networking hardware including Appletalk and Phonenet. modems and telecomm use. Also check my list of Mac Web sites. If I find sites that offer or discuss telecomm and file transfer software and issues, I'll link to them from my Web site list.

18) How can I connect an Apple/Mac printer to my Windows system ?

In brief, Windows supports many of the Apple "Postscript" laser printers; check the Windows' printer setup for a list of printers, then look for the "Apple" printers, for specific models. Non-Postscript printers include all of the Apple inkjet printers (all Stylewriters), and some of the oldest laser printers. Regarding impact or dot-matrix printers, you can with effort hook an Imagewriter or Imagewriter II to your Windows system via the SERIAL port; select the C. Itoh model 8510 under Window's printer setup. Also check your printer's manual to see if it emulates (runs like) other printers when set appropriately. Details are below.

Windows systems come with some Apple printer drivers for their "Postscript" printers. (That is the printer's internal language, it is not a brand or model.) Check your Apple docs, or the Apple Web site, or printers page to see if your printer uses Postscript (Quickdraw is not Postscript). From the Windows desktop START button, click "settings"...."printers"...."add printer"; or from Control Panel "add new hardware" or "printers". Windows has a list of some Apple Laserwriter drivers by model. (It may also list the C.Itoh 8510 which is similar to the Imagewriter II.) For more information, check Apple's Web archive site for Windows support for their printers. YOu will find a document discussing the subject; and Web links to PDF's of manuals for Apple's printers. When a printer will work with Windows systems, generally the printer's Apple manual has a section about that use.

Some Apple printers have an Ethernet, or a parallel port, connection. YOu may be able to use those with your Windows PC as described above. But some Apple printers have an "Appletalk" connection or what is called in the Windows world a "serial" connection. The cable for that connection needs a DIN-8 connector, like a Mac-connected external modem. On your Windows PC, you'd need a DB-25 or DB-9 connector for your serial port. I sell DIN-8 to DB-25 cables on my Mac Parts Web page. I don't offer DB-25 to DB-9 adapters, but most any computer store, or store which sells computer accessories or computers, may have these for several dollars. I don't guarantee your results, I don't provide a "how to", if you buy these items from me.

Also consider buying a "printer server". Those are Ethernet routers which also have a serial or parallel printer connection port - most are parallel port to support old Windows/IBM-type printers. But many Mac printers also have parallel ports. The "printer server" connects to your PC/Windows Ethernet network; your PC connects to the network; and the PC has a driver loaded which make the PC "think" the printer is directly connected to parallel port! A customer offered this recommendation, adding: "I use a (LinkSys) EtherFastR 3-Port 10/100 PrintServer, Model: EPSX3." For more information check this link: http://www.linksys.com/products/product.asp?grid=34&scid=32&prid=437

Note: you may need to change settings or features of your Apple printer to work under MS-DOS or Windows. Some printers have a numeric switch or a toggle switch to change their settings. For instance, the Personal Laserwriter NT or NTR has a numeric switch which should be set to "6" to run under Windows 2000's Apple printer driver for that printer. Again, check Apple's site or my site for links to the PDF copy of the manual for your printer, to get more info about Windows use.

Most Apple printers have internal features which can also be changed from your Mac under Mac software, Apple's "Printer Utility" program. Search Apple's Web site in their "archives" (or use Google or my Mac Web pointers page) to find it. You can download that program as a disk image compressed in .bin format, which programs like Stuffit will decompress and Disk Copy will mount as a virtual disk so you can get the 68K and PowerMac versions of the utility (sorry, that's the process).

See also a related question about connecting PC or Mac printers to G4's and iMacs for additional information.

More information about networking may be found on my Web site, on my Networking page and on my Printing page as many printers have networking features. Useful Web sites may also be found via my list of Web pages.

18.1) I'm having printer problems, it does not work. What parts do I need? What's wrong with it?

A typical question is: "I have a [printer model] and the main board appears to have gone out. Well actually it powers on normally without any errors in the idiot lights but it will no longer print. What do I need to fix it?"

The printer's lights and how they blink provide error information. Check Apple's site for PDF's of manuals for your printer, if you don't have the manual in hand, and see if you can match the pattern of lights to specific errors. If your printer is completely DEAD, you may need a power supply. Often the problem is an empty fuser, a toner cartridge, a paper jam or no paper. But it could be a mechanical or electrical problem.

You could have a number of problems. Describe to me what happens, as best you can in DETAIL, when you power up the printer without connection to a Mac, and with paper and toner cartridge inside of course. THEN, SEPARATELY, what happens after it's properly connected to a Mac and you try to send a page. You'll typically get on-screen error messages from a nonworking printer that are informative. You may have to check your printer "setup" using either "Chooser" or the "setup" available when you print a document, so that it displays error messages on your screen (there is an option NOT to display messages).

You can also use utilities like "Apple Printer Utility" which lets you communicate with your printer and receive some messages you'd not see otherwise. Check my Web page of Web pointers and look for the links to Apple's site for OLDER software to download and obtain this utility.

19) How can I connect an old Apple/Mac or old PC-type printer to my G3 or G4 or iMac (OS X) system ?

The very short answer is: you can't do this easily. There are problems between the USB-to-serial stuff; problems with printer drivers; and problems with OS X (or OS 9, etc) not knowing about either.

The G3's, G4's and iMacs do not have the old Apple "DIN-8" connector (serial Localtalk) for modems and printers. These later Macs either use USB or Ethernet. Regarding the DIN-8 and Appletalk, see a related FAQ question for a description of that port. I don't describe Ethernet or USB.

Most older Apple printers use a DIN-8 cable, either directly or via Appletalk. Also, most older PC-type printers use either serial connections or parallel connections. Old Appletalk to parallel port connections are rare and specialized. But DIN-8 to serial (DB-25) cables are available. However, these will not help the G3, G4, or iMac owner as they do not have a DIN-8/Appletalk port.

However, there are some devices generally called "Ethernet to Appletalk converters", which are designed to connect Appletalk printers to Ethernet networks. That provides a connection to a G3, G4, or iMac via the Ethernet port on those systems. Check my Web site for what I may have available:
either in my printer section for networks
or in my network section for printers.

There are also "USB to serial" devices you can buy to provide a serial connection on your USB-based Mac. I don't sell those at this time. In 2006, one company which makes these (and which Apple approves OS X drivers for) is Keyspan. Check their site for "USB-to-serial" products. Check Apple's Web site, and the Web in general, to see how (or IF) your Mac can use these. (As of 2006 neither Apple nor Keyspan offer a straightforward solution to use the Keyspan USB-to-serial to print on an old Apple printer.) Consider the OS version of your Mac and the model when you do so, and the considerations below.

Even if you physically connect the printer, your computer needs to know how to "use" it. Printers expect information in a certain format or "language". Macs (and Windows machines) have bits of operating system stuff called "extensions" in the Mac world (drivers in the Windows and OS X world) that allow the operating system to convert the information from your editing program (like Word as it prints your document) into printer commands. That is what a printer extension does, and for every model and make of printer there are DIFFERENT sets of commands. (Most Mac printers use a language of commands called "PostScript" and Mac drivers contained in "Laserwriter 8.0" or later; older Mac printers use another language called "QuickDraw". )

So, If you don't have a printer extension FOR THAT PRINTER in the Extensions folder, you can't use that printer on your Mac even if you can physically connect it. But check around the Web, including Apple's Web site and the site which produced your printer: they may have a driver for your particular brand and model of printer. ONe popular Web site for OS X developers is The OS X section of linuxprinting.org; but this is VERY TECHNICAL and is not just simply a download-and-install site.

See also a related question about connecting Mac printers to Windows PC's for additional information.

More information about networking may be found on my Web site, on my Networking page and on my Printing page as many printers have networking features. Useful Web sites may also be found via my list of Web pages.

19.5) I want a small, light Apple printer. What are my choices?

"Not heavy" suggests either an inkjet printer - the Stylewriter series- or a small laser printer.

The only other issue is what version of the operating system you run. Macs with lots of memory and PowerMac models can run System 6, 7, and often 8. The Classic and most Compact Mac models will only support a few to several MB of memory, so you will most likely run System 6 or some version of System 7. All of these allow the use of printer extensions (drivers selected by "chooser") for most Stylewriter model inkjets. For system 7 and 8, you can also use those drivers, and use versions of "Laserwriter 8.X" (where X is 0, 1, 2, ...) which run the various PostScript laser printers. The non-Postscript laser printers have seperate drivers named for each printer; I'm not sure which of those specific drivers will run under System 6.

As for size of printers, I believe most of my laser printers are photographed on my printers Web page. The smallest laser printers are Personal Laserwriter 300, 320 & 4/600 PS. The 300 I do not have available and it is the most limited of that series. Slightly larger laser printers are the Personal Laserwriter LS, NT, and NTR. All my printers have a "packing weight" listed.

For weights and dimensions of any old Apple product including printers, and to see if the printer is Postscript or not (Quickdraw is the alternative usually), check Apple's Web page archive:


See other FAQ responses on this page for discusions of printer drivers, how to get them, etc. For more printer info on my site, check my Mac printers page and links from that page; or check my Web links page to Apple and other sites.

When you know what you want to buy, let me know. Thanks for your inquiry.

20) What kind of memory can I use on my Mac?

Mac computers and printers use a variety of memory, which is called "SIMMS" or "DIMMS" or "VRAM". Most of my memory is sold from a Mac Memory Web page. I provide some descriptions there of memory for most of the systems I sell, but not for the printers. For printers you'll probably have to look at Apple's manual or an Apple document. While I try to identify issues and problems when I can, it is up to YOU the customer to determine what memory and how much memory you need. For the oldest Macs (before the Power Macs) there is generally only a few choices and selection is not complicated.

Apple product specifications for their older products are available on Apple's Web site, linked from my site on my page of "Mac Web pointers". I also have a brief document on Macs and memory you may want to look at. Check my Mac Web pointers page for links to Apple's tech docs also - particularly ones on memory. Finally, a Web search over other Web sites may inform you about specific uses of specific memory products, such as 64MB 72-pin SIMMS which are unusual.

21) Where can I get "drivers" for a Mac printer to run on my Mac system?

Look at question 19 on this FAQ regarding OS X and printers without serial ports.

For a printer to work on your Mac, your Mac's operating system needs to have a "driver" for that printer. Additional software may be needed as well: check your operating system manual for details. For info on a printer's features, or on the OS, check Apple's Web site for the manual and or software. Both are available for download. I have on my Web site a list of Mac Web pointers which includes Apple's sites. Also check my list of paper manuals and Apple software that I offer for sale.

The system software needed to support a printer is generally found with the operating system on your computer. It is selected with "chooser", and the "drivers" are probably in a folder in your system directory, as a collection of icons. Under the Chooser, most Postscript printers use "Laserwriter 8.x" (a collection of many printers). Non-Postscript printers use one of the particular "driver" icons in Chooser (kept in the Extensions folder I believe) that matches the name and look of the printer. Apple's software for printers can generally be downloaded from Apple's Web site.

NOTE: If you are running System 6.0 to 6.0.8, and possibly early versions of System 7, your choices of printers may be very limited, unless you make efforts to obtain several pieces of Mac software. Check the resources noted above and my Mac printers page for details.

Check our list of Mac Web pointers and look for the links to Apple's Web pages. Or a Google search will almost always find the manual or Apple's software if you search on the printer's model name and words like "Apple, manual, extension, driver, PDF" and so on. As of 2003, the simplest link to Apple's site for ALL "legacy" system and supporing software is this on-line list of links to Apple's older software download.. Some of that software is in "disk image" form. You will need Disk Copy to convert the disk image files Apple provides to access the software in those files. Read the Disk Copy docs, and any on-line ".txt" text files on Apple's site, for details.

23) I have an iMac or eMac or OS X and I need....

As of December 2005, I don't have much experience with OS X, and not much operating experience on iMacs and eMacs. That's not important to me as I sell HARDWARE, not advice or recommendations or even software. Check my iMac and eMac page for what I have to offer.

Most people who want help with new Macs, want to do something associated with OLD Macs. iMacs don't come with serial (modem or printer) ports, or floppy drives. It can be a challenge to transfer files from old Macs to new Macs (or to Windows systems). You may have to use an older Mac computer as part of the process, or indefinitely. Check this FAQ for specific questions of use. Look over my Web site to get some basic information, some keywords or definitions. Then you can check the Web, or even READ A MANUAL OR TWO, for more info. My business is to sell "good HARDWARE at good prices"; I don't pretend to be a Mac expert.

26) I need a part for a Power Computing system...

We no longer have any Power Computing systems in stock, only some parts from systems we disassembled. But Power Computing systems are almost IDENTICAL to Apple PowerMac systems. They use ROMs from Apple, licensed from Apple. They must be Apple compatible by license agreement. Apple even provides Power Computing documents on Apple's Web site, because eventually Apple bought the Power Computing company! If you wish to buy a part such as a CD-ROM drive, memory, floppy, etc: I may happen to have that Power Computing part in stock. I will need the MODEL NUMBER ON THE PART and the MODEL of the Power COmputing system it came from. If it is a power supply or motherboard, you are probably out of luck but you can ask.

If it is an item for which Apple has a likely compatible version, all I can do is offer the item, tested on an Apple computer; and a return policy if the item does not work on your Power Computing system. I normally do not permit returns of working equipment. Returns must be shipped (postmarked, day of shipping) within SEVEN DAYS of the day you recieved the unit; you must advise me of the return; and refunds are limited to the cost of the item only. I cannot refund shipping costs, that money was spent when shipping. There are additional considerations about returns including packing and how you ship it back: check my terms of ordering for specific details.

27) I am looking for a larger internal/external 25 pin scsi hard drive. Do you have any 25 pin scsi’s? What is the largest 25 pin scsi hd available?

Also see my answer about SCSI drives for Roland synthesizers.

Please keep in mind the difference between "SCSI drive" and "25 pin connectors". The Macs use a DB-25 connector for their SCSI external connector. that connects to a BOX which may, or may NOT, have the same connector, and which contains a SCSI hard drive (or other SCSI device). It is the SCSI DRIVE, NOT THE BOX OR CABLE OR CONNECTOR, which determines all the features of the drive (speed, capacity, etc.).

Most of the old old SCSI drives for Apple used a 25-pin connector. But those drives are too old, too slow, and have too little storage. Typically they stored from 20Mb to maybe 250MB. I've stopped selling such boxes because the drives they originally had are either worn out or about to wear out, and they are too small anyway.

If you use a DB-25 to SCSI-1 cable, you can connect your Mac to boxes which have newer, faster, and LARGER capacity drives. These are the boxes I sell and offer, with the appropriate cable for your Mac. I also sell SCSI hard drives which either go into those boxes, or which go into your Mac. THEY ARE THE SAME, IDENTICAL DRIVES - again the box is just a box, it has cables and a power supply and nothing else but a hard drive.

So check my Mac Web site in the hard drives section, and see what I have either as complete drives in a box (with that SCSI-1 connector) or as empty boxes (that you may be able to put a drive into).

27.1) I have a Roland music synthesizer. I am looking for an external SCSI drive with a 25 pin (DB-25) connector....

Also see my answer about SCSI drives with or for 25-pin connectors.

The 25-pin connnection on your Roland, as it turns out, is apparently identical to the 25-pin SCSI connector used on old Apple/Mac computers. So I sell some Mac/Apple compatible external SCSI drives to Roland owners. Other older synthesizers also use the Apple SCSI connector scheme.

In the Mac world, it's typical to use a DB-25 to SCSI-1 cable on the back of the Mac computer, and then to connect that cable to older drives which have the SCSI-1 connector. The SCSI-1 connector is a large D-shaped connector which looks like the old Intel/Windows PC "Centronix parallel port" printer connector on the back of OLD OLD printers, except THAT connector has 37 pins: the SCSI-1 "Centronix" connector is 50 pins. This is NOT the same kind of connector as the DB-25 on the back of Intel/Windows PC's.

External SCSI drives ALWAYS need a powered box to hold the drive. SCSI drives can be "daisy chained" by cabling with SCSI-1 cables from drive to drive. the last drive must be "Terminated" with a SCSI terminator (built into a SCSI-1 connector) or with a "terminated" SCSI drive. Also each SCSI drive must have a SCSI address, a number from 0 to 6, with the computer addressed as 7. Either the drive will have jumpers to set its address, or the drive case will have a SCSI address selector which displays a number 0 through 7. Daisy chaning and address are the same for ALL uses of SCSI drives, whether for Rolands or for Macs or for other computers.

I have additional info about samplers, follow the link. Check my Mac Web pages on SCSI drives for more information about SCSI, or use all this information to look on the Web, or to look for and read books about SCSI at the usual places.

27.2) I want a SCSI external hard drive CASE, to put in a SCSI hard drive...

27.3) I want a SCSI hard drive, to put in a SCSI external hard drive CASE ...

This will be technical. If you don't want to get "technical", I suggest you buy a complete external SCSI hard drive. But if you want to work inside your external SCSI case, or want me to do so, read on.

External SCSI hard drives are simply INTERNAL SCSI hard drives in an external cabinet, with a cable to connect to your SCSI drive connector on your Mac. The external case consists of a power supply with power connector to your drive, a internal SCSI cable connecting to the case's external SCSI connector, a pair of LED's, and a SCSI address switch with cable and connector to the SCSI drive. An "address" is needed for each SCSI device, a number from 0 to 6 set up "at" the device with some physical jumpers or a "switch". (Look at your external drive for a numbered switch.)

The PROBLEM is that the SCSI address connector, and the hard drive's LED "ready" connector, ARE NOT STANDARD. They vary depending on the brand and model of hard drive. So a particular hard drive external case may, or may not, have the correct connectors for these items. You can work around this, these are not critical to operating the drive, but it can be inconvenient to do so.

A more complete description and discussion, with pictures, is on my SCSI technical page.

28) My LCD-based iMac's "video card" has failed, can you fix/replace it...?

I'm getting questions like this: "I was wondering if you might have a motherboard for a (LCD based) imac; basically my imac's video card stopped working..." Some ask for "a video card".

There is no "video card". It's not separate but part of the imac computer board. Chances are "the video" IS working, but that the LCD"s backlights have failed. Here's how to check that.

Take your computer, and a flashlight, into a quiet, darkened room and boot it up. You can presumably hear the drives and startup sounds. Then take a flashlight and hold it close to the LCD screen at various angles. You will probably see a "ghost" of the desktop image. That's what an LCD looks like when its fluorscent backlights (called CCFLs) fail, or more likely when the high-voltage power supply (or inverter) fails.

I have no advice for replacement or repair. There is a small video connector on various iMacs, to which a VGA HDI-15 converter cable can be attached, so you can hook up an external monitor in order to use the iMac. Look on apple's Web site for features of your iMac to determine what the connector is and what an adapter cable would be. Search the Web to find such cables. Then back up your hard drive. Back up your hard drive.

last.1) I need a small part but just for a few dollars....

It's difficult for me to offer new, inexpensive parts at competative price. It's really not the business I am in, so I can't do that very well. Here is an actual exchange with a customer which shows why:

*>I'm looking for a replacement pickup roller for a LaserWriter II.
*>Your site mentions these rollers are replacable. Do you know where
*>I can obtain one? The only sources I've  found want $50 minimum orders
*>of [a few or several dollars each] for the roller.
*OK, I'll offer a new one for $10 plus $ 6 shipping and handling. I'll have
*to order several of those parts myself to do so.
*> $10 for the rubber foot? That seems excessive to me. I found a
*> site that had them listed for [less] but they wouldn't accept an
*> order for under $50 and would only sell 10 at a time.

...and so forth. Here's my problems as a seller and businessperson. First, my business is in GOOD, USED Mac equipment and parts. If I stock new parts I'm competing with the many new parts dealers, and since THEY would sell to ME, MY prices would need to be higher. Second, it's hard to make money on orders of a few dollars as it takes about as much time and fuss to complete a $10 order as it does a $100 order. Third, I'm not set up for quick little orders. Other companies will let you order from the Web with a credit card; of course you get charged more for such services, and you get no human contact about your order.

In other words, my business is to provide good used parts at a good price with some personal service. I'm not in business to resell new parts, and I can't STAY in business by handling single order of a few dollars. I will try to honor requests for one inexpensive item, if for instance it can be shipped in a padded envelope without testing or fuss. But I'm certainly not in business to argue the reasons why I must charge several dollars for an item that cost me a few dollars.

Last.2) Why are your prices so high for what is obsolete Mac equipment? I can get it cheaper on [favorite Web auction site, garage sale, surplus department, etc.]

The following is an actual customer inquiry.

Hello Herb. I'm actually looking to buy an old Apple II system as a joke for xmas. I noticed you had a few systems for sale, but no prices were listed. It does not really matter if the system even works, since the purpose is just for entertainment. Please let me know what you have available and how much? However, I fear that with shipping it may be more than I had planned on spending for this joke. Thank you for your time.

This is a regretable inquiry, but it suggests why sometimes it's a challenge for me to even stay in business. It should go without saying that we offer these old system for use, for demonstration or for display - not as a joke. Furthermore, asking for a quote yet suggesting that even SHIPPING COSTS would be too much, is simply bad business practice. Ironically, the above inquiry came from a counselor at a technology school.

We told them that their inquiry was itself a good joke, especially the school counselor part. They did not get it. Believe it or not, this person replied later that they GOT their "joke" Apple II, for $2.50, at a school surplus sale. They suggested to me that was the true "value" of such systems. I explained to this person the value of my services to people who don't have access to cheap, local old technology. What follows below is a review of what I offer, my customer's needs, and what my customers generally face as alternatives.

First, some people still NEED, or very much prefer, to use these older Macs and their accessories - so they are still "valuable" to THEM. I provide a service to such people, and my services have a cost which must be added to my selling price.

Sometimes my prices are LESS than costs of repair. When someone's old Mac or printer breaks, they simply want a replacement. My service is to offer a replacement for a modest price. Whereas, so I'm told, some customers have spent HUNDREDS of dollars to a repair service to 1) identify they have a problem (which they already knew); 2) to obtain a "repair part" (sometimes cheap, sometimes what amounts to replacing most of the broken computer, printer, etc.); and 3) to pay large labor costs in testing and installation.

Or, they can send money to a more commercial Mac provider, for something with an extended warrenty. But most used Mac equipment is sold off because of upgrades or replacement, not because it stopped working. And one must keep in mind that all these old products are beyond their working lifetimes, and will need replacement or repair in due course beyond whatever warrenty is offered.

Regarding online auctions, check my comments on auctions.

What you get from me is something that is tested and working before shipping (unless described otherwise when sold). I pack it well, myself, and I know how. We get VERY FEW reports of breakage, and I work with the customer when that happens. Finally, you know what you bought from me - I insist that it's up to YOU, not me. And I don't hype you with long product descriptions or lists of tech features - you can find those on other Web pages.

What you get from me is reasonable and PERSONAL service. That is what you pay for, that is why my prices are as they are. No joke.

last.3) I can get it cheaper on eBay....

Well, simply put I do not do what "eBay" does. Keep in mind that when you deal with "eBay", you are NOT dealing with one person or one company. You deal with one of a collection of companies and individuals, offering all kinds of items on all kinds of terms on a regular or intermittant basis. Mostly they compete on PRICE - and the less you pay or SEEM to pay, the less you'll likely get for your dollar. In some cases, you'll be offered almost no information (or too MUCH information), about an item not even powered up! What you actually get of course will vary with whom you deal with and the deal of the minute.

HOw about after the auction, when you've won? You may or may not get what you pay for. That low priced item may or may not work. It may be packed poorly and arrive broken. The auction site is not responsible of course, nor in general the payment service you used. The shipping company is not in practice very responsive either to breakage: try to collect on insurance sometime. The seller may not have a clue about what they've sold. And check shipping costs - some sellers pad the shipping cost so they can accept a lower selling price.

What I offer is different. My offers, terms and conditions are consistent and clear and specific, for specific customers of Mac equipment. We generally offer tested equipment, described reasonably well, without hype and without flooding you with lists of specifications you can easily find. We also avoid bare bones descriptions that tell you nothing about an item. And of course we actually RUN almost everything we sell. My prices are generally listed with the item. We give you a shipping quote SPECIFIC TO YOUR ORDER AND LOCATION, with a modest packing and handling charge - if you live close to me you pay LESS than some flat fee which assumes the most expensive possible shipping cost. Finally, we know how to pack stuff, and breakage is rare, and we ALWAYS work with the customer when it happens to resolve it.

I believe my prices, terms AND services are competative when considered all together. You don't have to agree with that of course, but again it's up to the customer - YOU - to make those determinations. But keep ALL those considerations in mind when looking for older Mac items. For my comments on my own prices and services, check this FAQ item.

Herb Johnson
New Jersey, USA
to email @ me follow this link

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