Older Mac OS - where can I get a copy?

Simple question, hopefully a simple answer will follow.

I have recently aquired a second-hand PowerMac 9500/132. It’s pretty nice for an older machine. Unfortunately, it’s running system 7.5.3, and I’d really like to upgrade (particularly since the previous owner seems to have uninstalled the internet browser!). My sister has given me a copy of System 9.1, but when I tried to install it I got an error message telling me it won’t install on my machine. On reading the instructions (no, I didn’t read 'em first!) it appears that my machine has to be running 8.5 before I can upgrade to 9.1. :smack: How annoying!

So, anyone know a good place to buy a copy of Mac OS 8.5? Anyone? Bueller?

Thanks in advance…

Oh, I should mention that I’ve tried the obvious - been to apple.com, CompUSA, CDW, MacMall…no luck. Might try Half Price Books next time I get a chance…

Thanks again.

Exactly what error message are you getting?

It could be a matter of the disk not being intended for use by your machine. There are probably ways around it, though. I’ve never heard of 9.1 needing 8.5, but I don’t know the other way either.

(In my case, I’m running 9.2.2 on a PM6500 (upgraded to G3). In this case it’s not just an unsupported system, it was deliberately intended to not install on my Mac.)

The message is (from my sketchy memory) “This disk is not able to run on your machine.” Everything I’ve seen says that a 9500 will run 9.1, so I don’t know what the problem would be.

You probably don’t need to get an older version (and even if you do, it most likely wouldn’t help, unless you just want to run 8.6).

What you probably need to do is fool the disk by using a program that fakes your machine ID. I don’t have time to give you all the info you need, but “MachIDwannabe” is a control panel where you can change it, there’s also something called GestaltLab. I don’t know for sure if those work under System 7

Try this link for some help (you shouldn’t need the hacks for 9.2, but the stuff about getting the disk to work may help), some of the linked-to sites there may also be useful.

I’ve got a Powermac 6500, which I think came out before your 9500. My original OS was 7.6.1. When OS 8 came out, there was no problem installing. Same thing for OS 8.5 and OS 9. I had to initialize my hard drive a few times, and being a dumb guy, I assumed that you had to start from scratch ie. 7.6.1 on up to OS9. Not so, I found out. After you initialize and are starting from a clean disk, just pop in OS9 and there ya go. I am , however, restricted to OS 9. My machine will NOT accept the new guy on the block, OS 10. That requires a new computer. Try initializing and then try OS 9. Bet it’ll work.

Is the disc a stand-alone retail version of OS 9, or was it part of another machine’s install discs? If the latter, then you do need to change the machineID as a previous poster suggested. Apple has coded most bundled install discs to only run on that specific machine type (iMac OS install discs only work on iMacs, etc). Once you change the ID to the proper type, you can then fool the CD into installing the OS anyway.

If it is indeed the retail OS 9 version CD, then I think it should be able to install over any OS, 8.5 present or not.

lord wins a cookie! You need to use a thing called Hard Drive Set up which can be found in the Utilities folder to initialize the drive. Another reason you may be getting the error is that you don’t have enough RAM to run 9.x. IIRC, 128 is the bare minimum. Too bad you didn’t get the 9600 form factor, much easier to install the RAM in. Need some? I probably have some lyin around my desk at work. Let me know how many open RAM slots you have, and I’ll pull some RAM from one of the 3 dead 9600’s I have been cannabalizing. Hell. This is a match made in heaven, you’re a kilt wearin man, and I’m writing this while wering my glenngary. My sis is getting married tomorrow. The pipes will be whalin. If I give you RAM, you have to promise me to show me how to tie the ribbons on the back of glenngary’s into the interesting patterns I’ve seen.

You could search eBay for “mac system 8.5” and “mac os 8.5”.

I don’t know as how you’d want 9.1 on a 9500 (which would be happier with 8.6, I’d think), and if you just need the browser you can install it without changing the OS. (Admittedly you need some kind of internet software to download it, but it needn’t be a browser. Fetch or other FTP client will get you there. Or you can download from some other machine and put the browser s/w on a CD, etc)

But there’s also no reason why it would not install. You should not need to initialize your hard drive. In fact, in the entire history of Macintosh there are only two circumstances I can think of where you’d ever have to initialize a hard drive to install an upgrade OS:

a) The hard drive + CPU were so old that they were originally formatted with an interleave ratio of 2:1 or 3:1. People who accelerated their Mac Plusses and SEs back in the late 80s and early 90s had to think about this.

b) The hard drive was formatted as HFS not HFS+ and now you want to upgrade to MacOS X which cannot be installed on an HSF volume.

The “9.1” disk that you have is probably not an entire operating system CD but an upgrade CD called “MacOS 9.1 Update”. From Mactracker, re: MacOS 9.1 Update:

MacOS 9.1 on the other hand, should install on any PowerPC Mac with 40+ MB of RAM; and the 9500 will indeed run 9.1 (as its theoretical maximum OS; in actuality you can install MacOS X on it but it requires some kludges and it will be disappointingly slow if you do).

Email me.

ok, sorry for the lag, I was away from both computers all weekend. Carmen and Otto, I’ll be e-mailing both of you this afternoon.

AHunter3, the software I have is definitely not MacOS9.1 Update, it is MacOS9, produced by Apple Computer, and apparently is a later release as it proclaims itself to contain 9.1.

oh, to answer another question, I want the most recent OS I can get on the old Mac because I intend to install lots of graphics software and want to avoid any possible risk of incompatibility. Also, I’m used to using more recent versions of the MacOS, so this is tripping me up somewhat.

Besides, I’ve got 9.1, I may as well use it.

Is there a vague possibility that the CD itself was mastered in HFS+? (There’s no good reason to do it, but maybe it was the default for that machine’s disks.) If it is, 7.5.3 definitely won’t see it. 8.1 was the first to have HFS+.

Probably already did this, but have you tried booting from the CD? That could get it working and able to install.

AHunter3 is right, you should never need to reinitialize your hard drive (though if you want to convert it to HFS+, a smart idea if it’s > 4GB, you will have to reinitialize ). You might need to update the driver using Drive Setup; this is also what you’d use to re-init.

As an aside, here’s an interesting website about older Macs : http://www.lowendmac.com/

As I said, this is the MacOS 9 disc (Featuring iTools) that appears to be a commercially available software upgrade. A sticker on the box declares “MacOS 9.1 Now Inside”). This is an Apple Computer Corp. product and does not appear to be the disc that would’ve been included with a new Mac. The barcode sticker on the bottom of the box says “Mac OS 9.1 RTL”. Would the commerciall available OS9 disk have been mastered in HFS+?

One of the major annoyances I’m having is an inability to boot from the CD - I restart the computer with the disk in the drive and hold down the “c” button…with no effect whatsoever. Is there another way to boot from the CD? I’m rusty on my Mac skills - I don’t even remember how to force-quit an application anymore.

Does the error message pop up the moment you try to launch the Installer, or only a few pages deep into the dialogs? The reason I ask: Can you check the option for performing a Clean Install?

The standard installer ought to install onto a completely blank disk, and therefore should not care one way or the other if there is a copy of 8.1, 7.6, or 6.0.8 on the drive. Possibly, for some reason, Apple made 9.1 so that it would not install ON TOP OF systems older than 8.5, although I’ve never heard of such things before. If all else fails, make sure you can boot from the CD; or, if your sister burned it as a non-bootable CD, that you have SOME kind of bootable media other than the hard drive, and that you can successfully boot from it; then remove the file called “Finder” from the System Folder and put it somewhere else. At that point, the installer should not see an installed OS on that drive, just a drive that happens to contain some files.

Heh, I was under the impression that the error in the OP occurred while booting from the OS 9 CD. Understandably, the OS 9 Installer may not run under an older system, but booting from the CD would resolve that issue. The Apple retail CD should be able to boot into an OS 9 environment to allow the installer to work.

If holding down C while restarting does not work, then you could try booting into System 7.5 and use the Startup Disk control panel to manually set the the CD as the startup volume, then restarting. In theory, that should force it to try to boot from the CD first.

In addition to using the ‘startup disk’ option, there is another way to boot from the CD drive; you can boot from the SCSI device directly. But this is usually to get around problems with drives, not disks. If it’s the stock Apple CD-ROM, it probably won’t help. Do you have a CD that you can boot from? (you could burn one with sys 7.5).

Boot from SCSI : cmd-opt-shift-del-(#) at startup, where (#) is the SCSI ID. The CD-ROM is often 3, but to make sure you can get a program like ‘SCSI Info’, or check the drive jumpers. Or just try different numbers (the Hard drive is going to be one of them).

You can also try zapping the PRAM ( cmd-opt-P-R at startup). This is more of concern if it doesn’t boot at all.

If you try the ‘C’ thing, does it just not boot at all or does it boot from the hard drive (into 7.5.3)?

Here’s a good place to bookmark : Startup Key Combinations.

I almost forget something related to the OP & internet browsers :

Once you get the system working, get (at least try) iCab . Very customizable and won’t use up lots of memory. According to them it’ll run under 7.6 too. [You can get all the systems up to 7.6 for free at http://www.mammals.org ]

How much RAM is in the computer (Go to the Apple menu from the Finder, choose “About This Macintosh”)? OS 9 requires a minimum of 32 MB of RAM. If you have less, the installer may be complaining about that. Note: While 32 MB is the minimum amount of RAM required, it is generally considered too low for any useful work. 64 is better, 128 or more is ideal.

As for your CD booting problem:

Put the CD in the drive. Does it mount? If not, try another CD, any CD.

If the 9.1 CD mounts:
[li]We have a problem. For some reason, the CD-ROM drive won’t recognize the CD at boot time. Try selecting the CD in the Startup Disk control panel.[/li][li]If this doesn’t work, check the manufacture of the CD-ROM drive. Many non-Apple OEM drives have trouble with C key booting. If the drive is not OEM (it won’t have an Apple logo on it), this is the most likely cause of the problem.[/li][li]This gets hard. The 9500 has two SCSI buses - an internal SCSI-2 bus and an external SCSI-1 bus. The hard disk and the CD-ROM drive should be linked to the internal SCSI-2 bus. I believe the Cmd-Opt-Shift-Del sequence searches the external bus for bootable devices, so it wouldn’t help with the CD-ROM drive.[/li][/ul]

If the 9.1 CD doesn’t mount, but other ones do:
[li]Check for deep scratches.[/li][li]The 9.1 CD may be HFS+, but I’ve never encountered this situation.[/li][/ul]

If no CDs mount at all:
[li]Check if the drive is an non-OEM drive. If the drive is not an Apple-branded drive, the proper extensions are probably not installed. This situation also extends to booting, see the second bullet point under “If the 9.1 CD mounts”[/li][li]The CD-ROM drive has a hardware problem. It may not be attached correctly, or the drive itself is damaged.[/li][/ul]