Frequently Asked Questions


Welcome to the Applefritter FAQ v2.0

This page should help to answer some of the more common questions asked on the forums.

Also please read the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ for more general Mac FAQs.

I) Hack FAQ
II) Software FAQ

I) Hack FAQ
By Blackstealth and Dr. Webster

Q: How do I turn this laptop screen into a monitor?

A: Put simply you don't. Whilst it is possible to use a laptop screen as a monitor it takes a large cash investment and a good understanding of electronics. If you are lacking in either of these departments don't bother, buy a cheap LCD with VGA connection on eBay instead.

If you really want to know more about using a laptop display on another computer then do a search of the hacks sections with 'holy-grail' as your keyword. You can also try visiting Earth LCD for more info regarding the required convertor boards.

Here's one of the best explanations of why using a laptop LCD for a monitor is a difficult project I've seen so far, courtesy of Eudimorphodon:

Laptop displays simply don't speak the same language as CRT monitors, electrically speaking. It requires a complex wad of electronics to turn output meant for a CRT into input suitable for an LCD, and that wad of electronics is referred to as the 'controller'. You won't find a controller you can salvage in your laptop anywhere, because it 'speaks LCD' directly, and thus doesn't need one.

It's not just a matter of pasting wires together, which is what everyone wants to think. Those controllers sell for anywhere from $150 to $300, and for most installations require custom cables and power supplies which may well run you another $150.

Q: Lets say I've got this crazy idea into my head to run two LCD screens off one Powerbook - both spliced from the same feed on the motherboard. How might I go about doing that?

A: Once again it's Eudi and Dr. Bob to the rescue:

Mirroring two LCDs off a powerbook motherboard is technically an edge case which I don't believe I've seen before... Anyway.

In theory, if you had two *identical in every respect* LCDs, you could probably construct buffer circuitry to mirror the same input signal on both of them. The signals you'd have to replicate are low voltage, low power, and extremely timing-critical, so it wouldn't be easy, and it would probably involve parts not available at Radio Shack.

If the LCDs you have differ *at all* in the timings they'll accept, then it also won't work. LCD controllers have to be programmed to deal with the idiosyncracies of a given panel, which is why you can't easily just willy-nilly swap screens between laptop motherboards, and why those controller boards you buy seperately to work with eBay LCD panels are so expensive.

You would also have to provide an EDID code that would work for both displays to the host controller.

Q: 'I want to put my G3 iMac into another case', or 'My G3 iMac PSU died what can I do?'

A: If you're using a revision A - D iMac (All the trayloaders - the ones with a CD tray that slides out of the front) then you're in luck, converting one of these early iMac to use an ATX power supply is a relatively straightforward job - as long as you are happy tinkering with high voltages. A good guide to the conversion can be found here.

If you're using any of the slot loading flavours of iMac its trickier, but a conversion how-to can be found here.

Q: Can I overclock my [incredibly old Mac]?

A: Yeah, you probably can, but why? OCing a 68030 from 25 to 33MHz isn't going to do a lot of good, and besides, your system bus will probably be all screwed up from it.

Anyway, a guide on what models can be overclocked can be found here.

Q: Okay, I replaced the PRAM battery to fix my (insert random problem). It still didn't fix it!

A: Hit the motherboard reset button.

Q: The what? Where is that?

A: On the motherboard, there's a small pushbutton. Push it. See if your problem went away.

Q: How do I take apart my computer?

A: Hmm, good one. See those metal things with 'x' or star shapes in the middle of them? They're called "screws". You get a "screwdriver" and turn them in a counterclockwise direction. The screws come out. Then the part that's held in by the screw comes loose. Wow!

Q: But there aren't any screws! or It's a notebook!

A: You have two choices.
1) Find a heavy mallet and bludgeon the item until it comes apart, or
2) Google for the [google=Apple Service Manuals]service manual[/google].

Q: I have 'XYZ' Mac, what can I do with it?

A: To quote one of Applefritter's more creative members:
"My favorite is always the "yet-to-be-imagined" hack, Thats the one where you come up with a new creative idea that no ones done before - followed up by doing it."

If you need inspiration, take a look at AppleDesign (that big book of many typos but cool pictures),, Applefritter's Hacks section and if they're still out there ... Damamania's vHacks.

If the Mac in question is a Colour Classic, then you may be interested in the Colour Classic Forum, and Stuart Bell's Power Colour Classic page.

If it's the case that it's a computer that you you rarely use, try to find a function for it - use it as a server, router, terminal, or even a fish tank.

Otherwise dispose of it (properly), unused computers just take up much needed space in most peoples homes. Give it to charity if they'll have it, a number of organisations will take your old computer(s) and redistribute them to the third world to help societies develop and skills grow.

II) Software FAQ
By tomlevens and Dr. Webster

Q: Where do I find/download [insert program name here] for free?

A: You don't. Applefritter is not a place to discuss software piracy or the distribution of copyrighted software. There are places which tolerate this, such as Russia, Romania, or your local prison… please go there. Topics discussing such matters will not be tolerated and will be locked.

Q: Can you give me a serial number for [insert program name here]?

A: No. See above.

Q: The clock on my Mac is always wrong!

A: Replace your PRAM battery.

Q: AppleTalk keeps reverting to 'Active' and it's screwing up my network settings!

A: Replace your PRAM battery.

Q: I'm trying to get this incredibly rare and worthless piece of PC hardware that's specifically designed for only one purpose to work on the Mac. Where do I get drivers?

A: Heh. Good luck finding them.

Q: Where do I find drivers for [piece of hardware]?

A: Have you tried the manufacturer's Web site?

Q: Okay, I looked there, and they don't have them (or the manufacturer is out of business). Where else?

A: Try The Mac Driver Museum. If they are not there then try Googling the hell out of the part name.

Q: Is there anywhere I can get a copy of an old version of the Mac OS?

A: Yes and no. Apple provides most versions up to System 7.5.5 as a free download. Anything newer, however, you have to call Apple and order for an excessively large amount, usually around $100. Why? Apple doesn't really care about its older stuff. It doesn't really even care about its not-so-old hardware, such as early iMacs. They just want you to buy a new Mac.

Q: Can I install Windows on my PowerPC Mac?

A: Kinda. You can use a Windows emulator, such as Virtual PC, but you can't delete your Mac OS installation and install Windows in its place.

Q: Why?

A: Because the hardware isn't compatible.

Q: What about my Intel Mac?

A: Those can run x86-native operating systems, including Windows. Apple has developed Boot Camp in order to streamline the process of installing Windows on an Intel Mac. You can find more about Boot Camp here.

By Eudimorphodon

Since this seems to be coming up a lot lately, and most people seem too lazy to read the salient parts of the A/UX FAQ, I'm putting this here to clarify a few things:

The A/UX FAQ wrote:

A/UX 3.0 works on the MacII (with PMMU _or_ 68030 upgrade with FDHD ROM's
installed), IIx, IIcx, IIci, IIfx, SE/30, IIsi (with 68882 chip) and the
Quadra 700|900|950 computers. A/UX 3.0.1 (and later) adds support for the
Q800 and Centris Machines (the Centrises _must_ have the real 68040 w/FPU -
See Q&A #G.03). A/UX will run on the Quadra 610 and 650s (recall that A/UX
requires the _real_ 68040 chip!) with a little bit of work:

You should make a copy of the A/UX Install Boot floppy and then copy the
Enabler for the Q610|650 onto this copy. You then boot up from this floppy
and install A/UX as usual. Finally, you'll need to copy the Q610|650
Enabler onto the A/UX MacPartition (or whatever MacOS disk you will use
when starting up your Mac and booting A/UX); do this by first booting off
a boot floppy or boot CD and then copy the Enabler over. You do _not_ need
to make any changes to the A/UX System Folder (i.e. the System Folder used
under A/UX).

A/UX will NOT run on the PowerMacs, any AV machines, any PowerBooks (or
portables), the LCs, the Duos, the ClassicII, the Q605 or on the Quadra
630... It is recommended that you NOT run A/UX 3.1.1 on the II, IIx, IIcx or
SE/30 machines, since their MacOS-compatibility is unreliable under 3.1.1.

Recall that A/UX _is_ UNIX and thus contains some very hardware specific
drivers. It's for this reason (and not Apple not doing things correctly) that
A/UX won't work on newly released platforms. To support a new platform, at
least _some_ work (and possibly extensive work in some cases) must be done.

Q: But I *want* to run A/UX on my LC! That'd be cool! There's has to be a way to do it!

A: Sure, there is. Get Apple to release the complete kernel source to A/UX and write your own platform support drivers.

Q: But can't I (insert MacOS-centric suggestion, like using "Wish I Were" or ResEdit) and fool it into running?

A: No.

Q: Why not?

A: Because A/UX does horrible nasty things directly to the hardware that MacOS doesn't.

MacOS does almost everything through the interfaces present in the Macintosh toolbox ROM, so the *substantial* differences you'll find at the hardware level between different Macintosh models don't matter that much. Those Resedit or Wish I Were hacks that work to put some versions of MacOS onto unsupported hardware simply break (fairly arbitrary) software blocks that Apple put in some of their newer OSes to keep them from installing on machines they didn't think were qualified to run them. A/UX, on the other hand, accesses all the hardware in your machine directly, with no help from the toolbox ROM, so if Apple didn't write a driver for your *specific* computer, you're SOL. Period.

Q: Fine, then. Can I run A/UX on an emulator?

A: If anyone ever writes a cycle-accurate emulator which *exactly* duplicates the hardware in a supported Macintosh model, then yes. However, all the currently available Mac emulators, including BasiliskII, Fusion, and Softmac, don't emulate a complete set of Macintosh hardware. Instead, they take advantage of the ROMcentric nature of MacOS and simply patch the Toolbox ROM to 'fake' most hardware devices. That simplifies the emulator, and lets it run much faster then a full emulation of a MacII would, but it also means there is *zero* chance of A/UX running on it.

In conclusion: If your Macintosh isn't on the list in the FAQ, don't ask how to make it work. It won't.