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Running Windows (or anything else) on your Mac Discussion of Classic or running Windows, Linux and other OSes on the Mac.

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geekylady

 
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hello people, I am a bit stuck in trying to help a friend whose 8600 suddenly 'went wrong', so that all you get when you boot up normally is happy mac, chime, blue mac desktop wallpaper and white menu bar at top of page - and a free cursor. No date, no time, no menus, no icons, nothing. It loads extensions on the welcome page, but it just never gets to loading anything else when the desktop appears.

I am not really a Mac person. PC's are my 'thing' and I can usually get them up on their hind legs again when they fall down - but Macs....

Anyway, it runs fine from CD, you get all the desktop icons, you can get into the hard drive, use Sherlock and Finder, all that sort of stuff, so we have attached an external scsi drive and copied most of the docs over to that, I have run Techtools and Fixit utilities on it, and though a few problems were found, these were all fixed, according to Techtools, and so I installed OS 9 again, the only glitch there being that it could not update Quicktime, so I skipped that and the rest of the install went ok - but we are no further forward. You still only see a blank desktop.

What else can I try? The disk seems to be healthy, the system files all in place and no obvious errors - but something clearly isn't happening. Same thing if you run without extensions.

I am unwilling to reformat ( though I will if there is no option), but can't think what else to do, and have such limited knowledge of the system, don't know where to look for answers, so I came on here....
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MacHeadCase
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Welcome to Mac-Forums, geekylady.

A couple of things to try here: Rebuild the desktop then restart again and zap the PRAM by holding down the Command+Option+P+R keys till you hear the startup chime 5 times, then let go for the normal startup.

Let us know how it goes.
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geekylady

 
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this sounds encouraging and I am keen to try it - but I don't see an Option Key. The apple key is there. Is that the Command Key?

ps I just pressed Ctrl-Apple-P-R, hoping these were the right keys. heard no chimes apart from the first boot single chime that comes on the happy mac page, but kept these keys pressed right up to the point where the extensions have loaded and the desktop should present itself.

I got the time on the taskbar at the top, followed by the various menus, then the screen flashed for a few seconds and went white except for about two inches of the top bit, then I got a screen up to do with 'assistant' that asked me various config questions, as if this was a new build. I had to cancel that when we got to IP addresses as I don't know what the owners is and I doubt he does either, and so I didn't want to change it for ours. So that box disappeared and I still had the white screen - which flashed a bit more as if it was trying to rebuild, and I still had all the menus, which I could access. What I did not have was any icons, so I got it to restart and this time did not press any keys, and now we are back to same old same old - desktop with no icons and no menus.
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geekylady

 
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I tried again, this time pressing alt-apple-p-r. It chimed and then appeared to go back to start and chimed again. I let that happen five times and each time it chimed and just the grey screen with no happy mac. Then I took my hands off the keyboard and it went through its routine, and we got to the dektop - but no menus, no icons. The hard drive chunters away for some time after a pause of about 30 seconds - but nothing appears.

I shall try the previous combination of keys again. That seemed to do something.....

ps again. found out the alt key is Option. No joy with that or resetting the PRam - yet doing Ctrl-Command-P-R gets me the taskbar and the menus, and even an Internet explorer page came up when I clicked on one spot of the blank desktop - as if the icons are present but invisible. However, I know that there are lots of icons on the desktop as they all come up when I boot from CD, but I didn't get anything else but the Internet explorer page when I clicked again, so maybe it was just an odd event.

Can you have too many icons on the desktop BTW? There are so many they are piled on top of each other.Could that be the problem??

We are going to open it up and see if we can reset the cuda chip next - unless you good folks have any better ideas...?
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MacHeadCase
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I once dropped by mistake a whole huge folder-full of files on my pre-OS X Mac and it did cause problems, like since it isn't multi-tasking like OS X it couldn't handle the overload. Might be a problem. If you can't go anywhere with this, maybe the only solution would be a reinstall.

It's been a long time ago, but I do remember Extension conflicts could create havock as well. I remember also the equivalent of OS X's Safe boot (disables all control panels and extensions) which was holding down the Shift key at startup. Might help you go further along and reach the desktop somehow: in which case you might create a folder and dump the bijillion files in it and see where this leads you.

I also know that in some PowerMac G4s the battery going bad messes up the computer pretty bad. I am wondering if this is the case here. Does the Mac keep the date and time well?

Too bad Mac SK and Browny aren't around: they're great with OS 9 knowledge...
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dtravis7

 
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MHC, you are correct. Boot with the SHIFT down and it will disable extensions. That has been the cure to a lot of OS7-9 issues in the past for me. If it then boots and gets the desktop, you can get to the extensions manager and turn them off till you find which is causing the issue. I used to be quite good with OS6-9 issues but it's been ages.
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Brown Study

 
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You can reinstall the system without losing all the other files.

My OS 9 install disk has been missing for nearly five years (if anything catastrophic happens I kill the old one and copy a backup system folder over, but I can do this because I have two other bootable partitions: another OS 9, and one OS X).

You should be able to install another system folder without having to wipe the drive to do so. But there might be a problem in "blessing" the new folder so the machine will use the new one rather than the old. But the installer might do this automatically. I think it can.

You could also install a new system on the external drive. It's SCSI, so the computer should be able to boot from it. But blessing it might be a problem again, though in this case and the previous one, the machine might look automatically for a system it can boot.

There has to be a key (I hope) to press to force it to start from the external. I'll check lowendmac.com and whatever other OS 9 site I can find and get back to you.
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geekylady

 
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well thank you for these tips folks. We reset the cuda chip and the board, but it made no diff. We ( encouraged by what you said about overloads) are now going to boot from CD, move some of the files off the desktop into a folder on the HD, if it will let us, and see wghat happens then. it seems like it just cannot rebuild the desktop, and the only combination of keys that gets us the menus ( all of which are working fine) is Ctrl-Command-P-R.

Will let you know....

ps. we see that in the Apple System Profiler, the virtual memory is set to off, but in another window for memory, the button is set to on - could that a clue?
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Brown Study

 
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To rebuild the desktop, you hold down the Option and Command keys only, when restarting the computer.

But if the desktop files are very badly corrupted, the machine will rebuild it with the corruption still present.

I have Tech Tool Lite that allows me to delete the desktop files altogether. The machine then has to rebuild it from scratch. That option must be available on Tech Tool's full version.

If you click on Memory in the control panel while holding own the Option and Command keys, another control appears that tells the machine to check the RAM when it restarts.

When you get this problem sorted out, and if there is room on the external drive to install a system and leave it there, install Tech Tool along with it. That way, using the Startup Disk control panel, the machine could be booted from either drive, and one could be fixed from the other. That's why I have two bootable OS 9 partitions.
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geekylady

 
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brown study, have printed your post to go through on the Mac. We tried moving the majority of files off the desktop, but it seems not to have worked. i am going back in there to try rebuilding the desktop again. so far it hasn't worked, we don't get the message and nothing appears to happen.

If my techtools has got this capability of deleting all the desktop files, does that mean any work he has not put away will be lost?

Anyway, thank you for this - I am so grateful for your help as we have several pc jobs on the go now as well, and trying to find time for them all in amongst living and breathing and honouring committments to other folk is taxing, so any guidance that enables us to progress, even if it is a negative result, is much appreciated
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Brown Study

 
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Oh, oh. I should have explained what "desktop files" means.

It's an invisible database that keeps track of the icons and the icons' associated applications. These icons are the reason why suffixes after the document names are not required.

For instance, the database matches the document's QuickTime icon and its creator code (visible with the help of another app) with the QuickTime application, and the computer starts the QuickTime app when a QuickTime document is clicked.

The database grows with each new document, and it gets so overstuffed that corruptions occur, including the machine starting the wrong apps.

"Rebuilding the desktop" refers to the process of eliminating from the database those pathways to documents that no longer exist, and a general culling of problem database files. It has nothing to do with "real" files that may be on the desktop.
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Brown Study

 
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So far, all I can find on lowendmac.com that is in any way relevent (and would help if you install a system on the external drive) but not buried in what might be confusing inessentials to the unitiated is this page.
Quote:
First, boot up from your system software back up disk, then go to the Startup Disk control panel. It will be inside your System Folder on the drive. You'll be unable to go to the Apple Menu to access it, like normal, because Apple wanted to save space when they made the back up disks, so they didn't include the "Apple Menu Options" control panel.
There is more, before and after this quoted material. Do a page search for

first, boot

to get there quickly. You could scroll up and down from there.

When "open in the Finder" is mentioned, it means double-click the icon.
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geekylady

 
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ok thanks for that Brown Study. looked at and have bookmarked the lowend page. At first glance not sure it is relevant as the system folder and the finder appear to be present and intact if I get the menus to appear ( Ctrl-Command-P-R), but I will go down the page as you say and look more carefully.

I wrote this before I found your new post.

I tried techtools again. From the cd the delete /repair option for the desktop is greyed out. It checks it and possibly repairs it, but there is no change on reboot. If I try to invoke Techtools from the installed folder, it says it can't load because it can't find itself in Preferences, though I have gone into the hard drive and found that it is in Preferences.

So.... what comes next. Reformat? Shifting HD to another machine? That won't solve a corrupted desktop will it?

If I empty or reformat the hard disk in another machine which has OS9 already on it, and then copy all the owners saved files over, what about his applications - will they all have to be re-installed? Oy Vey... Fed up - but thanks for all your help and any other suggestions are very welcome...

Husband is poring through MacBible now as he seems to remember something to do with Finder as it related to OS 7.0. I think we are beginning to grab at straws now, and time marches relentlessly on - but I will show him your latest post. Thanks again
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Brown Study

 
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If you have Tech Tool Pro, the disk should be bootable, if you can get it in the machine. Once it's in, restart the computer while holding down the C key. The desktop-rebuild feature, along with the other repairs options should be available then.

I still don't think you have to wipe the drive to install a new system. Just drag everything — including the applications — to the other drive to make a backup. But make sure you don't back up the corrupted system folder.
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Brown Study

 
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If you can install another system folder and if the thing will restart after doing so, and if you can then get into the Startup Disks control panel, the panel might display two system folders. (I wish I could recall how that installer works. Maybe someone else on the board knows.)

Click on the new system in the Startup Disks control panel (if it shows up) to "bless" it, and restart the computer again. If it starts from the new system, trash the old system and empty the trash.
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