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Introductory Macintosh frequently asked questions (FAQ)

[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index | Forum archive ]
Archive-name: macintosh/general-faq
Version: 2.4.1
Last-modified: June 23, 1996

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge

comp.sys.mac.faq, part 1:
Introduction to the Macintosh Newsgroups
Copyright 1993-1996 by Elliotte Harold
Please see section 5.8 below if you wish to 
distribute or revise this document in any way.
Version: 2.4.1
Last-modified: June 23, 1996
Address comments to

What's new in version 2.4.1:

  Primarily this is a maintenance release to reflect changes in 
  various ftp and World Wide Web sites, particularly the official 
  FAQ site which has moved from to
  and the revised filenaming scheme at

  2.6) What is .bin?  .hqx?  .cpt?  .image? .etc.?

  StuffIt is now at version 4.0.x.

  3.5) Reinstall the system software

  This step has been updated to take reflect the various 
  updates to System 7.5.
  3.6) Isolate the Problem
  I've improved the procedure for finding corrupt fonts.
  4.7) Disk Utilities
  4.10) Reformatting and partitioning your hard disk

  Drive Setup is now mentioned for those Macs that need it.

Table of Contents

General FAQ
I.   I have a question...
      1. How do I use this document?
      2. What other information is available?
      3. Which newsgroup should I post to?
      4. How should I answer frequently asked questions?
II.  FTP, Gopher and the World Wide Web
      1. Where can I FTP Macintosh software?
      2. Can I get shareware by email?
      3. Where can I find application X?
      4. Where can I find an application to do X?
      5. Can someone mail me application X?
      6. What is .bin?  .hqx?  .cpt?  .image? .etc.?
      7. How can I get BinHex?  StuffIt?  etc.?
      8. How can I get BinHex, StuffIt, etc. from a PC?
III.  Troubleshooting.  What to do when things go wrong
      1. Identify the problem.
      2. Read the READ ME file.
      3. Check for viruses.
      4. Reinstall the application and all its support files.
      5. Reinstall the system software.
      6. Isolate the problem.
      7. Contact technical support.
IV.  Preventive Maintenance
      1. Trash Unneeded Files
      2. Reevaluate Your Extensions
      3. Rebuild the desktop.
      4. Zap the PRAM and Reset the Clock
      5. Resize the system heap.  (System 6 only)
      6. Reinstall the system software.
      7. Disk Utilities
      8. Backing Up
      9. Disk Defragmentation
     10. Reformatting and partitioning your hard disk
V.   Meta-FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions about the FAQ)
      1. There's a mistake in your FAQ.
      2. Why don't you include this complicated/payware solution?
      3. Would you please include my software in your FAQ?
      4. Why don't you post the FAQ more often?
      5. Can you help me with this problem I'm having with my Mac?
      6. Will you send me the FAQ?
      7. Why don't you format the FAQ in Word?  Digest?  HTML?  etc.?
      8. Can I repost, revise, publish or otherwise use this document?


I.   Memory
      1. Why is my system using so much memory?
      2. What is Mode 32?  the 32-bit enabler?  Do I need them?
      3. Cache and Carry (How much memory should I allot to my cache?)
II.  System Software
      1. Why does Apple charge for system software?
      2. What does System 7.5 give me for my $35/$50/$99 that System 7.1 doesn't?
      3. Where can I get System 7.5?
      4. How can I use System 6 on a System 7 only Mac?
      5. Non-US scripts and systems
      6. What is System 7 Tuneup?  System Update 3.0? etc.? Do I need them?
      7. Why do my DA's disappear when I turn on MultiFinder?
      8. Do I need System 7.0.1?
      9. How can I get System 7.0.1, 7.1 or 7.5 on 800K disks?
     10. Is there a Unix for the Mac?
III. Hard Disks, Filesharing, and the File System
      1. Help! My folder disappeared!
      2. Why can't I throw this folder away?
      3. Why can't I share my removable drive?
      4. Why can't I eject this SyQuest cartridge?  CD-ROM?  etc.?
      5. Why can't I rename my hard disk?
      6. How do I change my hard disk icon?
IV.  Fonts
      1. How do I convert between Windows fonts and Mac fonts?
         TrueType and PostScript?
      2. What font will my screen/printer use when different types 
         are installed?
      3. Where should I put my fonts?
V.   Miscellaneous:
      1. What does System Error XXX mean?
      2. What is a Type Y error?
      3. What is A/ROSE?
      4. Easy Access or One Answer, Many Questions
      5. How can I keep multiple system folders on one hard disk?
      6. How do I access the programmer's key?


I.   Viruses
      1. Help!  I have a virus!
      2. Reporting new viruses
II.  Printing and PostScript
      1. How do I make a PostScript file?
      2. How do I print a PostScript file?
      3. Why won't my PostScript file print on my mainframe's printer?
      4. Why are my PostScript files so big?
      5. How can I print PostScript on a non-PostScript printer?
      6. How do I make my ImageWriter II print in color?
      7. Why doesn't PrintMonitor work with the ImageWriter?
      8. Why did my document change when I printed it?
      9. How can I preview a PostScript file?
     10. Can I use a LaserJet or other PC printer with my Mac?
     11. How can I print grey scales on my StyleWriter I?
     12.  How can I edit a PostScript file?
III. DOS and the Mac
      1. How can I move files between a Mac and a PC?
      2. How can I translate files to a DOS format?
      3. Should I buy SoftPC or a real PC?
IV.  Security
      1.  How can I password protect a Mac?
      2.  How can I password protect a file?
      3.  How can I password protect a folder?
      4.  How can I prevent software piracy?
      5.  How can I keep a hard drive in a fixed configuration?
V.   Sound
      1. How can I copy a track from an audio CD onto my Mac?
      2. How can I extract a sound from a QuickTime movie?
      3. How can I convert/play a mod/wav/etc. file?
VI.  No particular place to go  (Miscellaneous Miscellanea)
      1. Are there any good books about the Mac?
      2. How do I take a picture of the screen?
      3. How do I use a picture for my desktop?
      4. Can I Replace the "Welcome to Macintosh" box with a picture?
      5. What is AutoDoubler? SpaceSaver? More Disk Space? Are they safe?
      6. How do they compare to TimesTwo, Stacker and eDisk?
      7. Where did my icons go?
      8. Where can I find a user group?
      9. Where can I find the 1984 Quicktime movie?
     10. Do RAM Doubler and Optimem work?
     11. I'm greedy.  Can I triple my RAM?
     12. How do I run software that needs an FPU on a Mac that doesn't 
         have one?


I.   What's the Best...
      1. Text editor
      2. Word processor
      3. Genealogy software
      4. TeX/LaTeX
      5. Integrated application
      6. Spreadsheet
      7. JPEG Viewer
      8. Electronic publishing software
      9. Drawing application
      10. Typing tutor?
      11. OCR software?
II.  Microsoft Word
      1. How can I assign styles to characters?
      2. How can I automatically generate cross-references?
      3. How can I change a Word document to TeX?  and vice-versa?
      4. How can I depersonalize Word?
      5. Where can I get more information?
III. TeachText
      1. How can I change the font in TeachText?
      2. How do I place a picture in a TeachText file?
      3. How do I make a TeachText document read-only?


I.   Buying and Selling Used Equipment
      1. Should I buy/sell on Usenet?
      2. Where should I buy/sell used equipment?
      3. I've decided to completely ignore your excellent advice and
         post my ad anyway.  What should I do?
      4. I've decided to completely ignore your excellent advice and
         buy something offered for sale on the net anyway.  How can 
         I avoid being ripped off?
II.  Fair Market Value
      1. How much is my computer worth?
      2. What is used software worth?
      3. Going prices?
III. Where Should I Buy a New Mac?
      1. Authorized Dealers
      2. VAR's
      3. Superstores
      4. Performas
      5. Educational Dealers
      6. Direct From Apple
      7. Auctions
      8. Does anyone know a dealer in New York City?
      9. New Equipment Prices
IV.  When Should I buy a New Mac?
      1. Macrotime
      2. Microtime
      3. When will I get my Mac?
V.   How Should I Buy a New Mac?
      1. Know what you want
      2. The dealer needs to sell you a mac more than you need to buy one
      3. Have a competitor's ad handy
      4. Cash on delivery
      5. The sales tax game
      6. Leasing
      7. Be nice to the salesperson.
VI.  The Gray Market and Mail Order
      1. What is the gray market?
      2. Are gray market Macs covered by Apple warranties?
      3. Does anyone know a good mail-order company?


I.   Maintenance
      1.  How do I clean a keyboard?
      2.  How do I clean a screen?
      3.  How do I clean a mouse?
      4.  How do I clean a floppy drive?
      5.  How do I clean the inside of my mac?
II.  Problems And Repairs 
      1.  How do I open a compact Mac?
      2.  Now that I've opened my Mac how might I electrocute myself? 
      3.  Where can I get my Mac fixed?
      4.  Can you recommend any good books about Mac repair?
      5.  The screen on my compact Mac is jittering.
III. Upgrades
      1.  What Macs will be upgradeable to the PowerPC?
      2.  Can I increase the speed of my Mac by accelerating the clock?
      3.  Can I add an FPU to my Mac?  
      4.  Can I replace the 68LC040 with a 68040?
IV.  Thanks for the Memory
      1.  What kind of memory should I use in my Mac?
      2.  Can I use PC SIMM's in my Mac?
      3.  What vendors have good prices on memory?
      4.  Do SIMMdoublers work?
V.   Video
      1.  What's VRAM?
      2.  All monitors are not created equal.
      3.  There's a horizontal line across my monitor.
VI.  Floppy Disks
      1.  What kind of floppy disks do I need for my Mac?
      2.  Why can't my Quadra (SE/30, Iici, etc.) read the disks from my Plus?
      3.  Does punching a hole in a double-density disk make a 
          high-density disk?
VII.  SCSI Troubles
      1.  How do I put my old internal hard disk in an external case?
      2.  What's the cheapest/fastest/most reliable/most common 
          removable drive?
      3.  What's the best CD-ROM drive?
VIII. Printers
      1. What's a good printer?
IX.   Miscellaneous hardware FAQ's 
      1. What power adaptor do I need to use my mac in another country?
      2. How can I fix the sound on my IIsi?
A.    Models


  This is the FIRST part of the this FAQ.  The second part is
  posted to comp.sys.mac.system and features many questions about
  system software.  The third part answers miscellaneous questions
  about Macs and is posted every two weeks in comp.sys.mac.misc.  
  The fourth part covers frequently asked questions about Macintosh
  application software and appears in comp.sys.mac.apps.  The fifth
  piece covers buying and selling Macintosh computers, software and
  peripherals and is posted in comp.sys.mac.wanted.  The sixth part
  answers many questions about Macintosh hardware and peripherals 
  and appears in comp.sys.mac.hardware.  Tables of contents for all 
  pieces are included above.  Please familiarize yourself with all 
  six sections of this document before posting.  All pieces are
  available for anonymous ftp from 


  Except for this introductory FAQ which appears in multiple
  newsgroups and is stored as general-faq, the name of each 
  file has the format of the last part of the group name followed 
  by "-faq", e.g the FAQ for comp.sys.mac.system is stored as
  system-faq.  You can also have these files mailed to you
  by sending an email message to with the

   send pub/usenet/news.answers/macintosh/name 

  in the body text where "name" is the name of the file you want as 
  specified above (e.g. general-faq).  You can also send this server 
  a message with the subject "help" for more detailed instructions.  
  For access via the World-Wide-Web use 


  Congratulations!  You've come to the right place.  Usenet is
  a wonderful resource for information ranging from basic questions
  (How do I lock a floppy disk?) to queries that would make Steve
  Jobs himself run screaming from the room in terror.  (I used
  ResEdit to remove resources Init #11, WDEF 34, and nVIR 17 from my
  system file and used the Hex Editor to add code string #A67B45 as 
  a patch to the SFGetFile routine so the Standard File Dialog Box
  would be a nice shade of mauve.  Everything worked fine until I
  installed SuperCDevBlaster, and now when I use the Aldus driver to
  print from PageMaker 5.0d4 to a Linotronic 6000 my system hangs.
  P.S. I'm running System 6.0.2 on a PowerBook 170.)
  Since the Macintosh newsgroups are medium to high volume, we
  ask that you first peruse this FAQ list including at least the
  table of contents for the other pieces of it, check any other
  relevant online resources listed below in question 1.2, especially
  the FAQ lists for the other Macintosh newsgroups, and RTFM (Read
  the Friendly Manual) before posting your question.  We realize that
  you are personally incensed that the System is taking up fourteen
  of your newly-installed twenty megs of RAM, but this question has
  already made its way around the world three hundred times before,
  and it's developing tired feet.  Finally, before posting to any
  newsgroup (Macintosh or otherwise), please familiarize yourself
  with the basic etiquette of Usenet as described in the newsgroup
  news.announce.newusers.  Usenet can be a real nerd-eat-nerd world,
  and it's a bad idea to enter it unprepared.


  comp.sys.mac.faq is currently divided into multiple pieces, a general
  introduction which you're reading now, and specific lists for the
  newsgroups comp.sys.mac.system, comp.sys.mac.misc, comp.sys.mac.apps,
  comp.sys.mac.wanted and the comp.sys.mac.hardware hierarchy.  This
  introductory document is posted to all of the concerned newsgroups. 
  The tables of contents for each of the specific FAQ lists are at the
  beginning of this file so you should be able to get at least some
  idea whether your question is answered anywhere else in the FAQ even
  if you don't have the other parts at hand.  It's not always obvious,
  especially to newcomers, where a particular question or comment
  should be posted. Please familiarize yourself with the FAQ lists in
  all the major Macintosh newsgroups before posting in any of them. 
  Which questions appear in which FAQs can serve as a basic guide to
  what posts belong where.

  To jump to a particular question search for
  section-number.question-number enclosed in parentheses.  For
  example to find "Where can I FTP Macintosh software?" search 
  for the string  "(2.1)".  To jump to a section instead of a 
  question use a zero for the question number.
  This document is in "setext" format.  Akif Eyler's freeware
  application EasyView can parse this document into a hierarchical
  outline view that makes for easier browsing.  See


  Files available by anonymous ftp are listed here in URL 
  (Uniform Resource Locator) format.  To retrieve a file you can
  paste the URL into Mosaic's Open URL dialog or Anarchie's Get 
  dialog or you can retrieve it manually.  A typical ftp URL 
  looks like


  If you don't have Mosaic, Netscape, MacWeb or some other World Wide
  Web browser this reference is easy to decode for use by regular,
  manual ftp.  (In fact it's easier to use than the form I used to use
  which didn't include directories.)  Ignore the "ftp://".  The next
  part, "" is the site.  The last part, "UUTool.sit.bin"
  is the file itself.  Everything in between is the directory.  Thus to
  retrieve this file by ftp you would ftp to, login as
  "anonymous" using your email address as your password, switch to
  "binary" mode (since the .bin on the end of the file indicates this
  is a binary file), change directory to pub/macfaq and get the file
  UUTool2.3.2.sit.bin.  Directory URL's are similar except they end
  with a / symbol.  A typical directory URL looks like


  Here is the site and everything after that is 
  a directory.


  comp.sys.mac.faq provides short answers to a number of frequently
  asked questions appropriate for the comp.sys.mac regions of Usenet. 
  Five other FAQ lists are worthy of particular note.   All are
  available for anonymous ftp from [] in the
  directory pub/usenet/group-name (where "group-name" is the name of
  the group in which they're posted) as well as in their respective
  newsgroups.  You can also access these and other FAQ lists from


  Jon W{tte maintains a public domain FAQ list for
  comp.sys.mac.programmer which is posted about every three weeks.  See

  The FAQ list for comp.sys.mac.comm answers many frequently asked 
  questions about networking, UNIX and the Mac, telecommunications, 
  and foreign file formats.  See


  Norm Walsh has compiled an excellent FAQ for comp.fonts that answers 
  a lot of questions about the various kinds of fonts and cross-platform
  conversion and printing. See


  Finally Jim Jagielski maintains a FAQ for comp.unix.aux covering
  Apple's UNIX environment, A/UX.  It's posted every 2 to 3 weeks in
  comp.unix.aux.  See


  Much other information is accessible via the World Wide Web by 
  pointing your favorite browser at The Well Connected Mac, located at


  Among other things this site contains hypertext versions of many 
  of the above FAQ lists, lists of Macintosh FTP and Web sites, a
  directory of vendors doing business in the Macintosh market, many
  reviews of hardware and software, and much more.  If you only
  have a dialup UNIX account and can't use a graphical browser, see 
  if lynx is installed on your system.  If it is, use it.  Otherwise 
  if you can telnet, try telneting to which offers a 
  publically accessible text-based browser for the Web.


  There are no stupid questions, but there are misplaced ones.
  You wouldn't ask your English teacher how to do the definite
  integral of ln x between zero and one, would you?  So don't ask
  the programmer newsgroup why your system is so slow when Microsoft
  Word is in the background.  Ignorance of basic netiquette is not an
  excuse.  If you want people to help you, you need to learn their
  ways of communicating.

  Posting questions to the proper newsgroup will fill your
  mailbox with pearls of wisdom (and maybe a few rotten oysters too
  :-) ).  Posting to the wrong newsgroup often engenders a thundering
  silence.  For instance the most common and glaring mispost, one
  that seems as incongruous to dwellers in the Macintosh regions of
  Usenet as would a purple elephant to Aleuts in the Arctic, asking 
  a question about networking anywhere except comp.sys.mac.comm,
  normally produces no useful responses.  Posting the same question
  to comp.sys.mac.comm ensures that your post is read and considered
  by dozens of experienced network administrators and not a few
  network software designers.
  Please post to exactly *ONE* newsgroup.  Do not cross-post.
  If a question isn't important enough for you to take the extra
  minute to figure out where it properly belongs, it's not important
  enough for several thousand people to spend their time reading.
  For the same reason comp.sys.mac.misc should not be used as a
  catch-all newsgroup.
  The breakdown of questions between different newsgroups in this
  document can also serve as a reasonable guide to what belongs where. 
  Questions about productivity applications (software you bought your
  Macintosh to run, not software you bought to make your Macintosh run
  better) should go to comp.sys.mac.apps unless the application is
  covered in a more specific newsgroup.  Communications programs, 
  games, HyperCard, compilers and databases all have more topical
  comp.sys.mac.* newsgroups.  

	Questions about communications software and some hardware questions
	belongs in comp.sys.mac.comm.  However detailed questions about
	Appletalk belong in comp.protocols.appletalk. Questions about modem
	hardware belongs in comp.dcom.modems. Questions about web browsers
	belong in comp.infosystems.www.browsers.mac and questions about web
	servers should be directed to comp.infosystems.www.servers.mac.
	Questions about the Internet in general and not about specific Mac
	based software like MacTCP do not belong in comp.sys.mac.comm 
	at all.

  Questions about MacOS system software belong in comp.sys.mac.system
  with a few exceptions. Most notably all questions about printing and
  printing software belong in comp.sys.mac.printing.  Questions about
  third party utilities and extensions normally belong in
  comp.sys.mac.misc. Questions about A/UX go to comp.unix.aux.
  Posts about hardware are split as follows: Anything at all about
  printers belongs in comp.sys.mac.printing.  Posts about hard drives,
  tape drives, removable media like Zip and Syquest drives, and CD-ROM
  drives and the driver and utility software required to make these
  items work belongs in  Posts about
  displays, monitors, video cards and the driver and utility software
  necessary to make these items work belongs in  All other hardware related posts
  including those about CPU's, memory, scanners and other peripherals
  should be directed to comp.sys.mac.hardware.misc.  Please try to
  restrict posts to comp.sys.mac.hardware to ones that actually involve
  the metal and plastic that modern computer hardware is made of.  Just
  because a game comes on CD-ROM does mean you should review it in (On the other hand a review of the
  drive itself would be appropriate.)  Software questions in
  comp.sys.mac.hardware should be restricted to the bare minimum of
  non-standard software required to make a device work, e.g. hard disk
  drivers, special extensions, and the like.
  Programming questions and questions about development environments
  belong in the comp.sys.mac.programmer hierarchy.  ResEdit questions
  may be posted either to comp.sys.mac.misc, comp.sys.mac.system, or
  comp.sys.mac.programmer; but generally the netters who inhabit the
  darker recesses of comp.sys.mac.programmer are considerably more
  practiced at the art of resource hacking.
  A general exception to the above rules is that any *very* technical
  question about an application that actually begins to delve into the
  how's of a program as well as the what's (Recent example: How does
  WriteNow which is written entirely in assembly compare to other word
  processors written in high level languages?) might be better
  addressed to the programmer newsgroups.
  For Sale and Want to Buy posts should go to comp.sys.mac.wanted and
  the hierarchy *ONLY*. We understand that
  you're desperate to sell your upgraded 128K Mac to get the $$ for a
  PowerBook 540c; but trust me, anyone who wants to buy it will be
  reading comp.sys.mac.wanted and
  Although comp.sys.mac.wanted is a fairly catch-all group, is a little more hierarchical. contains for 
  sale and want-to-buy ads for Macintosh video cards only. features ads 
  for other Mac-only cards, audio cards, data acquisition cards. is for  
  sale and want-to-buy ads for Macintosh PowerBooks, Portables, 
  Duos and other complete portable systems. is for all Macintosh
  software. is for buying
  and selling complete Macintosh systems (no parts).  Finally is for buying and selling
  Macintosh specific items not covered in the above newsgroups.  All 
  of these newsgroups are for initial posts only.  All inquiries,
  discussion and negotiation should be kept in private email.
  They're also all intended for individuals selling one or
  two systems.  Dealers of new or used computers and software should
  post to biz.marketplace.computers.mac.

  Many items of computer hardware work on multiple platforms,
  particularly memory, monitors, external modems, hard drives and other
  SCSI devices. If you're selling any of these items please post to the
  appropriate cross-platform, peripheral group, i.e.:


  Posting to these groups will give your message a much broader 
  distribution than posting it to the Mac specific newsgroups.

  Political and religious questions (The Mac is better than Windows! Is
  not! Is too! Is not! Is too! Hey! How 'bout the Amiga! What about it?
  Is Not! Is too!) belong in comp.sys.mac.advocacy.  Anything not
  specifically mentioned above probably belongs in comp.sys.mac.misc.

  Finally don't be so provincial as to only consider the
  comp.sys.mac newsgroups for your questions. Many questions about
  modems in comp.sys.mac.comm are much more thoroughly discussed 
  in comp.dcom.modems.  Questions about Mac MIDI are often better
  handled in even though it's not a Macintosh specific
  newsgroup.  Posts about the Newton belong in the comp.sys.newton
  hierarchy, not in *ANY* of the Macintosh newsgroups.  Look around.  
  Usenet's big and not everything relevant to the Macintosh happens 
  in comp.sys.mac.


  Mostly through private email.  Frequent answers are just as
  boring and uninteresting as frequent questions.  Unless you really
  have something new to add to the traditional answers (such as the
  recent discovery that fonts in System 7.1 could eat memory in a way
  that mimicked the symptoms of not having 32-bit addressing turned on) 
  private email is a much better medium for answering FAQs.  You might 
  want to add a mention of this FAQ list in your email response and a
  polite suggestion that your correspondent read it before posting
  future questions.


  The two major North American Internet archives of shareware,
  freeware, and demo software are Info-Mac at
  [], and mac.archive at
  []  Unless otherwise noted shareware and freeware
  mentioned in this document should be available at the above sites. 
  Unfortunately these sites are extremely busy and allow very few
  connections.  Thus you should try to connect to a mirror site
  In the United States Info-Mac's files are available from [] in the directory mac/infomac or [] in pub/mac.  mac.archive files are
  available from and
  Scandinavians should try connecting to (
  or [] first.  In the U.K. look to [].  Continental Europeans can try [], [], and [].  In Australia check out
  []. Japanese users will find sumex mirrored at [] in info-mac.  In Israel try [] in the directory
  pub/unsupported/mac.  In Taiwan [ or] mirrors both sumex and mac.archive.


   U.S.:       <URL:>
   Finland:    <URL:>
   Sweden:     <URL:>
   U.K.:       <URL:>
   France:     <URL:>
   Taiwan:     <URL:>
   Israel:     <URL:>
   Australia:  <URL:>
   Japan:      <URL:>

  A more complete and current list of mirrors is available at


  Two other very useful sites are []
  and []. The latter is mirrored at


  These are Apple's official repositories for system software,
  developer tools, source code, technical notes, and other things
  that come more or less straight from Apple's mouth.  Some material
  at this site may not be distributed outside the U.S. or by other
  sites that don't have an official license to distribute Apple
  system software.  Please read the various README documents
  available at these sites for the detailed info if you're
  connecting from outside the U.S. or if you wish to redistribute
  material you find here.

  All software mentioned in these FAQ lists which may be freely
  posted is available for anonymous ftp from in the
  directory /pub/, i.e.

  <URL:> is NOT a general archive site like info-mac or 
  mac.archive and does not endeavor to store every piece of shareware 
  in the Macintosh universe.  However it should have most software 
  mentioned here, and should be easily accessible.

  Finally if you have one flavor or another of Gopher available, 
  Apple maintains an astoundingly useful gopher server at


  This site contains gobs of PR, technical specs for Apple products, 
  and pointers to sumex and mac.archive.  It's often much easier to 
  browse mac.archive and sumex through gopher rather than directly 
  by ftp.  Much of this is also available on the World Wide Web at



  The info-mac archives at sumex-aim are available by email from
  LISTSERV@RICEVM1.bitnet (alternately
  The listserver responds to the commands $MACARCH HELP, $MACARCH
  INDEX, and $MACARCH GET filename.  Mac archive files are available
  from  Send it a message containing the
  word "help" (no quotes) on the first line of your message for
  instructions on getting started.  You can retrieve files from
  other sites by using the server at  For
  details send it a message with just the text "help" (no quotes).


  If you can't find shareware you're looking for at one of
  the above sites, archie will help you find it.  If you have a
  MacTCP connection to the net, you should use Peter Lewis's
  graphical archie client Anarchie, available from


  Otherwise try telnetting to your nearest archie server or 
  sending it an email message addressed to archie with the subject  
  "help."  Archie servers are located at (,
  America), (, Canada),
  (, Australia), (,
  Scandinavia), and (, the U.K. and 
  the continent).  These sites index the tens of thousands of files
  available for anonymous ftp.  Login as "archie" (no password is
  needed) and type "prog filename" to find what you're looking for or
  type "help" for more detailed instructions.  For instance you would
  type "prog Disinfectant" to search for a convenient ftp site for
  Disinfectant.  If the initial search fails to turn up the file you
  want, try variations on and substrings of the name.  For instance if
  you didn't find Disinfectant with "prog Disinfectant", you might try
  "prog disi" instead.
  If you have access to the World Wide Web the Virtual Software 
  Library at
  is often quicker to respond than archie although it doesn't index 
  as many sites.

  Most common payware is stocked by MacWarehouse and featured
  in their catalog which you can request from MacWarehouse at 
  (800) 622-6222.  Apple brand software not stocked by MacWarehouse
  and not available on is often available from 
  APDA, the Apple Programmers' and Developers' Association.  Call
  (800) 282-2732 in the U.S., (800) 637-0029 in Canada, (716) 871-6555
  elsewhere, for a catalog.  Finally most third party programming
  tools with too small a market to be advertised in the MacWarehouse
  catalog are advertised in every issue of MacTech along with
  information on how to order.

  Please check the above catalogs and archie personally BEFORE
  asking the net where you can find a particular piece of software. 
  These sources provide answers much more quickly than the net.


  Most archives of shareware and freeware have index files
  which briefly describe the various programs available at the site. 
  At anonymous ftp sites these files typically begin with 00 and end
  with either .txt or .abs.  Lists that cover the entire archive and
  topical subdirectories are both available. For example if you're
  looking for a program to play MOD files, ftp to sumex-aim and 
  look in the directory Sound/util for any files beginning with two
  zeroes.  You'll find 00Utility-abstracts.abs. Get it and then
  browse through it at your leisure.  Then when you've located a
  likely candidate in the index file you can ftp it and try it out. 
  The best source of information about payware programs is the
  MacWarehouse catalog.  You'll occasionally find it on sale at
  newsstands for about three dollars; but if you call MacWarehouse
  at 1-800-622-6222, they'll be happy to send you one for free.
  Unlike many other catalogs almost all common software is
  advertised in the MacWarehouse catalog.  A quick browse through
  the appropriate section normally reveals several products that
  fit your needs.


  No.  Nor will anyone mail you a part of a file from
  comp.binaries.mac that was corrupt or missed at your site. 
  Please refer to the first questions in this section to
  find out about anonymous FTP, archie, and email servers.

WHAT IS .BIN? .HQX? .CPT? .ETC?  (2.6)

  Most files available by FTP are modified twice to allow them to
  more easily pass through foreign computer systems.  First they're
  compressed to make them faster to download, and then they're
  translated to either a binhex (.hqx) or MacBinary (.bin) format
  that other computers can digest.  (The Macintosh uses a special
  two-fork filing system that chokes most other computers.)  BinHex
  files are 7-bit ASCII text files, while MacBinary files are pure
  8-bit binary data that must always be transferred using a binary
  How a file has been translated and compressed is indicated 
  by its suffix.  Normally a file will have a name something like  .xxx indicates how it was compressed and .yyy
  indicates how it was translated.  To use a file you've FTP'd and
  downloaded to your Mac you'll need to reverse the process.  Most
  files you get from the net require a two-step decoding process. 
  First change the binhex (.hqx) or MacBinary (.bin) file to a
  double-clickable Macintosh file; then decompress it.  Which
  programs decode which file types is covered in the table below. 
  Also note that most Macintosh telecommunications programs will 
  automatically convert MacBinary files to regular Macintosh files
  as they are downloaded.
Suffix:      .sit  .cpt  .hqx  .bin  .pit  .Z  .image  .dd  .zip .uu  .tar  .gz
StuffIt 3.0|   X     X     X     X     X    X             X   X    X    X    X
Compact Pro|         X     X
Packit     |                           X
UUTool     |                                                       X
MacCompress|                                X
SunTar     |                     X     X                                X                        X
BinHex 5.0 |               X     X
BinHex 4.0 |               X
DiskDoubler|                     X          X
ZipIt      |               X     X                            X
DiskCopy   |                           X
macutil    |         X     X           X                 X
MacGzip    |                                X                                X

  A few notes on the decompressors:

  StuffIt is a family of products that use several different
  compression schemes.  The freeware StuffIt Expander will unstuff
  all of them.  Versions of StuffIt earlier than 3.0 (StuffIt 1.5.1,
  StuffIt Classic, UnStuffIt, and StuffIt Deluxe 2.0 and 1.0)
  will not unstuff the increasing number of files stuffed by
  StuffIt 3.0 and later.  You need to get a more recent version of 
  StuffIt or StuffIt Expander. See

  StuffIt 4.0 (available in Lite, Deluxe, DropStuff and SpaceSaver
  flavors) consistently makes smaller archives than any other Macintosh
  compression utility. To allow maximum space for files on the various
  ftp sites and to keep net-bandwidth down, please compress all files
  you send to anonymous ftp sites with StuffIt 4.0 or later.  See

  UUTool, MacCompress, MacGzip and SunTar handle the popular 
  UNIX formats of uuencode (.uu), compress (.Z), gzip (.gz) and 
  tar (.tar) respectively.  The UNIX versions are often more robust 
  than the Mac products, so use them instead when that's an option.

  StuffIt Deluxe or the combination of the freeware StuffIt Expander 
  and the shareware DropStuff with Expander Enhancer can also decode  
  these four formats in a relatively reliable fashion.  However be warned  
  that the registration dialog in these products is more than a little
  annoying.  See


  Macutil is dik winter's package of UNIX utilities to
  decompress and debinhex files on a workstation before downloading
  them to a Mac.  Since UNIX stores files differently than the
  Mac, macutil creates MacBinary (.bin) files which should be
  automatically converted on download.  It can't decompress
  everything. In particular it can't decompress StuffIt 3.0 and later
  archives.  However, if you need only one or two files out of an
  archive--for instance if you want to read the README to find out if
  a program does what you need it to do before you download all of
  it--macutil is indispensable.  See


  A few notes on the compression formats:

  .bin:  These are MacBinary files.  Always use a binary file
  transfer protocol when transferring them, never ASCII or text.
  Most files on the net are stored as .hqx instead.  Only rascal
  stores most of its files in .bin format.  Most communications
  programs such as ZTerm and Microphone are capable of translating
  MacBinary files on the fly as they download if they know in
  advance they'll be downloading MacBinary files.
  .image: This format is normally used only for system software,
  so that on-line users can download files that can easily be
  converted into exact copies of the installer floppies.  Instead 
  of using DiskCopy to restore the images to floppies, you can use 
  the freeware utility  ShrinkWrap to treat the images on your hard 
  disk as actual floppies inserted in a floppy drive.  ShrinkWrap 
  sometimes has problems when doing installs, so you should have 
  some blank floppies and a copy of DiskCopy handy just in case.  See

  .sea (.x, .X):  .sea files don't merit a position in the above
  table because they're self-extracting.  They may have been created
  with Compact Pro, StuffIt, or even DiskDoubler; but all should be
  capable of decompressing themselves when double-clicked.  For some
  unknown reason Alysis has chosen not to use this industry standard
  designation for self-extracting archives created with their
  payware products SuperDisk! and More Disk Space.  Instead
  they append either .x or .X to self-extracting archives.


  By far the easiest way to get these programs is to ask a
  human being to copy them onto a floppy for you.  If you're at a
  university there's absolutely no excuse for not finding someone to
  give you a copy; and if you're anywhere less remote than McMurdo
  Sound, chances are very good that someone at a computer center,
  dealership, or user group can provide you with a copy of StuffIt.
  Once you have StuffIt (any version) you don't need BinHex.
  If you're such a computer geek that the thought of actually
  asking a living, breathing human being instead of a computer
  terminal for something turns you into a quivering mass of
  protoplasmic jelly, you can probably download a working
  copy of StuffIt from a local bulletin board system.
  If you have religious objections to software gotten by any
  means other than anonymous ftp, then I suppose I'll mention that
  you can in fact ftp a working copy of StuffIt though this is
  by far the hardest way to get it.  Ftp to and 
  login.  Type the word "binary."  Hit return.  Type "cd pub/macfaq" 
  and hit return.  Then type "get StuffItExpander.sea.bin" and hit
  return.  If you've ftp'd straight onto your Mac you should now have a
  self-extracting archive which will produce a working copy of StuffIt
  Expander when double-clicked. If you've ftp'd to your mainframe or
  UNIX account first, you still need to use a modem program to download
  it to your Mac.  Just make sure that the Mac is receiving in MacBinary
  mode and the mainframe is sending in binary mode.  If you need more
  details on the last step, consult the FAQ list for comp.sys.mac.comm
  and the manuals for both your mainframe and Macintosh
  telecommunications software.

	Paul Thomson's shareware DOS utility Macette can transfer
	MacBinary files like the ones stored at from a DOS
	file system onto a Macintosh high density diskette, translating
	from MacBinary into a standard two-fork executable  Macintosh file
	in the process. It can even format the diskette for you.  Thus
	once you've gotten StuffIt Expander from


  you can use macette to move it from the PC to your Mac.
  I've made macette available at my ftp site.  See



  While the various FAQ lists cover a lot of specific problems, there
  are far more problems that aren't covered here. These are a few basic
  techniques you should follow before asking for help.  You should
  probably also perform the ten-step preventive maintenance routine
  described in section four, especially rebuilding the desktop (4.3)
  and zapping the PRAM (4.4).  Following these steps may or may
  not solve your problem, but it will at least make it easier for
  others to recommend solutions to you.


  "Microsoft Word is crashing" doesn't say much.  What were you
  doing when it crashed?  Can you repeat the actions that lead to
  the crash?  The more information you provide about the actions
  preceding the crash the more likely it is someone can help you.
  The more precisely you've identified the problem and the actions
  preceding it, the easier it will be to tell if the following steps
  fix the problem.  For example, "Sometimes QuarkXPress 3.0 crashes
  with a coprocessor not installed error." is not nearly as helpful
  as "QuarkXPress 3.0 crashes when I link two text boxes on a master
  page when copies of those text boxes already contain text."  The
  former diagnosis leaves you wondering whether the bug remains after 
  a given step.  The latter lets you go right to the problem and see
  if it's still there or not.


  Many companies include a list of known incompatibilities 
  and bugs in their READ ME files.  Often these aren't documented 
  in the manual.  Read any READ ME files to see if any of the 
  problems sound familiar.


  Run Disinfectant or another anti-viral across your disk.  
  Virus infections are rarer than most people think, but they do 
  occur and they do cause all sorts of weird problems when they do.



  For half a dozen reasons (external magnetic fields, improperly written
  software, the alignment of the planets) a file on a disk may not
  contain the data it's supposed to contain.  This can cause all types
  of unexplained, unusual behavior.  Restoring from original master 
  disks will usually fix this.  Check to see if the application has a
  preferences file in the Preferences folder in the system folder and
  if so trash it.  This is often overlooked when reinstalling.  Since
  the preferences file is often the most easily corrupted file in an
  application, reinstalling it alone may be sufficient to fix the


  Bits are even more likely to get twiddled in the system file
  than in the application, and the effects can be just as disastrous.
  See question 4.6 for a detailed procedure for performing a clean
  If the problem continues to occur after you've taken these
  steps, chances are you've found either a conflict between your
  application and some other software or a genuine bug in the
  program.  So it's time to


  You need to find the minimal system on which the problem
  will assert itself.  Here are the basic steps of isolating the
  cause of a system or application crash:
    1. Run only one application at a time.  Occasionally applications
    conflict with each other.  If the problem does not manifest
    itself without other applications running simultaneously, 
    begin launching other applications until you find the one that
    causes the crash.

    2. If you're running System 6, turn off MultiFinder.  If you're
    running System 7, allot as much memory to the application as you
    can afford.  Sometimes programs just need more memory, especially
    when performing complicated operations.

	  3. If you're running System 7, turn off virtual memory and 32-bit
	  addressing in the Memory Control Panel.  There's still an awful
	  lot of 32-bit and VM hostile software out there including some
	  from companies that really have no excuse.  (Can you say Microsoft
	  Word 5.1, boys and girls? I knew you could.)  Some of this
	  software only expresses its incompatibilities when certain
	  uncommon actions are taken. PowerMacs always run in 32-bit mode.
	  Try turning the modern memory manager off instead.

    4. If you have a 68040 Mac, turn the cache off.  Many older
    programs don't work well with the built-in cache of the 68040.

    5. If you have a PowerPC turn off the modern memory manager.
    Some software doesn't get along with it.

    6. Restart your Mac and hold down the shift key (or boot from a virgin
    system floppy if you're using System 6).  If the problem disappears
    you likely have an extension conflict.  You need to progressively remove
    extensions until the problem vanishes. System 7.5's Extensions
    Manager lets you decide at startup which extensions to load so you
    don't have to spend a lot of time moving files into and out of the
    System Folder.  In earlier systems you can use Ricardo Batista's
    freeware Extensions Manager 2.0.1 on which System 7.5's Extensions
    manager is built.  See

	  Use a little common sense when choosing the first extensions to
	  remove.  If the problem occurs when you try to open a file, remove
	  any extensions that mess with the Standard File Open procedure such as
	  Super Boomerang first.  If the problem remains after the obvious
	  candidates have been eliminated, either remove the remaining
	  extensions one at a time; or, if you have a lot of them, perform a
	  binary search by removing half of the extensions at a time.  Once
	  the problem disappears add half of the most recently removed set
	  back.  Continue until you've narrowed the conflict down to one
	  extension.  When you think you've found the offending extension
	  restart with only that extension enabled just to make sure that it
	  and it alone is indeed causing the problem. Although performing
	  this procedure manually can be fairly quick if you have a pretty
	  good idea of which extensions to check, it can take quite some
	  time when you really don't have any strong suspects for a
	  conflict.  In that case consider using Conflict Catcher to help
	  isolate the offending init.  A fully functional timed demo can be
	  had from


    7. Remove all but the required fonts (Chicago, Monaco) from your 
    Fonts folder.  If the problem disappears then one of your fonts 
    is corrupted.  Open the Fonts folder in your System folder and 
    open each font suitcase until your Mac crashes. The last suitcase 
    opened is probably corrupt. Restart the machine, remove the
    allegedly corrupt suitcase from the Fonts folder and check the
    remaining fonts. (There may be more than one corrupt font.) This
    procedure may not always isolate the corrupted font, so if no 
    corrupted fonts are found or if the symptoms do not disappear, you
    can use the binary elimination procedure described above to find 
    the corrupt font.
    8. Remove all external SCSI devices.  If the problem disappears,
    add them back one at a time until the problem reappears.  Once
    you've isolated the SCSI device causing the problem check its
    termination and try moving it to a different position in the 
    SCSI chain.  It's also possible a SCSI cable's gone bad, so 
    try replacing just the cable.

    9. Turn the Mac off and unplug all cables: power, ADB, modem,
    printer, network, SCSI and anything else you've plugged in to the
    back of your Mac.  Then plug everything back in and try again. 
    Loose cables can imitate malfunctions in almost any hardware or
    software.  I recently spent a day in panic because I thought my
    analog board had died before I could back up the latest draft of
    the hardware FAQ.  I even went so far as to email my favorite 
    repair shop (Tekserve, 212-929-3645) before I thought calmly for 
    a few minutes, unplugged all my cables, and plugged them back in.  
    My Mac booted up immediately.  The power cable had been loosened 
    when I moved my desk the previous weekend and a few days later 
    random motion finally disconnected it enough to cut my power.  To 
    all appearances this was an expensive analog board or power supply 
    failure rather than a cheap cable problem that I could fix in about
    a minute at home.


  By now you should have a very good idea of when, where, and why
  the conflict occurs.  If a tech support number is available for the
  software, call it.  If you're lucky the company will have a work
  around or fix available.  If not, perhaps they'll at least add the
  bug to their database of problems to be fixed in the next release.


  You wouldn't drive your car 100,000 miles without giving it a
  tune-up.  A computer is no different.  Regular tune-ups avoid a lot
  of problems.  Although there are Mac mechanics who will be happy to
  charge you $75 or more for the equivalent of an oil change, there's
  no reason you can't change it yourself.  The following ten-step
  program should be performed about every three months or when you're
  experiencing problems.


  Many of the operations that follow will run faster and more
  smoothly the more free disk space there is to work with, so spend
  a little time cleaning up your hard disk.  If you're at all like
  me, you'll find several megabytes worth of preferences files for
  applications you no longer have, archives of software you've
  dearchived, shareware you tried out and didn't like, announcements
  for events that have come and gone and many other files you no
  longer need.  If you're running System 7 you may also have several
  more megabytes in your trash can alone.  Throw them away and empty
  the trash.


	Some Macintoshes attract extensions like a new suit attracts rain.
	Seriously consider whether you actually need every extension and
	control panel in your collection.  If you don't use the
	functionality of an extension at least every fifth time you boot
	up, you're probably better off not storing it in your System
	Folder where it only takes up memory, destabilizes your system,
	and slows down every startup. For instance if you only read PC
	disks once a month, there's no need to keep Macintosh PC Exchange
	loaded all the time.  Cutting back on your extensions can really
	help avoid crashes.


  The Desktop file/database holds all the information necessary
  to associate each file with the application that created it.
  It lets the system know what application should be launched when
  you open a given file and what icons it should display where.
  Depending on its size each application has one or more
  representatives in the desktop file.  As applications and files
  move on and off your hard disk, the Desktop file can be become
  bloated and corrupt.  Think of it as a Congress for your Mac.
  Every so often it's necessary to throw the bums out and start
  with a clean slate.  Fortunately it's easier to rebuild the
  desktop than to defeat an incumbent.
  One warning: rebuilding the desktop will erase all comments
  you've stored in the Get Info boxes.  Under System 7 Maurice
  Volaski's freeware extension CommentKeeper will retain those comments
  across a rebuild.  See

  CommentKeeper also works with System 6 but only if Apple's 
  Desktop Manager extension is also installed.

  To rebuild the desktop restart your Mac and, as your
  extensions finish loading, depress the Command and Option keys.
  You'll be presented with a dialog box asking if you want to rebuild
  the desktop and warning you that "This could take a few minutes."
  Click OK.  It will take more than a few minutes.  The more files you
  have the longer it will take.  If you're running System 6 you may
  want to turn off MultiFinder before trying to rebuild the desktop.
  If you're experiencing definite problems and not just doing
  preventive maintenance, you may want to use Micromat's freeware 
  utility TechTool.  TechTool completely deletes the Desktop file 
  before rebuilding it, thus eliminating possibly corrupt data 
  structures.  Furthermore it doesn't require you to remember any
  confusing keystroke combinations.  See 



  All Macs from the original 128K Thin Mac to the PowerMac 9500
  contain a small amount of battery powered RAM that holds certain
  settings that belong to the CPU rather than the startup disk, for
  example the disk to start up from.  Unfortunately this "parameter
  RAM" can become corrupted and cause unexplained crashes.  To reset
  it under System 7 hold down the Command, Option, P, and R keys
  while restarting your Mac.  Under System 6 hold down the Command,
  Option, and Shift keys while selecting the Control Panel from the
  Apple menu, and click "Yes" when asked if you want to zap the
  parameter RAM.  Alternatively you can use MicroMat's free utility 
  TechTool which doesn't require you stretch your fingers across the 
  keyboard like a circus contortionist.  See


  Zapping the PRAM erases the settings of most Apple Control 
  Panels including the General Controls, Keyboard, Startup Disk, 
  Mouse, and Map.  It also erases the Powerbook 100's non-volatile 
  RAM disk.  Thus after zapping the PRAM you will need to reset these 
  Control Panels to fit your preferences.  One setting that zapping 
  the PRAM does not erase is the date and time; but since the internal 
  clock in the Macintosh is notoriously inaccurate you'll probably want 
  to reset it now anyway.

RESIZE THE SYSTEM HEAP (System 6 Only)  (4.5)

  Even after rethinking their extensions as per step two, most
  people still have at least half a row of icons march across 
  the bottom of their screen every time they restart.  All these
  extensions (and most applications too) need space in a section of
  memory called the System Heap.  If the System Heap isn't big enough
  to comfortably accommodate all the programs that want a piece of
  it, they start playing King of the Mountain on the system heap,
  knocking each other off to get bigger pieces for themselves and
  trying to climb back on after they get knocked off.  All this
  fighting amongst the programs severely degrades system performance
  and almost inevitably crashes the Mac.
  Under System 7 your Macintosh automatically resizes the 
  system heap as necessary, but under System 6 you yourself need 
  to set the system heap size large enough to have room for all your
  extensions and applications.  By default this size is set to 128K,
  way too small for Macs with even a few extensions.  The system heap
  size is stored in the normally non-editable boot blocks of every
  system disk.  Bill Steinberg's freeware utility BootMan not only
  resizes your system heap but also checks how much memory your heap 
  is using and tells you how much more needs to be allocated.  If 
  you're running System 6, get BootMan, use it, and be amazed at 
  how infrequently your Macintosh crashes.  See



  System files can become corrupt and fragmented, especially
  if you've stored lots of fonts and desk accessories inside them.
  Merely updating the System software will often not fix system file
  corruption.  I recommend doing a clean reinstall.  Here's how:

    1.  Move the Finder from the System Folder onto your desktop.

    2.  Rename the System Folder "Old System Folder."

    3.  If you're installing System 6, 7.0, 7.0.1 or 7.1 shut down 
    and then boot from the Installer floppy of your system disks.
    If you're installing System 7.5, quit all running applications
    and launch the installer on the first installer disk.

    4.  Double-click the installer script on your System disk.  Then
    choose Customize...  Select the appropriate software for your
    model Mac and printer.  You could do an Easy Install instead,
    but that will only add a lot of extensions and code you don't
    need that waste your memory and disk space.

    If you're installing System 7.5 type "Command-Shift-K" which is 
    the magic code to get the installer to do a clean install..  A 
    dialog will pop up.  Select the radio button that says "Install 
    New System Folder" and click OK.
    From this point on just follow the installer's instructions.  
    Mostly you'll just need to swap disks.  After installation is 
    finished the installer will ask you to restart your Mac.  You 
    don't really have any choice so go ahead and restart.

    5.  If you installed System 7.0 or 7.0.1, you should now install 
    System 7 Tuneup 1.1.1, available from


    If you installed System 7.1, 7.1 Pro or 7.1.2, then you should 
    also install System Update 3.0, available from


    If you installed System 7.5, 7.5.1 or 7.5.2 then you should also install
    System 7.5 Update 2.0, available from

    This will bring you to System 7.5.3. Finally you should install the 
    System 7.5.3 Revision 2 update, available from
    6.  Copy any non-standard fonts and desk accessories out
    of the old System file into a temporary suitcase.

    7.  Trash the Finder file on desktop.  Now go into the Old System
    Folder and trash the System, MultiFinder, DA Handler, and all 
    other standard Apple extensions  and control panels.  These were 
    all replaced in the new installation.  If you were running 
    System 7.x, move everything left in the Extensions, Control Panels, 
    Apple Menu Items and Preferences folders into the top level of 
    the new System Folder.

    8.  Now move everything from the Old System Folder you created in step 2 
    into the new System folder.  If you're asked if you want to replace 
    anything, you missed something in step 7.  You'll need to replace
    things individually until you find the duplicate piece.  Also 
    reinstall any fonts or DA's you removed in step 6.

    9.  Reboot.  You should now have a clean, defragmented System file
    that takes up less memory and disk space and a much more stable
    system overall.


  Much like system files hard disks have data structures that
  occasionally become corrupted affecting performance and even
  causing data loss.  Apple includes Disk First Aid, a simple utility
  for detecting and repairing hard disk problems, with its System
  disks.  It's also available for anonymous ftp from in


  If you have an earlier version than 7.2 (and many people do) 
  you should get version 7.2 from, make a copy of 
  your Disk Tools disk, and replace the old Disk First Aid on the 
  copy with the new version.  At the same time you should also 
  replace the old version of HD SC Setup on your Disk Tools disk 
  with HD SC Setup 7.3.5 (or newer) from the same directory.  See

  Certain late-model Macs require a new formatter called Drive Setup instead.
  Drive Setup requires System 7.5 or later and is only should only be used
  with PowerMacs, PowerBook 190's and Macintosh 580 and 630 series
  68040 Macs.  As of June, 1996, the latest version is 1.0.5 which
  is available from

  Several companies sell payware disk utilities that detect and repair
  considerably more problems than Disk First Aid though, interestingly,
  none of them detect and repair everything that Disk First Aid does. 
  The most effective for general work are Symantec's MacTools 4.0 and
  Norton Utilities for the Macintosh 3.2.  A department or work group
  should have both of these as well as Disk First Aid since none of
  them fix everything the others do.  For individuals MacTools ($48
  street) is about half the price of Norton ($94 street) so, features
  and ease of use being roughly equal, I recommend MacTools.
  All of these products occasionally encounter problems they
  can't fix.  When that happens it's time to backup (4.8) and
  reformat (4.10).


  This is one part of preventive maintenance that should be
  done a *LOT* more often than every three months.  The simplest back
  up is merely to copy all the files on your hard disk onto floppies
  or other removable media.  If you keep your data files separate
  from your application and support files then it's easy to only back
  up those folders which change frequently.  Nonetheless every three
  months you should do a complete backup of your hard disk.
  A number of programs are available to make backing up easier.  Apple
  included a very basic full backup application with System 6.  Apple
  ships the Apple Backup utility with all Performas that can backup
  the entire disk or just the System folder onto floppies.  The
  previously mentioned Norton Utilities for the Mac and MacTools Deluxe
  include more powerful floppy backup utilities that incorporate
  compression and incremental backups.  Finally the usual ftp sites
  should have Diversified I/O's $35 shareware SoftBackup II, a full
  featured backup program that will do full, image and incremental
  backups to floppies, tape drives, WORMs, Syquest drives, hard disks,
  servers and other media.  See


  About the only thing thing SoftBackup II can't do is replace old 
  versions of files in a backup set with newer versions.  If you want 
  to do that, check out the more flexible payware utilities Redux ($49 
  street, doesn't support tape drives) and Diskfit Pro ($74 street).


  As disks fill up it gets harder and harder to find enough
  contiguous free space to write large files.  Therefore the
  operating system will often split larger files into pieces to 
  be stored in different places on your hard disk.  As files 
  become more and more fragmented performance can degrade.
  There are several ways to defragment a hard disk.
  The most tedious but cheapest method is to backup all your
  files, erase the hard disk (and you might as well reformat while
  you're at it.  See question 4.10.), and restore all the files.
  A number of payware utilities including Norton Utilities
  and Mac Tools can defragment a disk in place, i.e. without
  erasing it.  Although the ads for all these products brag about
  their safety, once you've bought the software and opened the
  shrink-wrap they all warn you to back up your disk before
  defragmenting it in case something does go wrong.  If you use
  any of these products, be sure to run a disk repair package
  on the disk you wish to defragment before defragmenting.
  Defragmenting will almost certainly make any existing problems
  with a disk worse so it's important to make sure a disk is in
  good health before using a defragmenting utility on it.  Fast
  Unfrag is a $10 shareware disk defragmenter by Kas Thomas.  See 


  It appears to do the job it was designed for; (defragmenting the
  files on a hard disk) and my brief tests didn't reveal any glaring
  bugs or trash any files.  Nonetheless, I'm a bit nervous about this
  product because the programmer and his skill level are unknown to
  me, and writing a disk defragmenter is not something I'd trust to a
  novice.  The interface is flaky; the program only works on the disk
  where the application resides (very unusual behavior for a disk
  defragmenter); it's unfriendly to background applications (not so
  unusual for any disk intensive app); and neither documentation,
  online help, nor an email address are provided with the program. 
  Since this is still a relative unknown I *STRONGLY* recommend that
  you backup your files before using it.  I'd appreciate hearing any
  experiences you have with it. 


  Just as a floppy disk needs to be initialized before use, so a hard
  disk must be formatted before it can hold data.  You don't need to
  reformat every three months; but when your system is crashing no
  matter what you try, reformatting is the ultimate means of wiping the
  slate clean.  Reformatting your hard disk may even gain you a few
  extra megabytes of space.  Not all hard disks are created equal. 
  Some can hold more data than others.  To facilitate mass production
  and advertising without a lot of asterisks (* 81.3 megabytes is the
  pre-formatted size.  Actual formatted capacity may vary.)  Apple
  often formats drives to the lowest common denominator of drive
  capacity.  When you reformat there's no reason at all not to reclaim
  whatever unused space Apple's left on your disk.
  Unlike floppies hard disks need a special program to initialize them. 
  Most hard disks come with formatting software. Apple's disks and
  System software ship with either HD SC Setup or Drive Setup, minimal 
  disk formatters which will format Apple brand hard drives *ONLY*.  See


  Most hard drive manufacturers ship appropriate formatting software 
  with their hard drives.  Normally this is all you need to reformat
  your hard disk.  This software installs a "driver" onto the hard
  disk.  Most formatting software includes an option to update the 
  driver without reformatting the entire hard disk, and this can fix
  some hard to diagnose problems without going to the trouble of 
  reformatting and restoring an entire hard disk.  (Do backup before
  updating a hard disk driver though, as a failed driver update can 
  leave a disk unusable.)
  A number of general-purpose formatters are also available
  which go beyond the bundled software to include features like
  encryption, password protection, multiple partitioning, faster disk
  access, System 7 compatibility, and even compression.  Two of the
  best are the payware Drive7 and Hard Disk Toolkit Personal Edition
  ($49 street for either).  While there are one or two freeware
  formatters available, none are likely to be superior to the
  ones bundled with your hard disk.
  PowerBook owners should be sure to turn off Sleep and
  processor cycling before reformatting their hard drives no 
  matter what software they use.  Otherwise disk corruption, 
  crashes, and data losses are likely.


  Since posting the first version of my FAQ list a little over
  three years ago I have noticed a precipitous drop in the frequency of
  certain questions.  Most notably: Why is my system using 14 of my
  20 megs of RAM?  Though that still shows up occasionally, it's no
  longer at the twelve times a day level that induced me to start
  writing.  I count that as some measure of success.  However, I have
  experienced one unexpected phenomenom.  Certain questions began
  appearing frequently in my mailbox so I've composed this little list
  of meta-faqs, that is frequently asked questions about the FAQ.  Please
  familiarize yourself with this list before mailing me comments
  or questions.


  Thanks for pointing this out.  Since I maintain several
  documents of about 300K total size, it would be helpful if
  you would reference the specific document where you found
  my error and the question number.


  When there are multiple solutions to a common problem, I try
  to pick the one that is achievable with the simplest and cheapest
  tools.  Chances are I do know about that undocumented feature
  of WhizzyWriter 1000 that lets you download PostScript files.
  Call me crazy, but I suspect that most people would prefer to 
  download a free utility from rather than shell
  out $995 for WhizzyWriter just to solve their PostScript problems.
  Similarly if a problem can be solved with the tools that are
  bundled with every Mac, I'll choose that solution over one that
  requires downloading some shareware.  Space in the FAQ is limited;
  (mainly by brain-dead news software at some sites that restricts
  files to 32K) and I can't give comprehensive lists when they're
  not needed.


	As explained above space in these documents is limited, and I
	simply can't mention every imaginable software that conceivably
	falls somewhere within the purview of the Macintosh newsgroups.
	If, however, you feel your software answers a frequently asked
	question, for example a _working_ PostScript previewer
	(GhostScript doesn't count.); or it provides a solution to a
	common problem superior to what's already available, then I'll be
	happy to consider it for inclusion in the FAQ.


  The FAQ is posted automatically about every two weeks, give or
  take a day.  Normally it doesn't change more frequently than that;
  and I want to avoid wasting bandwidth since Usenet is not, contrary
  to popular belief, free.  The FAQ includes an Expires: header to
  insure that one version doesn't disappear from your news spool
  until the next one arrives and a Supersedes: header so multiple
  copies won't waste everyone's disk space.  This is all accomplished
  automatically via Jonathan Kamens' faq server. If the FAQ is ever
  not available at your site, then your news software is BROKEN and
  should be fixed.  Complain to your news administrators about their
  broken software that ignores Expires: headers, not to me.


	Certainly!  I negotiate consulting fees on a case-by-case basis,
	but they tend to average about $120 an hour with a four hour
	minimum.  If you're outside the metropolitan New York area
	(roughly Philadelphia to New Haven) the minimum is seven hours and
	you'll also be expected to provide airfare expenses.  Quantity
	discounts and support contracts can be negotiated on a
	case-by-case basis.  Oh, you meant free help?  Sorry, that's what
	Usenet is for.  Post your question to the appropriate newsgroup,
	and you'll probably get a lot more advice than I could give you.


  No.  I have neither the time nor the inclination to act
  as a mail-server for people who can't be bothered to use the
  mail-server at as outlined in the introduction. 
  I reject all such requests.


  While I get about one request per month to adhere to some 
  imagined "standard" format, I have yet to receive two requests 
  for the same format.  The FAQ has recently been redone in HTML.  

  Sometime in the future I hope to release a much improved HTML version
  with lots of pictures, sounds, and movies.  I am exploring the
  possibility of publishing that version for profit on the net.  The
  basic FAQ list posted to Usenet will of course remain free for the
  foreseeable future.  I'm also interested in Common Ground, Adobe
  Acrobat, and MIME based news.  However none of these are particularly
  high on my priority list.


  This work is Copyright 1993-1996 by Elliotte M. Harold.  
  Permission is hereby granted to transmit and store this document as 
  part of an unedited collection of any newsgroup to which it is posted 
  by myself.  I also grant permission to distribute *UNMODIFIED* copies 
  of this document online via bulletin boards, local file servers, online 
  services, and other providers of electronic communications provided 
  that no fees in excess of normal online charges are required for such 
  distribution; i.e. if the FAQ is available on a system, it must be 
  available at the minimum charge for accessing the system.  For 
  instance you may post it to most BBS's that charge either a flat
  monthly fee or a per hour rate.  However if there is an extra charge
  for downloading files over what is charged per normal access, either
  per hour, per kilobyte, or per month, then the FAQ may not be posted
  to that system without my explicit, prior permission.  Portions of
  this document may be extracted and quoted free of charge and without
  necessity of citation in normal online communication provided only
  that said quotes are not represented as the correspondent's original
  work.  Permission for quotation of this document in edited, online
  communication (such as the Info-Mac Digest and TidBITS) is given
  subject to normal citation procedures (i.e. you have to say where 
  you got it).  

  Due to prior licensing arrangements this FAQ list may not at this point 
  in time be republished in a modified form, or redistributed on disk or 

   Elliotte Rusty Harold

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM