Apple Performa Basic Troubleshooting
The Performa CD is Apple's source of restoration and diagnostic software. You can reformat the drive, reinstall the system software and even swap out modules of the system software. The screen for the Performa CD contains the following options,
What Should Happen
Before Panicking - Zap the PRAM
This little procedure resets the Parameter RAM which is an internal database that the Mac keeps on what hardware is attached to the machine. This is cleaned out and reset when the PRAM is 'zapped' and can sort out weird hardware problems on many occasions.
Hold down the 'Option'(Alt), 'Apple' (Command), 'P' and 'R' keys down simultaneously while the machine is starting up. The Mac will make a chime with nothing on the screen. Let it do this 3 times, then let the keys go for its final restart.
NOTE - On Macs using Motorola's 68040 or 68LC040 processor, you have to go back to the memory Control Panel after zapping the PRAM. Make sure that '32 Bit Addressing' is turned ON, otherwise the system will take up twice its normal size and the machine will slow right down.
Before Panicking - Rebuild the Desktop
Hold down the 'Option' and 'Command' keys while the machine is starting up. Click on OK when asked if you want to rebuild the desktop. This can sort out many weird application errors. NOTE - This procedure erases comments from the Get Info comment box of all applications on the indicated drive.
Before Panicking - Boot From the Performa CD/Utilities Disk
If the machine still won't boot, try booting from either the Performa CD or the Utilities disk. If these boot you should be able to run the diagnostics software or do a system reinstall to try and sort the problem out. To boot from the Performa CD, put the CD in the drive, then restart the machine, keeping the 'C' key held down.
Before Panicking - Disconnect any External SCSI Drives
If there are any problems such as badly terminated equipment or clashing address numbers, this can knock out the rest of the drive chain. This even works in later Performas, which use IDE drives.
Problems - Chimes of Death
Instead of the normal Mac chime, the machine emits a little riff. This usually indicates that it has failed its start test. That means either the motherboard or the Chip/SIMMS, and is normally terminal.
Problems - Sad Mac
When you switch on, it goes through a basic system check. It checks the memory, any peripherals, and the hard disk before launching the operating system. If at any time it gets an answer it's not happy with, it flashes up "The Unhappy Mac" symbol. Below the symbol is a double row of 8 digits. If the first line of code ends in an 'F', then it is probably not a severe hardware problem, but a corrupted system file. Codes without 'F' are likely to be severe internal errors (ie memory or motherboard).
The Fix -
Problems - Flashing Question Mark Floppy Disk Icon
This happens when the Mac can't find an operating system. It's basically saying "Can I have an operating system please? "
The Fix -
Problems - Grey Screen With Nothing on it
This could be a fault with the monitor or the graphics chip on the motherboard.
The Fix -
Problems - Crashing or Freezing After the 'Welcome' Sign
This is most likely a conflict between system extensions or control panels. These are drivers and system devices that the Mac loads on startup. They reside in folders called 'Extensions' and 'Control Panels' which sit in the System Folder on the hard disk. They can sometimes use the same resources as each other and the end effect is that the machine locks up.
The Fix - Start the Mac with the shift key held down. This will kill off all the system extensions and control panels on startup. If it starts OK, you have a system extension conflict. The Quick Fix is to go into the Apple Menu in the top left hand corner and go down to Control Panels. Select the 'Extensions Manager'. A pop up box will appear with little tick marks next to a list of components. There will be a drop-down menu called 'Sets', which should be set to 'Custom'. Change that to 'System XXX all' or 'System XXX Minimum'. Then restart the machine. This should cure the problem, as it starts the Mac with only Apple's own approved extensions, which should be conflict free. If it doesn't you are looking at a full reinstall.
The complete (and long winded) fix is to work through extension manager turning different 3rd Party extensions on and off until the problem is solved. It is normally best to start with the most recently installed stuff first and work back. There is an application called 'Conflict Catcher' that makes this a lot easier, but of course it is not supplied with the Apple machines.
With earlier versions of Apple machines, you don't get Extensions Manager. In this case it means manually diving into the System Folder and cleaning out what doesn't belong there. Create a folder for each type on the desktop and move them there one at a time until you find the culprit. Common culprits are RAM Doubler, Disk Doubler, Virus Checkers, etc..
These are fairly standard procedures for sorting out most Apple printing problems.
If you've got either an Epson or HP printer, then it might be worth deleting any old printer drivers before reinstalling the drivers back on again. If you are using System 7.5 or later, firstly go to the Apple menu at the top of the screen. Go down to the Control Panels, and activate General. In there, tick the box for 'Show desktop when in background'.
Now go to the Find menu and click on Find File. Look for either HP or Epson (depending on your printer). Then just drag and drop any detected items into the wastebasket, and then empty it out. After that reinstall the printer drivers. NB, If you have either an HP or Epson scanner, you may have to reinstall them as well.
Modem Control Panel
This doesn't seem to be installed on all Macs, so if you haven't got it, then don't panic. Go down to the Apple Menu, and then into Control Panels. In Control Panels you should find an option for 'Express Modem'. There are 3 separate screens (accessed via a drop down menu in the middle of the screen).
All three screens have an option to switch the modem on or off
Testing the Modem with AT Commands
Open Claris Works in the application folder on the Hard Disk. You will be presented with an 'Open New Document' screen. Choose the phone icon for Communications. A black screen will pop up with a little blue and white symbol in the top left corner.
Go to the Settings menu at the top of the screen and choose Connection. A screen will pop up titled Connection Settings. Under Method choose Serial Tool. Use the default settings and click on Ok.
Go to the Sessions menu at the top of the screen. Choose Open Connection. Go back to the black screen and you can now type in commands to test the modem.
To dial the speaking clock enter - Echo atdt123
Under the Control Panels you will find a little device called Config PPP. This allows you to change any IP settings and the command string for the modem. By clicking on 'Open' you can directly fire the modem to contact the Internet Provider. When the modem is connected, the frowning faces above the PPP DOWN icon change to smiles. By clicking on the Config button you gain access to the connection properties of the modem including the phone number and the Modem initialisation string.
These are some quick and dirty methods to get a poorly Mac App back on its feet. They are standard procedures which should work with a wide variety of different apps from printer drivers to Photoshop.
Ports of Call
Mac applications are not as ingrained to the operating system as Windows applications. There are only a handful of other files that have to be removed to get rid of an application from the system. Here are where apps on the Mac live and hide themselves,The Application Folder
This is where most pre-installed Mac Apps live. It is directly off the main Hard Drive folder. Most Apps will keep their main bits of business in there. Claris Works is a big exception to this rule with a folder marked 'Claris' deposited in the System Folder. Microsoft programs do as well, installing OLE extensions and a folder called 'Microsoft' into the System Folder. Games and some other programs will install odd Control Panel or System Extensions, but usually these won't interfere with the operation of anything else. Applications added onto the machine will be installed off the root directory by default.Preferences File
These are mostly located in a folder called 'Preferences' inside the System Folder which is directly off the root directory. They will normally be titled by the application name then 'prefs' or 'preferences'. In some cases, you will find a folder within the Preferences Folder or a separate folder directly inside the System Folder containing these files. They are like '.inf' files on the PC and contain listings of the user's settings for that particular application. Deleting this file can sometimes resurrect a damaged application, as most programs will automatically rewrite a default version whenever it can't find this file on launch.
NOTE - The Finder has its own preferences file, which can sometimes corrupt. If you have any strange system problems, you might want to try deleting it and then restarting.Extensions and Control Panels
These are located in the Extensions and Control Panel folders inside the System Folder. Usually these do not interfere with the operation of other programs if left alone. They can cause big problems if you reinstall the same program later over the top of these files. Printer drivers are the biggest culprit for this.The Info Box
This is a handy little utility which tells you how much memory the program is using. It is possible to bump this up if the program needs more memory (ie If you're working on a 40 page document full of colour diagrams).
What to do if it Breaks..
Setting up PC Exchange
Macs can read and write to PC formatted disks on the fly. Just insert a disk in the drive and the disk icon pops up on the desktop. Files then can be dragged and dropped to the desktop and opened or viewed by programs on the Mac. Windows long file names are not supported, all file names are changed to uppercase with names abbreviated as they would be under Windows 3.1 or DOS. The conversion process works for all PC formatted disks, disks can come from any platform including Amiga's CrossDos.
PC Exchange does all this, and it can convert files to specific type when they are first read by the Mac system. Files ending with '.DOC' can appear with Microsoft Word icons and can then even be double clicked or drag and dropped. If there is no associated program in the Finder's records, the file will appear with a plain generic icon and the file will have to be opened by the target program. The way to ensure that this all goes smoothly is from PC Exchange.
First go to the Apple Menu, Control Panels, PC Exchange. It will then list any current file associations. If the one you want isn't there, then click on the Add button. On the Add screen firstly type in the DOS suffix of the file (ie TXT, DOC, PSP) and then from the large list, select the program you want to open it with. Finally choose the type of file it is, ie Text, Graphic, Library. and then click on OK.
You must of course have a program which will read these files. If you try to open a file with a program that isn't compatible, you will either get an error message or rubbish on the screen.