OS9 Stability

A special report

Having problems with MacOS9?

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It is official: MacOS9.2.2 (pre-OSX Panther era) is more unstable than either MacOS8.6 or MacOS9.1/9.2.1 (and MacOS9.1/9.2.1 is inherently more unstable than MacOS8.6). Even the latest updates provided by OSX Tiger does not fix the problem of copying large numbers of files or the occasional unexpected hang-ups when copying any file.

Of particular worthy mention are the following issues:

  • When using certain "critical" extensions, selected subroutines for stability under G3 were removed (e.g. ATI Graphics Accelerator) and an unusually unresponsive behaviour can be found and only a restart will wake it up (e.g. File Sharing Extension in finding network volumes);
  • When having limited hard disk space and/or RAM, OS9 can behave abysmally; and
  • Running third-party software, control panels and extensions with stability under OS8.6 can suddenly lose their stability under OS9.

It doesn't matter if you try to get the latest extensions from the free Apple OS9.2.2 Update file, or the original Apple CD, or a combination of the two (since the version numbers of some extensions and control panels are not identical). You will find MacOS9.2.2 inherently unstable.

Even the process of upgrading to OS9 from an earlier OS version using the Apple installation CD is riddled with danger for the unwary. And once you are on OS9, it is extremely difficult to reinstall an earlier OS version just to get away from the OS9 problems. (1)


Now that's a very good question! Why do we have these problems? What exactly have customers done wrong to deserve this?

Well, it is now recognised that at least one ATI extension and several Apple-specific extensions and possibly the latest Mac OS ROM are designed to be compatible not only with the Classic environment of OSX, but also for Macintosh computers running a G4 processor or higher. At the same time, Apple is trying to minimise the problems of software piracy by affecting the File Sharing Extension.

Apple computer, Inc. may have put a stop to Macintosh computers manufactured before June 1998 from installing OS9.2.2 (even though some hackers have managed to bypass the restrictions and run OS9 on their older computers anyway, such as OS9 Helper 1.0.1), but Apple does not tell you the support for G3 computers built after June 1998 have began to deteriorate with Apple and ATI deciding to drop support for older systems (e.g. computers with PCI cards, USB devices, and certain critical Apple-specific tasks such as file sharing and graphic drawing in favour of the latest G4 Macintosh computers and accelerator cards).

Also the memory given to the Finder and System has been designed such that your G3 computer will crash more often than usual and especially with limited hard disk space and RAM (with virtual memory turned on). The result is higher than expected fragmentation of the files on your hard disk (resulting in a reduced lifespan for your hard disk) and you will get more System and Finder errors.

And did you know when you do have System and Finder errors under OS9.2.2, you will have to run Apple's Disk First Aid more often over time to fix up directory problems on your hard disk (which is the reason why Apple has chosen to automatically run Disk First Aid after a system error on restart)? This is not the case with MacOS8.6 as any rare System or Finder error is virtually unable to create such problems on the hard disk and therefore very little need to run Disk First Aid.

Either this is a classic example of serious quality control problems courtesy of Apple Computer, Inc. or, as we are being led to believe, is an attempt by Apple management to force you, as an Apple customer, to upgrade your computer to G4 (and G5) in readiness for MacOSX? (2)

This latter view is being borne out by the fact that Apple refuses to provide a proper update that fixes all OS9 instability problems for all customers (not just those who have OSX) (3).

What should I be looking out for?

If you are working under MacOS9.1 to 9.2.2, you may (depending on your computer model) experience some or all of the following problems without the OS or Apple Computer, Inc. telling you why:

  1. ATI extension problem

    The Finder will corrupt the catalog files through sudden unexpected quits and freezes in applications such as FileMaker Pro 3.0 under OS9 when it is in the middle of saving something. Disk First Aid 8.6.1 will usually not be able to fix the problem, forcing you to bring out the "big guns" such as Alsoft Disk Warrior 2.1.1 or TechTool Pro 2.5.5 or higher to repair the disk problems properly. Otherwise you will have to do a force restart.

  2. ATI and USB Device Extension problems

    Older accelerator cards and USB devices appear to fail or misbehave.

  3. Memory problems with Finder and System files

    Your system will degrade in performance in such areas as the Finder and application menus scrolling relatively slowly (usually a sign that memory for Finder and System is getting low). AppleTalk may also misbehave when connecting to an OS9 or OSX machine. Misbehaving usually means unexpected quits when trying to startup AppleTalk until you run the core OS9 extensions and then you realise the AppleTalk extension is using more memory than usual. Misbehaving can also include the Finder quitting right in the middle of transferring information between two OS9 machines when AppleTalk is able to work (see File Sharing extension problem below for further details).

  4. Iomega Driver problems

    A greater number of hang ups while in the middle of copying a file in the Finder seems to occur when this extension is installed and you can't shutdown your computer because the Finder complains it is busy copying the file when clearly it isn't doing anything. Transferring files over the network between an OS9 G3 and OSX G4 Macintosh computer can cause the same problem while copying files from one machine to the next and it is usually the case when the Iomega driver has been loaded up on one or both machines. It seems to be common with version 6.x of the driver using either the extension or the Guest tool.


    The "hanging in the middle of copying a file" problem (actually it occurs at the very beginning or end of the file copied (observable after forcing a quit of the Finder and using the Get Info on the file remnant) is worse when SimpleText 1.4 is left idle in the background and you perform a copying of a file in the Finder.

  5. A Mac OS ROM or System problem

    Dropping a file on an application may not open the file in that application.

  6. A File Sharing Extension 7.6.8 problem

    Your computer may not allow File Sharing to activate properly. It can use more memory to do so leading to possible system crashes and it takes a lot of work to activate file sharing (and AppleTalk). Also, after disconnecting a purely OS9-enabled G3 Macintosh computer server under an OSX G4 machine, reconnecting can take a lot of work. You are better of restarting the OS9 computer to get it to look for other machines on the network.


    Do you have a problem of File Sharing not able to startup on OS9? The File Sharing Extension (any version from OS9.0 and up) takes longer to start up on computers with large hard disks compared to OS8.6. It may take up to 20 minutes to get going so please be patient. In the worse case scenario, delete the invisible AppleShare PDS file at the root level, and both the File Sharing Folder and File Sharing CP prefs in the Preferences folder of your System Folder. You may also need to clear the PRAM and rebuild the desktop file. Open File Sharing control panel and make sure there is an owner name, a password and the computer name for other users to see your machine on a network. Once you click the Start button to commence file sharing, wait until it is ready. Then consider Get Info for your hard disk and turn off file sharing attributes to reduce the time. Consider having only one folder open for file sharing.

  7. PrintMonitor extension problem

    The Finder sometimes freezes and you have to do a force restart when you try to change the default printer in the Finder to "PDFWriter". At other times, printing a PDF document using PDFWriter in an application such as Microsoft Word 98 or Microsoft Internet Explorer can cause the application to suddenly quit or crash. Usually you have to relaunch Word and re-print before the PDF document is correctly printed and produced. NOTE: This could be a memory problem with PrintMonitor, the Finder, or the application you want to print from.

And for all MacOS9.x versions, you may discover after a few months the following problems just to keep you on your toes and figuring out a solution:

  1. Can't open a SimpleText document in SimpleText

    The System file can accumulate enough garbage over time to the point it becomes corrupted. When it gets corrupted, certain applications will not open properly causing the cursor on the Finder to hang and for you to do a force restart of the Macintosh computer. Restarting the computer will not solve the application problem of launching it. Only a fresh copy of the System file will solve the problem.

  2. An increase in the size and number of invisible temporary files

    Another discovery under OS9 (especially the early versions of 9.0.x) is how the OS leaves behind invisible temporary files at the root level of your hard disk. These temporary files are created by some applications including the OS9 Finder and System. Some information is useful to help the application perform certain tasks that require lots of hard disk space and/or memory. There is also additional information stored about who you are (e.g. your email address in the Internet Config control panel, your name and organisation name stored in the System file etc), what you are using, and what you do in any of these files. The temporary files should disappear after the end of a particular task or when you quit from an application (e.g. the OS9 Finder and System at shutdown). But for some reason Apple has decided to keep these temporary files.

    November 2003

    Apple has expanded on this idea of storing information in temporary files and keeping the files on the hard disk via the release of OSX. As a result, people have noticed significant and dramatic reductions in remaining disk capacity on MacOSX volumes over time.

    April 2004

    This is why it is difficult to trash a number of temporary OSX files when running under OSX (unless you can boot in OS9, which is now virtually impossible on G5 systems) and to find a utility for OSX to autodelete any files you want at shutdown to ensure a clean startup version of the computer. And this is why Apple has designed OSX to suffer performance problems when your hard disk space is below a certain percentage of the total space (usually around 10%). Apple wants you to keep 10 per cent of the hard disk space free for the OSX to do its bookkeeping work as well as run your applications. And it does mean that if your hard disk capacity of 40GB requiring 4GB of space for OSX will be constant. If you upgrade your hard disk to 120GB, the OSX requires 12GB to do its job. Basically, the more hard disk space you have, the more information that can be stored by OSX in temporary files. In essence, your privacy is being compromised by Apple on OSX and to a lesser extent on OS9 when you are forced to keep these temporary files containing mostly unnecessary information about you and your work without your explicit and written consent.

Why do we have these problems?

It is partly because of profit, and partly as a result of keeping the software pirates busy in the hope they will decide to purchase legitimate software and to prevent them from developing too powerful tools.

There is also another reason: to encourage users to upgrade to the latest software. With OS X just around the corner, there has to be an incentive to force people to upgrade. So why not leave a number of bugs in the latest OS 9?

For example, Apple has modified OS9 to perform certain tasks needed to make it easier for Apple to sniff out and gather information about software piracy on the Macintosh computer (e.g. how extensive the problem is and who is responsible).

Also, the latest Mac OS 9 ROM/Finder/System/File Sharing/ATI files and extensions combo have not been checked for quality control or has been programmed in such a way as to entice users to upgrade older software and make the G4/G5 Macintosh systems look more attractive to G3 users. And if not, then hopefully the extra memory requirements would see G3 users purchasing extra RAM and new hard disks.

Actually there is good reason to believe OS9 is being programmed to entice users to (compromise privacy and) upgrade to OSX. A closer look at the ATI extension and Mac OS ROM shows there are certain G3 specific programs that have been removed in favour of the G4 system and Apple users have not been notified of these changes when purchasing or updating to the latest OS9 version. Instead, Apple users are being told OS9 (and OSX) should run on their G3 and older computers without realising the amount of problems these operating systems will create on G3 systems. It is quite likely Apple is trying to cash in on the sale of OS9 and OSX and once enough customers have bought the latest OS, will soon realise it is time to buy the latest G4 or G5 computers just to make everything stable again.

As a result, inexperienced OS9 users are having to ask questions as to why their system is showing unusual instability on G3 systems (and sometimes damaging their hard disks until it has to be brought into an Apple reseller for repairs or perform a file recovery service) given that MacOS8.6 is universally agreed to be more stable than OS9.0-OS9.2.2? So why the instability? Now you know why!

Is this the same as the problems being faced by G3 owners in the US?

This is very similar to the recent successful law suit against Apple Computer, Inc. by the California-based law firm of King & Ferlauto, LLP, where it was claimed G3 Macintosh users were not informed by Apple Computer, Inc. that their G3 computers manufactured after June 1998 would not be fully supported under OSX even though they were told the machines would be OSX-ready at time of purchase and even when Apple and its resellers were advertising and selling the latest OS to G3 owners that it would be okay.

According to a MacCentral.com news article dated 2 November 2003:

"The suit claimed that Apple had violated the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act by failing to support certain G3-equipped Mac models with the same features in Mac OS X available to later systems, after saying in a 1998 press release that Mac OS X would be "fully optimized" for G3 systems.

'Some G3-equipped systems lost DVD playback capabilities, support for hardware graphics acceleration using OpenGL and hardware-accelerated QuickTime movie playback, following their upgrade to Mac OS X."

As of 2 November 2003, a conditional settlement has been negotiated whereby G3 owners would be permitted to return the original OSX installation CD to Apple Computer (but only after agreeing to sign a claim form declaring the owners will not use OSX again on their G3 computers). For all the trouble gone through by the owners, Apple agrees to provide a full refund of US$129 on the purchase price for OSX or a US$25 coupon to be used for purchasing Apple hardware and software worth over US$99 from the online Apple store.

Apple Computer, Inc. has also agreed to pay legal costs not exceeding US$350,000.

The computers affected by this OSX problem are as follows:

  1. iMac (Rev. A/B) (Bondi Blue)

    Introduced in August 1998

  2. iMac (5 fruit colors) (Rev. C/D)

    Introduced in January1999 for Revision C and April 1999 for Revision D

  3. Power Mac G3 (Mini-Tower and Desktop)

    Introduced in November 1997

  4. Power Mac G3 (Mini-Tower and Desktop)

    Introduced in April 1998

  5. Power Mac G3 (Mini-Tower and Desktop)

    Introduced in August 1998

  6. Power Mac G3 (All-in-One)

    Introduced in April 1998

  7. iBook

    Introduced in September 1999

  8. iBook/iBook SE

    Introduced in February 2000

  9. PowerBook G3 Series (Rev. 1)

    Introduced in May 1998

  10. PowerBook G3 Series (Rev. 2)

    Introduced in August 1998

  11. PowerBook G3 Series (Bronze Keyboard)

    Introduced in May 1999

This refund would apply to US customers only. For G3 owners outside the US who have purchased OSX for the above machines, you may need to negotiate with Apple Computer, Inc. in your local area based on this information, or prepare a class action of your own.

For further details of the conditional settlement, click here.

As you can see, the case for OSX is very similar to the OS9.1-OS9.2.2 situation for G3 owners and, in fact, arguments could be developed along similar lines. Why? Because the same computers are affected by the OS9 instability and it involves Apple Computer, Inc choosing not to inform customers of the reduced support to G3 owners using the OS9 software.

While the situation for G3 owners with OSX is similar to OS9 users and perhaps one day if enough G3 owners get together to form a class action against Apple Computer, Inc. a solution will be found, for the moment you will have to find ways to get around this OS9.1-OS9.2.2 problem if you have the technical skills and knowhow to do so thanks to good quality information contained in this special OS9 stability report from SUNRISE.

PLEASE NOTE: Any suggestion we will make to improve this OS9 instability problem will not be perfect. You may have to do further experimentation with OS9 until everything feels stable once more. And even then, you may be forced to go back to either OS8.6 (if you have a backup disk containing this system folder version because the original OS8.6 installation CD will not allow you to go back from OS9), or move up to OSX with a corresponding extra expense of purchasing a G4 Macintosh computer to get that extra stability.

But at least we can guarantee a marked improvement in the stability of OS9 for G3 systems if you have experienced the problems below and follow the procedure to be outlined on this page.

What can I do to fix the OS9 problems?

If you are unlucky enough to experience these problems (and something for which Apple prefers not to do anything about it or at least not openly), let us do a few serious things to MacOS9.1 - 9.2.2:


  1. Do a force restart of your machine if you have crashed (no surprises here with MacOS9.2.2) and let Apple automatically run its Disk First Aid utility (unchanged from OS9.1).

    NOTE 1: Apple Computer, Inc. has decided to automatically run this utility after a system crash and during startup because it is fully aware of the problems inherent in the latest MacOS9.2.2 and original 9.0. Apple was hoping Disk First Aid will make the user think OS9 is stable once more.

    NOTE 2: If you startup under OSX and run OS9.2.2 in the Classic Environment under a G4 system, the latest OS9.2.2 appears to behave much better. Why?

    NOTE 3: If you purchase a second-hand Macintosh computer with an OS9.1 system disk burned onto a CD-R (required on all Macintosh computers sold without the original Apple CD system installation disk), don't be surprised if resellers also supply a copy of Alsoft Disk Warrior 2.1.1. You are going to need all the tools you can get to repair damaged files under OS9.2.2 over time!

  2. Turn off password security on your hard disk and virtual memory (for users of limited hard disk space) in the Memory control panel. If you have adequate hard disk space (at least 500MB), give yourself plenty of virtual memory (if you can't afford to buy extra RAM).
  3. Back up the contents of your hard disk (i.e. the one you will repair). Note that this step is optional as we have never had a problem performing these steps to create a more stable MacOS9.2.2. But for others reading this, we strongly recommend backing up your data.
  4. Do you have less than 200MB of hard disk space? Decide which applications and files you need to keep. Everything else should be backed up or trashed. This should give the mandatory minimum of 200MB of free hard disk space needed by MacOS9.x to run properly.
  5. Get another system disk and restart from this disk.
  6. Use a quality disk repair utility such as Alsoft Disk Warrior 2.1.1 (don't rely entirely on Apple's own Disk First Aid) to rebuild the hard disk and repair any disk problems it can find. Ideally, if you are booting from another system disk, do it from the disk utility's own CD startup disk.

    NOTE: Use the backup disk to replace files that may have been damaged or lost under OS9.

  7. Next, use a freeware utility called MicroMat TechTool Lite 3.0.1 or higher to properly delete the desktop files and rebuild them.
  8. The next critical step is to get yourself a fresh copy of the System and Finder files for OS9.2.2. NOTE: Try to use the latest and clean versions of these two critical files as installed by OSX version 10.3.5 for the latest updates (plus grab the latest Mac OS ROM file, or use Mac OS ROM from OS9.1 for G3 systems).

    NOTE: The Finder from OS8.6 also works under OS9 and can be used as a replacement for the Finder of OS9.2.2. However, we have found the Finder of MacOS9.2.2 to be relatively stable so long as you give it adequate memory with the help of a freeware utility called ResEdit.

  9. Send to the Trash Can at least the Finder and System files in the System Folder. Ideally, you should replace all the System files (i.e. Mac OS ROM, Classic, Classic UI Support, Login, Panel etc). Also send to the trash the Finder Preferences, System Preferences and Mac OS Preference files inside the Preferences folder. Don't empty the trash at this stage.
  10. Put in a fresh virgin copy of the OS9 System files from a reliable and clean source. We recommend that you should create a clean installation of OS9 on another disk and immediately capture its state and archive it in read-only mode by using Apple's Disk Copy 6.3.3.

    NOTE: Use this archive to supply you with a clean set of System files as soon as you notice an unusual number of errors creeping into your older OS9 system.

  11. OPTIONAL: Give extra memory to the new System and Finder files for greater stability.

    Actually, you can leave the memory requirements to Login, Panels, Classic, Classic Support, and Classic Support UI under OS9 as they are. To increase the memory size of OS9.2.2 System and the Finder:

    1. Make a copy of OS9.2.2 System and Finder to the desktop and use ResEdit to open the two files.

    2. In the System file, add an extra 100,000 bytes to the SIZE resources number -16472 and -16471 in the Preferred memory size box. While the System file is still opened in ResEdit and you are looking at all the SIZE resource, choose Get Info Resource under the Resource menu of ResEdit. Put a tick in the boxes that say "purgeable", "protected", and "preload". Do it for all SIZE resources. Save the file and quit from ResEdit.

    3. In the Finder, you can be relatively generous in the Preferred memory size box of the SIZE resource. Add an extra 1,000,000 bytes. While the Finder file is still opened in ResEdit and you are looking at the SIZE resource, choose Get Info Resource under the Resource menu of ResEdit. Put a tick in the boxes that say "purgeable", "protected", and "preload". Save the file and quit from ResEdit.

    4. Move the old Finder and System in the System Folder to the trash. Move the new modified files to the appropriate locations in the System Folder. DO NOT DELETE THE OLD FILES AS YOU MAY NEED THEM IF ANYTHING SHOULD GO WRONG.

    5. If you have done it right to this point, the System Folder should show it is active and ready for you to restart using the system software inside.

  12. Before we restart, let us delete and fully rebuild the desktop files. Use the freeware utility TechTool Pro Lite to do the job. The utility will automatically restart your computer.
  13. If everything is okay, you should notice a more responsive and stable OS9. As a final touch up for G3 systems, make sure the ATI Graphic Accelerator extension is the correct version. Our recommendation for a stable ATI extension configuration set for all G3 computers:

    ATI 3D Accelerator 5.0.4

    ATI Driver Update 2.3

    ATI Graphics Accelerator 3.8.9 (from MacOS 8.6) or 4.9.4 (from MacOS 9.0.4)

    ATI MPP Manager 1.2

    ATI Radeon 3D Accelerator 6.4.1

    ATI Rage 128 3D Accelerator 6.4.1

    ATI Resource Manager 3.1

    ATI Video Accelerator 4.8.7

  14. We also recommend that you use Mac OS ROM file version 8.4, file sharing extension 7.6.7, and Standard Addition OSAX for increased stability of OS9 on G3 systems. For example, File Sharing Extension 7.6.8 from MacOS9.2.2 is almost certainly unstable and performance is shocking when connecting to an OSX machine. Actually see the difference by going from an OSX machine running the full OS9.2.2 software in the Classic environment and see how easy or how long it takes to pick up your OS9 machine in the Chooser window. However, if your OS9 machine just happens to have a slightly older version of the File Sharing Extension, it is amazing how quickly the OS9 machine appears in the Chooser window of the OSX machine. There are also memory problems with the latest extension and it is not always able to behave as consistently as with previous versions especially with third-party network cards. We recommend you go back to version 7.6.7 of this extension. You will find this older extension in the free OS9.1 Update folder. All other relevant MacOS9.2.2 file sharing components are unchanged from MacOS9.1 and will work fine in this modified OS environment. Or please download our updated File Sharing Extension 7.6.8 instead.

    NOTE: The latest File Sharing Extension quietly installed by OSX version 10.3.5 appears to be more stable. Experiment to see which one is best for your G3 system.

  15. If you are experiencing unusual behaviour in your USB device or PCI card under MacOS9.2.2, replace USB Device Extension 1.5.9 with version 1.5.6. This should solve numerous USB device and PCI card problems observed by other users. You will find this extension by downloading the free Apple MacOS9.2.2 Update file (it is about 21.3MB in size) from the Apple web site. For older G3 systems, the USB Device Extension 1.5.9 and 1.5.6 (perhaps combined with running SimpleText 1.4) appears to create a problem with hanging in the middle of copying a file(s). Removing the extension can reduce the severity of the problem. Because most G3 computers don't have USB ports and/or slots for holding PCI cards, any USB extension can be removed without harm.
  16. Remove the Iomega extension 6.x from the Extensions folder. A lot less problems occur when this extension is not loaded up during startup.
  17. To minimise printing problems (e.g. creating PDF documents with PDFWriter from an application such as Microsoft Word 98), increase the preferred memory size of PrintMonitor in the Extensions folder using the Get Info command under the Finder's File menu to around 4,000KB and the minimum size to 1024KB. Also increase the memory size of the PDFWriter desktop printer by at least an extra 4,000KB. Printing should now be more stable.
  18. That's it! Should a problem occur during loading of the OS, please have your second System Disk at hand (preferably on CD) just in case you need to reboot from this disk. Any problems and you can always press the letter "c" on the keyboard immediately after the chime on startup to run the system software off the CD.


The preferred solution to this OS9 problem is simply to install OS8.6 on your G3 computer (which is much more stable and highly recommended in our opinion as this is the best pre-OSX system ever made). This necessitates finding a copy of the MacOS8.6 folder because OS9 does not allow you to install an older OS version.


  1. Load up a backup copy of MacOS8.6 System Folder onto the hard disk. If you don't have the luxury of MacOS8.6 on a backup disk, find someone who can give you a copy of MacOS8.5 and use the free MacOS8.6 Update to bring it up to date for your particular machine. You should be able to get this free 59MB update file directly from the Apple web site.
  2. Now update almost all the extensions and control panels of OS8.6 from OS9.0.4-OS9.2.2 (except for those that are clearly designed for OS9 and a handful of other files which don't work well for G3 systems, such as the ATI Graphic Accelerator, AppleScript and a few others).

    NOTE: You can use the Tome Viewer 1.3d utility to extract the files Mac OS ROM file version 8.4, file sharing extension 7.6.7, and Standard Addition OSAX. Replace the MacOS9.2.2 versions of these files with the older ones.

  3. You can update almost all the OS8.6 extensions and control panels with the OS9.2.2 version barring the following:

    (i) Mouse and Apple Menu Options control panels of OS9 create errors on startup (e.g. code fragment error). Keep to the OS8.6 versions.

    (ii) AppleScript 1.8.3 does not load up. Stick with OS8.6 version and make sure Standard Additions in the Scripting Additions folder of the System Folder is version 1.3.7.

    (iii) ATI extensions from OS9.2.2 are okay except the ATI Graphic Accelerator really sucks. Stick to OS8.6 of the ATI Graphic Accelerator extension or try the ATI extension version from OS9.0.4.

    (iv) Don't use Foreign File Access extension version 5.3.3 of OS9 or you will not be able to play audio CDs. Stick with OS8.6 version.

    (v) Speech 2.0.2 control panel may have trouble launching on your computer under OS8.6. Stick to version 1.5.3.

    (vi) FontSync control panel and FontSync Extension does not work under OS8.6.

    (vii) Keychain Access control panel and associated extensions don't work under OS8.6.

    (viii) Software Update control panel and associated extensions (i.e. Software Update Engine and Software Update Scheduler) requires OS9. Remove for OS8.6.

    (ix) Sherlock 2 of OS9 does not appear to work under OS9. Stick with the original Sherlock of OS8.6.

    (x) Don't use the OS9 versions of File Sharing 9.0.2, General Controls 8.0.2, Internet 1.0.2, Memory 8.1.3, Monitors 8.6.4, Mouse 8.1.1, Multiple Users 1.4.1, Sound 8.5.8, and USB Printer Sharing 1.0.2 control panels under OS8.6. They require specialist OS9 subroutines to work.

    (xi) Stick to the original File Sharing Extension and File Sharing Library of MacOS 8.6. The latest MacOS 9.2.2 file sharing extensions do work but keeps showing a message suggesting file sharing is not enabled even though it is being enabled.

  4. Replace SimpleText 1.4 as the resources may have been corrupted under OS9. Otherwise, if it loads up okay under OS8.6, then use it.
  5. Use an older version of Iomega Guest tool and extension than 6.x. It will be more stable and loads up much faster when you downgrade.
  6. Be careful which third-party extensions and control panels you are running under this hybrid system. For example, a control panel combination of MC Font Menu by Bernie Zenis, Mac Unicorn software's Turbo Internet 2.1 and ApplWindows by Hiro Yamamoto may create problems for each other and possibly other third-party applications and some Apple software (e.g. NotePad) under OS8.6 or vice versa. Applications may show an error during quitting or suddenly hang when accessing a menu command (e.g. alarm call by Tristan Perich). Or probably alarm call is more unstable. Either way, try to launch all your essential applications (especially the older ones), see if the applications are behaving properly, and quit them. Any unusual behaviour can be traced usually to a third-party extension or control panel that you thought was okay under OS9 but may not be stable under the OS8.6/9 hybrid system software.
  7. Do not install the latest Shared Library Manager 2.0.2 or Shared Library Manager PPC 2.0.2 from OS9.2.1. Stay with Shared Library Manager 2.0.1 and Shared Library Manager PPC 2.0.1 from OS8.6. Otherwise some older applications such as Aldus Persuasion 2.1 may experience unexpected crashes (although this idea is still being tested).
  8. The OS9 version of the Finder file cannot be used to replace the OS8.6 Finder while running the OS8.6 System file. Why? Apple Computer, Inc. has decided to separate the DesktopItemsLib from older versions of Finder and place it inside either the System Resources or System file of OS9, thereby forcing customers to pay for an upgrade to OS9.
  9. Stick with the ATI extensions of MacOS8.6. If you use the latest ATI extensions (especially the ATI Graphic Accelerator), certain older applications such as FileMaker Pro 3.0 will experience a problem — namely, the inability to draw the interfaces of the application using the latest ATI extension (version 5.x) leading to unexpected quits and freezes. This problem appears to be virtually non-existent using the older ATI extension (version 3.8.9 or 4.9.4).


You can use the MacOS ROM from the MacOS8.6 Update file and run it with the Mac OS 9.2.2 System and System Resources files inside the OS9.x System Folder if you like. But please keep in mind the following extensions and applications which will prevent you from doing so:

Ethernet (Built-in) 2.0.3

Remove it from the Extensions Folder inside the System Folder. Having it installed will only create errors during startup. NOTE: You should be able to access your built-in Ethernet port unless you have modified the File Sharing Extension or are seriously restricted by memory and hard disk space.

Iomega Driver 6.0.2, 6.0.8, 6.0.9 and 6.1 (4.0.2)

This extension causes the system software to hang during startup. Remove the extension and use the Iomega Guest utility to temporarily install the driver when you need it. When finished, remove the driver by double-clicking on the Iomega Guest again and pressing the "Remove Driver" button. We have found the OS is somehow unstable with the driver installed.

ATI extensions

Keep all the ATI extensions. System crashes without it during startup (i.e. at the point of showing the desktop).

QuickTime extensions

You need to keep all QuickTime extensions for any modern MacOS above version 8.0 to work (a bit like needing Microsoft Internet Explorer to run Windows 95). Otherwise system crashes. NOTE: If you want to run the full freeware version of Apple QuickTime 2.5 on OS9, disable "CD Strip" from the "Control Strip Modules" folder and all the latest QuickTime sofware extensions from the "Extensions" folder inside the "System Folder". But remember, not all applications will run on OS9 without QuickTime version 3.0 or higher installed.

Worldscript II from OS9

Appears not to work properly. Remove the extension.


Disabled during startup unless you use the complete set of OS9.x MacOS ROM, Finder, System, Login, Panels, Classic, Classic Support, and Classic Support UI files. Remove from the Extensions folder including its corresponding control panel if you don't need it.

AppleShare IP Web & File

Installing this extension can stop file sharing from being enabled. Remove it if you don't need this extension.

Apple DVD Player 1.2

All the latest MacOS9.2.2 DVD extensions for watching DVDs on your computer should work with this OS modification. However, you may need to use MacOS8.6 version of Apple DVD Player 1.3 to run movies properly. We have found Apple DVD Player 2.7 from MacOS9.2.2 appears to complain about not having access to "DVDRuntimeLibGetBounds__7CGWorldFv" even though the latest or early version of DVDRuntimeLib extension is loaded.

Adobe Acrobat Web Capture

The web capture capabilities of Adobe Acrobat 4.x or higher will work in this modified OS environment (in fact, it will work perfectly fine under pure OS8.6). Just make sure the DistillerHose extension is in the Printing Plug-ins folder inside the Extensions folder, and the Acrobat WebCapture Prefs and Acrobat WebCapture Cookies are in the Preferences folder. Question: Why does Adobe require OS9 to make web capturing work in Acrobat?

Various third-party extensions and control panels

Check all your third-party extensions to see which ones have suddenly become unstable under this hybrid OS8.6/9.x environment. Remove them or find a newer (or sometimes older) update version. Actually, this is a good time to do a bit of spring-cleaning by removing unnecessary and often poorly-programmed third-party extensions which were only barely able to survive in the pure OS9.2.2 environment. Here are some of the extensions and control panels we have found to be unstable:

FotoLook AE: This Agfa colour scanner extension is one of the few third-party extensions not to load up properly after making this hybrid OS modification. Remove it. You can still do your scanning using the standard Agfa scanning tools or the Agfa plug-ins installed in your favourite image manipulation programs.

ButtonKey 1.2: This useful but very old third-party Control Panel appears to be more unstable. Remove.

FinderPop 1.9.2 or higher: This third-party Control Panel may be more unstable especially when it uses its own hierarchical menu system to override OS9's version. Disable this hierarchical menu system feature from within the control panel under the Behaviour tab window.

TurboMem 1.1.1: There may be problems using this utility. For those Apple users running this freeware utility from Mac Unicorn Software for managing application memory (e.g. defragmenting RAM, stealing memory from other applications etc), we recommend that you go into your Preferences section of TurboMem and remove the ticks in the boxes that say, "Use RAM when possible", "Give apps more memory when needed" and "Allocate the smallest possible value to background apps". It is likely the utility may try to steal memory from the Finder at crucial times to help run other "generally older" applications (e.g. FileMaker Pro 3.0) or instead try to reduce unused memory in the Finder only to cause the Finder to crash soon after and so bring down with it other applications in the process. Or better still, remove TurboMem altogether. Who needs it?

More problems with OS9?

AppleTalk problems

Under OS9 with limited hard disk space, your computer may not allow AppleTalk to switch to your preferred network connection because it quits suddenly. Restarting the computer with only the essential extensions and control panels may not solve the problem. However it may show the type of error when using the AppleTalk control panel (i.e. Error 25 which is Memory Full). If this is the case, turn off Virtual Memory in the Memory control panel. Also using version 7.6.7 of File Sharing Extension appears to handle limited memory much better.

Given how many problems the original MacOS9.2.2 is presenting itself over time (probably because people have too many third-party extensions and control panels installed or Apple doesn't want too many people to use OS9 now that OSX is available), we wonder whether Apple Computer, Inc. has got their ideas for a bug-riddled MacOS9 from James Bond's Tomorrow Never Dies where the bad guys developed a crucial software filled with lots of bugs designed to force everyone to upgrade for years to come!

Aldus Persuasion

More issues to contend with in the purely native MacOS9.x environment. It would appear that every time you run an older application such as Aldus Persuasion on OS9, the interface does not look quite the same but at least you can still use it. However, if you suddenly go back to MacOS8.1 or 8.6, the resource fork of Aldus Persuasion has been sufficiently modified to the point that it looks like it is running under OS9. Only a fresh copy of Aldus Persuasion running on the older OSes will show the original interface.

Has Apple provided an OS9.2.2 update?

Not officially. Unofficially though, Apple Computer, Inc. has made available in March 2003 a slightly enhanced "Custer" CD version of MacOS 9.2.2 called MacTest Pro (G4) for use by authorised Apple staff and technicians. The CD consists of what appears to be the standard MacOS9.2.2 System and Finder files but with an updated MacOS ROM version 9.8.1. A variety of tools have also been thrown in to help Apple staff and technicians test your G4 computer.

This MacOS ROM version added to the CD is designed to permit all G4 computers introduced after December 2002 to boot under pure OS9 mode including the aluminium PowerBook G4 laptops, eMacs, all flat-panel iMacs, and the more powerful Power Mac G4 computers.

Will it improve the stability and performance of the official commercial version of MacOS9.2.2 for Apple customers?

Well, Apple Computer, Inc. has provided an update to the ATI Driver Update extension (now version 2.3 instead of 2.0.4 for the commercial MacOS9.2.2 version), and the Open Transport extension (version 2.8 instead of 2.7.9). With this in mind, we have noticed a slight increase in speed with accessing another machine using File Sharing via the latest Open Transport extension and MacOS ROM. But then again it could be a placebo effect. Again we have to test the idea first before a final conclusion can be made.

But one thing is certain. You can use the Mac OS ROM version 9.8.1 on MacOS 8.6 or MacOS 9.2.2 system software. It will slow down the menu performance when scrolling on MacOS 8.6. But when you add the ATI extensions including the latest ATI Driver Update version 2.3, speed is returned to normal. Also the launching of the Classic Environment on a G4 computer running OSX appears to be significantly quicker although more testing is being carried out.

Adding the Custer system file to the MacOS 8.6 or MacOS9.2.2 also seems to be okay. Again, it is hard to tell whether this file provides any extra stability and enhancement features to the commercial system software versions of MacOS 8.6 or MacOS9.2.2.


This update causes Microsoft Outlook Express to crash more often in the Classic Environment of OSX. We recommend that you keep the latest Open Transport and ATI Driver Update, but ignore all the other files including the Mac OS ROM as this appears to make some applications more unstable.

OSX version 10.3.5 and OS9

Apple is now providing some updates to OS9.2.2 on a quiet level. But you will have to purchase OSX version 10.3.5 "Panther" or 10.4 "Tiger" to get the benefits (or better still, purchase a cheap second-hand Macintosh computer from someone else and it will almost certainly come with a free OSX installation CD burned on CD-R which is essential for every Macintosh). In version 10.3.5 of OSX, Apple has updated the AppleShare extension, the ATI extensions, Mac OS ROM, and the Classic Support system files for compatibility with the latest OSX, to name a few.

These updates do appear to make OS9 more stable for G4 systems (forget about G3 systems for the moment). There are only three problems remaining with OS9 following the latest updates: (i) Copying a file can cause intermittent hanging when starting or ending the copying process (still not resolved since OS9 was released); (ii) copying (or deleting) a large number of files (especially now that Adobe Acrobat Distiller 5 likes to create thousands of small text files during the distilling process and OSX applications can contain thousands of resource files) can cause the Finder to suddenly quit; and (iii) accessing the network with other OS9 machines can be quick initially, but very slow to pick up other machines in the Chooser afterwards if you have to remount servers. Usually it is quicker to restart the computer in order to reestablish network access.

Apple releases PowerBook Firmware Update for OS9.1 or higher

Apple has released a PowerBook Firmware 4.1.8 Update (988K) designed for laptops with in-built FireWire ports and running OS9.1 or higher. According to Apple's release notes:

"Firmware Update 4.1.8 includes improvements to Firewire target disk mode, network booting, gigabit networking (on systems with gigabit hardware), and system stability."

We will be testing the system stability to see if this is true. Can't download the update? Click here.

21 January 2004

The firmware update has not solved the hanging problem when copying files. A new hard drive does not make a difference either. All we can say is that it never existed in OS8 or earlier. This is entirely unique to OS9. Apple has yet to permanently solve this issue.

More on the ATI extension problem

We are of the firm belief the ATI Graphic Accelerator is unstable for G3 computers. We have based this conclusion after performing some simple tests. For example, we have found the following fully up-to-date versions of the ATI extensions to be unstable for G3 computers:

ATI 3D Accelerator 5.0.4

ATI Driver Update 2.0.4 - 2.3

ATI Graphics Accelerator 5.4.9

ATI MPP Manager 1.2

ATI Radeon 3D Accelerator 6.4.1

ATI Rage 128 3D Accelerator 6.4.1

ATI Resource Manager 3.1

ATI Video Accelerator 4.8.7

The following versions of the ATI extensions as provided by the standard MacOS 9.1 Update file are also unstable:

ATI 3D Accelerator 5.0.3

ATI Driver Update 2.0.4 - 2.3

ATI Graphics Accelerator 5.2.4

ATI MPP Manager 1.2

ATI Radeon 3D Accelerator 6.1.3

ATI Rage 128 3D Accelerator 5.9.8

ATI Resource Manager 2.7.3

ATI Video Accelerator 4.6.5

However, the exact version provided by the standard MacOS 9.0.4 Update file appears to be okay for G3 systems:

ATI 3D Accelerator 4.9.7 (MacOS 9.0.4)

ATI Driver Update 1.5.3 (MacOS 9.0.4)

ATI Graphics Accelerator 4.9.4 (MacOS 9.0.4)

ATI Rage 128 3D Accelerator 5.8.1 (MacOS 9.0.4)

ATI Resource Manager 2.4.8 (MacOS 9.0.4)

ATI Video Accelerator 4.8.5 (MacOS 9.2.2)

Similarly the original MacOS8.6 ATI extensions are also fine.

So we've decided to use the latest ATI extensions in everything except the ATI Graphics Accelerator. This included using the very latest Driver Update 2.3 from the MacTest Pro (G4) and the latest ATI Video Accelerator, ATI Rage 128 3D Accelerator and ATI Radeon 3D Accelerator extensions from MacOS9.2.2. What we have found is that this configuration is stable for G3 computers. If you try to update the ATI Graphics Accelerator beyond version 4.9.4 (e.g. from MacOS 9.1, 9.2.1 and 9.2.2), graphic drawing on G3 computers can suddenly create unexpected quits and freezing after using several applications.

So here is our recommendation for a stable ATI extension configuration set for all G3 computers:

ATI 3D Accelerator 5.0.4

ATI Driver Update 2.3

ATI Graphics Accelerator 3.8.9 (from MacOS 8.6) or 4.9.4 (from MacOS 9.0.4)

ATI MPP Manager 1.2

ATI Radeon 3D Accelerator 6.4.1

ATI Rage 128 3D Accelerator 6.4.1

ATI Resource Manager 3.1

ATI Video Accelerator 4.8.7

For further information about the various ATI extensions and which ones are suitable, including where they may be downloadable for your OS 9-configured G3 or G4 Mac, check out http://psychtoolbox.org/PTB-2/mac.html#drivers.

There also appears to be a ZIP file containing the above recommended ATI extensions (with the exception of the ATI Driver Update, which is only at 2.1.2 instead of 2.3). If you need these extensions for your G3 Mac, try this link.

Improving your privacy on OS9

As you may have noticed, OS9 leaves behind invisible temporary files inside the invisible Temporary Items Folder at the root level of your hard disk. In previous incarnations of the MacOS (i.e. prior to version 9.1), these temporary files were automatically deleted (or moved to the Trash Can) by the operating system. In MacOS 9.1, however, the files are no longer deleted or moved. Such information could be useful to other people while your machine is connected to a network. So for good security, you will need to delete these files every time you restart your computer. Some of the recommended freeware utilities to do the job of clearing the temporary files properly include Eradicator 1.2.2, AutoDelete 1.0.1, or AutoPurge 2.5.1.

Alternatively, use the Sherlock Find File utility to search for all recently modified and/or created visible and invisible files on your hard disk to see which files should or should not be there. This includes any temporary files and preference files that have expanded suddenly to whopping great big file sizes for no good reason other than because Apple likes it that way. Do this after restarting your computer to see which files have remained on the hard disk.

NOTE: Some visible preference files in the Preference folder can also store unexpected and irrelevant information. For example, the Apple Menu Options Prefs under OS9 can suddenly expand to 100K or more because for some reason Apple wants to store information about all the applications you use and have sitting on your hard disk. This is unnecessary considering the Apple Menu Options control panel works perfectly fine when the preference file is no larger than 738 bytes. If you find this a rampant problem, use AppleScript to build and create a self-running application for replacing the preference file with a clean version on startup. Place the script in the Startup folder inside the System folder for the application to launch and do its job automatically and without hassles.

NOTE: Apple Menu Options may also suddenly turn on recently used applications, servers and files from time-to-time. You will have to manually turn them off from time-to-time.