The Senior Macintosh Center
My Mac Magazine #35, March ’98

Greetings, o’ wise readers of this column. Allow your humble servant to play the bard and impart to you a tale; to spin a yarn of intrigue and mystery. A journey. No, more than that: a quest. Yes, a glorious quest teeming with pitfalls and challenges…

Whoa…where was I going with that? Well, I recently had a gentleman write to me with a question regarding upgrading the System software on his old Mac. It was that very question that started me on an adventurous journey that evolved into a true quest. And hooboy, can it get crazy!

When last we met, I was spouting off about older Macs and that sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and get a new one to keep up with the times. I don’t want to start that tirade again so I must deal with the issues at present. You’ve got a Mac (let’s use an LC III for this exercise, ‘cuz that’s what I have) and it’s running its original System software (version 7.1, with those lovely little enablers that make you want to scream). Now, let’s say you have to upgrade your System software because you’ve just bought a new printer that requires “System 7.5.3 or higher.” Stay with me. Let your servant help you on this seemingly simple quest.

First and foremost, how much RAM do you have? You probably already know, but if you don’t, remember that System software, Finder, and RAM information for any Mac OS machine can be found by selecting “About This Macintosh (or Computer)…” under the Apple Menu. Now, an LC III comes with 4MB and is upgradeable to a maximum of 36MB. You can use Virtual Memory or Connectix RAM Doubler, but for physical memory, 36MB is the LCIII’s limit. But 16 MB, or even 8 MB of actual RAM should be enough to get you up and running.

Next, what programs are you currently running on your Mac? MacWrite II, perhaps? Games? “Gunshy” maybe? Alright, listen to someone who’s been where you are. You need to either upgrade everything in this project or you’re going to be kicking your dog/cat/fish/ when you get home. You know the SPCA doesn’t like that, so just go ahead and upgrade your software. Better yet, buy some new stuff (that’s for all you developers out there… you’re welcome.)

Here’s a rule that I go by and it has worked quite well: any software that is over two years old has got to go. I realize you don’t want to hear that, but I’m being your friend.

Now that we have those little items taken care of, let’s UPGRADE (yeah!). To go from 7.1 to 7.5.3 is a 2-step process. Repeat, a TWO-STEP process. First, you mix all ingredients… Duh! Sorry… wrong instructions. First, you have to install System 7.5 on your Mac. I highly recommend updating the driver with the Drive setup or HDSC setup. Then install 7.5. From there you can install the System Update 2.0, otherwise known as 7.5.3. From there, you add your applications one at a time, stirring until creamy (Duh, sorry). Total Preparation Time: 1 hour.

One of the few drawbacks about this type of project is that even though you are upgrading your System software, you aren’t going to see an upgrade in processor speed or functionality. I’m not being pessimistic, just realistic. Remember, it’s an LC III. On the plus side, your Mac will run more efficiently and thus a tad faster, should crash less, and will be able to run software previously unavailable.

And so, as the curtain slowly descends on our presentation to you this evening, we wish to thank you for your continued patronage and anxiously look forward to your return. And I thank you. :^D

Catcha L8r

Ed Tobey (

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