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Power Mac 7200: OS 9.2.2

Mac OS 9.1 is officially the final OS supported on the Power Mac 7200. I've got a new PCI graphics card and PCI USB card on the way and so I'll need Mac OS 9.2.2 for full compatibility. Below details how to achieve this.

Mac OS 9 Lives

I had previously downloaded 9.2.2 from here. It's known as Mac OS 9 Lives and it comes as an ISO with Apple Software Restore and a disk image of a partition with 9.2.2 fully installed. To install the software you only need to run the restore and it'll turn a partition on your local machine into a bootable system image.

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..of course, I installed this and rebooted and got the standard This startup disk will not work on this Macintosh. I assume from here you could hack the system folder and edit the gestalt ID matching code (as was done with the 68k) but I instead chose to use OS9 Helper.

To get my machine booting again, I had to find a boot disk that worked fine on my hardware to switch back to the 9.1 startup disk. My old Presto PPC boot disk wouldn't work on this PowerPC... so I had to guess how to boot from a CD. Turns out, with the 9.2.2 boot/firmware, that holding down C at boot will startup from the CD.

Official 9.2.2 ISOs

If you want the real ISO, then go there's more information on it at Macintosh Garden: Mac OS 9.2.2 Universal. You can also get it at winworldpc.

This wasn't going to work either, so I started researching and heard out about...

OS9 Helper

There's quite a few links that explain how the Power Mac 7200 owner should use OS9 Helper to hack OS 9.2.2 into submission. The basic idea is to download OS9 Helper and run it on your machine.

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This application will not hack/fix an installed version of OS 9.2.2. Instead, it requires that a version of 9.1 or a patched version of 9.2.1 reside on a local hard disk. It will then update this to the version you require.

This stopped me from using the partition I'd just created with Mac OS 9 Lives and therefore made me use my previous 9.1 startup disk.

The app requires that the relevant Apple OS Update for the version you wish to install be downloaded locally. I didn't try the download links available... instead I searched the net. Finding this was much easier than expected; it turns out that my own ISP still has a cache of Macintosh software! iinet's public FTP located here has a whole swathe of archaic Apple software to download!

Once you've got the required updater, re-run OS9 Helper. I quickly found out that you can't just jump to 9.2.2, you'll need to follow the upgrade steps and install 9.2.1 first. Installing 9.2.1 via OS9 Helper is a breeze. Once done, restart your Mac. It should boot back up to your desktop without issue.

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Once booted, set up 9.2.1. You're now ready to apply the 9.2.2 update. Do this via OS9 Helper once again.

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And now you're done!

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  1. Did you really do this, just last year??
    In a fit of nostalgia, I just scored a G3-upgraded Powerbook 2400c (and, separately, an Orinoco Gold wireless card).

    I had completely forgotten OS9 Helper, as a means of installing OS 9.2 (I don’t feel like buying an external SCSI CDROM, just to install an OS).

    The machine came with a lot of old software, which brings back some memories. Hopefully, I can hold onto some of it, after the 9.2 upgrade.

    I’m also eyeing an mSATA to PATA adapter, as the lappy has PATA/IDE. I’m not sure what size to get, for the mSATA drive, but anything up to 120GB is priced to move to the 120GB (which, IIRC, is the max OS 9 will support, without other software). Yeah, it sounds a bit odd, to pack that much space into this thing, but, when I mention smaller sizes are priced to move the larger drive, the 60GB mSATA I’m looking at is only $15 less than the 120. Both are Kingston drives.

    What else are you rnuning in your 7200? read the bit about the PC compatibility card.

    • Antionio,

      That Powerbook sounds awesome. Is the wireless card supported? Wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the same chipset as in the Airport range.

      I’ve already sold the 7200. Played my games on it, toyed with DOS/Windows, etc… Was a very nice machine.

      It really is fun speccing out these old machines to their limits… just watch out for old processes that never expected such large quantities of RAM or HD. I know my Quadra 950 took forever to boot as it counted each byte of RAM (of which I maxxed out.)


      • Hey Stecen,
        The machine arrived with the Orinoco and WaveLAN drivers installed, as the previous owner was using the silver edition of the card. However, from what I’ve researched, OS 9 is supposed to support it, out-of-the-box.

        I’m just about to crack this thing open and install the SSD- I mounted it, via a USB adapter, to an old clamshell iBook, and used the Classic environment, in 10.4, to perform a fresh install of 9.1 (I don’t have any OS 9 CDs, nor do I have an optical drive for the 2400c). I’m using the mSATA to PATA adapter I mentioned. My only concern is that the SSD may have a power requirement the 2400c can’t meet. S’okay, though, I’d planned to open it up, anyhow, to Cardbus-enable the PCMCIA slots, as well as move a resistor, to enable 24-bit color.

        Speak of enabling 24-bit color, there’s a second set of pads available, on the logic board, for second VRAM chip. If I can order the same chip, or scavenge one from a dead machine, I might see if it’ll recognize more VRAM.


  2. OK, so the mSATA to PATA adapter didn’t work, and didn’t work when connected to a USB-powered multiport PATA/SATA test device I have- I think, because of voltage requirements for the mSATA drive. There are configurations mentioned aorund the internet which do work, but Transcend makes PATA SSDs, in a range of sizes, so I decided to save myself some trial and error, purchased one of those, and it just works.

    Installed OS 9.1 via Classic, in OS X, over USB, using the aforementioned adapter, using an iBook. Had to manually bless the System folder, going that route. Installed the 9.2.1 and 9.2.2 updates, using OS9Helper.

    AirPort 2.0 supports the Orinoco card. Oddly, while it comes with a PC Card extension (what supports the card), the installer does not recognize it, so I had to use TomeViewer, to extract the files and install them, manually (i.e., “copy-paste install”).

    The difference in speed, with the SSD, is phenomenal.


    • Antonio,

      Well done on the install. Am not quite surprised that the card wasn’t recognised… but neat trick getting around that. Apple do really love to lock down their hardware; and there’s a good argument to that too.

      SSD in a Powerbook must be fantastic. Did you get the 24-bit colour working? Is the resistor in place to stop 24-bit as there isn’t enough ram to support the native resolution?


  3. Man, I had a 7200/90 and 8.5.1 was bad enough on it. Can’t believe you got 9.2.2 on it. How fast is it?

    • pacmania1982,

      I must admit that I never fully used the OS once installed. I did play 7th Guest, and I remember very smooth audio and video. But then it was time to move to another project; my goal of getting the OS to run was accomplished.

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