Tuesday, September 8, 2009

iMAC G5 Software

Mac OS X 10.3.5 is installed on the iMac G5, and Apple's new Setup Assistant runs when you turn on the computer the first time, offering you the option to migrate the files from another Mac that supports FireWire Disk Target mode. The source computer must have a FireWire port and be running an appropriate version of Mac OS X. Alternatively, you can connect a FireWire drive containing a clone of your old system and use that instead.

We didn't go through this process when we first started the computer, but later did launch the Setup Assistant and copied the files from a Power Mac G5 across to the iMac G5.

This went very easily - just hook up the cable, restart the source computer while holding down the 'T' key, and select what you want to copy. You can choose to copy a selected users files, as well as the contents of the Applications folder, network settings and desktop files. This is easy to use, but you can't choose individual folders or files. It took us about three hours to transfer 100 GB of data.

Classic was not installed by default on our machine (as it isn't on many machines Apple is now shipping.) Classic is included on the "Additional Software and Apple Hardware Test" disc. Apple's "Install Mac OS 9 to use Classic applications" Knowledge Base article describes the process.

Installation was simple enough, although the first time we ran a Mac OS 9 application, Mac OS X said that it could not locate an installation of Classic. Using the Classic control panel, it was easy enough to locate the Classic System folder, and then we were set. We had to repeat this process in each user account we had set up. We also discovered that we had two copies of Classic installed; the other having been transferred from the Power Mac G5.

Setup Assistant doesn't handle all types of files, and some software from your old system may not work on the new system without being re-installed. In our case, we found both PGP and Kensington trackball features failed. Repairing permissions had no effect. These applications rely on "kernel extensions" (.kext), which Setup Assistant apparently avoids transferring for fear of creating low-level incompatibilities.

We also tried booting the iMac G5 from an external FireWire drive with clone of Mac OS X 10.3.5 from a Power Mac G4 installed. This booted successfully, but we found a critical feature missing: Energy Saver's Processor Performance option.

The iMac comes with a larger collection of software than our Power Mac G5 of a year ago. Along with programs like Safari, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and iTunes that we have come to expect, GarageBand is included, along with Quicken 2004 (QuickBooks came with the Power Mac), World Book 2004 Edition, the game Marble Blast Gold, and AppleWorks 6. Interestingly, we had erased the drive and reinstalled the software from CD-ROM after the iMac arrived, and AppleWorks was not installed by default. We had to run the Install Bundled Software application, go into Customize and select the English-language version of AppleWorks we wanted to install.

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