• Please review our updated Terms and Rules here
  • Exhibitor application for VCF West 2022 is now open! If you are interested in exhibiting, please fill out the form here.

Accessing System 7 files

Fallingwater

Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Messages
47
I have a Powerbook 145b I'm using for writing. Unfortunately it has a dead hard drive, so I'm booting off a system floppy I managed to install TeachText on (no, using the super-expensive flash card interface is not an option). There is nothing on the floppy but the system and the text editor, but even that leaves me with only about 80kb free for my text files. Wondering whether there was some way to further pare down the system I tried looking for the MacOS files, but I don't know how to handle them.

Opening the floppy in HFV Explorer there's a "system files" directory which contains a "system" file and a "finder" file. They get copied to Windows as a 852kb "system.bin" and a 293kb "finder.bin". What do I do with these? Can they be opened and tinkered with?

Is there any way of slimming down either of them? I'm thinking since this is a universal System7 disk it must contain various drivers for systems different than my Powerbook, and since I don't need them I could perhaps delete them and gain back some much-needed space.

I do not have access to any other Apple computers, new or old, but I can run Linux if needed.
 

ClassicHasClass

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
1,583
Location
Sunny So Cal
What's the system floppy in question? You could try using the Finder/System pair from the Network Access disk. Those are about as slimmed down as you can get.
 

Fallingwater

Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Messages
47
I found a "screen saver" floppy that had the sole purpose of booting system 7.5 and then running a screensaver. I deleted everything that wasn't the system from it, and I ended up having a few more kilobytes free compared to a completely empty network access disk.

Again, though, both this and the network access disk must have drivers on it that I don't need, no?
 

GiGaBiTe

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2015
Messages
2,735
Location
Austin, Texas
If you're using System 7.5, you should try using System 7.0.1 instead. System 7.5 is pretty bloated and slow, especially for a machine with only 2-8 MB of RAM.

You can use ResEdit to further slim down the system briefcase, but you have to be very careful about what resources you're deleting to avoid making it not work entirely. The system briefcase contains fonts, sounds, drivers, icons, etc. that can be carefully selectively deleted but I don't think much space can be saved.

Another option would be to use a null modem cable between the PB 145b and a PC:

http://www.ccadams.org/se/serial.html

You could transfer files back and forth with a terminal program.
 

krebizfan

Veteran Member
Joined
May 23, 2009
Messages
5,379
Location
Connecticut
Can't you eject the bootup floppy and put in a blank data floppy and swap disks as needed?

Edit: If System 7.5 works like 6 and below in floppy only cases, putting TeachText on the data floppy would reduce the number of disk swaps.
 
Last edited:

Stone

10k Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
12,814
Location
South Jersey, USA
Have you considered converting these writings to a more accessible format and continuing on from there? Why beat your head against a wall? :)
 

ClassicHasClass

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
1,583
Location
Sunny So Cal
I found a "screen saver" floppy that had the sole purpose of booting system 7.5 and then running a screensaver. I deleted everything that wasn't the system from it, and I ended up having a few more kilobytes free compared to a completely empty network access disk.

Again, though, both this and the network access disk must have drivers on it that I don't need, no?

Yes. If you can get it booting and doing what you need with extensions off (hold down SHIFT as it boots), then you can dispense with the extensions and control panel folders entirely. As others have cautioned, I'd be very careful about deleting resources out of the System file. The NA disk is pretty tight already.
 

Timo W.

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2014
Messages
1,362
Location
Germany
Can't you eject the bootup floppy and put in a blank data floppy and swap disks as needed?
No, it will ask you to insert the system disk as soon as you press any of the mouse buttons (no joke!)

System 7 simply wasn't made to rum from floppy disk. At least not when having only a single one.
 

Fallingwater

Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Messages
47
If you're using System 7.5, you should try using System 7.0.1 instead. System 7.5 is pretty bloated and slow, especially for a machine with only 2-8 MB of RAM.
The 145b only supports 7.1 through 7.6.1, and I was unable to find a barebones bootable 7.1 floppy with more available disk space than the aforementioned "screensaver" floppy with 7.5 on it. I'd be glad to try if someone can tell me where I can find a 7.1 bootable floppy and if I can get TeachText to run on it.

You can use ResEdit to further slim down the system briefcase, but you have to be very careful about what resources you're deleting to avoid making it not work entirely. The system briefcase contains fonts, sounds, drivers, icons, etc. that can be carefully selectively deleted but I don't think much space can be saved.
Thanks, I'll look into this.

Can't you eject the bootup floppy and put in a blank data floppy and swap disks as needed?
Nope. I tried, and it immediately complains and tells me to reinsert it. I guess 4MB of RAM isn't enough to run the system from.

Have you considered converting these writings to a more accessible format and continuing on from there? Why beat your head against a wall? :)
They already are in an accessible format. Can't get any more accessible than .txt.

As for the hardware itself: I have three modern multi-core computers, at least eight older single-core desktops ranging from a 5x86 to a Thunderbird 1.4, so many laptops from the last decade and a half that I can't be arsed counting them, five netbooks, a Nec 900C, an Alphasmart Dana, a Palm IIIx with the foldable keyboard, a Toshiba NC100 and a constantly increasing number of tablets and bluetooth keyboards ("hey, I've decided to upgrade from this tablet because it doesn't run Lollipop, do you want it or should I throw it out?"). Trust me: if I wanted something else to type on, I'd be typing on something else.

I just like the 145b's feel, its keyboard and its massive trackball. I actually built a custom lithium-ion battery for it so I can use it around.

Yes. If you can get it booting and doing what you need with extensions off (hold down SHIFT as it boots), then you can dispense with the extensions and control panel folders entirely. As others have cautioned, I'd be very careful about deleting resources out of the System file. The NA disk is pretty tight already.
It does boot with the extensions off and TeachText runs, but the extensions and control panel folders are already empty in the disk I'm using. Would it make any difference if I deleted them altogether? I'm assuming not, but I don't yet have a full grasp of old Mac filesystems.
 
Last edited:

Stone

10k Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
12,814
Location
South Jersey, USA
They already are in an accessible format. Can't get any more accessible than .txt.

As for the hardware itself: I have three modern multi-core computers, at least eight older single-core desktops ranging from a 5x86 to a Thunderbird 1.4, so many laptops from the last decade and a half that I can't be arsed counting them, five netbooks, a Nec 900C, an Alphasmart Dana, a Palm IIIx with the foldable keyboard, a Toshiba NC100 and a constantly increasing number of tablets and bluetooth keyboards ("hey, I've decided to upgrade from this tablet because it doesn't run Lollipop, do you want it or should I throw it out?"). Trust me: if I wanted something else to type on, I'd be typing on something else.

I just like the 145b's feel, its keyboard and its massive trackball. I actually built a custom lithium-ion battery for it so I can use it around.
Sounds like you're screwed.

I hope your head and the wall are friends. :)
 

ClassicHasClass

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
1,583
Location
Sunny So Cal
Would it make any difference if I deleted them altogether?

Very little, unfortunately.

I'd look into getting an external hard disk assembly at this point. This is going to be like a Labrador retriever balancing on a telephone wire. :p
 

GiGaBiTe

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2015
Messages
2,735
Location
Austin, Texas
The 145b only supports 7.1 through 7.6.1, and I was unable to find a barebones bootable 7.1 floppy with more available disk space than the aforementioned "screensaver" floppy with 7.5 on it. I'd be glad to try if someone can tell me where I can find a 7.1 bootable floppy and if I can get TeachText to run on it.

Lowendmac said the 145b could run 7.0.1, they must be incorrect. You've probably already tried 7.0.1 if you say it won't work.
 
Top