This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 1996-09-23 at 12:00 p.m.
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Apple Releases System 7.5.5 Update

by Geoff Duncan

After a delay of a few weeks, Apple has released the much-anticipated System 7.5.5 Update, billed as a collection of fixes and updates designed to improve the performance and reliability of Macs running System 7.5.3. The update is available as both a set of three floppy disk images and as a single "net install" archive; either way, the update is about 4.1 MB in size. Apple has made the update available on a number of its own servers as well as third-party sites, and Apple is maintaining a list of sites carrying the update. A URL to one download site is included below, along with a URL to Apple's list of sites.

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If you use the floppy disk version, you will need a program like ShrinkWrap to copy the image files to physical disks or to mount them on your desktop.

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In the U.S., customers can order a floppy disk version of the update from Apple/Claris for $13 by calling 800/293-6617.

What's Included -- The 7.5.5 Update does not contain a plethora of new features, cool gizmos, and funky icons nestled in your System folder. Instead, the update is primarily a set of under-the-hood patches, fixes, and updates to System 7.5.3, including important updates to Virtual Memory, the SCSI Manager, LocalTalk and Ethernet networking, as well as a number of fixes for specific types of Macs. In addition, System 7.5.5 includes a welcome fix to the Modern Memory Manager that eliminates one cause of the infamous "Type 11 errors" on all Power Macs.

The primary features of the 7.5.5 Update are as follows:

The System 7.5.5. Update also includes a number of machine-specific fixes:

Installing the 7.5.5 Update -- The System 7.5.5 Update can only be installed on Macs running System 7.5.3. If you're currently using a System prior to 7.5.3, you must upgrade to 7.5.3 using the System 7.5 Update 2.0 before updating to 7.5.5. (See TidBITS-318 for information on upgrading to 7.5.3.) For a system version prior to 7.5, you must purchase System 7.5 before updating to 7.5.5. The updater temporarily needs about 10 MB of free hard disk space to complete the installation. If you're upgrading to System 7.5.3, please take care to update your disk drivers to SCSI Manager 4.3-compliant drivers before upgrading.

The System 7.5.5 update incorporates fixes included in System 7.5.3 Revision 2 (see TidBITS-332), so there's no need to install it before the 7.5.5 Update.

Before installing, make sure to read the ReadMe file for the Update and the installation notes below. Although it should go without saying, always back up before installing any new version of the system software.

Apple expects localized versions of the System 7.5.5 Update will become available in the next several weeks. Don't be misled by the many translations of the license agreement available in the Installer: the update currently available works on U.S. system software only. Do not try to install it on non-U.S. systems.

Before running the 7.5.5 Update installer, Apple recommends you run Disk First Aid on your startup drive. (Disk First Aid is included with the update.) If the program detects any problems, Apple recommends you repair them with Disk First Aid or another disk repair program before proceeding. Assuming your drive checks out, go to the Extensions Manager control panel and select "System 7.5.3" from the Sets pop-up menu. (If you use a third-party extension management tool, the precise steps will vary.) After that, re-enable any drivers for removable drives, video cards, or third-party input devices (Zip drives, third-party mice, etc.) that you need to install the update.

Also, I've seen reports of installer problems if you have version 1.x of the Energy Saver control panel installed. (This version is used on NuBus Power Macs and some Quadras which can use Energy Saver monitors, but can't put the entire system to sleep.) Before installing the 7.5.5 Update, remove Energy Saver 1.1 from your Control Panels folder, then put it back after you've updated to System 7.5.5.

After setting your extensions and control panels correctly, restart your computer and run the 7.5.5 Update installer. The 7.5.5 Update installer is simple - there are no Custom Install options to worry about: just select your startup disk and click Install (after reading the licence agreement - it's available in ten languages, so you can practice your foreign language skills). As the installation completes, the Installer will say that it's optimizing your system for speed, which means it's decompressing resources in your system file for faster access. When it's finished, the installer will restart your computer, at which time you can re-enable your third-party extensions and control panels.

Please note there is no Remove option in the 7.5.5 Update installer. Since the updater patches the System file and updates existing code with non-optional updates, the installer isn't coded to go back and remove optional portions of the installation. Be sure to back up your system before you install the update!

Important to Note -- The following known problems and issues apply to the System 7.5.5 Update:

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What About System 7.5.4? A number of readers have asked why Apple skipped from System 7.5.3 to System 7.5.5. The simple answer is that there was a System 7.5.4: it was completed and distributed to key developers a few weeks ago. However, last-minute issues with IR Talk and Virtual Memory preferences on 5400/6400-series computers and a minor revision to the Energy Saver control panel needed to be included, so Apple decided to increment the version number rather than deal with two "final" versions of System 7.5.4.

Additional Information -- Despite the plethora of detail in this article, there's still more information available. Apple has released a detailed technical note about the 7.5.5 Update of particular interest to power users and developers. In addition, Ric Ford's MacInTouch site and Ted Landau's Sad Macs Update Site both carry copious information about the update - the sheer volume may be a little overwhelming, but good information can be found at both locations.

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