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TidBITS#104/System 7

System 7 has been out for over eight months and zillions of people swear by (and occasionally at) it. Do you? If so, check out our System 7 tips and tidbits. We've got obvious tips, obscure tips, useful tips, fun tips, and perhaps most importantly, a list of the preferences stored in the mysterious Parameter RAM and Finder Preferences. This stuff is way cool.


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7 Introduction

by Eric Apgar -
Robert Hess -
Adam C. Engst -
and help from many others as well....

System 7 is without a doubt Apple's most ambitious system upgrade ever, giving us additional power and complexity. In this issue, we bring you a grab bag of tricks and tips for squeezing the last drop of productivity and enjoyment out of your System 7 Mac. Eric Apgar has collected many of these methods, and we've selected the best for your reading pleasure with the able assistance of Robert Hess. These tips range from the mundane to the unexpected, so read on and enjoy.

First, a note from Eric. "The following are various tricks and tips I have come across. If you have any questions drop me a line. These are my tips, not Apple's!"

Speed Increases

Although System 7 operates a little faster than System 6 in some cases, many find that it feels slower, especially in the Finder. Here are a few ways to increase your Mac's reaction time (playing video games on your Mac can help its eye/hand coordination too).

Shape up your hard disk

Free up RAM

Monitor your screen display

Installation Information

Finder Functionality


Files, Folders, & Disks

Finder Preferences

The following are Finder-specific preferences stored in the Finder Preferences file. Note that some preferences affecting portions of the user interface extend to other applications, such as window title shading.

default: Geneva 9
default: straight grid, "Always snap to grid" not selected
default: smallest icon; display sizes, kinds, labels,
and dates; "Calculate Folder Sizes not selected;" and "Show
Disk Info in Header"
default: "Warn before emptying"

Using Applications

Printing Tips

Troubleshooting with System 7

Zapping the PRAM

With the exception of date and time, all system-wide preferences are reset to default values by zapping the Parameter RAM (PRAM). If you wish to zap the PRAM, hold down shift-command-option and choose the Control Panel in System 6. In System 7 hold down command-option-p-r (Be sure Caps Lock is off!) at boot time, and then let go at the second startup chime. The Macintosh will restart shortly after displaying the "Welcome to Macintosh" screen, which indicates that PRAM has been reset. The date and time settings are actually read out of PRAM before it is zapped, then written back in afterwards. Note that if a Macintosh's battery is drained, the date and time will reset to the default value (12:00 am, January 1, 1904) after each startup.

What's in the PRAM? -- If you have ever wondered what information is stored in the parameter RAM, this list should answer your questions and help you in figuring out when zapping the PRAM might be useful.

default: 24-bit Addressing
default: mid-range on the slider
default: black
default: middle setting
default: 3 times
default: 12:00 am, January 1, 1904
default for repeat: one away from Fast
default for delay: one away from Long
default: 16K
default: primary monitor only, set to Black & White
default for tracking: Very Slow
default for double-click: Middle setting
default: Simple Beep, even though it is not highlighted
default: none set, will use standard volume search method
default: AppleTalk is active.
default: Built-in LocalTalk port is selected
default: Faster is selected
default: Faster is selected
default: RAM disk is off, size is set to 192K.

System 7 Bugs & Problems

As much as System 7 is perhaps the most stable of all recent system versions, there are some problems. Some of these that relate to low memory management and copying in the Finder have been fixed with System 7 Tune-Up, but others still lurk in the murky shadows. Here's a few that might confuse you.

The Folder From Hell

Q: I have a folder I can't delete. What should I do?

A: This is the infamous "Folder From Hell" problem you may see mentioned from time to time. The problem is usually that the Finder's count of the number of files in the folder gets messed up (including being negative). The Finder will only trash folders that it believes contain 0 items. There are about five million suggested ways to get rid of Folders From Hell, but here are several methods that will hopefully work.

Easter Eggs

Apple is well known for including little messages in strange places and System 7 is no exception.

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