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System Update 3.0

Director of Technical Services, Baka Industries Inc.

Apple recently released System Update 3.0, a collection of bug fixes, system software enhancements, and updated utilities, for all Macintosh computers using System 7.1 or later. The package supersedes System Update 2.0.1, Hardware System Updates 2.0 and 1.0, several intermediate bug-fix releases, and recent software updates, and the Installer will remove any superfluous updates during installation.

System Update 3.0 is available as a pair of high density (1.4 MB) diskettes, or a single 800K diskette. The single 800K disk contains all that Mac Plus, SE, or II users will need. The second disk of the 1.4 MB set contains new system enablers, so will only be needed for Macs that require enablers. (Any Macintosh that requires System 7.1 also requires an enabler. These include all desktop and portable Macs and Workgroup Server models introduced since August of 1992.)

System Update 3.0 is designed "to increase overall system performance and reliability on most Macintosh models." Among the improvements are better handling of application launches over a network, prevention of file or media corruption when working with a file on a remote volume if a connection is lost, and better reliability when saving files remotely to a server using pre-7.0 system software and pre-3.0 AppleShare server software.

There are hardware-specific fixes as well. For example, the update eliminates a problem that prevented a Mac Plus from using system software newer than 7.1, and prevents a PowerBook from trying to spin up its hard drive when the system needs to warn the user that only ten seconds of battery power remain. An AV-specific fix to the Resource Manager appears to fix the problems with disk accesses previously fixed by the various AV speedup extensions such as sAVe the Disk.

System Update 3.0 updates the standard file package (which provides the file saving and opening user interface, among other things) to include many fixes and enhancements. Most significantly, a problem has been eliminated that could cause a crash when more than twenty volumes were mounted; and most noticeably, color icons and application-specific icons are now used in the standard file dialog boxes.

Among the discrete pieces of system software replaced by the update are the Easy Access, Memory, PowerBook, PowerBook Setup, PowerBook Display, TV Setup, Screen, and PC Setup control panels; the Battery desk accessory; and most of the System Enablers, including the PowerBook Duo Enabler, PowerPC Enabler, and PowerPC Upgrade Card Enabler.

Apple also provides Apple HD SC Setup 7.3.1 with the update; the new version fixes a crash problem version 7.3 has when run on Macintosh models that don’t support virtual memory. SimpleText, the TeachText replacement that supports multiple simultaneous files, styled text, and QuickTime documents, is included as well. (SimpleText has shipped with the Power Macintoshes for about two months.)

Details on changes to each piece are laid out in the Read Me file accompanying the System Update, although some of the descriptions of fixes to dire problems leave one wondering how common the problem really was. The Read Me file has been posted to comp.sys.mac.announce, and should be available separately from the same electronic sources as the update itself, should you wish to look over the list of changes before you go to the trouble or expense of downloading the software. The Read Me file also describes fixes and other changes that were implemented in the previous updates that System Update 3.0 replaces.

You need download and install this update only if your Macintosh is running System 7.1, System 7.1.1 (System 7 Pro), or System 7.1.2 (on Power Macs). If your Mac has System 7.0.1 or earlier system software, you should not install this update without first upgrading to System 7.1. Apple highly recommends the update for all affected Macintosh users, and while I think the new icon handling in the standard file dialogs looks silly, I agree that there are sufficient improvements to warrant the update.

The update is available via anonymous FTP on the Internet from <> and <>, via gopher from <>, on AppleLink and the usual commercial online services, and from dealers. We found it most easily at (note that this is a single URL – it was way too long to fit on a single line): Apple.SW.Updates/Supplemental.System.SW/ System.Update.3.0/

— Information from:
Tim Swihart and Mark B. Johnson, Apple Computer Inc.

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