Compatibility Issues

By: Mike Kimball - Revised: 2006-06-14 devin


Software and hardware compatibility issues related to Mac OS 8.6, as well as possible workarounds.

Initial Compatibility

Highlights from Apple's Read Me files and associated documentation:

Connectix Virtual PC and Mac OS 8.6 Connectix Virtual PC 2.1.1 and earlier (including version 1.X) are not compatible with Mac OS 8.6 and users should update to version 2.1.2 or later. The 2.1.2 updater is available as a free download for all Virtual PC 2.0 owners on the Connectix web site. (link dead) [2.1.3 is the current version; a complete reinstall may be necessary to resolve conflicts.]

Virex and Mac OS 8.6 Virex versions 5.9 and earlier are not compatible with Mac OS 8.6 if the Virex "Scan Files When Opened" option is turned on. Virex 5.9.1 works.

Installing Mac OS 8.6 on computers with Ultra Wide SCSI cards Some older Ultra Wide SCSI cards require a firmware update before they will work with Mac OS 8.6. If the card's firmware is not compatible, your computer will crash during installation or when you start up from the CD. Before installing Mac OS 8.6, contact the manufacturer of your SCSI card to determine if a firmware update is necessary.

Third-party Finder and utility software Some third-party programs that extend or add features to the Mac OS may not be compatible with Mac OS 8.6. Examples include programs that change the way menus work, change how files are stored, or alter the way you work with files in the Finder. You may need to upgrade these applications before you can access the files they affect. For more information, contact the third-party software manufacturer.
Mac OS 8.6 and Virex 5.9.1 glitch?
Steve Maser has found that if you have the Virex 5.9.1 enabled and have Mac OS 8.6 installed, some software installers may have one of two problems:
  • They will stop with an "unexpected error" (Meeting Maker 5.5.3 does this)
  • They will look like they work, but they won't install all the parts (Timbuktu Pro does this)
This is not a problem with Mac OS 8.5.1. The obvious work-around is good advice in any case: turn off virus protection software before running any installers, especially a Mac OS installer. [Note: I have not yet confirmed this nor have I seen other reports of this.]

G3 Card Conflicts

Sonnet Crescendo 1.3.4 Mark Gilligan similarly notes: "Sonnet's Crescendo G3 L2 cache cards are incompatible with OS 8.6 at this point. The latest version of Crescendo is 1.3.4. The symptoms are startup freezes or the accelerator card never loading.
Sonnet Crescendo 1.3.6 (the final release version) is now out. It adds "Mac OS 8.6 support with Crescendo G3/L2 processor upgrade cards."

XLR8 MACh Speed G3 Control 1.3.2 (link dead) fixesVimage, Newer, and Sonnet cards conflicts with Mac OS 8.6. It has been tested and is compatible with boards from XLR8, NewerTech, Sonnet, Mactell, Vimage, and PowerLogix. It's free for XLR8 customers (link dead).
In general, readers (link dead) (including myself) report no problems with Newer G3 upgrade cards.

Mac OS 8.6 and Hard Disk ToolKit warning

A warning in the Mac OS 8.6 Technote states: "Do not use the Hard Disk Toolkit to format a boot volume or update its driver until the Hard Disk Toolkit has been updated for Mac OS 8.6. The driver installed by versions 3.0.1 and earlier versions of the Hard Disk Toolkit is not compatible with Mac OS 8.6."

The implies that all HDT users should be sure to update to HDT version 3.0.2 before updating to Mac OS 8.6. (Thanks, Tony Quan)

However, Danny Lee (of FWB Software) sent Apple the following note regarding this matter:
As with other companies, we recommend the latest version of our software with the release of any new OS. Our current version of Hard Disk ToolKit is 3.0.2. (link dead)

The only problem with version 3.0.1 and earlier that we are aware of concerns the updating of the driver of some large capacity mechanisms, an issue which was resolved in 3.0.2. I've done several installations of OS 8.6 on a Blue G3 with the Quantum EX 6GB ATA mech and WD 20GB, a rev B G3 with an IBM DTTA-351350 13GB ATA mech, and an 8500/120 with a Seagate ST12550W SCSI mech with no problems. The mechanism setup in each test case has included updating the driver from Drive Setup and doing a clean format and volume creation with HDT 3.0 and 3.0.1.

Mac OS 8.6 Shut Down problem: Speed Doubler and SwitchRes implicated

Several readers are reporting a problem where the Mac refuses to shut down after updating to Mac OS 8.6. Instead, you get an error messages that says: "This computer cannot shut down/restart because not all applications have quit. Select the running applications from the Application menu and quit them manually."

Speed Doubler A few readers have pointed to the cause as a conflict between Mac OS 8.6 and Speed Doubler. Even after quitting all processes (via a utility such as Peek-a-Boo), the Mac will still not shut down with Speed Doubler enabled. (Thanks,Julian Koh and others.) However, I have Speed Doubler installed on two Macs running Mac OS 8.6 and have not seen this problem.
Warren Nagourney claims: "The culprit is the "Use Faster Network Copy Protocol" option. Uncheck this option and the problem should vanish. Again, I have this feature enabled but have not seen the problem as yet.

One of my Macs is a Power Mac 7500. Brad Dickason found that he also did not have this problem on his Power Mac 7500, although he did have it on his iMac.

Several readers have now confirmed this Speed Doubler problem and the success of the work-around. John Crane notes that just deleting Speed Doubler Preferences solved the problem for him.
SwitchRes 2.0 is out. This fixes the Mac OS 8.6 conflict. SwitchRes is an extension that allows you to control the resolutions of all your displays. The new version has many new features, including AppleScript compatibility.

Stephane Madrau (author of SwitchRes) provides some more background about the cause of the conflict with the previous version:
SwitchRes installs itself as a Background-only application (like the Application Switcher, or the Control Strip). This BOA is responsible for saving the icons when a resolution change occurs, or when the user requests it. The role of this BOA is then only to respond to some events: save icons in particular, and quit when requested. It seems that under 8.6, no event is transmitted to SwitchRes' BOA: you cannot save the icons, and you cannot quit it. I don't know why.

That's where it becomes strange: I personally never saw this bug. I was always able to quit SwitchRes or to save the icons. [In this regard, a user noted that deleting SwitchRes' Preferences file eliminated the problem.] SwitchRes 2.0 seems to solve the bug, but it never was designed for that.

PageMaker problems with Mac OS 8.6: a follow-up

Regarding the previous reports of problems printing from PageMaker, after installing Mac OS 8.6, readers continue to offer suggested workarounds (no single consensus solution has yet emerged):
Rob Morton downgraded to an older version of the LaserWriter driver and turned off virtual memory.

Normand Lepine found that upgrading to Adobe Type Manager 4.5 eliminated the Type 2 errors he was getting.

Barry Porter found that for PageMaker (and other Adobe products), deleting ATM Deluxe's Preferences file, and increasing both the Cache and Preferred Memory sizes (in ATM's Preferences) resolved the crashes he was having.

Using PageMaker 5.52, a reader deleted the 'EPS font scanner.add' file from PageMaker's Plugins folder. This eliminated the EPS-related crashes he was having. He adds: "The downside is that PageMaker no longer checks EPSs for missing fonts."

A message on the Adobe Forum (link dead) blames the problem on the PM6.5 RSRC file, and suggests you lock an original version of this file, and use the locked version. Several postings claimed that crashes disappeared after doing this.

Peter Gordon found that, when using Mac OS versions prior to 8.6, PageMaker had a "corrupted file list" (e.g., 8 copies of the Times font at the top of the Font list). Adobe acknowledged that they have seen this problem but they do not know the cause. However, it appears that this is fixed by updating to Mac OS 8.6.

Thom Holmberg writes: "I took my EPS files (which had been generated in Streamline and Freehand) and selected everything and did the 'Correct Direction' in Alter Paths in Freehand. The problem then went away."
Mac OS 8.6 and PageMaker problems: Adobe offers work-arounds; recommends that PageMaker users not update to Mac OS 8.6

Regarding continuing reports of problems printing from PageMaker in Mac OS 8.6, Scott Olswold found a statement from Adobe Technical Support on this matter on Adobe's User to User Forums. It is one of many messages in a long thread (link dead). Here is an excerpt (it notes other problems besides the printing problem):
Adobe is aware of the problems with PageMaker 6.5x and OS 8.6. We have recreated the Type 1 & 2 errors when Printing EPS's, placing AI, PDF or ASCII text files and when attempting to set indents. We are working with Apple to attempt to isolate the source of these problems.

Please be assured that we will post solution(s) when they are available. In the meantime, we recommend that PageMaker customers do not upgrade to OS 8.6 at this time.

In addition, there are some work-arounds you can use for many of the problems you are encountering - such as converting text in EPS files to outlines etc., but we do understand that many of these work-arounds are probably not going to be acceptable in the long term.

  • Printing EPS files causes Type 1 error. Work-around: Convert text in EPS to outlines.
  • Placing ASCII Text file causes Type 2 error. Work-around: Convert file to RTF format or copy/paste text into PageMaker.
  • Placing Adobe Illustrator file causes Type 1/2 error. Workaround: Save file as another format
  • Placing PDF file causes Type 2 error. Workaround: None at this time; If you have Acrobat Exchange you could possibly convert to another file format
  • When you the click text tool in a block of text and choose indents and tab from the type menu and drag indent markers (both triangles) to the right then drag the top triangle back to its original position Type 2 error. Work-arounds: (a) Hold Shift as you drag the left indent marker (the bottom triangle) or (b) Create first line indent via paragraph settings

Mac OS 8.6 and QuarkXPress crashes

QuarkXPress conflict? Several readers report problems launching QuarkXPress after updating to Mac OS 8.6. A Type 2 error is the most commonly reported symptom. It appears to be an extension conflict, as yet unidentified.

We received many reader replies on this matter. Here are the highlights:
Several readers (including Frank Maeder, Nick Keck, and Bryan Canning) found that ATM Deluxe 4.0 was the source of the problem. Extensis Suitcase 8 may similarly conflict. R. Joseph found that simply deleting the ATM Preferences file was sufficient; he also recommended at least a 300K increase in Quark's memory allocation.

Kev Teljeur found that the crashes were related to the presence of particular fonts. Reinstalling (and locking) the font files fixed the Type 2 errors. Marc Elias reported a similar solution, but linked the font problems back to using Suitcase or ATM Deluxe. He felt these utilities somehow "corrupted" the fonts which in turn caused the system errors.

Also recall reports of problems with QuarkXPress 3.x and Mac OS 8.5. Ed Agustin suggests that these errors may be a continuation of the same problem (at least for v. 3.x). As such, the work-around of installing Kaleidoscope 2.0 still works.

ATM 4.5 fixes Quark problems? Robert Simons writes: "After upgrading from ATM Deluxe 4.03 and ATR Deluxe 2.0 to the new ATM Deluxe 4.5 and ATR Deluxe 2.5, all of our Quark 4.0.4 problems have gone away. We've gone from 4 to 5 system errors a day to almost none." [Also see related item in

MasterJuggler and Quark conflict Trevor Murch-Lempinen reports that, when running Mac OS 8.6, "MasterJuggler v 2.0 (the one that came with CorelDraw, which the updater to v 2.02 does not work on) also caused Type 2 errors with XPress v.3.32."

Joe Muscara (of Alsoft) writes: "Anyone with Mac OS 8.0 or later needs to be using MasterJuggler Pro 2.0.2. There are no issues with MasterJuggler Pro 2.0.2 and Mac OS 8.6, nor with Quark XPress."

MS Office problems with Mac OS 8.6?

Several readers have reported frequent system crashes (especially Type 3 errors) in all Office 98 applications after updating to Mac OS 8.6. In some (but not all) cases, deleting Office 98 Preferences files fixed the problem. (Thanks, Neil Goldstein, John Marus, and Douglas Godfrey.) Personally, I have not had any new problems with Office 98 since installing Mac OS 8.6.

Chuck Scheffreen claims that the problems here may be linked to having GoMac 2.0.1 installed.

Mac OS 8.6 and Norton Utilities problems? Symantec replies

Daniel Jardine found that Norton Disk Editor does not work with Mac OS 8.6 and HFS Plus volumes. Whenever you try to open a file, you get an error message that says "Error, can't edit this file..." [I can confirm this. The problem is specific to HFS Plus volumes and occurs in Mac OS 8.5.x as well.]

When Daniel contacted Symantec about this, he was told that there are other known incompatibilities between Mac OS 8.6 and Norton Utilities 4.0.3 (they were not specific as to what the problems were) and that a version 4.0.4 update is in the works.
Dave Lewis (of Symantec) confirms that Norton Disk Editor (NDE) is incompatible with HFS Plus formatted volumes. However, there is a work-around: "Use Norton Disk Editor Lite, which can be found on the Norton Utilities CD."

Further, Dave asserts that Symantec Quality Assurance has so far not found any Mac OS 8.6 specific incompatibilities with Norton Utilities Macintosh 4.0.3. Users can always visit our web site (link dead) for the latest compatibility information and updates to Norton Utilities Macintosh."

Norton Utilities 4.0.4 is out. (link dead)

Mac OS 8.6: Miscellaneous conflict reports

FileMaker Pro 3 conflict? Ray Hughes writes: "After installing Mac OS 8.6, FileMaker Pro 3.0cv3 would randomly quit with a (-1072) communications error with TCP/IP turned on. Turning off the TCP/IP option in FM Pro and using AppleTalk eliminated the symptom. This was confirmed by two other coworkers. If I reinstalled Mac OS 8.5.1, the problem disappeared entirely.

Startup Doubler 1.2.1 conflict Several readers (including Kent Salas and Scott Shaffer) report that Startup Doubler 1.2.1 does not work in Mac OS 8.6. The new 2.0 (beta) version supposedly works.

TechTool 1.1.8 will (of course) not Analyze an 8.6 System file. Similar problems occur with the latest version of TechTool Pro 2. Expect updates soon.

Toast fails to burn A couple of readers (Alex Mathew and Herman Chan) report that the new 8.6 version of Apple CD-ROM/DVD driver prevented Toast from burning a CD. For Herman, the CD-RW drive was a 4416SX with 1.0g firmware. Not all readers have this problem. Gregg Luhring says that deleting Toast Preferences fixed this symptom for him. Otherwise, download to the driver from Mac OS 8.5.1.

Timbuktu and Virex Julian Koh claims that, when running Mac OS 8.6 and Virex 5.9.1, attempts to make network copies via Timbuktu Pro 4.8 will result in a -23 error or the Timbuktu connection being dropped. [Note: This is reminiscent of a similar Virex-related problem reported with Mac OS 8.5 and Virex 5.9.] Julian adds: "The work-around is to turn off Virex (via the on/off switch in the Virex control panel) before copying files and to turn it back on after you're done. Netopia/Farallon is aware of the problem. No word yet on a fix."