MacOS 8.1 on a Duo 230

I bought my first compact Mac, an SE/30, mainly to experiment with operating systems; having read an article on the Low End Mac website about using Pseud040 to run MacOS 8.1 on a 68030-based Macintosh IIsi, I attempted this without success on the SE/30. Pseud040 is a general-purpose system hack that allows software that requires a 68040 processor to run on 68020 and 68030 machines; in August 2000, however, a program called Born Again was released that is specifically dedicated to the installation of MacOS 8.1 on 68030 machines, so I decided to try that out. The program's FAQ explicitly states that it will not work on the SE/30 (or other machines with ROM code that's not 32-bit clean), but in the meantime I had acquired a Duo 230 and a Duo Dock II, so I tested it on that.

Because I like to have a fallback when I'm messing around with system software, I intended to install MacOS 8.1 on an external SCSI hard drive, then boot from that. Born Again requires a small application to be installed on your boot drive, which works in conjunction with the MacOS 8.1 installer on the CD-ROM to place the operating system on another volume. The first version of Born Again would work on my machine, and create a "blessed" MacOS 8.1 System Folder on the target drive, but there was apparently a problem with writing the boot blocks so that the Mac would not recognize the target drive as being bootable when Born Again finished and I was ready to boot into MacOS 8.1. We came up with a workaround, involving either moving the entire installation to a new drive or a ritual of moving System and Finder files and mounting and dismounting the drive, both of which forced the required boot blocks to be written; the screen shots below were actually generated during this first round of testing. As of early September 2000, I was sent a revised version of the program that solves these problems, so that the Mac would recognize the MacOS 8.1 target drive as a bootable volume. The first time I rebooted it crashed with a bus error; however, rebooting with extensions off, then rebooting normally solved this problem, and I now have a fully functioning MacOS 8.1 system on my 68030 Duo 230!

MacOS 8.1 on a Duo 230 in Dock II

Here you can see Micromat's TechTool 1.2.1 confirming that this is indeed a Duo 230 (in its Dock II, as you can tell from the presence of the FPU and the 640x480 pixel color screen capture), and the "About This Computer..." window showing that it is happily running MacOS 8.1. I also tried booting with the Duo 230 out of the dock...

MacOS 8.1 on a Duo 230 undocked

...successfully! MacOS 8.1 really looks strange on a 640x400 pixel, 4-bit grayscale screen. Actually, there is one additional step that needs to be done after you get a successful, bootable MacOS 8.1 installation. The creator of Born Again, Ruben Brochner, Jr., is in a bit of a bind; since Born Again may not work on a given user's machine, he released it as "trialware," whereby you can download it and use it three times ("You can have three wishes...") without paying. Thus you don't have to pay for it in order to find out if it will work on your particular machine; however, unlike a productivity application or game or something, if it works you only have to use it once! This means you won't be presented with a "nag screen" every time you start it up after the trial uses are spent, and it's easy to forget to pay the $25 shareware fee. So consider this your "nag screen": if you get a working MacOS 8.1 system in three or fewer tries, please pay up!

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new 24 August 2000, revised 11 September 2000

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