Despite the assortment of mostly minor glitches reported here, the general reaction to Mac OS 7.6, at least from a troubleshooting perspective, remains positive. Which is as it should be. After all, Mac OS 7.6 doesn't introduce a wealth of new features. It should clearly be better at fixing existing problems than at creating new ones.
However, I have gotten two reports of more serious problems in the last week. As they remain somewhat isolated, I would ordinarily hesitate to post them here. However, they come from very reputable sources, involve numerous Macs at each site in question, and seem well documented. So here they are:
a. Chris Garay (Mac Tech Support, Educational Broadcasting Corp., WNET-TV/13) writes that there are 35 Macs where he works, connected on a corporate LAN with a T-1 connection to the Internet. After installing Mac OS 7.6, almost every one of their machines had problems with network connections, ranging from system crashes to messages that said "There was a problem switching the AppleTalk connection. Make sure your network connections are correct." Reinstalling System 7.5.3 eliminated the problem on every machine! I queried whether he had tried the AppleTalk Options control panel solution, described by Apple, to see if that helped at all, and am awaiting a reply.
b. Anthony Roybal (Information Systems & Technology at UC Berkeley) writes that they have had several problems where the Mac OS 7.6 Installer (the actual OS installer, not the Install Mac OS utility) froze in the middle of the installation. When they tried to restart, the hard disk was nowhere to be found. Utilities such as Drive Setup and Disk First Aid did not even identify it as on the SCSI bus. Exact details of the problem and solutionvaried depending upon the particular Mac in question, but reformatting the hard disk was typically required. They never had these problems with any of the beta versions of 7.6 that they had tested.
They also noted a problem with Macs that had Mac OS 7.6 and System 7.5.5 installed on separate partitions. When trying to switch back to 7.5.5 from 7.6, the Mac would typically freeze just after the Restart command was selected from the Finder. In one case, they actually had to unplug the Mac to get it to start up again. Zapping the PRAM may help prevent this for awhile, but did not seem to be a permanent solution.
Anthony Roybal also reports on gray screen crashes that were linked to installing Mac OS 7.6. This reminded me of my own gray screen crash - which occurred shortly after installing Mac OS 7.6 (as reported here before). In my case, it turned out to be due to a problem with a Jaz cartridge that needed to be reformatted in order to prevent the crashes. Now I am beginning to wonder whether the cause of the "damage" to the cartridge may in fact be related to my upgrading to Mac OS 7.6.