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Troubleshooting Mac OS X 10.3 (#11): FireWire; Printer driver problems and solutions; more

Troubleshooting Mac OS X 10.3 (#11): FireWire; Printer driver problems and solutions; more

Continuing FireWire Vs. Panther coverage Firmware updates on unsupported drives Yesterday we reported that although number of MacFixIt readers have reported success in using a firmware updater from LaCie or another vendor to update the firmware on a drive not manufactured by that vendor, this procedure is not recommended.

MacFixIt reader Markus Hänche offers a case example portraying exactly why you should not apply firmware on unsupported drives. You can lose your data, experience system problems, and more importantly, damage your drive irrevocably.

"Since other hard drive vendors had similar updates for a range of Oxford 911 (FW400) products, I applied this updater to a two-year old 20 GB LaCie FW400 Pocketdrive, the current model of which uses an Oxford 911 chip, even though LaCie mentioned only d2 FW400 drives in their ReadMe.

"Bad idea, I had three kernel panics in a row, each only a few minutes after a restart, until I disconnected the drive (all under Mac OS X 10.2.8). Under Mac OS 9 there no problems, I can read/write, but I also cannot boot from the drive anymore. LaCie Switzerland said it should have worked with the Pocketdrive as well, but apparently something went wrong; LaCie Germany concluded from the purchase date and the firmware version my drive has now (1.56) that it probably uses an Oxford 900 chip, and that I (messed up) the Oxford chip. They could not offer a solution to get the firmware back to what it should be, since they do not know which firmware was shipped with the product."

Further complicating the issue is that some users are not sure which manufacturer built their drives, and therefore cannot determine which - if any - firmware should be applied. A MacFixIt reader writes:

"I think the drive was purchased from ClubMac, but I am not certain (I obtained it used). The enclosure has no manufacturer at all on the outside; I have not tried opening the enclosure to see what the actual drive looks like. From the information in Apple System Profiler, it looks like it is a Quantum Fireball drive; but does that refer to the drive itself, or the enclosure? It looks like the firmware version may be '10483,' or 'AS20.5,' or 'A1Y.', or possibly '53323,' but how does one tell which? Nothing in this list makes me think it uses an Oxford or Initio chipset; but how do I know what chipset it _does_ use? Is the chipset even listed here at all? Am I even looking in the right place? Do I need a third-party application just to find out what chipset and firmware version my drive has? Or is it impossible if I do not have the original documentation (receipt, packaging, etc.) from the manufacturer?"

Writing zeroes We've also received further confirmation of Mike Mihalik theory asserting that some data on FireWire drives (particularly the first few blocks) can be overwritten with zeroes.

Bruce Brandligt writes "Yesterday morning, after booting my Dual G5 running OS 10.3, I found that my Flash MX project file was mysteriously corrupted and would not open. I confirmed this by transferring the file to another machine and then opening the file with an editing application---all the data, 5.6 MB worth, was over-written with zeroes."

As an example of how random and destructive the Mac OS X 10.3 FireWire problem can be, we offer Jim Weston's situation:

"I connected the FireWire drive to an iMac after booting from a Mac OS 9.2.1 CD and copied the entire hard disk of the iMac to the FireWire drive without incident. I then connected the FireWire drive to my G5 running Panther and proceeded to prepare a DVD for burning by copying the iMac files from the FireWire drive.

"About 75 percent of the way through the copying routine from the FireWire drive, I was alerted that the FireWire drive had been disconnected. The contents of the FireWire drive were mincemeat, but I was able to burn the DVD with the files that had been successfully transferred prior to the failure. I was able to reformat the FireWire drive, but, of course, the previous contents of the drive were lost."

Problems with Jaguar We are receiving an increasing number of reports, overlooked as coincidental thus far, of data failure and mounting difficulties of FireWire 400 drives under Mac OS X 10.2.x.

One reader writes "Still using Jaguar here and have discovered a similar problem with a Firewire 400 drive (a Western Digital 60GB that uses the Oxford chipset) and Mac OS X 10.2.8. The drive will not mount on my 1 GHz Titanium PowerBook under OSX - the access light (red) shines steadily and eventually I get a message the disk is unreadable. Fortunately, if I boot under OS 9.2.2, I can mount the drive just fine."

More printer driver problems The printer drivers for HP and other manufacturers have been modified - significantly in some cases- with Mac OS X 10.3. We previously reported that the "draft" mode seems to have disappeared from 950-series HP printers for some users. Normally you are able to access the quality settings by selecting Paper Type/Quality > Paper > Quality: Draft/Normal/Best in the Print dialog box.

This particular problem (draft mode missing) does not occur on every system, as a handful of users have been able to print in draft mode. Some users have reported that re-installing the printer drivers manually from the second Panther disk restored the option.

Another problem seems to be that the print quality settings do not stick; as corroborated by a number of readers.

Also, we previously reported that users are having difficulty printing after the "low ink" warning appears. Yet another problem is that some users can no longer print two-sided documents - the option is grayed out - even though they have installed the HP two-sided printing kit.

One more: For some printers, the new HP Panther printer drivers do not allow the user to symmetrically center a page printout (or to use a .5 inch top margin around), but rather only allows a top margin of 3.05 mm (0.12 inches).

Workarounds Some users have reported success removing their HP printer from the Printer Setup Utility and then adding it again. This should be your first troubleshooting step. Sometimes a restart is required after deleting, then re-adding the printer.

Other reports have suggested that deleting the following files, then re-installing the HP drivers manually from the second Mac OS X 10.3 disk restored full functionality:

  • /Library/Printers/HP/DeskJet
  • /Library/Printers/HP/Frameworks
  • /Library/Printers/HP/Utilities/Inkjet Utility
  • /Library/Printers/HP/ HP Communications
  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.print.printcenter.plist

As a side note, some readers actually consider the low ink restriction a feature rather than a flaw. MacFixIt reader Peter Hunter writes "I also noticed the 'pauses when ink is low' feature of the new HP printer drivers but consider it very much a feature and not a nuisance. I used to occasionally set a large number of photos printing and come back to discover that most of them looked awful because one of the colors on my three-color cartridge had run out. This meant they had to be reprinted, wasting expensive photo paper."

Making Outlook 2001 work in Panther We previously reported problems with Outlook 2001 under Mac OS X 10.3 in Classic mode. Several readers have now reported that installing Outlook somewhere outside their Mac OS 9.2.x partition (the Panther partition will do) will allow it to work.

Make sure to delete the original copy that was residing on your 9.2.x partition, so you don't accidentally launch it later.

Tip for faxing to multiple recipients Mac OS X 10.3 appears to restrict users to entering just one email address to which faxes can be forwarded. However, as Rob Yager points out, it is possible to have them sent to a number of addresses by typing the email addresses in the Printing & Fax system preference pane separated by a comma and no spaces.

"For example frienone@ispa.com,friendtwo@ispb.com will cause received faxes to be emailed to both friendone@ispa.com and friendtwo@ispb.com. If you leave a space, Panther will delete the second email address."

CH Products joysticks Dave Wilson reports that Panther breaks compatibility with CH Products' joysticks and flight simulation yokes. "According to CH products, because the system is supposed to recognize controller inputs this is an Apple issue needing resolution through an update."

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