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Troubleshooting OS X 10.3 Panther (#5): FireWire drive issues; SCSI cards; Faxing; File Vault; Adobe PDF; Quark; Calculator

Troubleshooting OS X 10.3 Panther (#5): FireWire drive issues; SCSI cards; Faxing; File Vault; Adobe PDF; Quark; Calculator

FireWire drive issues We continue to receive reports of external FireWire drives being unusable after restarting a Panther machine with the drive(s) connected. Unfortunately, neither Apple nor anyone else has been able to pinpoint the exact nature of the problem. An Apple Discussions thread that focuses on this issue has well over 200 posts, many from users who have been bitten by this bug. As we mentioned yesterday, the only common denominator that has emerged thus far is that the drives functioned properly until the Panther machine was restarted with the drive(s) attached.

Although we haven't confirmed this theory, one MacFixIt reader commented that, at least on his drive, what appears to have happened is that during the restart, the drive's partition type/format was changed from HFS Plus to UFS; on the subsequent startup, fsck thought the drive was a UFS volume, and tried to repair what it thought was a badly damaged directory (the original HFS Plus directory). The end result was an HFS Plus volume with an unreadable directory. This could be an isolated, unrelated incident, or it could accurately describe what is happening in most of these case. At this point, we don't know.

What we do know right now is that Apple and several third-party vendors are currently working on isolating the problem. Apple has been emailing participants in discussion threads about this issue, asking them for details on their systems and incidents, and Apple engineers have been requesting more data from particular individuals as they try to nail down exactly what is causing the problem. A number of drives are also in the hands of drive recovery and disk utility companies, who are trying to ascertain exactly what has happened to the drives themselves.

As we mentioned yesterday, this issue is not affecting everyone. However, until more information on is available, if you have Panther installed on your internal drive, and have one or more external Firewire hard drives connected to your Mac, we recommend unmounting and disconnecting the FireWire drives before shutting down or restarting.

On what may or may not be an unrelated note, although FireWire is supposed to fully support hot-plugging, and should have no problems with devices being plugged in during restarts/startup/shutdowns, we've received reports suggesting that it's not always foolproof. One Authorized Apple Dealer submitted the following interesting story:

"I am an Authorized Apple Dealer and have a customer who frequently rents very high end Firewire Cameras from somebody in town. They make every customer sign a form promising they WILL NOT power on or reboot their Mac with their equipment attached via firewire. Apparently during a power-up or reboot there is a surge through the port that can damage equipment (generally cameras...but I could see it extending to Drives). I can confirm this as I had a school that kept blowing their cameras and firewire ports on their AV machines....Apple paid for the camera repairs (!!) and then stated Do not boot or reboot your machines with firewire devices attached!"

SCSI card issues Although it appears to be unrelated to the FireWire drive problems discussed above, reader John Daly reports an odd restart/startup issue with PRAM and Adaptec 29160 SCSI cards:

"A known issue with the adaptec card is that after a PRAM reset on a Quicksilver, you have to go into the open firmware, and set fcode-debug to true in order for the computer to boot from SCSI drives. My 10.3 drive is one of the SCSI drives. After installing panther, on any restart the computer will no longer boot or recognize the boot capabilities of the SCSI drives. To resolve the issue, I have to zap the PRAM, reset the open firmware debug setting, then it boots from the ATA drive, and I have to go to the startup disk and set it back to the SCSI disk."

Faxing not functioning MacFixIt reader Roger Bull reports that he has so far been unable to use Panther's fax sending capabilities:

"Everything appears to work properly until a 'there was a software error' message. Machines with this problem cannot receive faxes also. Users reporting the problem seem to have the same symptoms on different machines."

He points us to a thread in the Apple Discussions forum on the issue, indicating that a number of other users are experiencing the same problem.

FileVault and preferences On Monday we covered reports from a number of users that allowing FileVault to "reclaim" disk space can result in a loss of user-level preference settings. We've since received a number of similar reports of this problem, and MacFixIt reader Steve Martin (no, not that Steve Martin) pointed us to an ongoing thread in Apple's Discussions forum where users report losing preference files, and even iTunes Libraries, after allowing FileVault to reclaim space.

Adobe PDF Printer missing: another solution Yesterday we covered an issue where installing Panther disabled the Adobe PDF Printer virtual printer; we directed readers to an Adobe Forums thread where Adobe had made available a shell script for recreating/reinstalling Adobe PDF Printer. Reader Len Goff passed along a set of manual instructions for recreating this virtual PDF printer:

    1. Launch Printer Setup Utility from the Applications/Utilities folder
    2. Hold down the Option key and click the Add button in the Printer List Window
    3. Select Advanced from the Printer conncetion drop down menu
    4. In the Device Field, select Adobe PDF (pdf)
    5. For Device Name, type Adobe PDF
    6. For Device URI, type pdf://www.adobe.com
    7. For Printer Model, select Adobe
    8. Click OK

We were able to successfully use these instructions to recreate our own Adobe PDF Printer under Panther.

Lexmark Utility doesn't function As mentioned below, under Panther, Jaguar's Print Center has been replaced by the Printer Setup Utility. According to reader Thel Fergison, this change may have consequences for some third-party printer configuration utilities. In his case, the Lexmark Z25-Z35 Utility -- which is used to clean the printer heads and inkjet nozzles -- will not run because it is looking for "Print Center."

Quark License Issues Yesterday we covered a workaround for "corrupt" QuarkXpress 6 Activation files that can occur after doing a new or Archive install of Panther. The solution involved deleting all Quark files and preferences, then reinstalling QuarkXpress. Reader Kalani Perry provides a simpler method:

"Instead of throwing away the preferences and reinstalling the software, all you have to do is copy the 'Xerces-c-cw8.framework' folder from the old /Library/Frameworks in the previous system to the new /Library/Frameworks, then copy the empty Quark folder from the old /Library/Preferences to the new /Library/Preferences. I tried it on three different machines and it worked for all of them."

Calculator bug Reader Michael Ward reports that if you use Panther's Calculator application, and you enter a trailing decimal point after any number (e.g., 4. x 4, instead of just 4 x 4), the result of your calculation will always be zero. We have confirmed this on two machine here at MacFixIt.

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