need storage device compatible with mac 10.3.9
June 14, 2010 10:53 AM   Subscribe

mac filter: Several oldish ibooks at work (2002-03 vintage, running 10.3.9, it appears) that haven't been used for a while but have various files on them. Not sure what's what and need to go through everything. First step: transfer all the files to a more stable machine, but how to copy those files when the newish flash drives I have laying around don't show up as readable through the usb ports?

Anyone know what storage devices currently available would be readable by the operating systems on these older macs?
posted by 5Q7 to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
This site, Low End Mac, might be useful to you.
posted by Sara Anne at 11:01 AM on June 14, 2010

Basically any external USB drive should be, although the iBook G3s only have USB 1.1, which will be painfully slow. An external firewire drive will work on any iBook.

It's very strange that the flash drives aren't showing up however. Are you positive? The Finder can hide external disks with some settings, so be sure to check the sidebar and Disk Utility to see if they are mounting, but you're just not seeing them on the desktop.
posted by bonaldi at 11:01 AM on June 14, 2010

If they have Firewire, the easiest way would be boot them in target disk mode (hold down T key at start until the Firewire symbol comes up) then you can mount the hd on another machine.
Wash Rinse Repeat down the line.
posted by ShawnString at 11:10 AM on June 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

oh I should have added, obviously you would need to connect a firewire cable between the ibook and the newer mac.
posted by ShawnString at 11:11 AM on June 14, 2010

Ethernet should also do the trick, if any of the machines don't have Firewire.

I am pretty sure that the Ethernet ports on any of these machines are "autocrossover", meaning that you can take any old Ethernet cable, plug it into the new machine and the old machine, and you have networking. You may have to do a tiny little bit of configuration to get them to see each other, ask again for details.

If you have a router at home, such as an ADSL box with a few Ethernet ports, you don't need any configuration at all. Just plug some machines in and you'll be able to share files between them. Should be reasonably quick and painless.
posted by krilli at 11:16 AM on June 14, 2010

10.3.9 can read anything you can plug-in, including flash drives.
If you can see the files in-question when you are logged into the Macs, why not just burn them to a CD or DVD?
posted by Thorzdad at 11:48 AM on June 14, 2010

When I put in any of the recently made flash drives around here, I get a message saying the drive is unreadable and do I want to reformat it? which suggests that the machine knows the drive is there, but it's a compatibility issue (also indicates that the drives in question aren't broken, etc.).
posted by 5Q7 at 12:31 PM on June 14, 2010

Also, I know it's not the actual drives, since they work fine when plugged into a macbook running 10.5.8.
posted by 5Q7 at 12:33 PM on June 14, 2010

Umm, what I meant to say: 1) the ports on the ibook seem to work, and 2) flash drives also do when used on other, newer macs.
posted by 5Q7 at 12:39 PM on June 14, 2010

Ethernet is probably the easiest way, (you may need a crossover cable). Firewire, and the mac migration assistant are another good option.

If you're set on flash drives, I'd say go ahead and let the old machine format your flash drive. It'll probably want the drive in Mac OS format, (as it's likely currently FAT32 or 16). Either way your new Mac will be able to get the files off just fine. (and new Macs are less picky with other hard drive formats). Just be sure to format it something PC compatible before using that drive with a PC co-worker. (Disk Utility is what you want to use)
posted by fontophilic at 12:47 PM on June 14, 2010

Right; the flash drives are just formatted to a file system your iBooks can't read. If you plugged in a USB or firewire drive formatted the same way you'd get the same message. It's not something specific to 10.3.9 or flash drives or old mac hardware.

like fontophilic says, just click "Yes" on that "Format?" dialog [assuming you've got that flash drive backed up]. It'll get formatted in such a way that your old and new Macs will both be able to read it by default.
posted by chazlarson at 1:44 PM on June 14, 2010

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