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Ask Max: Printing in Classic

Asked on 09/16/2008:

I'm wanting a new iMac. I've about decided the new G5 will do for me. I want a faster processor with greater bus speed, more memory, and USB 2.0 ports. I'm also ready to go to a 20" screen. I also want a good internet experience, which I have not been getting lately. I don't think I'm ready for Leopard and glossy screen, although the new iMacs video in and out options sound intriguing, as does the ability to use a second monitor to expand the desktop. The Apple MAO64LL/A, 2.1 GHz PowerPC 970fx iSight 20" is the one I have tentatively decided on, running Tiger. (I understand that I could later install Leopard.) I can't make a good final decision until I get a few issues addressed.

I have an 800 MHz PowerPC G4 iMac with 17" screen and a partitioned hard drive. I have installed Panther OS 10.3 and Mac OS 9.2.2. The Mac is dual-booting. That is, all my Mac system software must be on the same partition. When i want to switch to the other OS, I go to Startup Disk and select an operating system to start up in, then Restart the Mac. I use PageMaker and MacWrite Pro, and SuperPaint. All of these work great in Classic, while I am still booted up in OS X.

BUT I have not been able to PRINT any of their documents without actually booting up in OS 9.

New Epson printers do not support OS 9 at all. My printer is a refurbished Epson CX 6600, which Epson no longer supports and refused to repair. I did find a local authorized repair shop, and I feel like the printer is on borrowed time. When I try to print an OS 9 document while running in Classic mode, it acts like it will print OK. It spools the document, then gives an alert "Printer is not responding. Make sure it is online and ready to print." I look at the Chooser. It allows me to select the printer, but it never offers a printer port in the box on the right side of the window.

This printing issue is troublesome. I have a fear that Tiger will behave the same as Panther. Is my best option to keep two computers, or will I be able to Print from Tiger in Classic mode? You have made some comments about HP printers. I've never used them, except a little Deskjet C30 that I borrowed one time. It ran like a charm, printing OS 9 without hesitation. Would an HP offer me some solution?

P.S. Do you know of any good substitutes for Hoyt Mah Jongg Tiles and Eric's Solitaire? I'm addicted to both.


Printing in Classic has many problems because it is an emulated environment, but not in a traditional way. There is a good chance this will not work and also any new printer you buy may not have OS 9 print drivers; even HP, which are still great printers. In those situations you have another option. Open Chooser from the Classic Apple Menu. If you do not see the rainbow-colored Classic Apple menu, just start an OS 9 application and it will appear. In the left side of the Chooser window double click on LaserWriter 8 and close the window. Now when you go to print from your OS 9 applications you will get the LaserWriter 8 Print screen. Change the Destination pulldown menu to "File" and then the Format pulldown menu to "EPS Mac Standard Preview." Click on the Save button and save the EPS file to your desktop. The Preview application that is included in OS X will open that EPS and let you print it from there. It is an extra step but works with 90% of the hard Classic printing jobs I encounter.

Hope that helps. In regards to the game recommendations, a desire for continued employment has kept me from discovering such things. I have know many people who have Dashboard Widgets that will give you your Mac mini-game fix.

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