Q&A: Wayback Mac LC 475

Q A friend is giving me his old Mac LC 475, but when it is powered up the display shows a white floppy disk with a flashing ? against it. What does that mean?

A This indicates that it has been unable to find a bootable copy of Mac OS. In such an old model, it is most likely to mean that the hard disk has been corrupted, or has crashed.

If you want to resurrect it, locate its System software floppy disks, and try starting it up from the first of those.

Made in 1993-96, it runs System 7.1 to 8.1 and spares are almost impossible to source. If the hard drive has gone west, you will probably find it tricky and expensive to replace, because it has an unusual SCSI interface rather than modern ATA. As it only has an external SCSI port, you will also be unable to connect any recent external storage.

Comments If you do manage to revive it, keep it well away from the Internet, as it is very vulnerable to security issues and modern patched versions of applications are not available.

However it should give you the chance to enjoy exploring Mac OS before the X. You may find the -14 series of articles here of interest, as they cover tips and processes for System 8 and 9. Another author worth reading is Christopher Phin, in his column Think Retro in MacWorld.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 30 issue 11, 2014.