Checking on my Macintosh LC II

Mac LCII 2014

When you have a collection of vintage Macs, even if it’s a small and unassuming one like mine, you have to perform periodical checks to verify the state of the machines. Especially when you don’t have enough space to leave all the Macs laid out and plugged in permanently.

Due to space constraints, I only have two CRT monitors. One is a relatively modern 17-inch Belinea display with a VGA connection, which is currently connected to my Power Macintosh 9500/132 and can be used as an external display with a wide range of Macs. The other is a 14-inch Macintosh Color Display, an 11-kilogram beast with a DB-15 connection that is essential to be able to use three specific machines in my collection: a Quadra 950, a Performa 630CD and a Macintosh LC II (and a PowerBook Duo 280c if I had a working DuoDock).

Yesterday I finally dusted off the Macintosh Color Display because it was time to check on those aforementioned Macs, which sadly haven’t seen much action as of late. The LC II, in particular, was last checked in 2007 (I know, mea culpa, etc.). I had also attached a label to the display with a ‘Last used’ date, and discovered it was last powered on in April 2009. I connected everything with trepidation, basically expecting the LC II’s hard drive not to spin up.

I’m glad I was wrong. As soon as I flipped the switch on the back of the LC II, the Mac booted up as if it were last used just the day before. No problems with the display either. Whew.

This LC II has 4MB of RAM, a 40MB hard drive and of course a 1.44MB floppy SuperDrive. I’m always amazed at how fast these vintage Macs boot up. It took the LC II about 20 seconds from the moment I switched it on to displaying the Desktop. I know it doesn’t have much to load, but it’s always a 16 Megahertz machine booting from a hard drive manufactured in 1993.

Speaking of hard drive, I checked it using the Norton Utilities for the Macintosh, whose version 1.1 was installed on this Mac by the previous owner (sorry for the moiré effect):

Norton Utilities 1

And Norton Disk Doctor reported no issues. Other software on this Mac includes Microsoft Word, HyperCard (both version 1, visible in the opening photo, and version 2) and the then-ubiquitous ClarisWorks. Among the utilities, a file compressor/archiver called Disk Diamond, and TattleTech. Now, according to TattleTech, this LC II was manufactured in February 1989, making it 25 years old exactly — but it’s a mistake, obviously, since the Mac LC was introduced in October 1990 and the LC II in March 1992. TattleTech checks the manufacturing date against the Mac’s serial number, which has to be manually inputted. Evidently I had transferred this copy of TattleTech, along with its preferences file, from my Macintosh SE. The label on the bottom of the LC II says that it was manufactured in 1993, so it’s ‘only’ 21 years old. And works just fine.

During the weekend I’ll clean it inside and check the floppy drive, which has become a bit unreliable, then I’ll proceed with the Performa 630CD and the Quadra 950. By the way, I’m always interested in SCSI hard drives for these machines, so if you have some working units lying around, let’s talk about it.


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