Chapter 15
A Puny Performa Chapter
The baffling history of Performas
What’s different about the Performa
All about At Ease
How to use Apple Backup
What is a Performa? At one time, you could have said it’s “a Macintosh sold
only through consumer stores such as Sears (and not computer stores).” But
then Apple began selling them through computer stores, too.
OK, so then you might have said, “It’s a Macintosh with specialized system
software that makes it easier to use.” But then Apple made the special
Performa features standard across all Macs (in System 7.5).
At this point, you might have defined a Performa as “a Mac that comes
with free software already on the hard drive, such as ClarisWorks, Quicken,
America Online, and clip art.” But then Apple introduced products such as
the “Quadra 605 bundle” and the PowerBook 190 and 1400 series — you
guessed it, non-Performas with that same software pre-installed.
So, finally you might have mentioned the last remaining defining characteristic of the Performa line: “A Performa is a Mac sold with everything —
even a monitor — in one box, for one price.”
Part II: Secrets of the Machine
Until Apple introduced the Performa 6220 and 6400, which are sold without monitors.
That’s why this is a puny Performa chapter — because there are scarcely
any differences left between Performa models and those described in the bulk
of this book.
In the early days, Performa models essentially corresponded to mainstream Mac models. In other words, Performa 6115 = Power Macintosh 6100;
Performa 6200 = LC 6200; and so on. Today, not every Performa has its standard Mac equivalent, nor does every Mac match up with a corresponding
Performa. For example, there is no Performa version of the Power Mac 5400
or 5260. Conversely, the Performa 6290 and the 6300- and 6400-series models exist only as Performas — Apple doesn’t make non-Performa versions of
those machines.
So, what’s left to define Performas?
They still generally come complete with monitor, and nearly all models
include a Global Village fax modem (either as an internal card or as an
external Teleport unit).
Today, all Performas include a generous helping of commercial software
(good software, too): Quicken, ClarisWorks, America Online, a handful of
CD-ROMs, and many others. They also come with Megaphone, the software that lets the Mac be an answering machine and speakerphone, plus
the Apple Internet Connection Kit, which is certainly the easiest way on
Earth to sign up for an Internet account.
Every Performa comes with a CD-ROM disc that holds all system software
(and the included commercial software), finally ending the cries of
“Cheapskate Apple!” that rang out in the days when Performas included
no system-software backup at all. However, the installer provided doesn’t
offer a “custom install” option; it lets you install only a complete System
folder (or a complete hard drive-full).
The Performa system-software CD doesn’t let you do a “clean reinstall”
using the Ô-Shift-K trick described in Chapter 33. You must use the “hide
the Finder” method (also described in that chapter).
The very latest, such as the 6400 models, include an elaborately produced
multimedia tutorial. An overly energetic woman in her 20s jumps around
on your screen, actually walking around in there like a four-inch pixie
escaped from a screen saver, pointing out various elements on the screen
and jumping around on the Launcher window. Subsequent tutorials walk
you through the various special Performa features — the answering
machine, CD-ROM, and so on.
Chapter 15: A Puny Performa Chapter
Incidentally: For information about specific Performa models, see
Chapters 12 and 13. This chapter covers the Performa as Concept.
Neither one of your cheerful authors actually owns a Performa.Yet, we needed to take screen
shots of the Performa screen in order to illustrate this chapter. Off we ventured, floppy disk in
hand, to our nearest Performa-selling office-supply store.
Now, Apple is perfectly aware that the worker whose normal job is selling three-ring binders
and electric hole-punches is not, right off the bat, necessarily good at selling computers.This
might be the reason why Macs have hitherto been sold at computer stores, where there are
supposedly some knowledgeable people.You can ask questions.You can call up when
something goes wrong.
Therefore, Apple has made sure that the Performa buyer is going to be okay with his or her
purchase. First of all, because there’s no salesperson to call up with questions, Apple provides
Performa owners with a toll-free telephone hot line, staffed by smart people who can answer
Mac questions. Second, because the office-supply store is not about to do Mac repairs, Apple
gives Performa owners a second toll-free number — this one to summon a technician to come
to your house (or wherever the Performa happens to be) and fix the thing, for free, on the spot.
This being said, we must echo the sentiments of many appliance-store Mac buyers: Yikes! On
the day we went questing for screen shots, we approached the three Performas on display. All
three were mouseless.We’re not sure what kind of thug would steal a mouse, but, in any case,
the clerk we asked shrugged and didn’t know anything about it.
So we went to a second Performa dealership.We saw two Performas on display — each had a
mouse. But the clerk-person went ballistic on us when he heard what we were up to. He eyed
the blank floppy disk in my hand.“I’m afraid I can’t let you do that,” he said, putting his hand
in front of the floppy-disk drive.
We assured him that we were fully competent Mac users and guaranteed him we wouldn’t
harm the machine.We finally offered him $20. He took it gingerly, waved us toward the
machines, and muttered another warning not to mess things up.
But our problems were just beginning.We couldn’t take our screen shot on the first Mac
because its System software was deeply troubled. (The three complete System Folders we
counted may have been responsible.) We finally took our screen shot on the other Performa.
We even cleaned out some superfluous junk (A/ROSE, DAL, Caps Lock) from its System Folder as
our way of saying thanks for the use of the machine.
We felt sorry for the poor little machines — manhandled by the public and misunderstood by
the sales staff. But it was, nonetheless, a thrill to see a real Mac in mainstream America,
nestled among the pencil sharpeners and staples.
Part II: Secrets of the Machine
The three original Performa features
Until 1994, when Performas and other Macs began to resemble each other
more and more, the specialized “p” versions of Performa system software (see
Chapter 6) offered three unique Performa features:
One-click launching of programs from the Launcher window
Auto-filing of new documents into a Documents folder on the Desktop
Automatic hiding of background programs — even the Finder
Today, of course, these features are available on any Mac. For details on
these features, see “Launcher” and “General Controls” in Chapter 4.
Figure 15-1
The Performa’s General Controls control
panel — before System 7.5 — had a
different Desktop pattern control than
the one found on other Macs.
Historical Performa principles
In addition to those Big Three features, Performas had a few other
distinctive features.
The General Controls control panel
For a reason that’s no doubt tied in to Apple’s user studies, the
non-System 7.5 Performa’s General Controls control panel (see
Figure 15-1) doesn’t let you edit your Desktop pattern. If you like
making the backdrop to your Macintosh environment a teeming
mass of little letter Js, as your friendly author Joe did before System
7.5, you’re out of luck.
At least the patterns you do get are in a handy pop-up menu.
Furthermore, using ResEdit, you can edit the Performa patterns, as
shown in Figure 15-2. (Hint: Open the General Controls control
panel and double-click the ppt# icon.)
Figure 15-2
The original Performa patterns,
represented here in shades of gray.
The old Performa Control Panel
Every Performa model made between October 1993 and the release of System
7.5 (the 550, 475, 476, 460, 466, and 467, for example) came with a unique
feature: the Performa control panel.
Chapter 15: A Puny Performa Chapter
Exactly how much Mac meat have you got there in that Performa? Here it is: the ultimate
Performa-to-Mainstream-Mac Equivalence Table.
Equivalent Mac
Performa 200
Classic II
68030,16 MHz
Performa 400,405,410,430
68030,16 MHz
Performa 450
68030,25 MHz
Performa 460,466,467
68030,33 MHz
Performa 475,476
LC 475
68LC040,25 MHz
Performa 520
LC 520
68030,33 MHz
Performa 550,560
LC 550
68030,33 MHz
Performa 575,577,578
LC 575 CD
68LC040,33 MHz
Performa 600
68030,32 MHz
Performa 630*
LC 630
68LC040,66 MHz
Performa 640DOS
LC 630 DOS
68LC040,66 MHz
Performa 5200**
Macintosh 5200/75 LC
PowerPC 603
Performa 5300CD
Power Mac 5300/100 LC
PowerPC603e,100 Mhz
Performa 6110†
Power Mac 6100/60
PowerPC 601
Performa 6200††
Power Mac 6200/75
PowerPC 603
Performa 6290
PowerPC603e,100 MHz
Performa 6320
PowerPC 603e,120 Mhz
Performa 6400/180
PowerPC 603e,180 MHz
Performa 6400/200
PowerPC603e,200 MHz
* ...and the Performa 635,636,637,and 638.
** ...and the Performa 5210,5215,and 5220.
†...and the Performa 6112,6115,6117,and 6118.
††...and the Performa 6214CD,6216,6218,6220,and 6230.
Note:Almost all Performas also come with keyboard,monitor,fax/modem,and about ten commercial software
programs pre-installed;today,all Performa models have a CD-ROM drive.
Part II: Secrets of the Machine
This control panel was responsible for several of the features originally
created by the first Launcher (Finder hiding, Launcher opening, Documents
folder-handling). But unlike the old Launcher, the Performa control panel let
you turn these features off individually (see Figure 15-3).
In fact, the Performa control panel introduced a pair of
Figure 15-3
additional features: System Folder Protection and
The Performa control panel gives you feature-byApplications Folder Protection. These options simply prefeature control over you Mac’s Performa-like
vent anyone from dragging icons out of the System Folder
or Applications folder. If you try, you get a strange message
about not having “enough access privileges” to move those
icons. (Only the “root level” items — loose in the folder —
are protected; you’re still free to drag individual control
panels out of the Control Panels folder, for example.)
This feature, too, wound up incorporated into System
7.5’s General Controls panel — although the bizarre and
misleading message about “not enough access privileges”
wasn’t rewritten until System 7.5.3.
At Ease is a Finder-hiding gadget designed for those in control (a parent, a
teacher, a service-bureau owner). It protects the Mac from those who are out
of control (a kid, a student, a customer).
At Ease comes free with the Performa, or can be purchased from Apple or a
mail-order place. It has certain aspects in common with the Launcher, in that
it creates a palette of jumbo icons that one click, not two, will open. But At
Ease fills up the entire screen. Control Panels, the Trash can, and your disk
icons are all hidden from view, making it impossible for accidental renaming,
deleting, or setting changes to occur without the grown-up’s knowledge.
In its place, you see something like Figure 15-4. When you launch a program, the At Ease window itself disappears, only to reappear when you quit
that program.
In current versions of At Ease, each student/child/customer can have
his/her/its own selection of icons installed on these screens. When the Mac
starts up, it presents a list of all such setups (the list might say Timmy, Mom,
Dad, Sissie, and so on), and you double-click to tell the program which configuration to use.
You can even set up a “restricted Finder” environment for certain users, in
which the regular world of movable icons, folders, and menus is available —
but only designated ones. You, the administrator, decide which folders and
files are visible and usable, using the At Ease Setup program.
Chapter 15: A Puny Performa Chapter
Figure 15-4
What you see instead of the Finder
when you’re in At Ease.
At Ease and the death of your hard drive
The manual makes a big deal about the specific way to remove At Ease. It tells
you that you must open the At Ease control panel and click the Off button
before removing At Ease. It specifically warns you not to drag the At Ease files
to the Trash. The manual doesn’t, however, specify exactly what will happen if
you don’t remove At Ease in the officially sanctioned manner.
Well, basically, you trash your hard drive.
At Ease does something rather un-kosher when it installs itself: It modifies
the boot blocks of your hard drive (the very first instructions that get
processed when the Mac is turned on) to ignore the Finder and launch At
Ease instead. Of course, if you’ve thrown away At Ease, the Mac goes on a
wild-goose chase, and throws up its electronic hands in frustration. It gives
you a flickering system-bomb icon in an empty dialog box — and, after a
while, the blinking question-mark Icon of Doom.
You can restart, hold down the Shift key, do whatever you want, and the
hard drive won’t come back. Sometimes, running the Disk Tools program can
repair the damage. Other times, doing a clean system reinstall (see Chapter
33) does the trick.
Much better, though, to avoid the problem in the first place: Turn off At
Ease before removing any of its components. Or, remove it using its original
Installer program’s Remove option. Otherwise, you’re asking for trouble.
Part II: Secrets of the Machine
These days, Performa monitors are pretty terrific — certainly on par with nonPerforma Apple monitors. But in past years, every Performa came with something called the Performa Plus monitor, which had a muddy and washed-out
picture (compared with the Apple 14” color monitor). But as reader Geoff
Alexander pointed out, if you aren’t afraid to adjust the contrast and brightness controls, you can do much better.
Turn the brightness all the way down, and the contrast all the way up.
Surprise:You get a better image than the Apple 14” color monitor. Better color
rendition, too.
Fixing the Performa Plus monitor
The forgotten-At-Ease-password trick
It could happen to you: You forget your own At Ease password. Holding down
the Shift key at startup, of course, doesn’t bypass At Ease. How can you get
back to your Finder?
Restart the Mac from your Disk Tools disk. Now just open your hard drive’s
System Folder,open the Preferences folder,and throw away At Ease Preferences.
Now At Ease can’t remember your password, either!
Restart the Mac and you’re back in business.
A little At Ease surprise
With At Ease running, hold down the Option key while choosing About At
Ease from the Ú menu; you’ll uncover a picture of the At Ease programmers.
Ever wonder how a Performa’s CD-ROM can actually start up the Mac? After
all, there’s no System folder on it. Look around — see for yourself!
Perhaps to discourage novices from installing incomplete pieces of the
System folder, Apple went to a great deal of trouble to hide the CD’s actual
System folder. It’s not the one whose components seem to be in the System
Folder Files folder (in the Hard Disk Files folder).
The real one lurks in the Restore All Software folder, nestled among the
hundreds of blank document icons called Data File 43, Data File 44, and so on.
On various models, we’ve seen it disguised as Data File 46, 80, or 96. In all
cases, some Apple programmer actually pasted a bogus custom “blank document” icon onto the System folder to make sure nobody recognizes it! (But
view the window as a list, and you’ll see the unmistakable folder icon return.)
The secret CD System folder
Chapter 15: A Puny Performa Chapter
Nobody ever said that Apple’s approach to system software on the Performa was perfect. Here are
reader David Converse’s particular complaints, to which we add,“Yeah — what HE said!”
First on the hit list: Apple’s cursed Performa CD (for the 6000-series models, for example).
The included CD, with System software and bundled third-party programs, is an improvement
over the nothing supplied with many earlier Performas. Unfortunately, it isn’t a great
improvement.To reinstall any software, the following steps are required: Boot from the CD
(hold down the C key at startup). Run either the Restore All Software or Restore System
Software program on the CD.Watch as everything is reloaded to your internal hard drive. Easy,
Not so fast. Pity the poor Performa user who has replaced the internal drive with a non-Apple
model . . . or who has reformatted the drive with a third-party driver . . . or whose internal
drive is simply full. In the first two cases, the installer won’t find the hard drive at all; in the
latter case, it will show error messages and end up crashing.
Furthermore, although the included booklet says you can reinstall individual programs from
the CD-ROM, that isn’t the case — it’s all or nothing. Loading to a drive partitioned with HD SC
Setup is OK, except that the installer will load to the highest partition (in terms of disk
addresses) and, if that partition is too small, oh well.
Apple should get a clue. Selling machines aimed at the non-computer-savvy public with
crippled backup disks is sheer foolishness.