Returning a macbook to OSX 10.6

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by nitro912gr, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. nitro912gr macrumors regular

    nitro912gr

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    #1
    Hello and sorry if this is not the right place to ask, but I'm not sure where to post this.

    I have a unibody white macbook (late 2009) which unfortunately is at the end of its life, both in support and from a usage point of view. I have it for very rare occasions that I need to do small changes on the go or to use it for browsing.

    I have upgraded up to the latest OS but the system have became way too slow and it takes a lot of time to boot and I have a lot of hangs while I wait for the slow HDD to read. A far cry from how the system used to perform when I bought it with osx 10.6 SL and only 2GB of RAM (I have 4 now) so I though that since I don't use it that match and my needs are very specific, what if I format it back to snow leopard that it used to boot in under a minute and everything was so much easier for that old hardware to run?

    My main concern is the compatibility of applications. So I want to ask people who still use OSX 10.6, what apps do you use and are still working (I don't care if they are still supported, if they work that's fine by me).
    What do you use for browsing and mail? Any other apps that you can suggest, or even better any community that try to keep alive this archaic part of OSX?

    (I though about getting an SSD but the system is too old and not used to spent any money on it, so this is out of the question).

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #2
    OS X 10.6 is pretty much unusable. Speed is fine, but compatibility is not. Modern mainstream browsers don't work with it, which means even just surfing is a huge problem.

    That machine will work quite well with an SSD and 4 GB RAM. Since you already have 4 GB RAM, all you need is a US$40 120 GB SSD or US$60 240 GB SSD. You're really missing out if you have already decided against it. Check my sig for comparable machines with SSD (and 8 GB). All of my listed Macs actually are running High Sierra, as can yours, and two of them are very similar to yours.
     
  3. Jack Neill macrumors 6502

    Jack Neill

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Location:
    San Antonio Texas
    #3
    My Early 2009 5,2 is running HS perfectly with a SSD and 8Gb ram. Dont give up on your machine just yet. If you really want to go back to SL and dont have a restore disc, I am sure you could find one in the usual places. I just put Tiger my old MB 2,1 because I was bored.
     
  4. nitro912gr thread starter macrumors regular

    nitro912gr

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    #4
    You were right, I tried a SSD that I got for another system and it is now somewhat usable, not great but at least I'm not getting so frustrated to want to strike it on the wall :p
     
  5. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    Brasil
    #5
    I also would like to get back to 10.6 just for keeping a machine capable of fully supporting my old Nikon film scanner and audio interface. I don't think it's suitable for people who own a single Mac, but as a spare computer for running older software it can be a good idea. On Snow Leopard this old Macbook even supports CUDA.
     
  6. Jack Neill macrumors 6502

    Jack Neill

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Location:
    San Antonio Texas
    #6
    I am tempted to Install SL on a old Mac just to watch the opening video again. I loved those videos at setup.
     
  7. Guza macrumors member

    Guza

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2018
    Location:
    Boston
    #7
    That opening install video is quite cool though actually :) lol @nitro912gr I still use 10.6.8 on a daily basis for everything on my main machine and I come across very very little troubles at all. The only thing that is a hindrance (and it is very rare) is some missing entry window fields on webpages when using my favorite browser Firefox which #42 is the last usable browser for Snow Leopard.

    But then I go to Chrome and the entry fields are there to go through a payment gateway eCommerce system as an example, but other than that Snow Leopard can still do everything in the same features that is offered in the later OSX platforms that followed it.

    I use Gmail in Firefox and Entourage in MS Office 2008 for emails. I have no problems with printer drivers and I just bought a Samsung printer a month ago. I'm on the last iTunes 10.7 with no troubles, and all pre-installed apps work fine, and aftermarket video players, photo editors, backup softwares, fan controls, etc. all work perfectly as they should.

    You will NOT be able to sync a recent iOS iPhone/iPad to the old iTunes, nor use the desktop versions of messengers, (whatsapp, viber, telegram) but I keep a separate small partition of Yosemite for all of that anyways.

    Surprisingly alot of app developers still make any updated versions of their 3rd party apps to still be compatible with Snow Leopard I find which is nice. I think the developers know that there is a Snow Leopard market out there that just won't change and upgrade no matter what (like myself lol) and they still want to keep that customer base so they make sure that their new code is still compatible with Snow Leopard. It's still the best OS X ever made in my opinion.
     
  8. nitro912gr thread starter macrumors regular

    nitro912gr

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    #8
    Hello guys I eventually returned to the first plan and installed OSX SL 10.6.8, the SSD was nice but the system response was still terrible. I think apple have a windows vista moment here with MacOS and they need to spent some money on making it the system it used to be. That is, the battler of OSes, fast, efficient and not intrusive.

    Also I did noticed that after sierra my wacom no longer worked with osx (neither windows 10 on my workstation) and wacom was not willing to get a new drivers for that old wacom (bamboo fun) so I decided to make that old system compatible with it, since I don't really use it for production.

    I had some trouble to find the right versions for everything I wanted but now I have a system that works and responds very fast, as long as pages still work with firefox 48 esr I will be fine. I also realized that the very first adobe cc is compatible with OS SL so I can now do some light work if needed and move afterwards in the workstation.

    I miss having dropbox, onedrive and steam but I can manage with web interface. Also I will not risk online banking transactions or anything that sensitive, since both the browser version and osx are old and insecure, but I have other systems for that.

    I can provide a full list of apps that work and at which version when I get back home.
     
  9. Guza macrumors member

    Guza

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2018
    Location:
    Boston
    #9
    Long Live Snow Leopard lol :) good for you, the SSD may not be the ultimate cure for speed, I have a Samsung VNAND SSD with 16 mb of maximum RAM on my 2011 MBP's and sometimes they still get bogged down in just regular browser searches or whatever.

    Also, I still use all online transactions and payment gateway transactions, online stores, ecommerce, online banking, etc with Snow Leopard and never had a problem with no updates whatsoever. ZERO updates on anything and ZERO problems, so why do they push for browser and op system security patches when I think its proven that they are not needed at all?

    I think it's better to run a non-updated, bloated, unproven, untested op system and not have to run into constant problems and with 3rd party apps as well. "if it ain't broke then don't fix it" is the old maxim and it's proven time and time again.
     
  10. JullsJTRIRE macrumors member

    JullsJTRIRE

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2018
    Location:
    I`m in Washington DC
    #10
    I prefer using MacBook OS 10 and don't try to go for anything higher, it's simply enough for me)) Anyway good luck with your device!
     
  11. Guza macrumors member

    Guza

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2018
    Location:
    Boston
    #11
    I lock into Yosemite myself as well just for iPhone and iPad syncs to iTunes and keep that small partition for doing so, if older iTunes 10's were compatible for today's iOS platforms they I wouldn't even have the Yosemite at all really.
     
  12. bunnspecial macrumors 604

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #12
    I run two of the beasts, a V and an 8000, and have both connected to my MP 5,1. Unfortunately, Nikon Scan has decided it doesn't want to play nicely on that particular computer, and I've been fighting with it trying to get it to work(I've been running both on Vuescan, which I don't like as well as Nikon Scan).

    When I was testing the 8000 in the store before buying it, I actually dumped a fresh SL install on my MB 5,2, installed Nikon Scan, and took that in to test the scanner(8000s and 9000s are a bit delicate, and I paid nearly $1K for an 8000 that's well over 10 years old-the 9000 runs over $2K). The 5,2 is the newest MacBook I could use since it connects via Firewire.
     
  13. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    Brasil
    #13
    I have a Nikon Coolscan V bought in 2006 which I don't use for perhaps 7-8 years. I miss using my film cameras. Nikon Scan was a really nice app, although I don't have too much fine control like on VueScan. But I also prefer Nikon Scan because I never got a good setting in VueScan that could match Nikon Scan results. I wonder how fast it would perform with a more recent Macbook Pro.
     
  14. bunnspecial macrumors 604

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #14
    Anything in the C2D era will crunch through files on Nikon Scan plenty fast-even the big 10,000x12,000 pixel files from my Coolscan 8000 are not too bad.

    The biggest bottleneck is still the acquisition time, which of course increases considerably when resolution is increased. My V isn't too bad, but the 8000 is slow at least with a 6x6 or 6x7 frame. I've yet to try scanning 35mm in it, as V is just so much easier.
     
  15. retta283 macrumors 6502a

    retta283

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2018
    Location:
    Kingman, AZ
    #15
    I know this is somewhat old, but wanted to chime in on the Snow Leopard debate. I use Snow Leopard almost daily, alongside Sierra, and Leopard on my PPC systems. The UI in Leopard/Snow Leopard is the best refinement of the OS X UI. By the time of Mavericks, the UI had gotten a little long in the tooth, and Aqua was all but gone by this time. Stable OSes too. On PPC, Leopard still has decent support. Intel has none sadly. There are some browsers for SL that are somewhat modern, but in a few years it may be unusable.
     
  16. nitro912gr thread starter macrumors regular

    nitro912gr

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    #16
    I want to add to the story too, as some time have passed singe I opened the topic I now count some months with SL and the older versions of the programs.
    I have to say that my experience is much better now and the only problem was with firefox 45 that doesn't support multicore and it was chocking with heavy loads, so I decided to get 48 that support (but you need to force enable it) and everything is fine now, I even see netflix at 720p with no hiccups and also can work with the very first versions of adobe CC without missing much from the newer versions.

    I tried my hand on gaming but only managed to use gog games that you can download without any client, steam is out of the question (I found an old version that worked but I wasn't able to install anything or even start in home streaming from the other system).

    So far so good, I guess I will stay in SL for this macbook.
     
  17. retta283 macrumors 6502a

    retta283

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2018
    Location:
    Kingman, AZ
    #17
    One thing I can say though, is that Snow Leopard looks washed out on my MacBooks compared to regular Leopard. This is due to the gamma being 2.2, not the 1.8 used by 10.0-10.5.

    Besides this, Snow Leopard is great. QuickTime Player X plays 720p flawlessly on my 2006 MacBook, it is super laggy on QT 7.
     
  18. nitro912gr thread starter macrumors regular

    nitro912gr

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    #18
    So I wrote a whole issue about this :p

    Here the TLDR version

    ...Here I want to make a full stop and make something clear. This machine is not safe for use in today internet that is full of horrors. I didn't write them down but I'm sure there are vulnerabilities that where not addressed in that old version of the system and the version 48 of firefox that is the latest one to work here. So yeah if you plan to follow on my steps you better not try using anything that is sensitive, like online banking, I for one hardly use online logins that are secured with 2 step authentication, yet I'm very concerned about my data's safety with that system. The best solution is to connect, download what you need, and then keep this system offline, yeah it can still be useful this way.

    So let's see what works and what not. I will type a list of the applications that I use almost daily and if it works in what version.
    Firefox. It works with version 48 but some suggest to use 45 esr. The problem with 45 is that while it is the last one that stopped getting updates and it is safer, it doesn't support multicore and make the use of heavy sites like facebook almost unbearable. Aside that every single site I visited worked like a charm and even used Netflix with silverlight plugin.
    Libre Office. Works with version 4.3.7.2. While it is slower than the newer versions for the casual user like me, is not a problem.
    VLC. It works in version 2.2.8
    Dropbox. It is not working but you can use it through the browser.
    Onedrive. Same as with dropbox, the app is not working but you can get your files with the browser.
    Steam. Managed to get a frozen older version and checked with valve support that logging in from an old version will not get me in trouble so I did logged in, but didn't managed to download anything. So I only got access to the store and community features.
    GoG Galaxy. The client is not working but I downloaded a game directly from the site and it worked (Fallout 1 through DOSbox) long live DRM free gaming.
    Affinity Designer and Photo. Not working. Those are newer programs that are designed directly for newer versions of OSX that work only with 64bit.
    Adobe Suite. Working at CS6 but I did noticed that CS6 is just unbearable without the quality of life changes that happened with the CC. Luckily the very first version of adobe creative cloud is working with OSX 10.6. The problem is that you can no longer get this version legally as adobe changed their policies about older versions because of licensing reasons.
    ArtRage. Version 2.5 that was with my wacom is working fine.
    FontBase. Not working but...
    FontExplorer X Pro. Works at version 4.2.3.
    Keka for zip files works at version 1.0.4
    Qbit Torrent. Works at version 3.0.0
    TeamViewer works in version 9 but probably you need version 9 to the other system too. Got it today and still haven't tried it, but installed fine and from the teamviewer site I understand that it will work.

    That's all from me in the applications side. About the overall experience now, it is much better than with the newer versions of everything. The system and the apps are more lightweight and doesn't chock the old hardware so everything is fast and responsive. If you can live with the obvious limitations and a bit of risk getting back to OSX 10.6 is a good choice. It made a system that was barely usable for internet to manage even most of my daily working needs in graphic design.

    Getting back in Time, getting back to OSX Snow Leopard



    I remember that Autumn of 2009, when my expensive yet fragile HP Pavilion died because of faulty design. It was just 2 years and a month old, just when the guaranty period was over. I was left in cold water back then, being in the college and also working, having a laptop was almost a necessity.

    I remember that searching for a good laptop was hard because there was nothing good below 1200 euros, at least on the windows side at this time in history. But the lower end macbook was just refreshed back then, a sweet deal (yeah macs where good deals back then) at 965 euros, with discreet GPU and 6+ hours of battery life, also MacOSX was a big factor in the era of windows XP and Vista.



    Year after year I kept using this little macbook, eventually upgraded the RAM from 2GB to 4GB (but not with official mac RAM, and probably this is why sleep is no longer working, the machine just freeze there), it did the job well for graphic design, internet, music, movies, light gaming, everything actually. Sure year after year everything was more and more heavier and this little mac felt slower and slower, so eventually it was too frustrating to use. Meanwhile smartphones at the lower end (where I shop) started to be more usable so I started shifting my casual activities to my smartphone, then I got a tablet for free and this is when I left the macbook aside and used it maybe once a week.



    I always blamed the slow 5400rpm HDD, so when SSD prices dropped at super affordable levels I got one for the home system, but before installing it I decided to try it on the macbook, so maybe if I can make it working again good enough to get it back in business, there is always a need for systems that works in my office. So with the SSD the experience was improved but still I waited too long for simple tasks and this is when I did realized that maybe I don't have to be in the latest of the OS version, with the latest of the applications' versions to use this macbook. I remembered that when I got this macbook with only 2GB of RAM it was literally flying. Less than a minute from cold boot to “ready to use”, instantly shut down, every application starting much faster. Was it just my sweet nostalgia or it was in fact a faster system back then?


    So I did the unthinkable, I reverted the macbook back to the OSX it was shipped with. OSX Snow Leopard 10.6!

    Actually I wanted to try this for a really long time but I got the finally push after my wacom bamboo stopped working both in newer versions of OSX and Windows 10, and since it is a really old digitizer, wacom will not update the driver. Yet I haven't used it as much as I wanted and it works like a charm when I feel like doing a bit of digital painting. So here is a purpose to go ahead and try OSX 10.6
    While it was very easy to install OSX and iLife '09 (back then they had disks in the package) it wasn't that easy to find which of my favorite applications version was the right one for that old (32bit mind you) OSX. Even when I found what version will work, it was no easy task to find where to get it (that is except adobe CC which was providing older versions when I started this experiment).

    So after I spent close to a month of research and trial and error (some times the only way to find out was to download many older versions and keep on trying which one will work), I finally managed to make the macbook usable. It is not 100% usable as it could be with the latest OSX it could manage but I believe it is good enough so it can work fast and have a reason to be around.



    Here I want to make a full stop and make something clear. This machine is not safe for use in today internet that is full of horrors. I didn't write them down but I'm sure there are vulnerabilities that where not addressed in that old version of the system and the version 48 of firefox that is the latest one to work here. So yeah if you plan to follow on my steps you better not try using anything that is sensitive, like online banking, I for one hardly use online logins that are secured with 2 step authentication, yet I'm very concerned about my data's safety with that system. The best solution is to connect, download what you need, and then keep this system offline, yeah it can still be useful this way.



    So let's see what works and what not. I will type a list of the applications that I use almost daily and if it works in what version.

    Firefox. It works with version 48 but some suggest to use 45 esr. The problem with 45 is that while it is the last one that stopped getting updates and it is safer, it doesn't support multicore and make the use of heavy sites like facebook almost unbearable. Aside that every single site I visited worked like a charm and even used Netflix with silverlight plugin.

    Libre Office. Works with version 4.3.7.2. While it is slower than the newer versions for the casual user like me, is not a problem.

    VLC. It works in version 2.2.8

    Dropbox. It is not working but you can use it through the browser.

    Onedrive. Same as with dropbox, the app is not working but you can get your files with the browser.

    Steam. Managed to get a frozen older version and checked with valve support that logging in from an old version will not get me in trouble so I did logged in, but didn't managed to download anything. So I only got access to the store and community features.

    GoG Galaxy. The client is not working but I downloaded a game directly from the site and it worked (Fallout 1 through DOSbox) long live DRM free gaming.

    Affinity Designer and Photo. Not working. Those are newer programs that are designed directly for newer versions of OSX that work only with 64bit.
    Adobe Suite. Working at CS6 but I did noticed that CS6 is just unbearable without the quality of life changes that happened with the CC. Luckily the very first version of adobe creative cloud is working with OSX 10.6. The problem is that you can no longer get this version legally as adobe changed their policies about older versions because of licensing reasons.
    ArtRage. Version 2.5 that was with my wacom is working fine.

    FontBase. Not working but...

    FontExplorer X Pro. Works at version 4.2.3.

    Keka for zip files works at version 1.0.4

    Qbit Torrent. Works at version 3.0.0

    TeamViewer works in version 9 but probably you need version 9 to the other system too. Got it today and still haven't tried it, but installed fine and from the teamviewer site I understand that it will work.



    That's all from me in the applications side. About the overall experience now, it is much better than with the newer versions of everything. The system and the apps are more lightweight and doesn't chock the old hardware so everything is fast and responsive. If you can live with the obvious limitations and a bit of risk getting back to OSX 10.6 is a good choice. It made a system that was barely usable for internet to manage even most of my daily working needs in graphic design.



    I now understand that you can freeze a system in time and keep using it for a couple of things efficiently.
     

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17 July 6, 2018