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Apple macOS 64-bit transition – Software ‘Legacy’ issues

32-bit Application compatibility Issues resulting from macOS updates

Issues have started to appear using existing and older software applications on Apple Macintosh computers with the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit operating systems, commencing with macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, and it’s set to get a whole lot worse!

Current Difficulties

Noticeable problems with applications have surfaced with the update to macOS Mojave.

Strange and unwanted things have crept in. For example:

  • opening a new Finder window causes a new tab to open instead. It’s like the wrong option has been selected – now opening a tab or a window are incorrectly identical. If you want a new Finder window, you need to then select ‘move this tab to a new window’. So suddenly this is a two-stage process 
New Finder window opens a New Tab instead
  • Trying to print from Microsoft Word causes the application to ‘crash’. The work-around for this is its still possible to print by using the toolbar button, instead of selecting ‘print’ from the drop-down menu. But then this doesn’t allow for changing print settings etc.
Microsoft Word quits when trying to print

Promise of worse compatibility problems

This is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’. A whole range of software applications which currently run happily on the Apple Mac are set to become unusable in the next update to macOS. We’re talking about mainstream applications such as Microsoft Office as well as ‘niche’ applications that you may utilise. This appears to represent the biggest shift in software compatibility since the change from Mac ‘Classic’ (OS 9 and before) to Mac OSX, more than 10 years ago.

A warning is displayed when a 32-bit application is launched in macOS High Sierra, and in macOS Mojave the alert appears every 30 days.

The official Apple advice is to ‘contact the application developer’. For the average user, that’s unlikely to achieve anything, particularly for mature applications that perhaps are no longer available or don’t have ongoing development. With something like Microsoft Word, then it should be possible to obtain the latest version, but naturally that will require a new purchase and/or an annual subscription.

Purchasing a new version of existing software will be an expensive business to just maintain your existing functionality

Maintenance Decisions

The standard maintenance advice for computers is to upgrade to the latest available version of operating software; that way, security patches are up-to-date, keeping the system secure, with new functionality as well as bug fixes provided, and support for the latest applications.

On this occasion however, it is worth taking a long considered look at the benefits of upgrading verses sticking with your current macOS release. If you haven’t yet moved to macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 or macOS Mojave 10.14 then you may wish to stay where you are for now, particularly if you’re happy with your current applications and functionality, such as Microsoft Word 2008. If you’re contemplating upgrading, either because you ‘must’ for security purposes or need to support a new generation application, then it will be worth taking the time now to review all of your existing software and work out what the upgrade path will be, or find out what the alternatives you could migrate to e.g. Apple’s ‘Pages’ to replace Microsoft Word, etc.

The most worrying situation will be for owners of specific hardware e.g. the M-Audio USB Midi interface, which may not (and never will) have a suitable updated driver software alternative

In such circumstances of uncertain application support, backups are as always essential; ideally you should be in a position to ‘roll-back’, dual-boot and/or run virtual machines to maintain previous applications and functionality. 

Consideration should also be given to maintaining a dedicated computer at the existing macOS version, and over time, migrating day-to-day applications (where they can be) to a new computer, keeping the old machine for ‘legacy support’.

Further Assistance

Take a look at the full Apple announcement about the transition to 64-bit technology and how it affects 32-bit apps.

@YellowsBestLtd satisfies new and ‘legacy’ requirements for the maintenance of systems and networks by providing services, such as technical assistance and hardware repairs, and solutions, including the supply of spare part items and software support.

We would be keen to hear from you regarding your operational needs, please get in touch.

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PC Troubleshooting Project

Stop Code: PROCESS1 INITIALIZATION FAILED

As a result of a PC replacement and upgrade project for Action for Asperger’s, we were presented with a seemingly serviceable Dell Optiplex 755 machine but suffering from a critical failure on power-up, meaning that the computer was unable to boot into windows, preventing use and severely limiting the diagnostics and configuration options.

PC restart

The first step following a reboot was an automatic ‘startup repair’, however, this didn’t result in a fix:

Startup Repair

Rebooting again and selecting F2 during the initial boot-up screen:

Boot Up

enabled a look at the system information, which indicated that the PC hardware was fine.

System info
Processor info
Memory info

As an extra measure, the internals of the computer were briefly examined, ‘reseating’ components including the video board, memory chips and hard disk and then the system test run to verify all was well.

Internal
Test

It was concluded therefore that the PC hardware was not the cause of the difficulties, and that the Windows installation was severely compromised. 

From the bootup, troubleshooting was selected

Choose an option

From the ‘advanced options’, the Command Prompt was accessed.

Advanced options

Using these commands:

DISKPART

SEL DISK 0

LIST VOL

It was possible to view and confirm the drives and their assigned letters.

Diskpart

Extra information was provided using this command:

wmic logicaldisk list brief

Progress was further hampered by the internal DVD/CD drive not being recognised on boot-up, in its place an external DVD drive was connected.

Rebooting and pressing F12 on power up enabled the adjustment of the Boot priority, selecting the DVD drive first.

A copy of the Boot Repair Tool by yannubuntu was next downloaded and a boot-repair-disk created

This was run from boot and gave encouraging results:

Boot Repair Disk

Alas, these steps hadn’t cured the problems, now a further critical error message was displayed:

Recovery

Consequently, using the Microsoft USB/DVD Download Tool, a Windows 10 install disk was created (confusingly the site specifies Windows 7, but it works fine for Windows 10)

This was booted and the appropriate selections made for a fresh installation of Windows 10:

Windows Setup
Windows Install now
Windows type of installation
Windows operating system selection
Activate Windows
Applicable notices and licence terms
Partition choice

At this point, it was found necessary to delete the old windows partition, extend a different partition and create a new partition in order to be able to commence the windows installation.

Partition selection

It did however then allow the installation of Windows onto the other partition, meaning that two bootable volumes were created. Might be useful for future upgrades or troubleshooting.

Choose OS

Just the straightforward matter left of completing the user configuration of the operating system ready for use. 

Choose region

All done, pleasing to conclude that the critical issues with this PC could be resolved through software corrections alone! 

@YellowsBestLtd provides professional Management Services for Business Development activities and Enterprise Support of Infrastructure. We source Solutions for Sustainable Systems maintenance, equipment Technologies and telecoms and other Products to enhance operations.

We’re always keen provide whatever is needed, so please let us know anything you require.

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