I started this project ages ago and it's just been sitting on my bench for ever. I have this old MacIIci and I put a LAN card in it, maxed out the memory, has the turbo proc in it.

The next step I wanted to take was using this adapter that converts a modern SD card to 50-pin SCSI (I maybe wrong on specifics but, the hardware isn't the point). The adapter works great!

The problem I have ran into is that I cannot for the life of me figure out a way to format this 256MB SD card as HFS. I'm not really a mac guy but, I spent a considerable amount of time on this project and absolutely hit a wall with this ancient format. Everything that I can find only formats HFS+. If anybody has an old tool laying around, idea, anything; I would greatly appreciate some guidance on this.

The other thing I was considering was just creating a share on like Windows Server 2000 and moving files that way but, Apple Talk hasn't given me any luck either.

Also, is there a way to access terminal on an old school mac?


4 Answers 4


If you have a system running on your IIci you could presumably use that to format your drive, but I'm guessing that's not the case.

To build a working image on the SD card, there are two things to get right: the partition map, and the HFS filesystem itself. The SCSI2SD wiki has a page detailing the steps; the short version is

  • setup an old Mac system in an emulator (Mini vMac or Basilisk II);
  • install your system on a disk image which is slightly smaller than the target SD card;
  • use hfsdisk to create the partition map;
  • install a SCSI driver partition;
  • copy your image to the target SD card.

As far as terminals on old Macs go, the system wasn't really designed for one; the Macintosh Programmer's Workshop includes one that you can use if you really want to (look at the external links for download mirrors).

  • Thanks! That gives me something to work with. I tried a similar setup in the past but, I probably missed something along the way. Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 21:56

The HFS Utilities package looks like it will let you format the disk from a Linux system; modern Windows may also be supported (it says "95/NT", which means you may run into permissions errors on Vista or newer).

It appears to still work -- it'll format a disk image that the Linux HFS subsystem will recognize and mount. I haven't tested it on an actual disk or with an actual Macintosh.

  • I use hfsutils-created images on floppies and BMOW disk emulator cards with no problems on real 68k Macs.
    – scruss
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 15:54

If you are making a share on Windows 2000 Server, make sure you are install the Services for Macintosh component (it's not installed by default). Also you need to be running MacOS 8.5 or later to be able to access it.

Old versions of MacOS didn't come with a terminal application built-in; I am not sure but I suspect this became a feature when the OS became Unix-based. But you could certainly get terminal applications for old Macs, for example I used to use MacKermit (handy for both terminal emulation and file transfer).

  • 1
    "Also you need to be running MacOS 8.5 or later to be able to access it." This! I had the components installed on Server 2000 but, it was a no go for me. The OS that is currently on my is 7.6.1. Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 22:02

Do you have a Boot floppy for the IIci? or some kind of system install media? In the old days Mac OS shipped with a Floppy Disk called 'Disk Tools' which was a bare bones system with tools for scanning and formatting/partitioning hard disks. you might be able to obtain a copy of it on ebay or ask someone you know who has an old mac to make you one. (maybe someone on here would make you one and mail it to you if you ask nicely) Alternatively, if you acquire an External SCSI cd rom drive, you could acquire a System 7.6 cd on ebay, which would have all the necessary tools for formatting your sd drive to HFS.

Another thought might be to acquire a bridge machine, such as a Beige power macintosh G3, it was the last mac to have a floppy drive and the first mac to run OS X (you could install 10.2 on it and have Mac OS 9.2 in classic mode) With said machine you could generate a disk utilities floppy for the IIci as well as a set of System 7.5.3 Install floppies Once you've gotten this far you could share files between the IIci and the G3 over your network, removing the need for additional floppy disks.

That being said a power mac g3 would open up a number of doors as it was also the last mac to have SCSI, ADB, printer and modem ports, etc. so you could format and partition your drive directly on the g3.

  • OP says the card is 256 MB, so why would HFS being limited to 4 GB imply that the card needs to be split into multiple partitions?
    – user
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 19:27
  • Ah, I read it 256 GB, which would be one heck of an SD card, Thanks for pointing that out, I'll edit accordingly. Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 22:05
  • Despite HFS handling larger partitions, it is very inefficient at any size over a few hundred megabytes. That's because the file allocation table was limited to 64k entries (i.e. at 1GB, it allocates over 15kB for the smallest file). HFS+ is a great improvement.
    – Whit3rd
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 2:20

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