Originally Web posted February 1999.
Content last modified Friday, 8 July 2016 .
External links last verified Tuesday, 15 February 2005.

“Yeah, it’ll work on that” (System Requirements)

Lies, lies, lies… are you tired of lies? Tired of computer products which do not even come close to meeting their published specs/claims? I sure am… really tired! One reason i bought TT Pro 1 was i figured the newer version may not support the Mac Plus (which i still use regularly, though not as often as the 8600/300. More than half this review was composed on the Plus). More on this later. Right now, it is important to note the following System Requirements, as enumerated by MicroMat:

TechTool Pro version 1.0.6 and 2.0.2 (from their respective manuals):

Note that the paper manual shipping as recently as version 2.5.3 was identical to that for 2.0.2. I find it interesting that when i went to the MicroMat website on 28 May 2000, i still could find no mention of updated system requirements for TechTool Pro, despite having first noticed this omission on 15 Feb. 1999 and having discussed it with the kind folks at MicroMat several times. Nor is there even an updated Read Me on the 2.5.4 CD-ROM. Sigh.

Dear MicroMat: it may well be a good selling point and customer confidence builder to post the current, correct System Requirements for TTP on your website in either the TechTool Pro General or FAQ sections, and include current System Requirements in the Read Mes for updaters and new CD-ROM pressings. This is standard, minimal information that customers need to know.

It is necessary to point out that TechTool Pro 1 does not allow one to adjust memory in its Get Info box—it will yell at you, and refuse to run. Furthermore, virtual memory is not allowed, at least for some of the main tests (such as RAM). Things really get interesting when one notes what the program requires (in Get Info):

These are the same for both fat and 68k and PPC-only installs. Tech Tool Pro 2 does allow resizing in Get Info, though when i set it to 3145k (with 3150k available), it crashed with an unimplemented trap system error (repeatably, extensions off) on the Mac Plus. VM is still not allowed, at least for some tests (verified on a 4MB LC III).

Since resizing below 4000k causes crashes, since 68000 machines such as the Mac Plus cannot use virtual memory and cannot (stock) have more than 4MB of RAM installed, and since i have never met a 96k version of System 7.x, i do not understand how MicroMat can claim that Tech Tool Pro 2 will run on 68000 machines—it cannot. Intentional or not, this amounts to lying on MicroMat’s part. They should either make TT Pro 2 actually work correctly on 68000 machines, or be honest and let us know on what Macs TT Pro 2 will actually work, including keeping registered users informed!

I had to go to heroic lengths to get TT Pro 1 to run on my Mac Plus at all, such as stripping down the system to virtually nothing. Needless to say, i could not test in anything close to my daily use configuration. Public Utilities, MacTools, and Norton Disk Doctor (at least older versions) do not suffer from this degree of memory limitation. Here’s what they need:

As much as it pains me to say it, Norton Utilities for Macintosh (at least old versions) holds an advantage here, since each module of the package is in itself a separate program, hence only what is currently being used need be loaded into RAM and running.

Online reading in early 1999 indicates that the recent Norton Utilities for Macintosh 4.0 has abandoned 68k machines entirely. Symantec’s website shows the following:

System requirements:

The requirements for NUM 5 (required for OS 9) are even more “exciting”:

As of early 1999, MacAddict had recently reviewed TechTool Pro 2.1.1, and listed these System requirements:

In November 1999, Mac Addict reviewed version 2.5.1 and noted the following requirements:

Confused yet? I am! Is the minimum System 7.0, 7.1, or what? As a registered user, i never received anything regarding changes to the minimum System requirements. Furthermore, i read all the Read Mes and related documentation included with the 2.0.3, 2.1.1, 2.5.3, and 2.5.4 updaters, and saw nothing mentioning System requirements there. I must assume the newer TechTool Pro 2 box has updated information. MicroMat needs to follow a more honest policy of disclosing the true System requirements of TT Pro, including informing (at least on the website) its prospective customers and registered users of any changes! To MicroMat’s credit, they did correctly set up 2.1.1 to reject 7.0.1• (and presumably other older Systems) with an informative dialog box when one actually attempts to run the program with an older System. To further cloud the issue, this dialog is gone from versions 2.5.3 and 2.5.4, which will launch just fine under System 7.0.1 on a PowerBook 170.

Dear MicroMat: which is it? What does TechTool Pro 2 really support?

Return to the main article