Why can't you install the Macintosh operating system on an IBM PC or PC clone?
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983

D r .   G i z m o
Is it worth fixing an old VCR? How can I make a shortcut for the dialup icon? Can you install Mac OS X on a PC?

Nov. 12, 2003

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2003, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2003, The Post-Standard

   Are you still about providing those great tips on VCRs you used to offer years ago? I hope so. And I hope you can give me an idea of what are the likely causes of VCRs "eating" tapes or otherwise mangling them when I try to play them. When you try to eject the tape it leaves the tape attached to something inside. Is the fix relatively easy or is it a costly problem and not worth the expense? -- F.A., via ican.net.

   The doctor hasn't abandoned his VCR-using fans and never will. Tape guides in the videotape recorder probably are out of alignment. This is not a user-fixable problem, so the choice is clear: A trip to the repair shop, at a cost of $45 to $60, or a new VCR, at a cost of $49 to $59. Paying as much as $60 to keep your used VCR doesn't seem like good sense, so the doc recommends a drive to a discount department store for a new recorder.
   I'm using Windows. I'd like to know how to put the little "Dialup connection" window somewhere handy. I get it when I boot up but then it disappears and I cannot find it. I'd like to put it on the taskbar or some other place where I can find it. -- S., via Dreamscape.

   The doc uses shortcuts in Windows and aliases on the Macintosh to do this sort of thing. A shortcut or alias is a tiny file that tells a program where to find the item it represents.
   To make a shortcut for the dialup icon in Windows, locate the original by going to the Dialup Settings window (click Start, then Settings) and right clicking the dialup icon. Choose "Copy" from the popup menu. Then right click on your desktop and choose the shortcut option. With the new shortcut selected, press F2 and type a name that makes sense, then press Enter. (Get rid of the dumb "Shortcut to ..." part of the name at least. Of course it's a shortcut; it has a curved shortcut arrow, and that's all you need to identify a shortcut.)
   I've been computing a long time and have never heard this one asked. Here goes: Why can't you install the Macintosh operating system on an IBM PC or PC clone? You can install Linux, which is Unix-based. Isn't OS X, the Mac operating system, Unix-based as well? -- Terry O.

   The doc has heard this questions many times. The answer is that a special version of Mac OS X already runs on the kind of PCs that run Windows. Apple is known to have many PCs of various brands running Mac OS X for testing. It does this to remain ready if the company decides to release a PC version of OS X. Such a PC version, if officially sold, could be installed along with Windows or in place of Windows.
   PCs and Macs differ in major ways, so the operating system isn't easily moved from one kind of computer to the other. Just as the tires on your car won't fit the doctor's recumbent bicycle, the software that powers Mac OS X won't fit on a PC. But the special version Apple created for PCs runs very nicely. Apple hasn't said it would release a PC version of Mac OS X, however.
   Dr. Gizmo runs OS X on a genuine Apple Macintosh. You can send an apple (an Empire or Jonah Gold, please) or a letter to the doctor or his pal at Technology, Box 4915, Syracuse, NY 13221. Or send e-mail to afasoldt@twcny.rr.com.