MacBuild Checklist

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Getting Started

Visual inspections

  • What kind of computer are you working on? Is it a tower, laptop, all-in-one? Does it have an Intel or PPC processor? What's the model number printed on the bottom (if you can read it, mark it on your triage checklist)?
  • Check for damage

If the case is dirty, clean it off with a rag. If the (laptop) battery looks beaten up or warped, change it with a good one. Are there broken or missing case parts? See your instructor if you need to replace parts; the computer may need surgery to make it work.

Set Up Your Computer


  • Replace RAM with tested memory (if we have the appropriate tested RAM)
  • Check the Keeper Label:
    • If the computer has an Intel processor, it needs a tested HDD with Xubuntu installed
    • If the computer has a PPC processor, it needs a blank hard drive
  • Make sure CPU, HDD, RAM, Optical Drive info is filled in
  • Verify that Disk Wipe and Rember have been completed


  • Find the appropriate power supply for your laptop. Check the bottom of the laptop for power requirements. Ask your instructor if you can't find this.

OS X Triage

Booting into OS X

There are a couple of ways to boot into OSX 10. Apple computers tend to boot to external hard drives more reliably, but the hard drives themselves are not as reliable as the network. As of writing this, Photobooth is not available on network boots, so if you are working on a computer with a built-in camera, you should boot to an external drive to test the camera.

From Network:

  • Connect ethernet cable from the wall to the system
  • Hold down the N key on the keyboard while the system starts up to enter the network boot screen.

From External HDD:

  • Connect the OS X 10.5 Firewire HDD to the system
  • Connect the Firewire HDD to a power source
  • Make sure the Firewire HDD is turned on (there's a power switch on the back of the drive)
  • Hold the Option key on the keyboard while system starts up to enter the Startup Manager
  • Select the Firewire drive (OS X Testing HDD) from the Startup Manager to boot into OS X
  • If a warning box appears while you are logging in, just click "ignore"

Confirm hardware

  • Click on the System Profiler icon in the dock.
  • Check the ATA and Memory sections of System Profiler to confirm that it matches what you've added to the system so far
    • If you did not install RAM or a HDD earlier, check the amount of memory now and compare with the MacBuild Spec Sheet. You can adjust RAM by shutting the computer down and removing or adding RAM at this point. Remember that you will probably still need to test the RAM
    • If it fails to see the HDD or reports the amount of memory incorrectly, the system may have a bad logic board and end up getting recycled. Ask an instructor for troubleshooting assistance
  • Check the Disc Burning section of System Profiler to see what the optical drive in the system can do
  • Fill out the system specs on the Keeper label if they are not already filled out

Stress test the CPU

  • Click on the cpu test icon in the dock
  • choose primenet as the test type and start test
    • This should take 3-10 minutes
  • If this or any other test fails, mark the printme sheet with the test results and sell the computer as-is, or recycle it - ask your instructor

Stress test the GPU

  • Set up the screen saver for the GPU test.
    • Under the Apple menu select System Preferences > Desktops and Screen Saver
    • Scroll down to the bottom and select GPULife
    • Select Options, unclick limit framerate and click show framerate
    • Set Zoom to 1 and click OK
  • Drag your mouse arrow to the very bottom right-hand corner of the screen.
  • A black screen should come up with lots of colorful moving dots which are being generated by the GPU.
  • Look for any artifacting (obvious glitches, lines, popping lights, cross hatching), this points to GPU failure.
  • Check to see that the frames per second number at the bottom left-hand of the screen stays consistent.
  • If everything looks good after a minute or so, you can exit the screen by moving your mouse out of the corner.
  • If there are any gross artifacts, such as lines on the screen or a plaid screen, consult your instructor. Occasional white pixels are OK.

Check if WiFi works

  • Click on the AirPort icon near the upper-right corner of the screen
  • Check to see if the Freegeek wireless network shows up on the list
  • Select Freegeek from the list. If the wireless symbol darkens, it has been activated and it tests okay. If the wireless symbol fails to activate, there may be a

Test CD writing

If you determined that the optical drive in the system can write CD-RWs, do the following:

  • Erase a rewritable CD disk
    • Insert a CD-RW disk
    • Open up Disk Utility (Click on the Disk Utility icon in the dock)
    • Click on the optical drive on the left sidebar of the Disk Utility window
    • Click on the Erase tab that comes up on the right side of the window
    • Confirm that it will perform a quick erase, and click on the Erase button
    • When the erasing is complete you'll get a dialog box. Choose Open Finder from the drop down menu and click OK. This will mount the disk on the desktop.
  • Write to a blank rewritable disk
    • Select the burnme.cdr file in the left panel of Disk Utility and click the Burn button at the top of Disk Utility.
    • The disk should automatically eject when finished. If the disk icon still appears on the desktop, drag it into the trash.

Test the iSight camera (Laptop and iMac only)

  • Double click on the OS X Testing HDD icon and then double click on Applications. Double click on the Photo Booth application to open it. If you can see yourself in the Photo Booth application the camera works.

Check The Battery (laptop only)

  • Select the Coconut Battery icon from dock. Note the battery capacity (not the current charge) and remember that we will need to enter this value in the Notes portion of the printme sheet. For example: "according to Coconut Battery the battery has 67% of original capacity".

Test the Keyboard (laptop only)

  • Open the application Text Edit. Begin methodically pressing every key on the keyboard (including numbers, Shift, CapsLock, Enter, Backspace, Space Bar, and arrows). Make sure that all keys create a letter in the document. Close the document without saving it.
  • If any of the keys are unresponsive, ask your instructor for a replacement keyboard and look up the appropriate Keyboard Replacement Guide on

Next Steps

Intel computers:

Bless the Hard Drive

  • Open a terminal and type
sudo bless --device /dev/disk0s1 --setBoot --legacy
  • You will be prompted for your password, enter "freegeek". It will look like nothing happened, but it worked!


The computer is ready for a QC. Check in with your instructor to check if there is time left in the shift for you to finish this yourself. If there is time, the instructions for the QC Checklist are MacBuild Intel QC Checklist.

PPC computers:

The computer is ready for a Printme. In a terminal, type printme

  • Enter your volunteer ID in the Volunteer ID field
  • Job should be Builder
  • Type should be Apple or Apple Laptop
  • Choose whether the computer is covered or not (if it has an Uncovered Electronic Device sticker on it somewhere, it's NOT covered. If it does NOT have a Uncovered Electronic Device sticker, it's covered)
  • Choose whether the computer is an FG-PDX system or not (if it has a FG-PDX sticker, it's covered. If it does NOT have a FG-PDX sticker, it's NOT covered)
  • Notes should include the following information:
    • no OS installed
    • processor type and speed
    • Hard Drive size
    • memory size and speed
    • optical drive info
    • wireless card info
    • Battery test results for laptops
  • Print to "Shared Printers" >> "Big Printer Outside Classroom"

If the shift is nearly over, please clean up your workspace for the next shift.

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