June 28, 2012

Setting up a Dual PowerPC Macintosh as Headless computer

Today I was able to setup my Dual 1.42 Ghz PowerPC G4 Macintosh as a headless computer. A headless computer is a computer that is not attached to a monitor. This is mostly done with Unix systems at datacenters. Usually consumers aren't setting up their computers without monitors.

The reason why I decided to make my PowerPC headless is that I wanted to use the 21" monitor as a second monitor to my new iMac. Over time I plan to phase out the use of my old PowerPC computer. There's no reason to have a monitor attached to a soon to be legacy computer.

To set this up, before disconnecting the monitor, I enable remote management for VNC.

I booted up the computer and went into 'System Preferences' and then selected 'Sharing.' I then enabled the Remote Management and turned on all the options except the Observe option. I didn't select this as there will be no way to observe any remote connection. I then click on the 'Computer Settings...' and enabled the 'VNC viewers may control screen with password' checkbox and entered a password. The password is very importaint since anyone could connect to the computer and grab old files.

After performing all the Settings, I then shut down the computer and disconnected the monitor. I also disconnected the mouse and keyboard since I wouldn't be needing that. This frees up more valuable desk space. Obviously the Ethernet cable had to still be plugged in.

I then rebooted the computer and then waited a couple of minutes for the boot process to complete. Actually my PowerPC is so old, I have to unplug the computer and plug it back in to re-boot it. I haven't figured out why I have to do that yet.

To access the PowerPC computer from my iMac I downloaded Chicken of the VNC. Chicken of the VNC is a VNC client for Mac OS X. I was surprised that it discovered my old Computer when I went to connect. I simply had to enter my password, click enter and bingo I have access to my old computer. What's even nicer it's the same resolution as it was before, so I wasn't looking at a smaller window.

I am happy to now have access to my old computer. My task now is to move files from one computer to the next computer.

Last night I tried to copy my iPhoto Library from my old computer to the iMac however it was going to take 2 days to copy it over from my Ethernet connection. (13 GB) Looks like that I'll have to setup a Firewire Disk mode to copy over data. Both computer have Firewire 800 ports, so the data copy should be faster than Ethernet.

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