Powerbook & iBook Troubleshooting Flowchart...

I. Primary links: 

www.dogpile.com 	Select their "Usenet" option and enter keywords 
			like hardware, software, & symptoms [e.g.
			"Powerbook," "Internet Explorer," & "crashing"]. 
			This is useful for sniffing out community-wide
			problems that other people online have already
			discovered, diagnosed and troubleshot. 

			Apple's Powerbook support pages
			[VERY thorough & comprehensive for Apple help.]

www.versiontracker.com	Search for any and all Mac software updates here

			Specific VT pages for iBook & Powerbook updates	

II. Making It Go Again (what to do when it locks up, in order of severity)

a. Hold down the Apple/Command & Alt/Option keys together and hit Esc.
			Forces a quit out of a persnickety program (you
			may be able to save & close other programs,
			though you should restart as soon as possible). 

b. Hold down the Power key at the top of the keyboard.
			Shuts it down (you'll lose all work).

c. Insert a straightened paper clip in the hole next to the triangular
icon, located either (i) in the upper right front of the keyboard, above
the Power key (iBook) or (ii) next to the phone port in the back
(Powerbook). This is the "Programmer's Switch," and should only be used if
nothing else works. 
			Shuts it down (you'll lose all work and likely
			need to reset the Date & Time control panel). 

III. FUBAR Combat Tactics (When you can't even get it to start back up
without crashing). 

a. Start up holding down the Shift key. 
			This starts the machine with all extensions turned off. 

	Since roughly 80% of all rickety Mac performance has to do with
	third-party extension conflicts and/or conflicts with software/system 
	concurrency, this will usually allow you to start up (though
	nothing much will work) and get to the Extensions Manager control
	panel. Select "Mac OS 9.0.4 Base" under "Selected Set" and
	restart. If there are no problems, add a few extensions, and restart
	again. Keep doing this until the problem reappears, and then
	narrow it down to the one that's causing the problem.
b. Insert one of the CDs that came with your machine, and start up holding
down the "C" key. 
			This starts the machine using the CD-ROM's System
			Folder instead of your hard drive's System Folder. 
			By doing this, you can perform the same sorts of
			Extensions Folder surgery described above, and
			also run the Disk First Aid application to see if
			your machine has any larger problems which need
			to be fixed. 


When in doubt, visit the web site of a program that you believe is giving
you trouble and see if there are any updates/patches available. Most
companies are pretty good about this, and there have been enough
significant revisions to the Mac OS that older programs may simply not
work (After Dark screensavers, for example, won't work on anything newer
than Mac OS 8.1). 

Alternatively, you can search VersionTracker's web site and see what
updates are available. Their site is quite up to date (updated daily) and
I've yet to throw a program at them they didn't have a link to an update for.