Fighting Entropy: The Losing Battle To Keep Macs Running

Slowly but surely more and more of the machines I have are becoming more difficult to fix, and they’re turning into a greater cost. Every time I fix something, something else breaks. And I’m running out of parts. Additionally, not being in Tokyo or even a very close suburb means I’m not getting donations as rapidly.

I’m not really a HrutkayMods or Action Retro, I am not really doing this out of pure enjoyment, since the end goal is giving away/selling cheaply machines that still are fully usable to current standards to keep crap out of landfills. That’s why I don’t bother with 32bit systems.

Right now, none of these systems are fully functional except for my main machine, the 2015 MacBook Pro (and my work issued 2020 MBP), and even it has required the slow cannibalisation of a donor unit with a smashed screen. The 3,1 Mac Pro hasn’t booted in like two years. I have a 5,1 that got donated, but it’s such a power sucker I haven’t figured out what to do with it. The 2008 MacBook Black probably needs some clean up, though last time I pulled out the 2008 MacBook White, it was still in perfect condition.

I’ve already burned through the 2015’s donor’s A key, but I have some black outdoor touch up paint I’ve used on the previous A key, which had nearly been cleaned clear of blackness and am now touching up the center of the most recent A key. For those keeping track, this is 5 A keys I’ve burned through (and three Ss and I think I’m also on my third E). I did attempt to “remake” the A but it looked way worse than just all black, so I think that’s just what I’ll do. I’m a touch typist, so it’s not like it has to say A on it for me to know where it is. I was just annoyed by the uneven white/clear splotch in the middle.

OpenCore Legacy and Linux have really made it even easier than ever to keep these machines useful from a security and software PoV, but the machines have to, you know, physically work. And that’s increasingly difficult and costly because they have no value. Parts are relatively cheap, but relative to no value, any cost is expensive.

Do you have any projects like this? Why are you doing it? How successful have you been at it? I’d love to see other people’s work.


It can be hard to keep machines going sometimes, especially Mac’s with some of the unique parts Apple has been using for years. I have a perfectly working 2006 MBP and 2007 iMac sitting around. But they aren’t of much use to anyone. Many people expect more of their computers than just word processors or email clients.

Not too long ago I did some work to breathe new life into an old 2011 iMac (iMac 27" Mid 2011 Upgrade). Daughter has been enjoying the machine ever since. Haven’t got around to installing the BT / WIFI upgrade yet but it hasn’t been necessary so far, so those parts are just sitting in a box. When I get some free time, probably next year, i’ll get around to upgrading it and hopefully installing Sonoma.

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