Rescue HyperCard Stack Data Before Upgrading

As Mac OS X users know, HyperCard requires Classic Mode. But ever since the arrival of Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5), Classic Mode is no more, even on non-Intel Macs. HyperPort logoIf you’ve worried about losing data you’ve accumulated in HyperCard stacks by upgrading to (Snow) Leopard or moving to a new Intel-based Mac, you can use HyperPort before you upgrade to export the data and then import it into your choice of nifty current Mac OS X applications.

HyperPort was released in 1990 as a commercial product. I am releasing it here as a free download for anyone who wants to try to capture HyperCard stack data before the stacks become inaccessible. Note that I provide no product support or implied warranty for this free download version. Use it at your own risk. Before running the stack, read the manual carefully, follow the tutorial with supplied tutorial files, and perform your exports on BACKUP COPIES OF YOUR STACKS.

HyperPort is, itself, a HyperCard stack. It therefore requires Classic Mode in which to operate.

(I apologize in advance for the photo of the young punk HyperCard guy on the back cover the manual. For a view of what the ravages of time can inflict, watch my music video from early 2007.)

Download HyperPort™ Now (program, tutorial stacks, PDF manual: 8.3 MB).

If you can’t bear to part with your old HyperCard stacks, I recently discovered a Mac OS emulator that runs well under Snow Leopard (and, presumably, regular Leopard). You can find out more at the SheepShaver web site. You’ll need to dig out your old Mac OS installer CDs to locate the necessary ROM image file and OS installers, but once you do it and follow the instructions to the letter, you should be able to run HyperCard on your fancy, otherwise up-to-date Mac. As with other OS emulators, there is a shared volume that gives your emulated OS access to files on your main Mac OS X hard drive — allowing you to copy your old stack files to the emulated hard disk. I was able to run my old copy of Connections (a fairly sophisticated set of related stacks) without any problems.

In case you want to do some script editing in Classic Mode under Tiger (10.4), here’s a tip passed along by Kee Nethery:

HyperCard will run under Classic in Mac OS X 10.4 on a PowerPC machine but script editing will have problems. For script editing to work without errors, run the HyperCard application from a disk other than the start-up disk. An easy way to create another disk is to use the Disk Utility to create a virtual disk and to then move HyperCard to that virtual disk.