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Why to Do It:

Parameter RAM, usually referred to as PRAM, is a small amount of RAM maintained by special hardware on the main logic board of the Macintosh. It is separate from both the main memory (see Fix-It #5) and the video memory (see Chapter 10) to which I have referred most often elsewhere in this book.

So what exactly does PRAM do? Primarily it stores the settings of several control panels included with the Macintosh system software. Most notably, the PRAM stores the current date and time, the choice of Startup disk (set by the Startup Disk control panel), and whether AppleTalk is active. It also stores settings from various control panels, including General Controls (insertion point and menu blinking rates), Memory (disk cache size), Mouse (mouse tracking and double-click settings), Sound (alert sound selection), Keyboard (key repeat settings), and Appearance (highlight color). The PRAM also stores information regarding the status of ports, such as the serial and SCSI ports. Some data not technically stored in PRAM is also reset to default values when you zap the PRAM. These include the settings for the desktop pattern and the color depth of the monitor.


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