Feb 162023

If every moment of your Macintosh experience has been on a version of the operating system released after 2001 you may have wondered what things looked like in years prior. The Version Museum has a lovely collection of screenshots you can view for a glimpse of life prior to Mac OS X, but pictures can’t do justice to what it was really like.

Now, thanks to the fabulous Infinite Mac project by Mihai Parparita you can experience Apple’s System 6, System 7, Mac OS 8, or Mac OS 9 with just a web browser on your modern computer.

These sites will promptly send you back in computing time:

https://system6.app – released in April of 1988 – Wikipedia article about System 6
https://system7.app – released in May of 1991 – Wikipedia article about System 7
https://macos8.app – released in July of 1997 – Wikipedia article about Mac OS 8
https://macos9.app – released in October of 1999 – Wikipedia article about Mac OS 9

Best of all, you don’t get to just experience the operating system. Each site is a virtual Mac that includes applications, games, utilities, and even AppleTalk so you can see what networking was like in the pre-internet days.

Hopefully, you’ll be inspired to find your own beige classic Mac and experience the joys of installing software from floppy disks and CD’s, pushing a beige non-optical mouse around, and using a clacky beige keyboard for some great retro Macintosh computing.

Apr 212010

6.0.8 system startup window

I took a few moments to launch Mini vMac and play with Mac OS 6.08 on my MacBook Pro that runs Snow Leopard. Since Snow Leopard will not let you write to or create HFS disk images I was limited to what was available on the 6.08 Disk Tools disk, namely the venerable Disk First Aid and Apple HD SC Setup.

I was very proud of myself for remembering that there is a secret key combination to expose the logging window of DFA so you can see what it is doing. Back in the early days DFA just worked it’s magic and expected you to wait patiently for the watch cursor to disappear and the application to report it’s cryptic results.

If you press Command-S while DFA is open a window underneath appears that displays the status of the DFA processes. Since this always begins¬† and ends with a date/time stamp and the message “Scavenging begun” or “Scavenging ended” I presume Command-S was chosen to display the Scavenging process.

Disk First Aid 1.4.3

Disk First Aid 1.4.3 with secret window revealed

Later versions of Disk First Aid by default display the disk examination and repair process, but back in the System 6 days you had to know the magical keycode to watch its inner workings as it churned away performing its diagnostics and repair.