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This chapter is from the book

What About Mac OS 9?

From the moment Apple released Mac OS X, it began plotting the demise of Mac OS 9. For starters, it has stopped all development of new versions of Mac OS 9.

No more booting from Mac OS 9

Starting in January 2003, new Mac models could no longer boot Mac OS 9. Only Mac OS X booting was supported. (Note: This is limited to Mac models introduced after January 2003, not to all Macs sold as "new" after this time. This distinction is important because Apple continued to sell a few "older" models after January 2003, specifically because those models could still boot into Mac OS 9.)

Thus, if you bought a Mac model released in 2003 or later, you cannot boot from Mac OS 9, either via a Mac OS 9 System Folder installed on a hard drive or via a Mac OS 9 CD.

No more Mac OS 9 preinstalled

Starting in June 2004, Macs no longer came with Mac OS 9 preinstalled, even for use in Classic.

Still, you may wish to use Classic to run some Mac OS 9 software that you still have. Happily, you can do so. You just need to make sure that Mac OS 9 winds up installed on your drive. Exactly how to do this varies as a function of which Mac model you have and when you purchased it.

This is because Apple seems to keep changing how it handles Mac OS 9 with each new Mac model it releases. That's also why I hedge some of my statements on this subject. And whatever I write may be at least partially obsolete in a few months!

Getting Mac OS 9 onto your Mac OS X Mac

If you have an older Mac that came with Mac OS 9 preinstalled (for use with Classic), as long as you don't plan to erase your drive or move Mac OS 9 to another partition, you're already set to go. In addition, newer Macs still ship with software to install Mac OS 9, either with a separate Mac OS 9 Install CD or as part of the Restore software (noted in the previous section).

On the other hand, the retail version of Mac OS X no longer includes a Mac OS 9 Install CD. This can be a minor hassle if you want to install Mac OS 9 on your drive.

The following represent some potential ways to get Mac OS 9 installed:

  • Some newer Macs include a separate Mac OS 9 Install Disc. You can use this CD to install a copy of Mac OS 9 to use with Classic.
  • If you have a Power Mac G5, an iBook, or an iMac G5 that shipped with Mac OS X 10.3.4 through 10.3.7—Apple is quite specific about this!—the Additional Software & Apple Hardware Test disc that came with your Mac provides a means to install Mac OS 9. On my Power Mac G5, for example, there is an icon named Install Additional Software. If you double-click it, it will install Classic Support.
  • On Macs that include a combined Software Install and Restore DVD, there will be two separate icons: Install Mac OS X and one called either Install Applications & Classic Support or Install Bundled Software Only. Double-click whichever of the latter icons appears, to access an option to install Classic.
  • If Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X are installed on the same volume and you want to move Mac OS 9 to a separate volume, you can simply copy the Mac OS 9 System Folder to the alternative volume.
  • On older Macs that came with a series of Software Restore CDs, there should be an invisible folder called .images on the first CD. Use a utility such as Mac4ever's InVisibles ( to make it visible. Inside this folder will be a disk-image file called OS9General.dmg. Copy this file to your hard drive and mount the image. The files contained within the image include a Mac OS 9 System Folder. To install Mac OS 9 on a volume, copy the System Folder on the image to the volume.
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