KB: Need to use OS 9 (Classic Environment)?

Mac OS 9
Feel the need to run OS 9 on your Mac for whatever reason? Sometimes it is just fun to re-use the good old days' operating system.

Officially, OS 9 is only supported on older Mac (with PowerPC processor), and Apple dropped the support of OS 9 (Classic Environment) on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.

To use Mac OS 9, there are basically three ways, depending on which Macintosh you have.

SheepShaverIf you have an Intel based Mac, you can emulate the OS 9 environment, but don't worry, Intel based Mac is pretty quick, which is pretty sufficient to run OS 9. You will need SheepShaver. SheepShaver is open-source, free and it supports up to OS 9.0.4. It works under a windowed environment.

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PowerPCIf you still have a PowerPC based Mac, you are in better luck. If your PowerPC based Mac was released before 2003, you can boot into OS 9 directly. So, all you need to do is get a copy of OS 9 (or Software Install and Restore Disc), and install it.

If your PowerPC based Mac does not support booting directly into OS 9, chances are you can still run OS 9 under Classic Environment. There's a catch for this, the highest OS X supports Classic Environment is 10.4.11 (Tiger). Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) does not support Classic Environment. To install it, simply use Software Install and Restore Disc (the original disc came with your Mac) and install the Software Restore.
If your Mac came with (say) 10.2 or 10.3, but you've upgraded it 10.4, inserting the original disc won't work. However, you can download the updated Software Restore at Apple Knowledge Page (click Accept and Download at bottom of the page). Make sure you have your original disc handy still.

For Macs with PowerPC processor, the latest operating system supported in Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard). However, Mac OS X 10.4.11 is not that bad and runs faster than Leopard on many older Macs. Assuming you have more than one Mac, keeping one in older OS isn't a bad idea.


Posted by Antony at January 6, 2012 10:50 AM

>> more MacCentre701 January 2012 reports.