While macOS has come a long way, I like to remind myself every once in a while of where the technology used to be. And thanks to Mihai Parparita, it’s very easy to actually experience vintage versions of the Mac operating system and you don’t need to dust off that old Macintosh LC to do so.
Parparita created two emulators of vintage Mac operating systems, one for System 7 and another for System 8. The emulators are web-based so you can run them in a browser on any modern Mac. All you have to do is go to system7.app or macos8.app, waiting a few seconds for them to load, and then you’re ready to go.
The emulators include a few apps and games, so you can actually use them to get some work done or have some fun. Both emulators include old versions of Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Word, Nisus Writer, Adobe Photoshop, KidPix, MacPaint, and a lot more. Classic Mac Games such as Glider, Lemmings, and the Marathon series are included, and if you really want to get nostalgic, both emulators come with HyperCard.
If you think you want to use the emulators to get some work done, here are a few things you should know before you dive in headfirst.
You can create files and then export them to use on your modern Mac. To do so, Parparita created “The Outside World” server to transfer files between the emulators and your Mac.
To move files from the emulator, drag the file to The Outside World’s Uploads folder, and the browser will move them to the Downloads folder on your Mac.
To move files to the emulator, drag it from your Mac to the emulator screen in the browser. The File will then be saved in The Outside World’s Downloads folder.
Any file saved to the emulator will disappear when you close the browser window.
Pressing Command-W closes the browser window, not the window in the emulator (this alone foiled several attempts of me using Nisus Writer in the emulator to write this article.)
You can’t cut and paste between the modern Mac and the emulators.
Besides being able to use apps, the emulators are a fun way to experience features of the OS’s past. Here are a few examples:
WindowShade, where you can double click a window’s title bar and the main window disappears, leaving only the title bar.
Scrapbook, a repository for clippings you want to quickly and frequently access.
Control Strip, a strip of system settings that sat at the bottom of the screen.
Having been a Mac user since System 6, the emulators are a fun way to try vintage Mac operating systems. The fact that they can run in a browser on top of a modern Mac is a testament to how far the technology has come. Just remember to not press Command-W to close a window or you’ll lose your files.
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