Why You Should Use Mac OS 7.6 to Get the Most Out of Vintage Macs
If you still like using vintage Macs and want to get decent performance out of them, you either have to use older software that demands less of your computer or upgrade your hardware. Stuff like RAM for classic Macs is easy to find at places like computer recycling centers and even dumpsters.
If you don't have one close by, you'll have to buy them elsewhere, and many times that means they'll be more expensive. The problem is that you often end up spending more money on the upgrades than you did on the computer itself - unless, that is, you're the original owner.
A better solution to this problem, in my opinion, is to use an older operating system that doesn't require as much processing speed and RAM from your Mac. For most older Macs, that's System 7.
Mac OS 7.6.1 was the last version of system 7, so most of the bugs had been fixed and a few new features were added. That's why it's my system 7 of choice.
Mac OS 7.6 doesn't require much from your Mac, and it will run on most older ones as long as they have a 68030 processor or better. [7.6 requires a 32-bit clean Mac, 8 MB of memory, and at least 70 MB of hard drive space. ed]
A few of my friends don't understand why system 7 would be useful when you can easily run Mac OS 8 or Mac OS 9 on many older machine, but the way I look at it no matter which version you choose to use, it's still considered outdated by Apple, and using an older one will usually make your Mac seem quicker and more responsive.
Now don't get me wrong, I still like to use those newer OSes on old Macs, but only on the ones with high amounts of RAM or other special upgrades, such as my Quadra 800, which has 136 MB of RAM and is running Mac OS 8.0.
System 7 Today
A good website I found out about a little while ago, System 7 Today, is all about running system 7 on old Macs so you can get good performance out of them. The creator of the website has a PowerBook 1400 upgraded with a G3 processor that's still running Mac OS 7.6. This is another good example of how you can get even better performance out of old Macs, even if they have been upgraded a lot.
Older Macs are great - they can be very useful for everyday tasks, and they're also good for just messing around on to see what computers were like ten years ago. Go get your old Mac out of the closet and try system 7 on it.
And while you're doing it be sure to visit System 7 Today.
Recent Productive Mac articles
- New homes for 3 WallStreet PowerBooks, 2006.04.07. Although they may need a little restoration work, these are fine machines for using the classic Mac OS in the field.
- Would you believe I picked up a decent old PowerBook for just $26?, 2006.02.21. If you're looking for a low-cost, low-power laptop for light use, there are some real steals out there. Like this Powerbook 520c....
- What's a good, inexpensive, useful, older Mac? The PowerBook 1400, 2006.02.01. Relatively compact and not especially heavy, the PowerBook 1400 is a great low-cost way to run the classic Mac OS - and it's portable.
- More in the Productive Mac index.
Links for the Day
- Mac of the Day: Centris 610, introduced 1993.02.10. This was the Mac we used when we started Low End Mac in 1997.
- May 24 in LEM history: 99: Mac sales up, iMac sales down? - 01: Speeding up digital photography - 02: The Internet, research, and plagiarism - 04: NewerTech TiBook battery - Optical mice from Contour - 06: Power Mac today or Intel tomorrow? - 07: G5: Apple's last fling with PowerPC - G3: From 233 MHz to 1.1 GHz
Recent Content on Low End Mac
- World Book Encyclopedia 2012 DVD, Tommy Thomas, Reviews, 2013.03.05. "You may be asking yourself, in an age of Wikipedia and instant information, is World Book still relevant?"
- Vintage Computer Festival SouthEast, April 20-21, 2013, Simon Royal, Mac Spectrum, 2013.02.25. Old Apple gear and old PCs.
- iMessage: The Ultimate Messaging Service?, Simon Royal, Mac Spectrum, 2013.02.21. In most ways, Apple's iMessage is far superior to BlackBerry Messenger.
- More links in our archive.
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