Apple Archive

What Can You Squeeze Into a Compact Mac?

- 2000.05.18

Sure, the screen's small. They aren't fast, and no, they can't run Mac OS 8.

What am I referring to?

The compact Macs: the Macintosh Plus, SE, SE/30, Classic, Classic II, and Colour Classic Macintosh.

Remember when you just got your nice new Macintosh? You know, the one in the box with the Apple logo? You probably didn't order it on eBay; you most likely bought it from a respectable Apple dealer for over $2,000 maybe ten years ago. Now you probably go to flea markets and see old Mac SE's sitting there for $10 or $15, all the while you remembering that old compact sitting in your closet at home.

Well, the time has come to open that closet. Pull out your old Mac! Connect the keyboard, mouse, hard drive (if you have an external one), and plug it in. Turn it on and listen for that "beep" that only the Macintosh could have.

Notice how much memory you have installed. If you have a Mac Plus, SE, or Classic, which all feature 8 MHz 68000 processors, the maximum RAM is 4 MB. If you don't have 4 MB of memory, that is the first thing you should get. (It's cheap, don't worry.) If you have 4 MB, you are perfectly capable of running System 7, which you can get for free from Apple's website (links here). If you have a Plus, SE, or Classic, do not use 7.0.1. Make sure you download version 7.0. If you are using a Plus or SE, make sure it is the 800K disk version. (These models can run System 7.1 or 7.5-7.5.5, although they tend to take up a bit more memory than 7.0. dk)

If you have a Macintosh SE/30, which has a 16 MHz 68030 processor and a 68882 FPU, you can have up to 128 MB of memory! The SE/30 can run up to System 7.5.5, and if you have at least 8 MB of RAM and an 80 MB hard disk, I would install 7.5.3, which as well can be obtained for free from Apple's website. However, you will notice that the startup screen on systems above 7.5 do not look very nice in black and white. This is why I try not to install anything above 7.5 on a compact Mac.

If you have a Classic II, which features a 16 MHz 68030 processor (and room for an optional 68882 FPU), the maximum amount of memory is 10 MB. It can run up to Mac OS 7.6.1, but I don't recommend it. If you do not have at least 4 MB of memory, make sure you buy the extra RAM. The Classic II shipped with system 7.0.1. Chances are good that you still have that installed, which is fine for most uses. If you have 10 MB of memory and at least an 80 MB hard disk, upgrade to System 7.5.3.

Colour ClassicIf you have a Colour Classic, which, like the Classic II, features a 16 MHz 68030 (with room for an optional 68882 FPU), you know that they are a bit bigger, more modern looking, and have a 10" colour screen. The Colour Classic also shares a lot with the Macintosh LC II, including the LC PDS slot, which enables you to install accelerators or ethernet cards (or both, with the Sonnet Presto Plus). On the Colour Classic, the maximum memory is 10 MB. The Colour Classic shipped with System 7.1 and enabler 401. If you have 4 to 8 MB of memory, stick with system 7.1. If you have 10 MB and at least an 80 MB hard disk, go with 7.5.3. Even though it can run up to 7.6.1, like the Classic II, I don't recommend it.

Now that your compact Mac is up and running, you probably want to know what programs are useful. I like Microsoft Word 5.1a for word processing. It is stable, fairly quick, and only requires 1 MB of memory. It is also readily available at many used software places, and it can often be found at flea markets for several dollars. You can also use Microsoft Excel 4.0 and PowerPoint 3.0 without a problem.

For those of you who don't like Microsoft products, AppleWorks 5 works very nicely on an SE/30, Classic II, or Colour Classic. It does require a 68020 processor and System 7, so it will not work on a Mac Plus, SE, or Classic, although ClarisWorks 3 will.

Plug in a modem, install MacTCP, and you can have a nice little computer to check your email or the local weather. Eudora 1.5.4 works fine on an SE/30, Classic II, or Colour Classic. Internet Explorer 2.1 or Netscape 1.1.2 work great on those computers as well.

If you have a Plus, SE, or Classic, you can probably still use Eudora 1.5.4, but Internet Explorer or Netscape will not work. Check on the internet for a copy of NCSA Mosaic.

In terms of games, utilities, and other things, there are some great classic game sites out there. You can start with the Low End Mac links page. MacAddict has some downloads of utilities, games, and some other programs. If you subscribed to MacAddict for a long time, a lot of older versions of "The Disc" have a lot of great stuff for compact Macs. C|net's download.com has a ton of software, but they don't give very clear system requirements, and it is easy to download something that requires a 68030 processor by mistake, hoping to use it on your Mac Plus.

If you really demand speed, don't throw that compact Mac away! Give it to a child. It's amazing what they can do with KidPix and a Mac SE! If you don't have a child, try to donate it to a local school - they may need computers.

If no one you know of will take it, see if anyone wants it on an email list. You can start with Low End Mac's extensive collection, which even includes a list just for compact Macs. There is always someone out there who can use a compact Mac.

About LEM Support Usage Privacy Contact

Well this is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help.

Most Used Categories

Archives

Try looking in the monthly archives. 🙂

Low End Mac is an independent publication and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc. Opinions expressed are those of their authors and may not reflect the opinion of Cobweb Publishing. Advice is presented in good faith, but what works for one may not work for all.
  Entire Low End Mac website copyright ©1997-2016 by Cobweb Publishing, Inc. unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Low End Mac, LowEndMac, and lowendmac.com are trademarks of Cobweb Publishing Inc. Apple, the Apple logo, Macintosh, iPad, iPhone, iMac, iPod, MacBook, Mac Pro, and AirPort are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. Additional company and product names may be trademarks or registered trademarks and are hereby acknowledged.
  Please report errors to .
  LINKS: We allow and encourage links to any public page as long as the linked page does not appear within a frame that prevents bookmarking it.
  Email may be published at our discretion unless marked "not for publication"; email addresses will not be published without permission, and we will encrypt them in hopes of avoiding spammers. Letters may be edited for length, context, and to match house style.
  PRIVACY: We don't collect personal information unless you explicitly provide it, and we don't share the information we have with others. For more details, see our Terms of Use.

Follow Low End Mac on Twitter
Join Low End Mac on Facebook

Page not found | Low End Mac

Well this is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help.

Most Used Categories

Archives

Try looking in the monthly archives. 🙂

Page not found | Low End Mac

Well this is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help.

Most Used Categories

Archives

Try looking in the monthly archives. 🙂

Favorite Sites

MacSurfer
Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
MacInTouch
MyAppleMenu
InfoMac
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
RetroMacCast
The Vintage Mac Museum
Deal Brothers
DealMac
Mac2Sell
Mac Driver Museum
JAG's House
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ

Affiliates

Amazon.com
The iTunes Store
PC Connection Express
Macgo Blu-ray Player
Parallels Desktop for Mac
eBay

Low End Mac's Amazon.com store

Advertise

Well this is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help.

Most Used Categories

Archives

Try looking in the monthly archives. 🙂

at BackBeat Media (646-546-5194). This number is for advertising only.

Open Link