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Switching Between OS 9 and OS X Definitely Beats Switching to Windows

- 2005.11.30

My first Mac was a used IIsi running System 6. Since then, I have upgraded only as necessary, always remaining five to eight years behind Apple's current hardware and at least a few years behind the current OS.

I tolerated the System 7 years, was glad to get to Mac OS 8, and was sublimely content with Mac OS 9.

Through it all, I kept track of the progress of the Microsoft operating system. My wife had to use it at work, and I occasionally had to troubleshoot her home PC. I took solace in the fact that my older Mac systems were at least five years ahead of the current version of Windows in terms of an intuitive interface, ease of use, stability, and "the frustration factor".

Enter OS X

I put off installing OS X on my 300 MHz beige G3 a long as I could. Most of my classic applications were serving me adequately. Several apps originally written for System 7 were still working fine with OS 9, provided that I added a few megabytes of memory in their "Get Info" windows.

I knew that OS X could run many of these programs in Classic mode, but running one operating system inside another is a convoluted and memory intensive way to get something done.

At one time, I had Windows 98 running on a Power Mac 7500, using Virtual PC. Aside from seeming somewhat perverse, it never worked as well as running Windows by itself on its intended hardware.

Good-bye OS 9

My OS 9 bliss came to a stuttering halt when it slowly became impossible to find classic versions of the software I needed or to get OS 9 updates for the ones I had. I had to resign myself to installing OS X 10.2.8 on my old G3 (link below).

A few of my old programs could be updated for OS X, but, as I suspected, running my other older programs in Classic is sometimes problematic.

When using Photoshop 5.5 or ImageReady 2.0, the cursor may disappear. My paid version of Eudora doesn't work at all. Several other programs seem to have problems retaining their preferences.

As an added insult, every so often when I open QuickTime in OS X, I am asked to upgrade to the "Pro" version. Well, I did that a while back. It's on my Classic partition, and I'm not going to do it again any time soon! Okay, Apple?

Now how do I turn off this annoying message ?

Back and Forth

For some tasks, I'm better off booting into OS 9. For others, including secure browsing on the Web, booting back into OS X is the clear choice.

I have tried to fill some of the gaps with freeware and inexpensive shareware written for OS X. Unfortunately, this can't replace all of my programs, and much of it is quite buggy.

I seriously considered setting up a second Mac in my office, one that would just run OS 9, but that would be almost as complicated and might negatively impact the electric bill. (I can't do without at least two monitors per Mac.)

Make no mistake about it, OS X is a very stable, powerful, and secure operating system that is easier to use than Windows. My advice to any new computer user or business starting up: If you want to decrease down time and increase productivity, buy OS X Macs.

However, because I am a long-standing Mac user who is not only unwilling but unable to repurchase hundreds of dollars worth of software, the Mac OS has become unpleasantly complicated for me to use.

In my living room sits a custom built 1333 MHz AMD Athlon PC running Windows XP. It was a gift from my next-door neighbor when he switched to an Intel Pentium machine. Not only does it have my beige G3 beat for speed - no contest - but it has a faster 3D video card, more memory, and a DVD-ROM drive.

It gets used only once a month to process orders for my wife's food co-op. The proprietary software for doing this wasn't ported for Macs. The rest of the time, it usually just sits, silently taking up space.

Given the fact that there is a greater variety of freeware and shareware written for Windows than Mac OS X, what would you do in this situation? Is it foolish to let this PC go to waste?

Is it better to struggle along booting into two different systems on the same computer?

Should I instead switch to a single operating system that is unpleasant and time consuming to use, takes control away from the user, is unstable, and requires constant security and virus monitoring?

Maybe I just answered my own question. I guess I'll be sticking with Macs. Even with the recent complications, I think my blood pressure is lower when I use them.

I know I swear a lot less. LEM

Link: A 'Classic' Holdout Makes the Move to OS X - Why and How I Migrated to Jaguar on my Beige G3

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