[Apple Macintosh before System 7]

Disk images

These are Apple's recommended releases for machines with 128K and 512K of memory. Nothing more, nothing less. The disks are complete and the files are unaltered.

System 2.0 Finder 4.1, released April 1985

Recommended OS for the Macintosh 128K.

MacWrite and MacPaint were integral to the Mac Software that came with the Macintosh 128K and 512K. MacWrite 4.5 and MacPaint 1.5 were the current versions for more than two years! Apple released MacWrite 4.6 in July 1987. Claris released MacPaint 2.0 (and MacWrite 5.0) in March 1988.

System 3.2 Finder 5.3, released June 1986

Recommended OS for the Macintosh 512K. Maximum OS for the 128K.

System 4.1 Finder 5.5, released April 1987

Recommended OS for the Macintosh 512Ke. Maximum OS for the 512K.


On a Macintosh 512K with an external 800K floppy drive:

  1. Use the HD 20 Startup disk to boot the machine.
  2. Insert the System Tools disk into the external 800K floppy drive.
  3. Start an application from the System Tools disk. TeachText, for example.
  4. The System Tools disk is now the startup disk. You can remove the HD 20 Startup disk.

On a Macintosh 512K with a Hard Disk 20 hard drive:

System 6 disk images from Apple

For information about Macintosh hardware compatibility with System 6.0.x, see Apple Knowledge Base article 18046. It is, however, possible to run up to System 6.0.8 on a Macintosh 512Ke. Applications may be limited on a machine with only 512K of memory, or even 1 Mb.

There are three System 6 releases available for download at the Apple Support Area:

* To install on a Macintosh 512Ke, do a custom installation of "System software for Macintosh Plus" or "Minimal software for Macintosh Plus."


You can use Font/DA Mover (on the Utilities 2 disk) to reduce the size of the System file and free up space on a floppy disk:

You can also reduce the size of the System Folder. The System Folder on the System 6.0.3 System Tools disk is shown here:

Working with older disk images

You can format 800K (2DD: double-sided, double-density) disks as 400K (1DD: single-sided, double-density) disks with no problems. Note that you should use Double Density (DD) media. One reliable source for new disks is OldSoftware.com. You should not use High Density (HD) media. HD disks are not entirely stable when formatted as DD. If you must use HD media, then it should be a disk that has never been formatted. See here (p. 14) for details.

For System 6, you should use Disk Copy 4.2 to work with 400K/800K disks and images. This is ideal, since System 6 can read/write 400K disks, which normally use the Macintosh File System (MFS) format. 800K disks use a different format: the Hierarchical File System (HFS). System 6 is fluent in both formats. [It is possible to format 400K disks using HFS, but they can't be used as startup disks. See here.]

System 7 is not ideal, since it does not handle the MFS format properly. This is discussed in Apple Knowledge Base article 9502, System 7.x: Limitations on Use of 400k Disks. Nevertheless, you can use Disk Copy 4.2 to work with 400K/800K disks and images with no problems. Disk Copy 6.3.3 works perfectly with 800K disks and images. It allows you to make compressed images and mount images on the Desktop.

With OS 7.6, Apple dropped support for writing to the MFS format. With OS 8, it dropped MFS support altogether. However, any Macintosh with a built-in floppy drive can use Disk Copy 4.2 to make 400K/800K disks from images and Disk Copy 6.3.3 to make 800K disks from images, even in OS 9. For more on this, see Sonic Purity.

Mac OS X can open 800K disk images. Read-only access to MFS disk images is available for OS X 10.4, via MFSLives. See the Read Me for detailed information. [Not for beginners!]

[Apple Macintosh before System 7]