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Best OS version for a Classic/Color Classic?

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Hi everyone,


Am new here. I've just picked up the compact Mac bug after using a couple as a kid and this month have picked up a Mac Classic with 4MB RAM running System 7.0 and a Mac Color Classic with 10MB RAM running System 7.5.


I'd like to do a fresh install of the OS and was wondering what the best version of System 7 would be for each. I understand the Color Classic will work with up to 7.6.1, is there any reason to not go for that?


I'll be mostly running old games on them I should think.


I also picked up a lovely AppleCD 300e SCSI drive, a Dayna LC ethernet card and a 500MB HD, so have plenty of space and a means of getting any disk images onto the machine.





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Hello, welcome in!


If you've got the time and resources, it might be worth trying 7.1, 7.5.3/5, and 7.6.1, to see what you like and what's fast enough.


I have a Classic II with 10M of RAM running 7.5.3 with the OpenTransport and AppleShare upgrades (so it can connect to IP-based AppleShare servers, should i get Ethernet for it) and it's a little sluggish, so I might put that back on 7.1 or 7.1 Pro for the time being.


On the other hand, 7.6.1 has a lot of quality of life improvements. Networking is improved and it supports larger volumes in many circumstances. (I'd have to look though, that might be an 040 thing.)


If 7.5.5 works, 7.6.1 should work, but if the games you want to run aren't very fast under 7.5.5, they probably won't be faster under 7.6.1 unless you do a lot of trimming out parts you don't need from the system folder, and even then 7.1 might be faster anyway.

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I would dual boot this myself.  Setup a simplified system folder with 7.5.5 or 7.6.1 and a real system folder with 7.1.  When you really want to use it, boot up 7.1, when you want to switch, it's as easy as dragging the Finder out of one system folder, and then dragging the Finder into the other system folder to bless it.  When you're done, drag the Finder out, and repeat.  


I keep a folder on my 'Macitosh HD' called 'Current System' which has all of my usable System Folder bits inside.  Then I have a folder on the main drive called 7.6.1 and inside is just a System Folder.  It also contains the Finder when it's not inside that System Folder.  It takes about 50MB of extra space (+/-) but it's easy to switch between OS versions this way.


Alternatively you could get something like the Iomega Zip or Jaz drive, install different OS versions on different disks, and use those to boot up.  

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Thinking about this more, I'd say it kind of depends on what you want to do, and what workflows you want. You should have a 7.5 or newer installation if, say, you want to connect to IP-based AppleShare servers, but if you're fine with FTP, MacTCP (or even really old OpenTransport) and an FTP client are fine, for example. That's kind of why I suggest trying a couple versions.


I wouldn't bother with the hassle of dual bootng (whether on a single partition/disk or on two+, which will be way easier to manage than managing it on one) unless you've got a solid need for one machine to do both things.


For example, if you have another machine for connecting out to servers to get files, you could use localtalk/ethertalk to connect to *that* machine to avoid needing 7.5+ on your slower machines that won't run those things and games very well.


I've seen some people describe 7.5 as "Batteries included 7.1" and I think that's a relatively apt description. The reason 7.1 is faster than 7.5+, especially on low end hardware, is that it is absolutely barren on a default install, and you can strip lots of what comes in that install out, if you need to.

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15 hours ago, Cory5412 said:

I've seen some people describe 7.5 as "Batteries included 7.1" and I think that's a relatively apt description

There's a lot of sense in this.  Whether you install 7.1 or 7.5+ on a machine like that depends on whether you are the kind of person that likes to start with something big and slim it down or start with something small and add stuff.  Both are totally sensible ways of doing it, and you should choose the one you will enjoy more, ultimately.  Personally, I'd tend to put 7.1 on, but that's because I'm a minimalist (in software terms, at least), and also I prefer the Balloon Help icon to the Apple Guide icon.


There isn't really a right answer here.

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Thank you all so much for this. It makes a lot of sense.


I don't have other Mac's for Appletalk/Ethertalk, so have been using MacTCP and Fetch to pull files from my internal FTP server without a problem and this has worked fine on 7.5. Will try 7.1 and see if I can get the same working.


I'm going to take the suggestion of having a play with each and seeing what I prefer, then look to slim it down if it's slow, and dual boot if I want to.

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8 hours ago, cheesestraws said:

and also I prefer the Balloon Help icon to the Apple Guide icon.

Sidebar - On a small compact Mac screen, I like to kill the Help menu icon with Helium to save precious menu bar space and unclutter the screen, since I have never actually used that menu for its intended purpose in my life, even in the ‘90s. 



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I'm running 7.1 Update 3 on my Color Classic (just got it running two days ago) - 7.1 will need system enabler 401 as I learned.


Another option for managing multiple system folders is to use System Picker, allows you to bless different folders. Eg install System 7.1, then rename it to "System 7.1" and install 7.5, rename it to "System 7.5" and use System Picker to reboot between the two/three/etc



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