10 Things We Miss From OS 9

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10 Things We Miss From OS 9

 

For millions of post-iPod Mac users, OS X is the alpha and omega of the Apple desktop. Unlike Microsoft --- which has basically kept the same arrangement and appearance for its task bar and icons despite updating the overall feel of Windows over the last decade or so --- Apple took its OS in a completely new direction back in 2001 and has never looked back, integrating a new processor architecture and building a revolutionary mobile platform around its sleek engine and slick curves.

 

Since replacing OS 9 as the default on all new Macs, OS X has seen four major revisions and a slew of revolutionary features that have put some serious distance between the two environments. But those of us who remember OS 9.2 will recall with varying degrees of fondness the last serious update to Classic, which added some 50 new features to OS 8.6 to create what Steve Jobs hailed as “the best Internet operating system ever.”

 

And while the OS X experience is vastly superior to its predecessor, there are still a few nostalgic elements that we longtime Mac fans will always have a soft spot for:

 

 

Whoosh, and the window is gone

 

WindowShade
By the time OS 9 rolled around, System 7.5’s standalone WindowShade control panel was incorporated into the Appearance Manager as an option to “collapse windows,” but double-clicking the title bar still offered the same clutter-removal goodness. Apple’s OS X solution is to stylishly minimize open windows to the Dock, but hardcore OS 9 devotees have undoubtedly downloaded WindowShade X instead.

 

 

He's all smiles now...

 

Happy Mac
In Mac OS 9, Apple updated its monochrome startup icon with a fresh set of paint that was worthy of OS X’s bright, cheerful GUI. Initially, Happy Mac looked like it would make the Aqua transition without missing a beat, but Apple inexplicably killed the iconic character in favor of a simple, gray Apple logo, beginning with Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar. We all understand the need for brand recognition, but there’s nothing like a smiling face to start your day off right.

 

 

Better than Stacks?

 

Desktop Tabs
With the development of OS X, Apple abandoned the Control Strip and placed all of its eggs in a Task bar-ish basket for apps, folders, documents and the Trash. While the Dock can be useful --- especially with the introduction of Stacks in Leopard --- it lacks the charm of OS 9’s organization tools and tricks. Classic power users remember dragging windows to the bottom of the desktop to create neat little tabs that hid pop-up windows for quick access to often-used folders.

 

 

 

VoicePrint

Back before Fast User Switching turned the Mac login screen into thing of beauty, gaining access to the desktop consisted of typing passwords into standard, sterile boxes. But there was still one feature that set Apple apart from the pack: Like a sort of vocal fingerprint, OS 9 allowed users to record an alternate password in the form of a spoken phrase that was uttered at the login screen. Setting up the voiceprint phrase was all very cloak-and-dagger, as the system studied your voice, and matched pitches and pauses in a series of four recordings. Once a proper sample was stored, users could speak that phrase at the login screen to gain access to their desktop without hitting a key. While we love OS X’s cube effect, we’d love it even more if it responded to our calls of “Moof!”

 

 

Mono Blue, the kissing disease theme

 

Themes
Until Leopard finally streamlined things, Apple struggled to keep its apps uniform in OS X. Each major revision brought new features and overhauls, which eventually created a mishmash of brushed metal, subtle stripes and smooth gray that could only be changed by installing third-party hackies. In OS 9, however, Apple offered complete control over the appearance of the desktop via a handful of themes that could be applied quickly and easily through the Appearance control panel. Ranging from simple color changes to psychedelic makeovers, Apple let users create a desktop that reflected uniqueness and individuality, but unfortunately ditched the idea once OS X came along. Of course, we all like Leopard’s streamlined GUI, but some of us wouldn’t mind tweaking the blue bars we’ve been staring at for seven years.

 

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Pekingduk

What is with the icon shuffle? My desktop icons never stay where I put them? I have 5 drives, and some folders, and they are all over the place every time I start up. Has anyone made a shareware app called Icon Glue yet? If they do, they'll make a mint!

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sonnymoon42

There were several things in the classic Mac OS that I miss. Some have been mentioned: windowshades and the "print window" feature most significantly (both are available through third party software developers). I was a big fan of the Launcher, although the Dock is just as good. Also, being able to customize extensions was a nice touch, either via the Extensions Manager or just dragging them in or out of the Extensions folder.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is FONT MANAGEMENT. Back in the olden days (well, at least since System 7.1), all user fonts were kept in ONE folder in the System Folder; they were much easier to keep track of, and prevent "font creep" (Microsoft and Adobe have a habit of installing fonts whether you want 'em or not). And, you could add or discard individuak bitmap (or TrueType) fonts from within their suitcases. True, you needed Adobe Type Manager to get smooth onscreen Postscript fonts, but all in all it was a simpler way organize fonts.

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erik

I liked dragging my boot partition to a new disk...instant backup.

I liked creating my own boot cd.

I hate not being able to share the folder I want to share.

I miss chooser.

I miss AFP.

I hate that those are gone.

And when are they going to give me a control panel for when I close the lid on my PowerBook?

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Anonymous

I miss extensions and being able to make my system run faster by disabling stuff I never use.

I miss how the system memory was managed without virtual memory. There are so many bloated apps now.

I miss the speed of OS9. OS X is a stupid stupid beast of an operating system. The apps just keep getting slower as does the interface keeps getting worse.

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Eric H.

.sony

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Ted

I really miss the zippy responsiveness of OS 9.2's GUI. Tiger sure is pretty, but it lumbers and stomps around while 9.2 raced through dialogs, menus -- OH YEAH, AND ANOTHER ONE:

Apps like Photoshop -- under 9, had the option to turn off previews in the File/Open box. In X, if you don't have it set for list view, you're in for a long wait as X renders a preview. I've sat thru more beachballs and lockups since upgrading to X.

I'd really like to get rid of the fancy Aqua, honestly.

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Anonymous

I miss Kaleidoscope and Kineticons very much.

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Andy

I didn't notice this item by anyone else and it's a big oversight by Apple.

With OS 9 a person could easily list the contents of a window by merely highlighting the contents, select COPY, then paste into any text document. This is invaluable when making various discs (backups, archives, send to friends, etc.) and wanting to include the contents in a sleeve or the disc label.

There's no way to do this in OS X and I miss it very much.

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joAnn

Is the issue that you don't get icons & file types? If you copy & paste you do get all of your file names in Text Edit...

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Anonymous

I like to send people lists of file names, and I can do it now without copying them one at a time.

Why did this great feature disappear???

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Anonymous

Though you can't simply copy and paste the contents of a folder into text edit you can use a program such as "Capture Me" to accomplish this task. Capture Me is useful for taking screen shots and where it differs from the simple screen shot feature provided in OS 10 is that it opens a window that can be easily moved over the item you want a screen shot of & resized so that you get only the portion of the screen you are wanting a picture of. Then you can print the screen shot and slip it in the disc jewel case to show the contents of the disc. That's the way I do it anyhow. It's simple, fast and free, although they do ask for a donation which you can either give or select donate later and continue to use the software for free.

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Mike

I use it everyday as it still works fine in my book!!! Making talking scripts for start up and shut down is cool, although not unique as this can be done in OSX as well, really does not work quite as well in OSX (my opinion based on OS10.1.5). I have a Mac Book Pro with OS 10. 5. 2 so I am up to date. I started using Macs back in the days of OS6 with a Mac Plus and had a following up with every upgrade to come along, with the exception of 10.3. Took a small break as my old 2001 iBook would be streched by OS 10.3. I think I like them all and there is something neat with everyone of the Mac OS systems that make them a cut above!!!

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san diego graphics guy

I worked 12+ hour days/ 7 days a week with OS 7.5-9.2 for years doing catalogs. I consider those the dark years for Apple. The pre OSX system was so problematic! I got so tired of crashes and the "bomb". Plus, viruses! Managing Extensions was hell. I was so happy when Steve Jobs came back with excellent computers and OSX. The Apple computer experience is so much better now... I could list hundreds of reasons why OSX is better than OS9.

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Anonymous

I wont argue the fact that there was virusses for System - Mac OS.

But i must say not any of them ever infected my Mac's, all of them had hardly virus protection though Disinfectant ran occassionally on them, never a virus was found. Later during Mac OS 7.5 or later , i did protect my Macs against the autostart worm or something, which was catched once or twice in it's early days, later i never encounter it again.

And lets face the fact for every 1 Mac virus there was atleast 10000.. Windows Virus.

Also many virusses where defect in later Mac Os versions, there really wasn't a lot of them affective on the latest versions of the Mac OS

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Andy

Things I miss that were discontinued with OS9

- the ease with which you could put stuff in the Apple menu.
- ResEdit to change texts in menus etc. I could call things by the name that suited me if I didn't agree with the developer's way of putting it. I used to help elderly people with their computers and they often appreciated me renaming stuff by the names they used.
- the cool low-footprint screen savers such as "can of worms" or "puzzle" or "flying toasters"
- you physically couldn't remove a volume without unmounting first. With USB drives you can no longer stop people doing that and it causes a lot of problems for those who have difficulties remembering that stuff.

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Guavaberrie

I miss the Launcher.... I had 5 or 6 categories and under the categories all of the programs on the computer. There is not enough room on the dock to put everything. I really had a hard time getting used to OS X but but now am wowed by what it is capable of and how very clean it is. I have a couple of old macs that I have left OS 9 on so that I can play all the games that became obsolete when X was rolled out...
Remember when........

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R. J. Campbell

I miss the "buttons" feature for the icons.

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Steve J.

This article is a piece of crap. I mean, come on, you miss stickies in OSX, do ya? Then freakin' launch stickies.app.

Poorly researched, dishonest article.

How pathetic...

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Jamie Kahn Genet

No sense of humour? Why are you taking everything so seriously? Sheesh... get a life.

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Alan

Beside some of the features mentioned by other readers, I miss OS 9's ability to align icons once and for all. In OS X I will place a document or folder, but if the folder inside which these reside moves on screen, then the icons no longer align properly. In other words, OS X is inconsistent. Drives me nuts.

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Tanner

Though I like the memories of using OS 9 (some of em anyway) but I think it was a as early as last year I booted up a G3 iMac with 9.2 on it and in a practical sense I don't really miss anything. I always liked the sound effects though wouldn't mind apple returning those without paying for xsounds or whatever it is as a sub par replacment

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HG

The platinum sounds, little clicks, pops, dragging, and trash-emptying sounds are what I miss most about the classic Mac OS.

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Anonymous

Yeah! I installed the 'water' sound set on every Mac I used, and got a lot of comment on it :)

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Anonymous

I miss the launcher most of all. The dock in os x is definately cool but I would rather organize my programs by category instead of having just a line up of of apps

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Gt1948

NOT A DARN THING........live in the future not the past

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Ted Hoofar

Umm, don't you mean live in the present?

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Anonymous

I miss the ability to take the system folder and simply and easily drag and drop it, to back up my whole system . I had back up after back up.

Backing things up on OS X frankly is a mish mash of 3rd party options, of which each individual has their favorite and claim to fame.
True Apple has after 7 years come out with Time Machine, which is going through it's own growing pains but I assume will be a good system. But then again, Apple has a long history of adding software and then just when you have it down and integrated, they pull the plug.

I have wasted more time over back ups and trying to retrieve information in X, then I ever did in system 8 to 9.2.

I love the power of X, the ability to bring in new software and it's core system makes it a hands down a winner. But come on Apple, just how hard is it to make simple back up, as the majority of software and all their files are associated with the system, these are lost if the system goes down in a crash and burn . While the system is very reliable, the lack of easy back up is the achilles heal and one that is not properly addressed

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PaulG

There is shareware software that will enable you to Print Window as in OS 9 also in Tiger or Leopard here:

Print Windows 4.0.1
http://www.searchwaresolutions.com/

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Anonymous

I miss TASKMENUBAR. One of the best classic shareware apps.

I also miss how just being able to change an icon or folders shade with the label feature. Why that isn't in OS X is a mystery to me.

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axl

Moof, Internet Explorer, Coffee Breaks and Bomb? Are you serious? If you do not have 10 things just write 6 ones. Are you getting paid by word? I do not miss this s***-system at all. Almost everything under the GUI was bad and worthless. NC > Want back Quickdraw? You must be kidding. OpenGL is standard and gives Mac OS X many apps the would never be on the plattform otherwise. Richard > Ever heard about fsck i Mac OS X? What do you mean "You just rebooted" Mac OS 9 did not have any built-in repair app. Frank Tano > Text clippings is still there... People, don´t say Mac OS 9 is better when you can do the same in Mac OS X but you just do not have the knowledge. Newbies..

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Pekingduk

If they remember using OS 9, then doesn't that mean they are NOT Newbies? If you don't like what you are reading, buzz off, no one is forcing you to read this. Some of us who grew up through the systems, 6, 7, 8, and 9 have a right to be a little nostalgic about these systems, and our beloved Macs. So, if you want to throw a tantrum, go somewhere else and let us be nostalgic.

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Anonymous

You must be a very angry man. There is nothing wrong with being a little nostalgic for a simpler time. There is no reason for being so nasty and rude. And if we are nostalgic for OS 9, we are not newbies, we have been around awhile. I have been playing with macs since 1988. Be nice....

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Anonymous

Damn the trolls. Good article even though you missed the stickies, honest mistake, but if you hadn't made it you wouldn't be enjoying stickies at this moment! I love stickies so much I install various versions of it on my linux and windows systems.

I miss the all inclusive System Folder too. Having to spend 2+ hours installing an OS on a computer that cannot be used while installing has become the standard. Backing up a system has become more confusing and difficult as a result.

I miss the old BMUG newsletters and vast selections of Shareware apps and games. I also miss MacAddict magazine and the CDs full of software and video. This is probably because of broadband internet, but there does not seem to be as much shareware as there used to be.

Oh yeah, old school Bungie games, anyone??? Marathon??? Halo just doesn't measure up.

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David

It's nOObs, btw. ;) This article was - I am sure - written with a retro smile, so no use getting all worked up axl... no, what I really miss is the old MacAddict! Then you would have spotted the tongue-in-cheek right away. :D
MacLife is so streamlined and square, we want MacAddict back!

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Anonymous

Man, what a dumb article. Can't believe I wasted my time reading this.

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Anonymous

and more time replying to it...

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Don

I use WindowShade X from Unsanity. Yes, it's a hack but it works perfectly and restores the window shade function. It's cheap, too!

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DCataneo

I miss Casady & Greene's Conflict Catcher for Extensions ----- NOT.

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Richard

I can't believe that no one has mentioned this one:

*** Disk repair built into the OS ***

Remember being able to run disk repair when you old classic Mac was acting flakey? You just rebooted -- you didn't have to dig up an optical disk in those days.

BTW, Windows XP can do this. (I'm just trying to shame Apple into fixing this terrible deficiency.)

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Pekingduk

Yeah! I remember being able to run disk repair while using the machine. I hate having to find a system disk, or repair disk! ARG! I installed Applejack, and that works great. I run it at startup about one a month, and I don't have to dig out a disk. But, that is one thing that I'd like to see changed.

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Scott

This is pretty sloppy. So, if you missed it so much, you apparently never used it. This article is a sham.

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Mike

Yeah, I know. Pretty dumb. We'll be fixing it shortly.

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Anonymous

I miss the talking Moose.

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Anonymous

http://www.zathras.de/angelweb/moose.htm

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Samuel Caezar Porcalla

actually, what i actually miss in OS 9 is the extension for the trash... no other than "oscar the grouch".

"i love it because it's trash!" :)

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DrOct

Oh man! I miss Oscar too!

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Nan

Yeh, what a great toy for the easily amused.
I kept a colorful folder on my desktop
called STUFF TO FEED OSCAR.
It was full of tiny files so I would drag one to the trash when I needed a brain break.

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roystonlodge

Ok, it isn't animated, but you CAN have a singing Oscar the Grouch in your Trash.  I posted a walkthrough of how I did it at my website www.stephengilman.ca.  No need to download anything special (other than Gimp, Audacity, and something for converting WAV files to AIF.  I used Switch.)

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Matthew

I miss:
1. The "Put Away" command in the Finder file menu
2. The ability to change label colors (without hacks)
3. Trash on desktop (without hacks)
4. Changing applications with the application menu (upper right corner)
5. Custom Apple Menu
6. Accessing particular control panels from the Apple Menu (instead of the system 6 behavior of an all-in-one system preferences-type of control panel)
7. Simplicity of the System Folder (copy to a new drive and you can boot--no permissions required)
8. Optional file extensions (not forced)
9. The General Control Panel preference to auto-hide other applications
10. The ability to put anything anywhere.

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Matthew

I miss:
1. The "Put Away" command in the Finder file menu
2. The ability to change label colors (without hacks)
3. Trash on desktop (without hacks)
4. Changing applications with the application menu (upper right corner)
5. Custom Apple Menu
6. Accessing particular control panels from the Apple Menu (instead of the system 6 behavior of an all-in-one system preferences-type of control panel)
7. Simplicity of the System Folder (copy to a new drive and you can boot--no permissions required)
8. Optional file extensions (not forced)
9. The General Control Panel preference to auto-hide other applications
10. The ability to put anything anywhere.

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