Home > Mac administration, Mac OS X > Running Apple’s System 1 on OS X El Capitan

Running Apple’s System 1 on OS X El Capitan

As part of some research which I’m doing on Mac filesystems, I wanted to see if it was possible to get Apple’s System 1 running on OS X El Capitan. The reason that I am specifically interested in System 1 is that this OS used Apple’s shortest-lived filesystem: Macintosh File System.

After discussing the issue, my colleague @mikeymikey pointed me in the direction of using the Mini vMac emulator application to accomplish this. He also pointed me towards the correct places where I could download a System 1 disk image and the needed Mac ROM file.

With this information, I was able to get System 1 up and running inside of the Mini vMac emulator. For the details, see below the jump.

1. Download Mini vMac, the System 1 disk image, and the Mac ROM file.

2. Uncompress the System 1 disk image and ROM file.

The System 1 disk image and ROM file are compressed using a Stuffit archive format which OS X’s built-in decompression utility is unable to open. I recommend using The Unarchiver to uncompress these files.

3. Put Mini vMac, the System 1 disk image and the ROM file together in one directory.

Note: Having all three in the same directory is necessary so that the ROM file is automatically detected when Mini vMac launches the OS from the System 1 disk image.

Screen Shot 2016 07 07 at 3 17 46 PM

 

4. Launch Mini vMac. By default, no startup disk option is selected so a window will open and display a floppy disk icon with a blinking question mark.

Screen Shot 2016 07 07 at 3 18 52 PM

 

5. To select a startup disk, click on the File menu and select Open Disk Image…

Screen Shot 2016 07 08 at 8 21 02 AM


6. Select the System 1 disk image and click the Open button.

Screen Shot 2016 07 07 at 3 21 37 PM

 

7. System 1 should boot within the Mini vMac window.

Screen Shot 2016 07 07 at 4 03 28 PM

Screen Shot 2016 07 07 at 5 03 11 PM

  1. Elliot Jordan
    July 14, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    One tip you didn’t mention: how to shut down Mini vMac once you’ve got it running:

    1. Enter “control” mode by pressing and holding the Control key.
    2. While the Control key remains pressed, type Q to quit, then Y to confirm.

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