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Components of the Macintosh System Folder

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The classic Macintosh system folder requires certain files and directories in order to function properly.

Sysfol.png Core System Files

System Enablers

A system enabler file is placed in the root of the System Folder and is required on certain Macintosh models, typically when the Mac OS version is older than the hardware. A 1994 list of required system enablers can be found at Latest System Enablers List (June 1994).

Later System Files (OS 9.x)

These system files are likely found on Mac OS 9.x installations on post-beige G3/G4 systems.

  • Classic
  • Classic Support
  • Mac OS ROM
  • System Resources

Misc Files

  • Clipboard
  • MacTCP DNR
  • Scrapbook File

Applemenuitems.png Apple Menu Items

  • Alarm Clock
  • Apple System Profiler
  • Calculator
  • Chooser (Macintosh system software)
  • Find File - Under System 7.x versions, this appears to be a more advanced find function than the internal Finder version. Seems integrated into the new Finder as of Mac OS 8.0.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle
  • Key Caps
  • Note Pad
  • Puzzle
  • Scrapbook - Allows you to drop content such as images or sound into your scrapbook for storage and later use.
  • Stickies

Appsupport.png Application Support

Third-party software may place files and folders in this area. A default install of Mac OS may leave this empty.

Csmodules.png Control Strip Modules

These plugins are used by the Control Strip control panel for added functionality. A typical installation of early Mac OS 8.x may include the following modules:

  • AppleTalk Switch
  • Battery Monitor
  • CDStrip
  • File Sharing Strip
  • HD Spin Down
  • Monitor BitDepth
  • Monitor Resolution
  • Power Settings
  • Sleep Now
  • Sound Volume
  • SoundSource Strip
  • Video Mirroring

Controlpanels.png Control Panels

  • Appearance (Macintosh system software) - Provides settings for the new "Copland" appearance which was introduced in Mac OS 8.0.
  • Apple CD Speed Switch - Allowed Apple dual-speed CD drives to operate at single speed for compatibility with certain old CDs.
  • Apple Menu Options - Provides the ability to navigate through submenus in the Apple menu. Also supports shortcuts to recently used applications and documents.
  • AppleTalk - Part of Open Transport, replaces existing "Network" control panel for selecting which physical network to use with AppleTalk.
  • At Ease Setup - Provides some settings for the Apple At Ease user management software.
  • Auto Power On/Off - Lets certain Macintosh models automatically turn on or off.
  • AutoRemounter - Remounts network shares back to your PowerBook after the system wakes up from sleep.
  • Brightness - Controls brightness for the Macintosh Classic model.
  • Button Disabler - Allows you to disable the front case buttons on LC 500 series models.
  • Cache Switch - Allows you to enable/disable cache on Motorola 68040 processors for compatibility reasons.
  • CloseView - Allows you to magnify parts of your screen to help with visibility.
  • ColorSync System Profile - Part of the ColorSync software.
  • Color - Configures text highlighting and window tint colors.
  • Configuration Manager
  • Control Strip - Activates a quick access utility strip in the bottom of the screen. You add modules using the Control Strip Modules folder. This control panel offers some simple options.
  • CPU Energy Saver - Similar to the "Energy Saver" control panel but this one controls system sleep/shutdown timers.
  • Date & Time - This control panel likely found in Mac OS 8.x and up. Set the current time/date, time zone, and options for displaying menubar clock.
  • Desktop Patterns - Introduced in System 7.5 and allows you to select a pattern for your Finder desktop.
  • Desktop Pictures - Found in early MacOS 8.x, later bundled into Appearance control panel.
  • DialAssist
  • Easy Access - Provides additional keyboard control if you're unable to use the mouse or the keyboard quickly.
  • Editor Setup - Configures editors for OpenDoc.
  • Energy Saver - This originally just controlled monitor sleep times but eventually combined "CPU Energy Saver" and "Auto Power On/Off" control panels.
  • Express Modem - Utility for users of the Express Modem (PowerBooks) or the GeoPort on AV Quadras or PowerMacs.
  • Extensions Manager - Allows you to enable/disable certain control panels and extensions. Requires the "EM Extension" to be present.
  • File Sharing Monitor - Displays current activity on the local system's file sharing.
  • File Sharing - This is the later Mac OS control panel for AppleShare configuration, essentially replacing the existing "Sharing Setup" control panel.
  • General Controls - Prior to System 7.5 this provided date & time, desktop patterns and a couple other functions. Later versions provided some different Finder related options.
  • Infrared
  • Keyboard - Allows you to switch keyboard layouts.
  • Labels - Configure the label colors/names for the Finder.
  • Launcher - Provides a window of shortcuts for applications and documents. This is used with the "Launcher Items" folder.
  • Mac OS Easy Open - Helps to line up documents with supported applications to open them, instead of simply producing an error that the application cannot be found.
  • Macintosh Easy Open - As seen in System 7.5 but renamed to "Mac OS Easy Open" in later Mac OS releases.
  • MacTCP - Provides TCP support prior to the introduction of Open Transport.
  • Map - Provides co-ordinates for cities around the world and allows you to set the time zone from your selection.
  • Memory - Configures options such as disk cache, virtual memory, RAM disks, 32-bit addressing.
  • Modem
  • Monitors - Configures the number of display colors and resolution, based on the hardware's capabilities.
  • Monitors & Sound - Combination of the older "Monitors" and "Sound" control panels as of early Mac OS 8.x (or later versions of System 7.5.x for PCI PowerMacs).
  • Mouse - Configures options such as tracking and double-clicking speed.
  • Network - Allows you to switch your AppleTalk network between installed physical networks such as LocalTalk or EtherTalk.
  • Numbers - Introduced with System 7.1 and configures the formatting of numbers for different parts of the world.
  • OpenDoc Setup - Configuration for starting and stopping OpenDoc.
  • PC Exchange - Allows the Macintosh to read DOS formatted media such as floppy disks. Also helps convert DOS files to appropriate applications.
  • PC Setup - Part of the DOS Compatible software for supported models such as the Power Macintosh 6100.
  • Portable - Designed for the Macintosh Portable to help prevent battery depletion.
  • Power Macintosh Card - Enable/disable the optional Power Macintosh upgrade cards in systems such as Quadras.
  • PowerBook - Similar to the previous "Portable" control panel, this helps with power-saving features in laptops.
  • PowerBook Display - This will typically have a space in front of the name to prioritize loading. Configures external monitor settings for PowerBook laptops.
  • PowerBook Setup
  • PPP - Part of the Open Transport/PPP software package.
  • QuickTime Settings - Basic configuration options for the QuickTime software.
  • Remote Access Setup - Part of the Apple Remote Access software installation.
  • Screen
  • Serial Switch
  • Sharing Setup - Configuration for file/application sharing with AppleShare, integrated into "File Sharing" control panel in later OS releases.
  • Sound
  • Speech
  • Startup Disk - Select between present disks/partitions for Mac OS boot assuming a valid system folder exists on selected volume.
  • TCP/IP - Provides TCP support under Open Transport, replacing MacTCP.
  • Text
  • Token Ring
  • Trackpad
  • Users & Groups - Access control for file/application sharing with AppleShare.
  • Views
  • WindowShade

Contextualmenu.png Contextual Menu Items

This folder is used for plugins to add features to contextual menus as provided by the Contextual Menu Extension. A default Mac OS install may not have anything in this directory. Example plugins include:

  • ArchiveCM - Part of the StuffIt software suite.
  • Magic Menu CM Plugin - Part of the StuffIt software suite.

Editors.png Editors

This folder contains editors used by the OpenDoc software. When installing OpenDoc parts, the editors are placed in this folder. An example would be the Cyberdog editor.

Extensions.png Extensions

  • 040 VM Update
  • 630 SCSI Update
  • A/ROSE
  • Appearance Extension - Part of Mac OS 8.0 release but later integrated into the system leaving only the Appearance control panel.
  • Apple 10/100 Fast Ethernet
  • Apple Built-In Ethernet - Apple Ethernet driver for on-board hardware. This extension name seems to have been used after Mac OS 8.x or so.
  • Apple CD-ROM
  • Apple Ethernet CS - Provides a driver for Apple Comm Slot Ethernet cards.
  • Apple Ethernet CS II
  • Apple Ethernet NB - Provides a driver for Apple NuBus Ethernet cards.
  • Apple Guide
  • Apple Photo Access
  • AppleScript
  • AppleScriptLib
  • AppleShare - Chooser extension for connecting to AppleShare servers via AppleTalk.
  • Caps Lock
  • Catalog Extension - Part of the PowerTalk software.
  • Clipping Extension
  • Color Picker
  • ColorSync
  • Contextual Menu Extension
  • Desktop Printer Extension
  • Desktop Printer Spooler
  • Desktop PrintMonitor
  • EM Extension - This extension will have a blank space in front of the name causing it to load first. Used with the "Extensions Manager" control panel to enable/disable components.
  • ENET Compatibility - Ethernet related driver, part of System 7.5 and likely others within the 7.x versions.
  • Ethernet (Built-In) - Ethernet driver for on-board hardware. Seen in versions of System 7.x though this may have changed names to "Apple Built-In Ethernet" by around Mac OS 9.
  • EtherTalk Phase 2
  • File Sharing Extension - Part of AppleTalk networking under early System 7.x versions.
  • File Sharing Library
  • Find File Extension
  • Finder Scripting Extension
  • Foreign File Access
  • GXGraphics - Part of QuickDraw GX
  • High Sierra File Access
  • IIci/IIsi Monitors Extension
  • ISO 9660 File Access
  • LC Monitors Extension
  • MacinTalk 3
  • MacinTalk Pro
  • Macintosh Guide
  • Mailbox Extension - Part of the PowerTalk software.
  • Network Extension - Part of AppleTalk networking under early System 7.x versions.
  • ObjectSupportLib
  • Open Transport
    • Open Tpt AppleTalk Library
    • Open Tpt Internet Library
    • Open Transport Library
    • OpenTpt Modem
    • OpenTpt Remote Access
    • OpenTpt Serial Arbitrator
    • OpenTptAppleTalkLib
    • OpenTptInternetLib
    • OpenTransportLib
  • PB 150 Modem Patch
  • PCI Network Legacy Layer
  • PCI Network Legacy Loader
  • PowerBook Monitors Extension
  • PowerPC Finder Update
  • PowerPC Monitors Extension
  • PowerTalk Extension - Part of the PowerTalk software.
  • PowerTalk Manager - Part of the PowerTalk software.
  • Printer Share
  • PrintMonitor
  • Quadra AV Monitors Extension
  • Quadra Monitors Extension
  • QuickDraw 3D
    • Apple QD3D HW Driver
    • Apple QD3D HW Plug-In
    • QuickDraw 3D IR
    • QuickDraw 3D RAVE
    • QuickDraw 3D Viewer
  • QuickTime
    • QuickTime MPEG Extension
    • QuickTime Musical Instruments
    • QuickTime PowerPlug - This extension provides PowerPC enhancements to QuickTime.
    • QuickTime VR
  • Shared Code Manager
  • Shared Library Manager
  • Shared Library Manager PPC
  • SOMobjects for Mac OS
  • Sound Manager
  • Speech Manager
  • System Update - Part of System Update 3.0 addition for System 7.1.
  • SystemAV
  • Text Encoding Converter
  • TokenTalk Phase 2
  • TokenTalk Prep
  • UDF Volume Access
  • Video Startup
  • °AppleVision


This is a directory found inside the Extensions folder and contains the various voices being used by the MacinTalk software.

Fonts.png Fonts

Since System 7.1, fonts have been stored in the dedicated Fonts folder. A default Mac OS install will include a handful of fonts, and you can place additional fonts in this folder.

Help.png Help

Help related documents for Apple software and some third-party titles will place their files in this folder. It is assumed that nothing in this folder is needed for actual OS operation.

Prefs.png Preferences

Scripting.png Scripting Additions

This folder contains modules for AppleScript to assist in creating scripts. Previous to Mac OS 8.x, this folder was located inside the Extensions folder.

Shutdownitems.png Startup Items

Items in this folder are automatically executed after the Finder has loaded. This may be any application or document, and the system will treat it as if you were just double-clicking on it in the folder.

Shutdownitems.png Shutdown Items

Items in this folder are executed before the Finder fully unloads during a restart or shutdown. This may be any application or document, and the system will treat it as if you were just double-clicking on it in the folder. As the system is about to shutdown, usage for this might be limited to things such as data backup scripts or "exit" sounds.

Textenc.png Text Encodings

See Also