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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 - Provides settings for PowerBook SCSI Disk Mode and other options.
  • PowerTalk Setup - Enable/disable the PowerTalk software.
  • 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 - Controls options such as brightness/contrast on models which did not include physical dials.
  • Serial Switch - Compatibility settings for the serial port on the Macintosh IIfx and Macintosh Quadra 950.
  • Sharing Setup - Configuration for file/application sharing with AppleShare, integrated into "File Sharing" control panel in later OS releases.
  • Sound - Set volumes and the system alert sound.
  • Speech - Settings for the text-to-speech software, such as selecting the voice and rate of speaking.
  • Speech Setup - Settings for PlainTalk voice recognition on AV/PowerMac.
  • 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 - Introduced in System 7.5, configures foreign language kits.
  • Token Ring
  • Trackpad - Trackpad mouse settings for compatible PowerBook models.
  • Users & Groups - Access control for file/application sharing with AppleShare.
  • Views - Finder view options such as font, icon size and other settings, list settings.
  • WindowShade - Part of System 7.5 and allows an open window to collapse into just the title bar.

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 - Fixes a virtual memory crash issue on 575 and 630 series Macs.
  • 630 SCSI Update - Fixes a large file transfer crash issue on 630 series Macs.
  • A/ROSE - Related to the Apple Real-time Operating System Extension.
  • 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 - Driver software for all Apple branded CD drives.
  • 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 Event Manager - Communicating between programs with AppleScript. Later incorporated directly into the AppleScript extension.
  • Apple Guide - Help system introduced with System 7.5.
  • Apple Multimedia Tuner - Bug fix for QuickTime 2.0 video playback.
  • Apple Photo Access - Supports Kodak PhotoCD discs.
  • AppleScript - Extension to enable the AppleScript scripting language.
  • AppleScriptLib - Shared library for PPC native mode AppleScript.
  • AppleShare - Chooser extension for connecting to AppleShare servers via AppleTalk.
  • Audio CD Access - For reading audio CDs.
  • Assistant Toolbox - Part of System 7.5 and later for PowerBook models. Allows for additional keyboard shortcuts.
  • AV Serial Extension - Bug fix for printing problems on the Macintosh Quadra 660av.
  • Caps Lock - Visual indicator in the menu for the caps lock being enabled. Generally for 100-series PowerBooks.
  • Catalog Extension - Part of the PowerTalk software.
  • Clipping Extension - Allows you to drag and drop pictures or text out of an application and onto your desktop as a clipping file.
  • Color Classic Update - Bug fix for using the IIe card under System 7.5.
  • Color Picker - Provides additional color choices to some dialog boxes.
  • ColorSync - Apple's color matching technology.
  • Contextual Menu Extension
  • Desktop Printer Extension
  • Desktop Printer Spooler
  • Desktop PrintMonitor
  • Display Enabler - Enables different resolutions for multisync monitors.
  • Drag and Drop - Adds drag and drop functionality to System 7.1. No longer needed by System 7.5.
  • Duo Battery Patch - Allows PowerBook Duo to use Type II batteries.
  • 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.
  • EM Sound Update - For 630-series Macs with internal Express Modem, lets you hear the modem through the computer speaker.
  • 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 - Runs the new System 7.5 Find File instead of the old Find interface when running Find from the menu.
  • Finder Help - Balloon Help text for the Finder.
  • Finder Scripting Extension
  • Foreign File Access - For reading non-Mac CDs.
  • GeoPort Extension - Support for the GeoPort connectivity on compatible systems.
  • GXGraphics - Part of QuickDraw GX.
  • Graphics Accelerator - Speeds up graphics for PCI PowerMacs.
  • High Sierra File Access - For reading non-Mac CDs.
  • IIci/IIsi Monitors Extension - Provides model-specific information to the Monitors control panel.
  • ISO 9660 File Access - For reading non-Mac CDs.
  • LC Monitors Extension - Provides model-specific information to the Monitors control panel.
  • MacinTalk 3 - Part of the Apple text-to-speech software.
  • MacinTalk Pro - Part of the Apple text-to-speech software.
  • Macintosh Guide
  • Mailbox Extension - Part of the PowerTalk software.
  • Mount IDE Drive - Mounts the internal IDE hard disk on certain systems when booting from a different drive.
  • Network Extension - Part of AppleTalk networking under early System 7.x versions.
  • ObjectSupportLib - PPC shared library for exchanging Apple Event messages between applications.
  • Open Transport - The new networking software platform which replaced legacy solutions such as MacTCP. Originally developed for Apple Copland.
    • 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
  • PlainTalk Speech Recognition - Part of the PlainTalk system for speech recognition on compatible Macs.
  • PowerBook 150 Update - Bug fix for the modem using too much power while asleep. Possibly the same thing as PB 150 Modem Patch.
  • PowerBook Monitors Extension - Provides model-specific information to the Monitors control panel.
  • PowerPC Finder Update - Allows PowerMacs to run native-PowerPC software and displays information regarding memory savings by using virtual memory.
  • PowerPC Monitors Extension - Provides model-specific information to the Monitors control panel.
  • PowerTalk Extension - Part of the PowerTalk software.
  • PowerTalk Manager - Part of the PowerTalk software.
  • Printer Share - Share a StyleWriter printer with networked Macs.
  • PrintMonitor
  • Quadra AV Monitors Extension - Provides model-specific information to the Monitors control panel.
  • Quadra Monitors Extension - Provides model-specific information to the Monitors control panel.
  • QuickDraw 3D
    • Apple QD3D HW Driver
    • Apple QD3D HW Plug-In
    • QuickDraw 3D IR
    • QuickDraw 3D RAVE
    • QuickDraw 3D Viewer
  • QuickTime - Provides the QuickTime codecs and support for multimedia files.
    • QuickTime MPEG Extension
    • QuickTime Musical Instruments - Instrument sound bank for MIDI.
    • QuickTime PowerPlug - This extension provides PowerPC enhancements to QuickTime.
    • QuickTime VR
  • SCSI Manager 4.3 - Part of System 7.5 and later. Used for AV/PowerMacs, helps accelerate transfers on the faster SCSI circuitry.
  • Shared Code Manager
  • Shared Library Manager
  • Shared Library Manager PPC
  • SOMobjects for Mac OS
  • Sound Manager - Adds new recording and playback features for systems prior to System 7.5.
  • Speech Manager
  • System Update - Part of System Update 3.0 addition for System 7.1.
  • SystemAV - Software for Macs featuring video input abilities.
  • Text Encoding Converter
  • Thread Manager - For multi-threading ability in systems prior to System 7.5.
  • TokenTalk Phase 2
  • TokenTalk Prep
  • UDF Volume Access
  • Video Startup - Software for Macs featuring video input abilities.
  • °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