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Chapter 3. System Software > The System Folder in Mac OS 9 and Earlier

The System Folder in Mac OS 9 and Earlier

Most every Mac has a special folder with a blue Mac OS face on its front, located on one of the hard drives. This folder, called the System Folder, contains all of the system software's files and programs. Inside the System Folder you'll find the actual system software, the Finder, all of your fonts, your desktop pattern—everything that makes your Mac run. Get a grip on how the System Folder works and what's inside it, and you're well on your way to becoming a Mac expert.

The System and Finder Files

There are two very special files inside your Mac named System and Finder. The System file is fairly meaty (in Mac OS 9.2.1, it weighs in at 16.1 MB), and it contains most of the information your Mac needs to start up and run properly. The System file handles your memory, your hard drive, and your graphics chip—in short, it makes sure all the hardware is working together in harmony, and it gives the Finder access to that hardware.


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