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Introduction to MAC OS 9

Introduction to MAC OS 9


Mac OS 9 is the latest version of the computer operating system that put the phrase graphic user interface in everyone's vocabulary. With Mac OS, you can point, click, and drag to work with files, applications, and utilities. Because the same intuitive interface is utilized throughout the system, you'll find that a procedure that works in one program works in virtually all the others.

This Visual QuickStart Guide will help you learn Mac OS 9 by providing step-by-step instructions, plenty of illustrations, and a generous helping of tips. On these pages, you'll find everything you need to know to get up and running quickly with Mac OS 9—and more!

This book was designed for page flipping. Use the thumb tabs, index, or table of contents to find the topics for which you need help. If you're brand new to Mac OS, however, I recommend that you begin by reading at least the first two chapters. In them, you'll find basic information about techniques you'll use every day with your computer.

If you're interested in information about new Mac OS 9 features and the components of Mac OS 9, be sure to browse through this Introduction. It'll give you a good idea of what you can expect to see on your computer.

New Features in Mac OS 9

Mac OS 9, which was released in the autumn of 1999, is a major revision to Mac OS. This section provides a summary of some of its biggest new features.


Most of these features are covered in this book.

Searching Features

  • Sherlock has a whole new interface (Figure 1) that includes more search sites, customizable channels, and special features for searching for e-mail addresses and shopping online.

    Figure 1. Sherlock has a whole new interface. Now it's even more clever about searching disk, servers, and the Internet.

  • The File menu (Figure 2) now offers two search commands for using Sherlock's search capabilities:

    • Find enables you to find files on any mounted disk.

    • Search Internet enables you to search the Internet for information, e-mail addresses, or merchandise available online.

      Figure 2. The File menu offers a number of new commands for accessing new or improved features.

Security Features

  • The File menu's new Encrypt command (Figure 2) launches the new Apple File Security application (Figure 3) so you can password protect files.

    Figure 3. You can now use encryption to secure individual files.

  • The Keychain feature enables you to store frequently used logon information in one place. Unlock the keychain, and your computer can log onto servers and Internet sites automatically.

  • The new Apple Verifier application can check a file's digital signature to make sure it comes from a source you trust.


  • You can now use file sharing and program linking over a TCP/IP network connection. This means you can share files and programs over the Internet.

Multiple Users

  • You can now set up your Macintosh so it can be accessed by multiple users (Figure 4), each with privileges and an interface that you define.

    Figure 4. With Multiple Users enabled, more than one person can share a Mac, without security worries.

  • Users can use voiceprint identification (Figure 5) to log in to a system set up for multiple users.

    Figure 5. You can use voiceprint security to log in to a Mac with Multiple Users enabled.

  • The Panels interface (Figure 6), which is available as part of the multiple users feature, is highly simplified—perfect for new users or youngsters.

    Figure 6. The Panels interface is highly simplified—perfect for new users (like my sister).

Interface Changes

  • The Monitors & Sound control panel has been separated into two separate control panels: Monitors and Sound.

  • The Keyboard control panel now enables you to map function keys to items such as files, folders, and network volumes. (This feature is only available on Macintosh models that support it.)

Updating Software

  • The new Software update feature makes it possible to automatically check for, download, and install system software updates. All you need is an Internet connection.

Mac OS 9 Components

Mac OS 9 includes the following software components:

  • Mac OS 9 is the basic collection of system software files, including the System file, Finder file, control panels, and extensions. This is the foundation of Mac OS; its various parts are covered throughout this book.

  • Internet Access enables you to connect to the Internet. I tell you about accessing the Internet in Chapter 11.

  • Apple Remote Access enables you to use your modem to connect to another computer or establish a PPP connection to the Internet. I discuss Apple Remote Access in Chapters 10 and 11.

  • Personal Web Sharing enables you to build your own Web server for sharing information on an intranet or the Internet. I tell you about Personal Web Sharing in Chapter 11.

  • Text-to-Speech enables your computer to read text and alerts with a synthesized voice. I cover speaking text in Chapter 7 and setting Speech options in Chapter 15.

  • Mac OS Runtime for Java enables you to run Java applets from the Finder.

  • ColorSync helps ensure color accuracy when working with color images.

  • English Speech Recognition enables your computer to recognize and respond to human speech.

  • Language Kits allows you to display and edit additional languages.

  • Network Assistant Client enables your network administrator to manage your computer.


The Mac OS 9 installer, which I discuss in Chapter 1, enables you to install any combination of these components.

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