Install Macintosh System 6

This is the first part of several Mac related tutorials. The others can be found here (Create Large (4GB > x > 20 MB) Mac CHDs) and here (Install Mac OS 7.5.3) but you need to follow this one prior to the others.

Notice that you can also follow the instructions here which includes some instructions on how to add programs to the Hard Disk after the installation (through floppy disks).

System 6 Installation Disks

You will need installation disks which are available here : Apple's old Software list. Look for:

  • SSW_6.0.8-800k_Disk1of4.sea.bin (“System Tools”)
  • SSW_6.0.8-800k_Disk2of4.sea.bin (“Utilities 1”)
  • SSW_6.0.8-800k_Disk3of4.sea.bin (“Utilities 2”)
  • SSW_6.0.8-800k_Disk4of4.sea.bin (“Printing tools”)

Uncompressed, they should get a “.sea” extension, so change it to “.img” and replace both the spaces with underscores to make command lines easier.

I recommend to lock these files since anything must not alter them.

Working installation of MESS

Any MESS version 0.139u3 or later should work. 0.144 (or newer) is recommended; it fixes some long-standing Mac emulation issues that could cause the emulated system to hang.


Easy method

  • Download a pre-made image, unzip it, and rename it to whatever you like. The example command line calls it macsehd.chd, so substitute whatever name you choose there.
  • Boot MESS with your hard drive and floppy images:

mess macse -hard1 macsehd.chd -flop1 SSW_6.0.8-800k_Disk1of4.img -flop2 SSW_6.0.8-800k_Disk2of4.img on the command line.

  • Open (double-click) the “System Tools” disk and run (double-click) “Installer”.

Now skip down to “The actual install”. That was easy, right?

Harder method

  • Create an Hard Disk in CHD format by using chdman from command line:

chdman createhd -c none -chs 305,4,32 -o macsehd.chd

  • Boot MESS with mounted hard drive and floppies (with path changed accordingly). In the following, we use macse as driver, but the same procedure would work on other emulated Mac machines as well (e.g. macplus or maciicx). Command line:

mess macse -hard1 macsehd.chd -flop1 SSW_6.0.8-800k_Disk1of4.img -flop2 SSW_6.0.8-800k_Disk2of4.img

  • After booting the images, open the “Utilities 1”, and run “Apple HD SC Setup”
  • You will see a message “The disk is uninitialized”, if not, click “Drive” until it does. Click “Initialize”, then “Init”, name it like you want (MacHD6 for me) and “Quit”.

The actual install

  • Back to the Finder, open the “System Tools” disk and run the “Installer”
  • Click “OK”, and then “Switch Disk” until you select your HD, and then “Install”. It is recommended you click “Customize” and choose “System Software for any Macintosh” first so that the resulting CHD will run on any emulated Macintosh model that supports System 6.0.8 (this includes macplus, macse, macii, maciix, and maciicx).
  • When it asks for other disks, go to the MESS UI ? “File manager” and replace the disk 1 by the 3 (“Utilities 2”) in Floppy drive 1
  • When it asks again for other disks, go to the MESS UI ? “File manager” and replace the disk 2 by the 4 (“Printing tools”) in Floppy drive 2
  • When it ends, turn off the emulated Mac (use the System 6 “Special” menu in the top bar) and exit MESS.

At last, we put the “Apple HD SC Setup” onto the drive for later use

  • Start MESS again with “Utilities 1” disk inserted

mess macse -hard1 macsehd.chd -flop1 SSW_6.0.8-800k_Disk2of4.img

  • Open the floppy and copy (drag and drop) “Apple HD SC Setup” to your hard drive
  • Exit the Mac emulation and MESS.

You have now a valid CHD suitable for MESS, and that can be exported for use in Basilisk or on a Mac OS X 10.5 system (click here for more about that).

Notice that, if you want to install System 6.0.3 or 6.0.5, “Apple HD SC Setup” is in the “System Tools” disk and not in the “Utilities 1” one.

Also, in the 6.0.8 procedure above it is not mandatory to start MESS with both floppies inserted: you can mount the “Utilities 1” disk in the first drive (to run “Apple HD SC Setup”), and when the Setup is over you can insert the “System Tools” disk and start the Installer from there. Afterwards, disks can be inserted in drive 1 as needed.