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System 7 was the biggest change to the Apple’s Macintosh operating system to date. This version was also the longest in existence, lasting from 1990 to 1998. It was supposed to be the last classic OS until Apple released a completely redesigned operating system, originally called Copeland. Issues with that eventually caused the project to be scrapped. The components of Copeland made it into Mac OS 8.

Improvements:

  • MultiFinder is now the default finder, turning multitasking on for good.
  • Memory management was updated: 32bit memory addressing implemented Which allows Macs to use more than 8 MB of RAM
  • Virtual Memory was added – this uses some hard drive space as a swap file, where memory objects were temporarily stored on the disk. Thus giving the illusion of more ram.
  • AppleTalk and AppleShare were built into the operating system, instead of being an option.
  • QuickTime debuted (and was included) It was also available separately
  • A menu was added to the right end of the Menu Bar - the Application Menu, which showed a list of running programs and allowed users to switch between them.
  • The Trash was changed into a true folder, meaning that items put in it remained until it was emptied
  • Aliases also showed up in System 7
  • Drag and Drop – Instead of cutting/pasting text you could not select, and drag the text from one program to another.
  • Finder finally had color to take advantage of color monitors, this included interface elements being updated.

System 7.0.1 - Mainly a bug fix

System 7.1
The Fonts folder was added, so instead of fonts being buried in the system, users could now just drag and drop them to the Fonts folder

System 7.1.1
Bundled AppleScript, QuickTime, and PowerTalk, all of which used to be available separately.

System 7.1.2
Provided PowerPC chip support which was the new CPU in macintoshs as apple started moving towards the PowerPC platform and away from the 68k platform.

System 7.1.3 - Bug fix

System 7.5
Updated the Apple Guide help system, a progress bar was added to the startup screen so users could see that the OS was booting and how far along the boot process it was.

System 7.5.1 - Bug Fix and Mac OS Logo at startup.

System 7.5.2 was available in two, incompatible versions: one for the first PCI Power Macs, one for the portables released at about the same time.

System 7.5.3 - Bug fix

System 7.5.4
Announced, but not released due to the last-minute discovery of some major bugs.

System 7.5.5 - Bug fix

Mac OS 7.6
New name and started Apple’s strategy of releasing an update every six months until Copeland/Rhapsody/Mac OS X could be completed.