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Macintosh "System 1"
Version of the classic Mac OS operating system
The original "System 1" desktop
DeveloperApple Computer
OS familyMacintosh
Source modelClosed source
Released to
January 24, 1984; 40 years ago (1984-01-24)
Latest release1.1 / December 29, 1984; 39 years ago (1984-12-29)
Kernel typeMonolithic
Succeeded bySystem 2
Support status
Architectural, unsupported

The Macintosh "System 1" is the first major release of the classic Mac OS operating system. It was developed for the Motorola 68000 microprocessor. System 1 was released on January 24, 1984, along with the Macintosh 128K, the first in the Macintosh family of personal computers. It received one update, "System 1.1" on December 29, 1984, before being succeeded by System 2.[1]


Further information: Classic Mac OS

This operating system introduced many features that would appear for years to come, some that still exist in the current macOS, and a few that exist in other graphical operating systems such as Microsoft Windows.

The features of the operating system included the Finder and menu bar. In addition to this, it popularized the graphical user interface and desktop metaphor, which was used under license from Xerox PARC.

Due to the limited amount of random-access memory and the lack of an internal hard disk in the original Macintosh, there was no multitasking with multiple applications, although there were desktop accessories that could run while another application was loaded. Also, items in the Trash were permanently deleted when the computer was shut down or an application was loaded (quitting the Finder).

System 1's total size is about 216 KB and contained six files: System (which includes the desk accessories), Finder, Clipboard, an Imagewriter printer driver, Scrapbook, and Note Pad.[2] A separate diskette included "A Guided Tour of Macintosh", which contains tutorial demonstrations of the Macintosh system, running on a modified pre-release version of Finder 1.0, as well as training programs for learning to use the mouse, and the Finder. Also included was a 33-minute audio cassette designed to run alongside the demonstrations, emphasising the disk's purpose as a guided tour.[3]

Menu bar

The menu bar was a new and revolutionary part of the OS.[citation needed] Similar to the one found on Lisa OS, the System 1 Finder had five menus: the Apple menu, File, Edit, View, and Special. When in an application, the menus would change to ones defined by the application, but most software retained at least the File and Edit menus.[4]

While within the Finder, the Apple menu contained the "About the Finder" information, along with the desktop accessories. "File" menu items included Open, Eject, and Close. "Edit" had entries for cutting, copying, and pasting. "Special" was used for managing the hardware and other system functions, and was always the rightmost entry on the menu bar in the Finder. In System 1, the menu had items related to emptying the Trash, cleaning up the desktop, and disk options. By System 1.1, the menu allowed the user to choose an alternate startup program to be run instead of the Finder at boot time; the feature was replaced in System 7 by the "Startup Items" folder in the System Folder.[citation needed]

Desk accessories

Main article: Desk accessory

System 1 came with multiple desk accessories (DA). These included an Alarm Clock, Calculator, Control Panel, Key Caps, Note Pad, Puzzle, and Scrapbook. A difference between desktop accessories and applications is that multiple desktop accessories could be run at once but only one application could run at a time. Desk accessories could also run on top of an application.

See also


  1. ^ Mesa, Andy. "The Early Mac OS". The Apple Museum. Retrieved 2015-02-15.
  2. ^ Pogue, David (January 1997). MacWorld Macintosh Secrets 4th Edition—Part 1: System Software Revealed (PDF). Hungry Minds. p. 216.
  3. ^ "First Versions: Apple Mac OS". First Versions. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  4. ^ Conachey, Andrew (8 December 2005). "Innovative Macintosh System 1". Low End Mac. Retrieved 2016-08-15.
Preceded by System 1 1984 Succeeded bySystem 2