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Classic on Intel Macs, courtesy of SheepShaver.

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I’ve gotten Mac OS 9.0.4 up and working on an Intel Mac, running off of SheepShaver. I can get out to the internet via ethernet or my workplace’s wireless network, so it looks like TCP is working fine. I can’t see the AppleTalk zones of my workplace though, though, so all printing looks like it’ll need to be set up via LPR. In terms of speed and screen redraw, it’s not that swift but it should be fine for a person who just needs to run one or two Mac OS applications.

Installing SheepShaver was fairly easy. I needed a Mac OS 9 CD (9.0, not 9.1 or 9.2.x.), a copy of a compatible Mac OS ROM (I used MacOS ROM 1.6 from MacOS ROM Update 1.0; use TomeViewer on a PPC Mac to extract the ROM from the installer,) sufficient space on my hard drive and a copy of SheepShaver (available from

I started off by launching the SheepShaverGUI program, which is a graphical program used to configure SheepShaver’s settings as well as make the disk images that SheepShaver uses to boot off of. I built a one gig-sized disk image, set that as my boot volume, set my ROM’s location, then had SheepShaver boot off of my OS 9 CD by selecting “Boot From CD-ROM” on the Volumes tab in SheepShaverGUI and hitting the Start button.

From that point, it was like a normal installation of Mac OS 9. Within SheepShaver’s window, the disk image showed up mounted like a normal hard drive. I selected that and installed OS 9 onto it. After that, I applied the Mac OS 9.0.4 update normally. That’s as far as SheepShaver supported, so I shutdown OS 9 and started customizing the settings. Here’s the settings I’m using with SheepShaver:

For Ethernet, using slirp will let you share OS X’s network connection.


1. This isn’t like Classic, where OS 9 and OS X applications co-existed on the screen. OS 9’s running in its own X11 window.

2. The OS X hard drive shows up on the Mac OS 9 desktop as a drive called “Unix”. You can copy things from the Unix drive into the Mac OS 9 environment and vice-versa.

3. There’s some weirdness with the Unix drive, where it won’t show some folders. Specifically, it doesn’t show the Mac OS 9 “Applications (Mac OS 9)” or the “System Folder” folders, which is quite bizarre. Nothing I’ve done up to this point makes either folder (even renamed!) visible on the Unix drive.

4. If you have an OS 9 Desktop Folder on your Intel Mac’s drive, SheepShaver will pick up on it while mounting the Unix drive and show whatever is in there on your Mac OS 9 desktop as generic icons. This puzzled me for a bit, before I remembered that on Mac OS, every mounted drive had its own Desktop Folder and everything in those folders from all mounted drives showed up on the desktop.

5. Looks pretty stable, though as noted before, it’s not the swiftest. When I took a peek at Apple System Profiler, the hardware it reported itself running on was a Power Mac 9500 series, with a G4 processor, running at 100MHz.

117 Responses to “Classic on Intel Macs, courtesy of SheepShaver.”

  1. gabriel lee

    A quick hack for transfering files with sheep shaver:

    go to chooser and select appleshare. enter the ip address of your computer and log in. now you can easily switch files back and forth.

    it’s a bit spotty and crashes often, but generally you can copy what you need before the network crashes.


  2. Ken Gruberman

    As Emily Litella used to say “Never mind!” On my QuadCore G5 I launched Classic, then OS 9’s “Disk Copy” utility. I used that to create a 1GB disk image and was able to not only install OS 9.0.4 on it, but have it start up afterward! So that seems to be the answer: find a machine that can either run Classic or boot into 9 itself, and create the disk image there.

  3. Ken Gruberman

    I’m having the same problems as referenced in both #38 and #51 — when I create an image using OS X’s Disk Utility, then install OS 9.0.4 on it from within SS and restart, I get the “blinking question mark” which indicates the system folder is not blessed. I even ran DiskWarrior on the volume, which told me it HAD fixed that problem and the system folder was now blessed — but I still get a blinking question mark. Deleting the invisible desktop files doesn’t apply here because it’s not getting far enough into the boot process for that to matter, as it’s not booting at all.

    So I tried #38’s idea of creating an image within the SS GUI itself. But when the OS 9 installer disk starts in SS, it doesn’t see anything viable to install on; I also get that same “there are no installable file systems” message when trying to open the image file after appending “.dmg” to the name.

    This means I’m SOL no matter what method I try. I feel I’m SO CLOSE — I hope someone can figure this out?

    PS: Although my copy of SS says 2.3 and was downloaded from the link provided on this page, my JIT tab only shows one box (“experimental”); the “Enable JIT Compiler” checkbox as shown in the screenshot above does not appear in my copy. Is this important?

  4. David D.

    I need some help. I’ve been able to get Sheepshaver running in OS 8.6 with my old iMac’s restore disc, and I’ve been able to ‘restore’ the software from the CD onto the disk image, but I cannot select the disk image as the startup disk, as Sheepshaver crashes everytime I try to do it. Do you know of anything I’m doing wrong?

  5. John Rethorst

    I’ve made a 500 mb Macintosh disk image for SheepShaver, including _everything_ needed to run, as well as an installation of the last version of WordPerfect for the Mac, and several useful utilities. The printing issue with USB has been solved: this configuration prints to any OSX printer as fast as regular printing, or makes a PDF file.

    The download link is at, in the Links section, in the “SheepShaver and Basilisk” folder, as “SheepShaver-WordPerfect Install (2)”.

    Runs on both Intel and PPC Macs. Several people on the WP group are using it, and it’s working well for them.


  6. I am having an install problem. It states installer not compatible. This is an extremely common problem for many, but the developer will not respond to anyone’s repeated requests for help on this issue. Who has the solution here?

  7. I got it going on a dual 2G Xeon. But alas, the app I want to run on it, Rosetta Power Pac language learner keeps coming up with script errors. Perhaps Rosetta needs a later version of OS9. Darn the Luck ! ! !

  8. It’s too bad this doesn’t work for system 9.2.2, as this is the one that came with my iMac years ago. I will only need to install two games using classic (Baldur’s Gate and The Sims) but The Sims should now run under rosetta and there is a workaround I thought of for BG I’m going to try out when I finally get my MacIntel.

  9. David Garcia

    I m trying to install mac os 9.2 in Sheepshaver, but the problem is that i start my macbook from a cd rom that have system 9.2, the macbook start, but when i tried to install software, give me an error, will be the wrong version? what can i do? help me please
    thanks a lot!

  10. I tried to create an image with the SS GUI as shown in #38. When I do this, the “image” shows up as a blank page icon. When clicked on, I get a message: “There is no defult application specified to open the document.”. I then added the extension “.dmg” I get a message: “The following disk images failed to mount because there are no mountable file systems.” Then I tried with “.img” and everything else, with the same results. I changed the “image” back to its original state (with no extension). What am I doing wrong???

  11. Jim Carwardine

    I needed to install a printer driver for my printer (Canon I860 USB inkjet),
    so I downloaded the OS 9 driver from the Canon web site using Explorer from
    inside SheepShaver. After I installed it, I could see it in the Chooser but
    when I selected it, it couldn’t find a port. Nothing showed on the right
    hand side of the Chooser window. When I select Page Setup, it shows the
    i860 dialogue but when I close the dialogue box, it tells me that I need to
    choose a printer from the Chooser.

    When I installed OS 9 in SheepShaver, I used OS 9.0 but it still can handle
    USB. Is there something special I need to do to allow USB access?

    I also have a Brother MFC 7820N laser printer that is networked to my
    computer. Would that be a better choice because I might then use one of the
    already installed Apple printer drivers to run it?

  12. I am running OS 8.5 and can print using IP addressing, though no printers show up in the Chooser. I am now trying to connect with AppleShare to an old Mac (a 7200), also running OS 8.5. When I try connecting via TCP/IP (because, again, nothing shows up in the Chooser), SheepShaver crashes, though if I put in the wrong IP address, the connection fails gracefully.

    Has anyone had any luck with file sharing? Thanks for any tips.

  13. I installed OS8.5 from a G3 tower system disk and got the flashing question mark problem when trying to boot from the disk image.

    I think the problem is that the installed system is machine specific and is incompatible with the SheepShaver “machine.”

    I then tried doing a Software Restore from the same disk, and, VOILA!, it works fine.

    I have also found that the Unix drive does not seem to work for transferrring files back and forth to the OSX system. However, when SS is not running, you can mount the drive image and copy any files you want into it (and eject it) and they will be there when when you launch SS again.

  14. jumbeliah

    re: #37 Joe le Pete
    Great thing the sheepsaver and thanks for the install help here on this site. I am looking forward to get it installed since my old OS9 iMac died suddenly. Does anyone know about the Classic (OS7) capabilities?

    I can’t find MAE (MacintoshApplicationEnvironment) . Otherwise I’d try to install Sun’s Solaris for PC in Parallels and run Mac OS 7.1 applications from there.

  15. Dan,

    I have downloaded FileBuddy 7.6.3 plus the extras for OS9. However, I now got back the problem where all OS9 apps are doc not apps in SheepShaver. I assume I have got to get FileBuddy to be an app before I can do the “reversing the sequence” bit?

    Has anybody been able to contact Gwenole Beauchesne about this problem and when a new update might be available? The current version of SS is dated 14May06 so hopefully a new version must be getting close!


  16. Dan,

    You said:

    ‘”When I used FileBuddy inside SheepShaver to reverse the sequence, the files were then properly recognized and opened.”

    How do you go about reversing the sequence? Nice simple instructions for someone who doesn’t know the ropes.


  17. I keep getting a black screen. I have my 8.5 System CD in my system. But it won’t initiate to begin installation.
    1. I followed directions above.
    2. I used the ROM file from my 8.5 System disc.
    3. I insert my 8.5 CD
    4. I am getting a black screen
    5. What am I missing here?

  18. For those who are able to install SheepShaver (heraffter SS) but can’t get SS to boot off the disk image this is what I did to get around it.

    The only way I could get SS to recognise a HD image was to boot in OS9 on an older PowerBook, create the disk image with Disk Utility in OS9. I transferred this image to OSX Intel and I then was able to launch SS, install OS9 on this OS9-created disk image from the OS9.04 boot CD. Curiously, when I tried looking at the HD image using Drive Setup on the OS9 boot CD, it did not see it.

    I read Dan’s problem with transferring OS9 applications to the SS boot disk image and I had the same problem. He said in #32 above that:

    “The problem with using the “Unix” drive in SheepShaver for file transfer from the Mac OS X side is that with an Intel Mac, the file type and creator are interpreted _backwards_ in SheepSaver, so the Mac OS 9 application one wants to use doesn’t recognize them and can’t open them. When I used FileBuddy inside SheepShaver to reverse the sequence, the files were then properly recognized and opened.

    This bug should be straightforward to fix. Does anyone know of a simple workaround? In my case, burning CDs or creating disk images of every file that needs to be transferred would be too much trouble.

    I don’t now how to get Gwenole Beauchesne’s (the SheepShaver developer’s) attention on this so I’m posting this on various places on the web.”

    If this sequence is reversed using Filebuddy, will it stay the same from thereon in? I do not know much about these matters.

    My main frustration at this stage is that applications if successfully transferred to the SS boot disk image are sometimes just documents or if they come across OK, revert later to just documents. The complexity of moving applications across to SS is a problem. I found that I could use the OSX-created disk image disk to store the OS9 applications on (in fact I used the disk image I couldn’t designate as the SS boot disk earlier). This disk image can be seen on the OSX side and I used it as the disk to drag the OS9 applns to, within OSX. While in OSX, I could not drag anything on to the OS9-created disk image which is now the SS boot disk, not even open it. However when I boot SheepShaver the OS9 desktop has 2 disk images. The OSX-created disk image has the OS9 application in it and they boot fine. I have ClarisCAD, PowerCADD2000, LANDesign all working fine and at very acceptable speeds, but I have no printing or networking.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone could provide detailed instructions on how to install, and configure printing and networking in language which fools like me can understand!


  19. So far I have not been able to get it to work. I have followed the instructions, but it is just not functioning. I pulled the Mac ROM file from the system folder on the 8.5 install disk.

    I click start after setting everything up and
    Sheepsaver just quits no explanation – nothing.


  20. Patrick Sneyers

    Andrew, Pam & Karl: Flashing ? fix.
    Had the same issue. I then created a new image with SS GUI, not OSX Disk Utility. Now it works fine. Running OS 8.5 (only thing at hand).
    I have my accounting program running (Omnis 7 Runtime)!

    Up to AppleTalk and printing with LaserWriter 8….

  21. I’ve been having the same problem as Pam and Karl. I can install onto a Disk Image that I’ve created but when I try to boot off that image I get the flashing qn mark floppy disk icon. I’ve tryed setting the DMG as the startup disk. I’ve even tried blessing the System Folder. Any help you give me would be appreciated.

  22. Anybody know if it will run the HP LaserJet Utility (which I would like to use to access JetDirect boxes over AppleTalk that have ‘lost their way’)?

    I’m unclear on how much AppleTalk-friendliness this tool provides…

  23. Christopher Moss

    Marc, I don’t know if this will work for all, but here is my setup. My MBP connects by Airport to a DSL connection. TCP/IP in SheepShaver is set to connect by ethernet, and to get an IP by DHCP. I didn’t have to enter anything else; it just worked. Curiously the router address isn’t the same as my basestation, but since it works I shall change nothing!


  24. The problem with using the “Unix” drive in SheepShaver for file transfer from the Mac OS X side is that with an Intel Mac, the file type and creator are interpreted _backwards_ in SheepSaver, so the Mac OS 9 application one wants to use doesn’t recognize them and can’t open them. When I used FileBuddy inside SheepShaver to reverse the sequence, the files were then properly recognized and opened.

    This bug should be straightforward to fix. Does anyone know of a simple workaround? In my case, burning CDs or creating disk images of every file that needs to be transferred would be too much trouble.

    I don’t now how to get Gwenole Beauchesne’s (the SheepShaver developer’s) attention on this so I’m posting this on various places on the web.

  25. I have a similar problem. I can start up from CD (OS9.0.4) and install or even Norton, but even though I specified to start up from the hard disk which seems to have a system folder I get also the blinking ? indicating that it doesm’t find a startup system on the designated disk image