Okay, this may sound simple enough but if you don’t have the updates on disc somewhere then it can be next to impossible to find the update files for Mac OS 9. Part of the reason it’s so hard to find updates to OS 9 is the fact that Apple has basically dropped all support for the OS. However, the aging OS is still used by many enthusiasts and vintage computer users around the world and if you need to do a clean install you’re going to want the updates. Everything is still out there, you just need to know where to look.
First, let me get you up-to-speed on some of the work you will need to do once you obtain the update files. These steps will help if you have a newer Mac or a Mac with OSX installed and will make the process much easier. Please stick around for the final steps or you might not get things to work.
- Step one, get the files! Here is the North American link directly from Apple (You may need to hit refresh a few times if the server doesn’t respond and you get the “We’re Sorry” Message) . You can also obtain most of the older updates through this link.
- The updates you will need are 9.1, 9.2.1 and 9.2.2. The first two are prerequisites and will need to be downloaded and installed before continuing.
Once you have downloaded each update folder, you need to prep them before you can use them on your older Mac. This guide assumes you are doing the prep work on a newer version of OS X. Here is what you need to do:
- For Update 9.1, open the folder, you should see 15 (.bin) files, select them all. Next, Control click or right-click on a (.bin) file in the selection and choose “open”. This will open all of the (.bin) files. Now sort the files in the folder by “kind” and you should see all of the extracted files separated from the original (.bin) files. Now, take all of the extracted (.part) files and the single (.smi) file and burn them to a disc (CD-R*). You will now be able to load this disc into your older mac and proceed with the update by opening the (.smi) file and then launching the installer.
- For Update 9.2.1, extract the file from the (.bin). Next, the process is a little different from the 9.1 update. You can try to load the single (.smi) by burning it to a disc and then mounting it on the older Mac, but I found that this doesn’t always work. I find it’s better to convert the (.smi) to a (.dmg), mount it, then burn the files contained within the image to a disc.
- To convert the (.smi) to a (.dmg) on your OSX machine, Open, Disk Utility, then click in the white space in the box to the left so you are not selecting any mounted disks. Next, click Convert. Find the 9.2.1 (.smi) file and click Convert. Choose read-only with no encryption and then choose a save location. Click Save. You will be prompted to use (.dmg) instead of (.smi), click “Use (.dmg)”.
- Now you can open the new (.dmg) file and burn all of the files to a CD-R. For Update 9.2.2 use the same process as 9.2.1.
** Please note that attempting to use a USB stick to update instead of a CD-R will likely result in failure. Mac OS 9 doesn’t seem to recognize the files correctly when loaded on to a flash drive. Your best bet is to burn the files to a CD-R. Also, remember that many older Macs that run OS 9 do not have DVD drives, so don’t forget to use a CD-R for those machines. A CD-RW may also be suitable.