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Mac OS 8.1 Update: Document and Software

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

This article contains a software link to Mac OS 8.1Update.

What's new in Mac OS 8.1 Update and CD-ROM

Mac OS Extended Format

Mac OS 8.1 now supports a new volume format called Mac OS Extended format. The hard disk format supported by Mac OS version 8.0 and earlier is Mac OS Standard format. Mac OS Extended format optimizes the storage capacity of large hard disks by decreasing the minimum size of a single file. As an example, on a 4 GB hard drive a file containing only 4K of information requires 64K of space in Mac OS Standard format, whereas with the Mac OS Extended format, it will require the actual 4K on the 4 GB hard disk.

Existing hard disks formatted with Mac OS Standard format will continue to function and be supported by Mac OS 8.1. To determine whether a disk was initialized with Mac OS Standard format or Mac OS Extended format, select the disk, and choose "Get Info" from the File menu.

If you want to use Mac OS Extended format on one or more of your hard disks, please refer to the About Mac OS Extended Format document. For additional help in creating and using a Mac OS Extended format volume as a start up volume, please go to:

Universal Disk Format 1.0 (UDF)

UDF is a new industry standard file format. The version of UDF in Mac OS 8.1 supports UDF formatted CD ROM discs and UDF formatted DVD ROM discs. In order to use a UDF formatted DVD ROM disc, your computer must have a DVD ROM drive and the appropriate driver. UDF requires a 2x or faster CD ROM or DVD ROM drive.

LaserWriter 8.5.1

LaserWriter 8.5.1 adds support for IP printing, Custom Page Size, PostScript 3 printers, Acrobat PDF files in the Save as File option. It also improves support for ColorSync and adds support for Desktop Printer Utility.

PC Exchange 2.2

PC Exchange supports VFAT and FAT32 volume formats as used by Windows 95. Support for Long File Names (LFN), DOS (FAT) file system and FAT32 support for 4 GB Volumes has also been added. PC Exchange now has better support for removable media, such as Jaz, Zip, and PMO.

Issues with Pinnacle Magnetic Optical DOS formatted drives, Maxtor SCSI hard drives, PC formatted Quantum 160MB hard drives and SCSI DOS drives greater than 1 GB have been addressed.

PC Exchange will now mount drives over 1 GB.

Get Info now shows the correct number of items on a DOS disk.

PC Exchange now works with shared folders.

Open Transport 1.3

Open Transport 1.3 provides improved performance and single-link multihoming support. Complete details are provided in OT 1.3 information.


Now has improved performance when copying to and from shared volumes.


Previously, audio management was determined by your computer, now your applications control audio input and output setups. There is a new control strip module which allows easier user selection of sound input source.

Mute selection in the Monitors & Sound control panel retains its settings with volume changes.

Mac OS 8.1 CD Additions

Location Manager 2.0.1

Now works on all Mac OS computers.

QuickDraw 3D 1.5.3

Fixed incompatibilities with some high-end 3D rendering applications.

Mac OS Runtime for Java 2.0

This is Apple's implementation of Sun's JDK 1.1.3 specification. More information provided in the Mac OS Runtime for Java 2.0 documentation.

Internet Explorer

Microsoft Internet Explorer is now the default Browser for clean install or new computers. Internet Explorer uses Apple's MRJ as its Java engine.

If you use Internet Setup Assistant to register with an ISP, the Netscape Navigator Browser will be used.

Find File

Find File has been added to the Apple Menu when the Mac OS 8.1 CD is used to startup your computer so that you can find a file easily. The copy feature of the Find File (or dragging a file from the Items Found window) does not work because the startup volume is locked. If you need to copy a file that you found, open its enclosing folder by double-clicking on it in the lower part of the Items Found window.

Known Issues with Mac OS 8.1


When doing a custom install from the Mac OS 8.0 CD or Mac OS 8.1 CD, if a component is selected which is newer in Mac OS 8.1, a dialog will be presented which states that a newer version already exists. This will give you the option of selecting the older or newer version. Select the newer version because the older version may not be compatible with Mac OS 8.1.

IMPORTANT: When using the Mac OS 8.1 CD, the installer first runs the Mac OS 8 installation and then automatically runs the Mac OS 8.1 Update, LaserWriter 8.5.1, and OpenTransport installations. This occurs when you are doing either an Easy Install, a Custom Install, or Custom Remove.

Acrobat 3.0

Because of installation order requirements, please refer to the About Adobe Software document.

Netscape Navigator 4.04

If you do not already have an ISP (Internet Service Provider) and plan on using the Internet Setup Assistant to obtain one, register for one before upgrading to Netscape Navigator 4.04 which has been provided on the Mac OS 8.1 CD in addition to Netscape Navigator 3.01. Existing accounts will work without any problems, but you may not be able to create any new ISP accounts once you have upgraded to Netscape Navigator 4.04.

Display Name Change

AppleVision 750 and 850 displays were recently renamed ColorSync Displays. Mac OS 8.1 delivers a new Monitors & Sound Control panel which will identify these monitors as ColorSync Displays. You can continue to use the AppleVision 750 or 850 ColorSync profiles as they are identical to the renamed versions.

DVD disc will not mount after bootable CD

If you have a DVD ROM drive connected to your computer and start up the computer with a bootable CD ROM disc in the drive, but not as the boot volume, you may not be able to use DVD discs until you remove the CD ROM disc and restart the computer. To use the DVD ROM drive make sure you do not have a bootable CD ROM disc in the drive when starting the computer unless you are booting from it. After starting the computer, you may then use both CD ROM and DVD discs.

Password Security and booting from Mac OS Extended

When using a Mac OS Extended formatted drive as your start up disk, the Password Security control panel will not function properly. Do not use the Password Security control panel if you plan to password protect and then start up from a Mac OS Extended formatted volume.

Do not try to reformat a disk drive which currently is password protected.

LocalTalk PCI

Mac OS 8.1 installs a new extension on some models called LocalTalkPCI which is a PowerPC version of the LocalTalk driver. This new driver provides improved performance when using LocalTalk. However, this improved performance can cause some LocalTalk printers to be invisible when using the Chooser to select a printer. If you encounter this problem use the Extensions Manager to disable LocalTalkPCI and the printer will become visible and selectable.


The following items do not effect Macintosh 68K and Power Macintosh 6100/7100/8100 series computers, nor Mac OS compatibles based upon the Power Macintosh 6100/7100/8100 series.

  • With Mac OS 8.1, the Sound control panel found in the Apple Extras folder can no longer be used to set the sound input source. Use the Monitors & Sound control panel or a new control strip module to change the input source.
  • Changing the volume in the Sound control strip module will not unmute the computer. If you have selected the mute check box in the Monitors & Sound control panel, you must use Monitors & Sound to unmute the computer.
  • When using the PC Compatibility software with a DOS compatible system, you may need to manually select the sound input source after inserting an audio CD. The PC Compatibility software plays sounds through the CD input source, so you must select CD input in the Monitors & Sound control panel or the SoundSource control strip module to hear sounds from the PC Card.
  • When using Apple Speech Recognition version 1.4.1 software on some computers, an error will be reported that your microphone is not standard or is not connected. This error is reported when turning on the Speakable Items feature. To avoid the error, select "none" as the sound monitor source before turning on this feature, then change the monitor source to "Microphone". This error may be ignored, and the Speech Recognition software can be used normally. This will occur on PCI-based computers and some PowerPC-based PowerBook computers.


  • Use QuickDraw GX 1.1.6 or later with Mac OS 8.1.
  • Desktop Printer Utility

    Desktop printers created with the Desktop Printer Utility will not appear configured in the Chooser, but the printer will still operate normally.

To create a printer in a different AppleTalk zone, do not use the Desktop Printer Utility found in the Apple Extras folder. Use the Chooser from the Apple Menu to create the printer.

Apple Language Kits and Mac OS 8

Apple's language kits require an updater for full functionality with this version of the Mac OS. The Language Kit Updater for Mac OS 8 can be downloaded from the software updates area of Apple's Web site, America Online, and other sites where Apple software updates are available.

After an Apple language kit is installed on a Mac OS 8.1 system you must also install the Language Kit Updater for Mac OS 8. Following that, you must open the Language Kit Additions folder within the Extensions folder and remove all LaserWriter and PrintLib files which have a version earlier than 8.5. Not removing these files can cause the application to unexpectedly quit when you attempt to print.

Apple does not recommend installing system software by making a copy of an existing system folder because important files used when starting up may not be found and the system software will have to be reinstalled.

Mac OS Extended and Language Kits

The Disk Tools PPC that is supplied with Mac OS 8.1 is intended for use with the primary script and English. If you are using a Language Kit (secondary script) you must use the Mac OS 8.1 CD. If you use a Disk Tools PPC floppy which you have created to startup the computer, file and volume names that were created with the secondary script will appear scrambled or missing. If you attempt to change any of them, the files may become lost.


G3 PowerBooks and PowerBook 3400

AppleTalk zones are unavailable when booting from the Mac OS 8.1 CD on G3 PowerBooks and PowerBook 3400.

ARA 3.0

If you are going to install ARA 3.0, do not select the Apple Remote Access optional install when installing Mac OS 8.1. Do not install ARA 2.1 over 3.0.

When using ARA 3.0 do not use Internet Dialer as the connection application, instead use the Remote Access to connect.

Video Cards

While starting up on some computers, the screen may flash, go black and reappear. This is normal and occurs when a ROM video driver is replaced by a newer driver in the system folder. It occurs with some Apple and third party video cards.

Apple Video Player MPEG movies

If Apple Video Player cannot find an MPEG movie due to the movie's title, use MoviePlayer's import command.

Apple Video Player

There is a problem recording video in Apple Video Player when the 'no compression' option is selected and Virtual Memory is turned off. When you stop recording, the computer may appear to hang for two to four minutes and the following error message "An error occurred while trying to record" appears and you will not be able to save the recording. To avoid this problem turn Virtual Memory on or select a different compression option.

SoundSource Control Strip Module And NuBus Power Macintosh

The new SoundSource Control Strip module for the Control Strip does not install on, or work with, NuBus Power Macintosh computers. An expectation is incorrectly set for this control strip module to be installed with the 8.1 Update in the About Mac OS 8.1 Update Read Me file. It states:

"Previously, audio management was determined by your computer, now your applications control audio input and output setups. There is a new control strip module which allows easier user selection of sound input source."

That is not true with NuBus Power Macintosh computers.

Compatibility Issues with Third Parties

Mac OS 8.1 and Mac OS Extended format issues

There are several types of programs that may be incompatible with Mac OS 8.1 and the new Extended format: Utilities that check the integrity of a disk volume; Programs that provide password security for volumes; Audio and video programs that write data directly to the volume.

Please contact the vendor of the program for revised versions.

Norton Utilities

Norton Utilities 3.5.3 is compatible with Mac OS Standard volumes, but Mac OS Extended volumes are treated as remote volumes and cannot be accessed.

If you are using the Norton Utilities for Macintosh 3.5.1 or earlier, do not run the following Norton Utilities on a Mac OS Extended volume: Disk Doctor, Speed Disk, Wipe Info, FileSaver, UnErase, Volume Recover, and Disk Editor. Later versions of the Norton Utilities for Macintosh will support the Mac OS Extended format and will be available on the Symantec web site

Conflict Catcher

Conflict Catcher is not compatible with the Mac OS 8.1. Casady and Greene has requested Apple disable the program due to the severity of this incompatibility. If the files are found, an error message will indicate the Conflict Catcher extension is located in the Mac OS Extension folder and must be disabled before installing Mac OS 8.1.

PGPdisk 1.0

Functions correctly on Mac OS 8.1 provided the PGPdisk volume file is located on a Mac OS Standard volume. If it is located on a Mac OS Extended volume, you will get an error after the passphrase is entered for that volume, and it will not appear on the desktop. All data remains intact. To access the volume, you need to either obtain PGPdisk 1.0.1 or move the volume file to a Mac OS Extended volume. Contact PGP at for information regarding updates.

PC Cards

Because of changes in Mac OS 8.1 some third-party PC Card drives will no longer function. Some updated drivers have been provided in the CD Extras folder. Please contact the PC Card vendor for other drivers as needed.

Quarterdeck Mail (also known as Microsoft Mail for Networks)

Client applications, versions 4.1 and earlier, are not compatible with Mac OS 8.1. For information on upgrading to version 4.2, please contact StarNine/Quarterdeck at or

AdobePS 8.5.1

If your printer comes with the AdobePS 8.5.1 installer and you wish to continue using other LaserWriter printers follow the steps outlined here.

Before installing AdobePS 8.5.1, find and move the PrintingLib extension from the Extensions folder to your desktop. Install AdobePS 8.5.1. Drag the PrintingLib extension from your desktop back into the Extensions folder. A dialog will warn you that a file with that name already exists: click OK to replace it with the one from your desktop. The version of PrintingLib that is available with Mac OS 8.1 includes all of the functionality of AdobePS 8.5.1.

If you have already installed AdobePS 8.5.1, find and move the PrintingLib extension to the Trash. Then install Mac OS 8.1.

Mac OS 8.0 Issues not fixed with Mac OS 8.1

PowerBook 1400 computers and Apple Video Player

There is no support in Apple Video Player for the PowerBook 1400 series computer. Open the MoviePlayer application found in Apple Extras folder to view MPEG files using QuickTime MPEG software.

PowerBook 190, 190c, and 5300c computers

On PowerBook 190, 190c or 5300c computers the display may appear blank when you first restart after installing Mac OS 8, or after resetting PRAM. This is because the power manager is being updated on the PowerBook. Restarting the PowerBook once more time will result in a normal screen. To shut down the PowerBook safely, press the Power button one time (which brings up the Shut Down dialog box) then press the Return key.

MBDF virus and Mac OS 8

If you notice that the menubar becomes white and disables the menubar clock, your computer may be infected with the MBDF virus. With previous versions of the Mac OS, you may not have noticed that your computer was infected with this virus. Use a virus detection application to identify and remove MBDF and other viruses from your computer.

Note: Please refer to the Mac OS 8 Read Me for other known issues.

Earlier versions of this software may be available at

Downloading Help: Software downloads: Formats and common error messages.

All software available from this site is covered by a software license agreement included with this software.

Language/OS Required Release Date Version Software Multi-part
North American English
North American English Mac OS 8.0
1998-03-02 8.1 Download
15700 K
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13
International English
International English Mac OS 8.0
1998-03-02 8.1 Download
15500 K
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13
British English
British English Mac OS 8.0
1998-03-02 8.1 Download
16300 K
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13
German Mac OS 8.0
1998-03-02 8.1 Download
16600 K
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14
Spanish Mac OS 8.0
1998-04-16 8.1 Download
16300 K
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13
Italian Mac OS 8.0
1998-03-10 8.1 Download
16200 K
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13
Dutch Mac OS 8.0
1998-03-18 8.1 Download
16100 K
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13
Norwegian Mac OS 8.0
1998-04-28 8.1 Download
15400 K
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13
Swedish Mac OS 8.0
1998-03-10 8.1 Download
16100 K
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13
Danish Mac OS 8.0
1998-04-21 8.1 Download
16000 K
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

Keywords: kbdload kmos81 ksysupdate

File Size: 15,700 KB

System Requirements Supported Languages