By Collin Allen

Classic Features

November 29, 2006

While I’ve long since ditched Mac OS 9 and earlier, there are a number of features I wish Apple had brought along. The Apple Blog notes 10 of their favorites, of which I only miss a few. Little things like emptying the Trash, tabbed folders, and download URLs in file comments all made Mac OS 9 pleasant “back in the day.”

Classic Mac OS used to prompt you before emptying the Trash while displaying the total size about to be eliminated. Knowing approximately how much disk space was about to be gained was, as the author put it, “one of the biggest reasons people ever empty the trash” – to get back some storage room. Perhaps this is an opening for a small freeware Mac app, one which labels the Trash with the total size, much like Mail’s red starburst unread message count.

While I can’t say that I’ll miss WindowShade or Appearance themes from Mac OS 8 and 9, I did enjoy keeping a bunch of tabbed folders along the bottom row of my screen. The Dock makes up for much of the functionality today, however it still lacks the pop-up ability that tabbed folders were known for.

The last little feature of the classic Mac OS that came in handy was that the URL of downloaded files was added to the Comments field. Having this was occasionally necessary later on, but I was disappointed to find that this feature is no longer built into OS X. Thankfully, the free utility DownloadComment will do exactly the same, adding the URL to the Spotlight Comments field, not only saving the link for future reference, but also making it searchable system wide.