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The Mac OS System Folder is where the core OS files and applications reside. The System Folder can usually be found on the top level of your startup volume.

The System Folder contains the System suitcase, the Finder, the Mac OS ROM, and System Resources, as well as all of your fonts, Control Panels, Extensions, preferences, Apple Menu Items, Startup Items, and Shutdown Items.

It is possible (but not advisable) to have more than one System Folder. This could be useful if you need to maintain multiple versions of an operating system on the same machine-- for testing purposes, for instance. The secret to doing this, without blowing everything up, is to "unbless" the System Folder that you're not using. Do this by moving the Finder out of the folder and to some other location. You'll notice that the System Folder icon changes from a folder with the Mac OS face to a plain old folder.

Do not unbless your only System Folder-- your machine will not start up.

You can choose which System folder to use by the Startup Disk control panel.

Don't confuse the "System Folder" with the "System" folder, which is the one Mac OS X uses. You can switch to this using the startup disk control panel as well, or, on newer machines, holding down Option at startup. (doesn't always work for me)

The Contents of the Mac OS 9.2.2 System folder:

Appearance
Apple Menu Items
Application Support
Classic
Classic Support
Classic Support UI
Classic Update Log.txt
Clipboard
ColorSync Profiles
Contextual Menu Items
Control Panels
Control Strip Modules
Developer VISE Moved Items
Extensions
Extensions (Disabled)
Favorites
Finder
Fonts
Help
Internet Plug-Ins
Internet Search Sites
Language & Region Support
Launcher Items
Login
Mac OS ROM
MacTCP DNR
Panels
Preferences
PrintMonitor Documents
STF
Scrapbook File
Scripting Additions
Scripts
Servers
Shutdown Items
Startup Items
Startup Items (Disabled)
System
System Resources
Text Encodings
VolumeNameIconPict

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