The Installer is an application that is used to install software, including system software (such as the Mac OS) onto your Macintosh.


The Installer in System 7

The Installer in System 7 allows you to choose either a direct, Easy Install (by clicking on Install in the main screen), or to customize your installation.

When you customized your installation, you had to choose the components by shift-clicking them from a scrolling list. The entire Installer was a big, modal dialog box -- you had to quit the Installer to go back to the Finder.

The Installer in System 7.5

The Installer in System 7.5 was a huge improvement over the Installer from System 7:

  • The Installer window was resizable and movable.
  • The Installer acted as a regular application, which meant that you can go back to the Finder while the Installer was still open.
  • The Installer now supported "flippy triangles" in hierarchical lists -- a huge improvement over the shift-clicking.
  • There were other minor user interface enhancements.
  • The window was now more compact.

The Installer in Mac OS 7.6

In the Installer that came with Mac OS 7.6, the Installer was simplified even further. At the start, it would tell you what steps you would have to do in order to install the software.

A significant part of the System 7.5 installer was left in place, with only minor modifications made.

The Installer in Mac OS 8

The Installer from Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 8.1 were closely based on the Mac OS 7.6 one, with one notable exception -- for the first time in Macintosh history, the Clean Install option was visible in a normal window with the need to click an Options button or type a complex keyboard shortcut!

The Installer in Mac OS 8.5

With the Mac OS 8.5 Installer, the Clean Install option was once again "hidden" away inside the Options button. The Mac OS 8.5 Installer built itself upon the Mac OS 8 Installer and was pretty much unchanged all the way through to Mac OS 9.2.2.

The Installer in Mac OS X

The Mac OS X Installer was completely rewritten, but could be somewhat remotely linked to the Mac OS 8.5 Installer.

There would be a series of steps listed on the left side of the window, with the current step being highlighted with a blue dot. The new Installer made use of dialog sheets.

The Clean Install option was made available again with Mac OS X 10.2. Previously, you either had to back up your whole Mac OS X startup volume, or delete hundreds of obscure, minute and hidden files, in order to get to something close to a clean reinstall.

In the Installer from Mac OS X before the release of Mac OS X 10.3, the window could not be minimized, but could be hidden. Beginning with Mac OS X 10.4, you could run multiple installers or installations of multiple applications at the same time.

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