Released on October 17, 1998, Mac OS 8.5 was the first version of the Mac OS to run solely on Macintosh computers equipped with a PowerPC processor, as such it removed some but not all of the Motorola 68000 code, improving system performance.
New features in Mac OS 8.5
- Sherlock: Find File on steroids, Sherlock allowed users to search even the contents of documents on hard drives (given that it had an index of your hard drive), or even to extend a search to the Internet. Sherlock plug-ins started appearing at this time; these plug-ins allowed you to search the sites of other websites.
- Tear-off Application menu: The Application menu, which harkens back to the days of System 4.2 as a MultiFinder switch, can now also become a floating palette. When a user "rips" (by means of mouse actions) the menu off the menu bar, the Application menu becomes the Application palette.
- New Help system: The HTML format for online help, first adopted by the Finder's Mac OS Info Center back in Mac OS 8.0, now became the universal format for help pages on the Mac. This made it easier for software companies to write online help systems, but would contribute to making physical manuals become a thing of the past.
- Anti-aliased text: Text can now appear semi anti-aliased (if compared with the brilliant anti-aliasing present in Mac OS X), making it easier to read, and also appear more like printed text.
- New icon colour palette: An expanded colour palette allowed icons to have graduated fills.
- Resizable Finder columns: Finder columns (such as Name, Kind, Size, etc...) can now be fully resized at will.
- Improved Disk First Aid and enhanced hard drive repair: An enhanced Disk First Aid now includes a logical disk repair option, even for the startup drive. Also, users can choose (by default) if, after a system crash, a hard drive check should proceed immediately upon restart/startup.
- Control Strip: The Control Strip now allows you to install modules by dragging them onto the strip directly.
- New and enhanced control panels: A fair part of Mac OS 8.5's novelties lies in the numerous new and enhanced control panels (many of which had actually evolved into application programs pretending to be control panels). These included:
- Internet control panel: Internet setup is now centralised through this one control panel, making rushes back to other control panels a thing of the past.