Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My son is working on a school project, the subject is the history of Mac computers.

He’s writing a paper but has to create a visual display too.

I suggested displaying his paper live in MacWrite on an old Mac.

We can get an old Mac easily, but how can we copy a file to it? The best I can come up with is retype it.

We have Windows machines and a Mac Mini, but no other Macs.

Is there a cable that can make a PC or a USB drive look like an external disk drive? Or a USB floppy drive that can write an old Mac floppy disk format?

Update: Based on information on this website I think I can use an old SCSI CD-ROM drive with a Mac Plus.

share|improve this question

A USB to DB9 or DB25 adapter, a Null Modem cable, and Kermit on both ends.

I'd just re-type it, but I got Cs in school.

share|improve this answer
Do old macs have db9 connectors ? I like this idea. – Bart Nov 15 '09 at 21:39
This is actually just a mac modem cable. But: how do I get kermit on the mac ? I think I still need a floppy. – Bart Nov 15 '09 at 22:09
You might not need kermit on the old mac. It may have a terminal program on it. Did OS 8 or whatever have comms software installed? It must have. – Richard Hoskins Nov 15 '09 at 22:15

A USB floppy drive would probably be the simplest method. Shove a blank disk in the Plus and let it format it there, then see if it mounts on a newer Mac.

share|improve this answer
+1 for formatting it on the older mac. You can also try FAT12/FAT16 from Windows/Linux if the old mac has the "pc exchange" extension loaded. – Broam Apr 16 '10 at 16:29

The most common hardware interface shared by both new and old macs is Ethernet (you may need an additional Ethernet card on some old mac). From this, any IP-based protocol should work, including Appleshare IP. For converting the paper to Macwrite, I suggest plain text.

share|improve this answer
I think (very) old macs used LocalTalk at the hardware layer for networking. – Suppressingfire Nov 15 '09 at 19:23
netatalk is the Linux package that speaks appletalk; don't know about support in modern proprietary OS's. – Broam Apr 16 '10 at 16:29

If the file isn't too large, you can email it to yourself at a web mail address, such as a Yahoo mail or Google mail account. Then you can download it onto the classic Mac.

share|improve this answer
It might be hard to believe, but there were times when computers were not connected to the internet... – Arjan Nov 15 '09 at 19:03
@Arjan - Depending on the age, I remember using a beefed up Mac Classic to browse the web in the late 90s. It wasn't fast, it was B&W but it did work. I'd never have used it seriously however. – Chealion Nov 16 '09 at 5:46

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.