I recently got a Macintosh Color Classic running System 7.1, and I am trying to move old files off of it. My goal is to copy files from the Macintosh to a floppy drive, then read them from a USB floppy drive on a modern Mac.

The issue I am running into is that the Macintosh Color Classic does not seem to let me paste any files through Finder. The files in question are stored on the internal drive, and when I attempt to paste files to any location from the clipboard, the Paste menu item (under Edit) is unavailable.

I have tried to use keyboard shortcuts (CMD + C and CMD + V). I also let the Macintosh format the disk, in order to avoid any compatibility issues. I am not able to connect the Macintosh to a network, so floppy drives will be my only option. How can I enable the Paste menu item or otherwise copy files to a removable disk?

  • 1
    I haven't seen System 7 since the early 90s, but have you tried just dragging them over? Alternatively, see if the guys over at retrocomputing.stackexchange.com might have more contemporaneous knowledge
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 17:34
  • @Tetsujin I can't believe I didn't try that! Dragging the files over did properly initiate the copy, though I'm not sure why the Copy/Paste menu items didn't work correctly.
    – Jake3231
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 17:36
  • 1
    I get the feeling that a copy/paste operation which is actually a copy to new drive might be a bit advanced for System 7. I honestly can't remember how it used to work. I do recall that everything back then was "oooh, we got a mouse, let's use it!!" ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 17:38

1 Answer 1


From comments - just try drag & drop instead.

Whatever limitations System 7 had for copy operations, I really can't recall. It just seems like the simplest workaround ;)

  • 3
    Copy/Paste of files was not available until macOS 10.x. so the only way to copy a file was, like Tetsujin said, to drag it from one place to another. Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 17:49
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    @SteveChambers - Ahh... thank you for propping up my feeble memory :)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 18:05
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    Copy and paste to copy files was the Windows way of doing things, eventually introduced to the Mac because (I assume) people were used to it on Windows and complained when it didn't work. I never liked it because you're not actually placing the files on the Clipboard in such a way that any other program can use them, which feels to me like it dilutes the 'clipboard' metaphor. In classic Mac OS if you select one or more files and do Edit>Copy, the Finder copies the filename(s) to the Clipboard as text.
    – nekomatic
    Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 12:33
  • Thanks for clarifying that @nekomatic! I'm so used to modern macOS that I assumed the Copy menu item would have the same function.
    – Jake3231
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 14:40

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