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SkyCapt's picture
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Joined: 2017 Jan 11
OS9 has a "Startup screen" file format

Even OS X Tiger File Info says a file with the Type Code "SCRN" is a "Startup screen". When a file legitimately in this format is just tossed into the OS 9 (tested 9.2.1) System Folder then it is a picture file which replaces the Happy Mac With Version Number image during startup.

How do I create or convert a picture into "Startup screen" format? It's not the same as PICT, I tried that, unless it's a PICT with limited bit depth, didn't try that... what utility can do this, it is neat since it doesn't touch the System resources. How far back in OS can do this?

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System6's picture
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Joined: 2010 Mar 17

I seem to have a vague memory of it being a PICT resource file. I think I used Graphic Converter to make them.

WhosIt.There's picture
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Joined: 2014 Aug 23

It's not a normal PICT data file. It has to be a PICT resource file.

The easiest way is to use the "Startup Screen" save option in Graphic Converter. You also have to name the file as "StartupScreen". There are others as well, including some of the "theming" programs like Kaleidoscope.

The other way is to use ResEdit or Resourcer and replace the current startup screen image in the PICT resource of the System file with your new image - you're not really supposed to do that while it's running, so should use another boot disk (also make a backup of the System file first, just in case).

SkyCapt's picture
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Joined: 2017 Jan 11

I see, it file must be named "System Folder/StartupScreen" and it doesn't matter what the Creator and Type codes are. The picture really is in PICT format but it cannot reside in the data fork of this file, it must be in the resource fork with the usual added resource bytes acting as a 'header'. The Type Code SCRN is a property of the app GraphicConverter, but I haven't found how to save output this way. I have other ways to test this... I still wonder if there's a depth limit, resolution limit, and what version of the OS it dates back to.

WhosIt.There's picture
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Joined: 2014 Aug 23

It might depends what version of Graphic Converter you're using, but it will be somewhere in the normal File > Save As options. When I double-checked the latest 10.5.5 version in macOS 10.13, you had to choose "Show All" from the File Format pop-up menu to be able to choose 'Startup Screen'.

Depth and resolution will depend to some degree on your display and computer, but if it's a small image, it will be "centered" with the usual Desktop background behind it filling up the rest of the screen. It should be 72dpi though.

Daxeria's picture
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Joined: 2009 Apr 8

and what version of the OS it dates back to

StartupScreen images go all the way back to 1984! Many bootable disks, like Run for the Money and Legacy, used them as title or publisher logo screens so you'd have something to look at while the OS launched.

Unfortunately, they go by in a barely glimpsable flash on Mini vMac, because without floppy disk access to slow things down, the entire system loads in a second.

SkyCapt's picture
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Joined: 2017 Jan 11

My PowerMac G4 shows this the default picture and any replacement picture for about 15 seconds when booting OS9.2 natively, even launching Classicmode emulation for me is shown about 8 seconds. Worth tinkering with in OS9 but I know how a System 6 or less must fly past when emulated.

Yay, it works. GraphicConverter needed me to go to its prefs to first allow the "Startup screen" format as a save option. Then I converted a 4MB 1000x600 pixel jpeg photograph to StartupScreen and it centers good. I can go even larger. Funny how nothing else reads this file format, not PictureViewer in OS9 nor Preview in OSX (Tiger). I used ResEdit to erase everything like custom icon from the saved StartupScreen other than the PICT resource, and it's still seen when booting.

WhosIt.There's picture
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Joined: 2014 Aug 23

Some other "Classic" OS image editing software can read / write Startup Screen format: ColorIt!, Claris Brush Strokes, and some older versions of Adobe Photoshop, including CS3 (the Save As window might call it "PICT Resource" rather than "Startup Screen").

There's probably nothing else (other than apps designed specifically for Classic resource use) on new version of macOS that can though since it's really an "obsolete" format now.

SkyCapt's picture
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Joined: 2017 Jan 11

Add the file "Startup Movie" to the system folder,
QuickTime movie format.
Panoramas don't display.
But "animated GIFs" work when named "Startup Movie".
How bout that, an endless supply of lowbrow animated GIFs found on "social media"
can adorn the Classic startup process.

lilliputian's picture
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Joined: 2010 Jul 29

Also check out DeskPict (an early version of DeskPicture), which is compatible with Startup Screen files and can apply them as desktop wallpapers!

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

One thing I always envied in Windows was the ability to place animated GIF wallpapers in Windows, like one I had of rain, for example. So with DeskPict, I could similarly use animated GIFs as my desktop? Wow Shock

How far up the OS chain would it work, I wonder? Up to Mac OS 8.1 or maybe only System 7?

But the thought of using GIFs as a startup screen sounds like a lot of fun, the Mac way! Laughing out loud

WhosIt.There's picture
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Joined: 2014 Aug 23

There are some other similar programs, but I can't recall any specific names. There was at least one that could run screen savers as the desktop background. The problem is that it takes a lot of processing power, especially at "millions" of colours, so the computer often slows down and/or the animation effect is jittery.

lilliputian's picture
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Joined: 2010 Jul 29

No idea, but give it a shot!

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Aw, too good to be true Sad it crashes as it get's ready to load the desktop on Mac OS 7.6.1 and 8.1, even when I removed the control panel and extension folders, which are re-generated by the OS, oh well, it was worth a shot Wink

SkyCapt's picture
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Joined: 2017 Jan 11

I assume making this work depends on the version of QuickTime in use combined with the file format of the "System Folder/Startup Movie" file. Since when you created the file it did cause the startup to redirect to it, the feature is implemented on your system and therefore you only need to 'simplify' the file format of the movie you're trying to display. i.e. maybe not animated GIF... regular old QuickTime movies play, pressing mouse or any key cancels play.

SkyCapt's picture
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I found an animated GIF I enjoy having in OS9 startup. My MirrorDoorG5 is rocking a combined "StartupScreen" and "Startup Movie". The screen shows first, a blownup photograph of the ticket stub from my first Grateful Dead concert in the 80s. Then the animated GIF I chose adds around 10 seconds to my boot time but has a beautiful retrooverdrive look to it. There's 26 frames for displaying a humongous font letters A-Z looks like a "test pattern" impress the neighbors.