Setting up SheepShaver for Windows

(Last updated April 27, 2021)

SheepShaver emulates a PPC Macintosh computer capable of running Mac OS 7.5.3 up to Mac OS 9.0.4.

(you can also set up SheepShaver for OSX/macOS or SheepShaver for Linux)

Upgrading from a SheepShaver build from before 22-09-2020

If you are upgrading from an old version of SheepShaver, you should download all files into a new folder and start fresh (but you can still use your old disk image and ROM). Most of the dll (application extensions) files included in new versions are needed to run the GUI. The number of dll files may be a bit overwhelming, but the up-side is that it is no longer necessary to install the GTK development kit to run the GUI.

If you kept your ROM file and hard disk image(s) in the old SheepShaver folder, copy them into the new folder. If they are outside your old SheepShaver folder, leave them where they are. You can also copy over your SheepShaver_prefs file so you don´t need to start configuring anew.

Next, run the GUI, point to the ROM and disks images and adjust the other GUI settings to match your old settings. Run SheepShaver.

If everything is okay, you can remove the old folder and its content. If you had the GTK development kit installed (and no other programs are using it) you can remove it.

Getting Started

You need:

  • SheepShaver itself.
  • A valid ROM file. Rom files come in two flavours: the Old World ROM and the New World ROM. With an Old World ROM, you can run Mac OS 7.5.3 up to Mac OS 9.0.4. With a New World ROM you can run Mac OS 8.5 up to Mac OS 9.0.4
  • An installation CD or a disk image of an installation CD. Universal installation CDs work best. Installation CDs for specific Mac models often do work. Appropriate image files can be downloaded from various places on the internet. Check the Macintosh Garden for “MacOS904CD_Intl.ZIP” on its “Mac OS 9.0.4” page.

Note: If you are using a CD image, you may need to right-click the image (in Windows), and set it to “read only” in the “properties” menu. This will solve the “The system software on the startup disk only functions if on the original media, not if copied to another drive” error message when attempting to boot from the image.

Tip: We do not offer or link to ROM files. However, you can find compatible files when you search the web for “redundant robot sheepshaver” (without the quotes). You can likely find a collection on the Internet Archive as well.

Note: While the redundant robot site also provides a hard disk image with a pre-installed Mac OS 9, it is not advisable to use that image. It does not contain a complete Mac OS 9 installation, and the disk image size is small. So it is best to follow our guide and install your own Mac OS 9 onto a fresh hard disk image.

Dealing with your Mac OS Installation Media

This guide will walk you through the settings on each of the tabs of the SheepShaver GUI. But your initial settings depend on how you are installing Mac OS. Once you have dealt with these settings, you can move on and set up each tab in the GUI, following the guide's instructions.

Using a physical Mac OS installation CD

Insert your CD-ROM. Run “SheepShaverGUI.exe.” On the “volumes” tab, check “Boot from CD-ROM and make sure that the driver letter for the CD-ROM is correct. Next step: see Volumes below.

Using an image of Mac OS installation CD

Run “SheepShaverGUI.exe. On the “Volumes” tab click “add” and navigate to your CD image. Select it and click “OK.” Next step: see Volumes below.

For those who don't have a CD or a CD image

If you don't have a Mac OS CD or an image of a CD, you can only install Mac OS 7.5.3. Follow the Basilisk II instructions to install System 7.5.3 in SheepShaver. You must, however, use Disk Tools 8.5 as your boot disk. You must also use an Old World ROM image (see above).

Setting up SheepShaver through the GUI

Note that the SheepShaver GUI saves all your preferences to a file called “SheepShaver_prefs”. It is saved in your SheepShaver folder and is read when SheepShaver starts. Some very new settings cannot be saved using the GUI and require manual editing of the “SheepShaver_prefs” file. Use of the GUI will overwrite these manual revisions. For more information, see “Running SheepShaver without the GUI,” below.

Volumes Tab

On the “Volumes” tab click “Create…” to create a hard disk image file onto which you will install Mac OS.

Set a size for the hard file (Mac OS requires at least 220 MB for a typical install) and give it a name. Click “OK” to create the file (see figure 2). Be patient… it can take a few minutes to create the file.

Note: The maximum size of hard disk images is 2 GB

After the hard file has been created, the GUI returns to the “Volumes” tab, and the hard file will be listed as added to your emulated Mac.

Note: If you are are listing an installation CD image here, it should be the first entry so that SheepShaver can boot from it. You can drag the entries to a different position, if needed.

Other settings on the volumes tab:

Disable CD-ROM Driver: disables CD access.
Try to automatically detect new removable media (enable polling): when checked, SheepShaver periodically checks for a newly inserted CD.
Enable “My Computer” icon on your Mac desktop (external file system): when checked, SheepShaver gives access to host drives.
Mount drives: shows the host drives that will be available through the My Computer icon on the desktop.

Figure 1: the Volumes tab, set to boot from a real CD

Figure 2: the Volumes tab, set to boot from CD image

Figure 3: Creating a blank hard disk image

Figure 4: The Volumes tab with hard disk image created

Switch to the “Graphics/Sound” tab.

Graphics/Sound Tab

Set your video type to “windowed” or “full screen.” For best performance, set the refresh rate to Dynamic. Select the desired screen resolution. Note that you can set other sizes by editing the preset values. The “Maximum” setting fixes the screen to your current resolution. Quickdraw acceleration does exactly what it says, but you can disable it. If you do not want sound support, you can select that option.

Figure 5: The “Graphics/Sound” tab.

Switch to the Keyboard/Mouse tab.

Keyboard/Mouse Tab

The keyboard/mouse tab allows you to select a keycodes file. You must use a keycodes file (included in our download) for SheepShaver to support other keyboard layouts and languages besides English. You can also control the mouse wheel behavior: set it to either move the cursor up/down or pages up/down. The “Lines to scroll” option controls how many lines the cursor moves up/down with one mouse wheel roll.

Figure 6: Keyboard/Mouse tab.

Switch to the Serial tab.

Serial Tab

SheepShaver can direct the Mac OS Modem or Printer port output to various Windows ports or a file. Select the desired port, or write the output to a file.

Figure 7: The Serial tab.

Switch to the Network tab.

Network Tab

Select which Ethernet interface to use. When you select “Basilisk II Slirp” you gain default internet access.
For more advanced networking support (including running Appletalk) see below at Internet access/Networking.

Figure 8: The Network tab.

Switch to the “Memory/Misc” tab.

Memory/Misc Tab

Set the ram size available for Mac OS and select the rom file to use. Click “Browse” to locate the file.
Select “Don't Use CPU When Idle” to allow SheepShaver to “sleep” when not active.

Note: Always select “Ignore Illegal Memory Accesses” to prevent some programs from crashing SheepShaver.

Figure 9: The Memory/Misc tab

Switch to the JIT Compiler tab.

Jit Compiler Tab

Enabling the JIT Compiler greatly improves performance. It might, however, cause some sporadic crashes, so you can disable it. As PPC Macs contained a 68k Mac emulator, the experimental option is provided to enable it. If you enable it, your mileage may vary…

Figure 10: The JIT Compiler tab

You are now ready to run SheepShaver. Click “Start” to do that.

Booting and Installing

When the Mac boots, it will ask you to initialize the hard disk file you created. Give the disk a name and click “Initialize”, then click “Continue”.

Figure 11: Give your hard disk a name and initialize it.

Now you can install Mac OS. Figure 12 shows the desktop of an emulated Macintosh that has booted from a Mac OS 9 CD (or CD image).

Figure 12: The Mac desktop before installation of Mac OS 9.

The actual installation of Mac OS is fairly straightforward, though the specifics differ based on which version you are installing. Just follow the directions on the screen, and make sure to install to the hard disk you initialized and named earlier. You can pick and choose which components to install, but the default selection should be okay. You can add and remove stuff later on, if need be. Installation should just take a few minutes.

Figure 13: Mac OS 9 installing.

Figure 14: Installation has finished.

When Mac OS has finished installing, select “Shut Down” from the “Special” menu.

If you installed from a real CD, eject it.
Start the SheepShaverGUI (if you started from a CD image, remove the CD image from the list of mounted volumes). If need be, at “Boot From” select “any”.
Click “Start” to boot Mac OS from the hard disk.

Figure 15: A fresh installation of Mac OS 9.

This concludes the initial setup.

Running SheepShaver without the GUI

SheepShaver needs a set of preferences to run. Both SheepShaver itself and the SheepShaverGUI create an initial SheepShaver_prefs file at first run. However, SheepShaver can also be started from a command line.

Starting SheepShaver directly after the initial configuration

The SheepShaver program reads the SheepShaver_prefs file when it starts. So once SheepShaver is configured to your satisfaction through the GUI, you no longer have to run the SheepShaverGUI to start it.

This is particularly convenient (or even required) when you manually added preferences that cannot yet be set by the GUI, as using the GUI might delete or overwrite those preferences.

Starting SheepShaver from the command line

SheepShaver can be started from the command line in two ways:

  1. By pointing SheepShaver to a preferences file aleady existing. You start SheepShaver with the argument ”–config prefs_file_name”.
  2. By adding all prefs on the command line. You start SheepShaver with all arguments normally found in the prefs file, each prepended with ”–“ (a double dash)

Please note that ”–“ shows up as a single dash in this wiki while it consist of two separate dashes.

The prefs file name

Prefs file naming: On Windows hosts, the prefs file is called “SheepShaver_prefs”. On macOS/Linux hosts the prefs file is named ”.sheepshaver_prefs“ (note the . (dot))

A full list of prefs (work in progress) can be found here: https://www.emaculation.com/doku.php/basilisk_sheepshaver_prefs_list

Additional configuration

The Configuration Assistant

At first run, Mac OS starts the Configuration Assistant. This Assistant will lock-up while configuring network settings. Quit the Assistant when it arrives at the network settings and do the remaining configuration manually in the various control panels.

Internet access / Networking

After following the guide above, SheepShaver will have internet access through the “Basilisk II Slirp” connection. While working well for e.g., simple internet access, it limits networking capacities.


Slirp provides network address translation (NAT), name resolution (DNS) and a small DHCP server to Mac OS. The TCP/IP settings you get are:

  • IP address:
  • Subnet mask:
  • Router address:
  • Name server address:


Fuller networking capacities can be had when connecting through a tap device. This requires installation of the openvpn tap device. You can then either:

  • Share your default network connection with the tap device, or
  • Bridge the tap device with your default network connection. This also allows Appletalk to work.

When set up with sharing, you can select the tap device in the Network tab of the SheepShaverGUI and start SheepShaver. SheepShaver then gets its network settings from the sharing functionality in Windows.

When set up with bridging, you can select the tap device in the Network tab of the SheepShaverGUI and start SheepShaver. SheepShaver then gets its network settings from the DHCP server in your network. In this case, however, you can also set the network settings yourself in the TCP/IP control panel.

You can network two instances of SheepShaver and Basilisk by installing a second tap device and adding it to the bridge you created before. That way you can use Appletalk to communicate between both. Make sure to select a different tap device in the SheepShaver GUI from the device selected in the BasiliskII GUI.

Note: Use Classilla or Netscape 7 in Mac OS 8.5 and above. The versions of IE and Netscape that ship with MacOS can crash the emulator.


The BasiliskII-router option lets SheepShaver piggyback on your default ethernet connection. You should configure the tcp/ip settings in Mac OS as follows:

  • Connect via: Ethernet
  • Configure: Manually
  • IP address: a free IP-address in your network range
  • Subnet mask:
  • Router address: the IP-address of your host
  • Name server address: the IP-address of the dns server used by your host.

Redirecting a TCP/IP port from the guest to the host or the network

You can redirect a guest port to a host port so you can run services on Mac OS that are accessible on your host or on the network.
Add a preference to the SheepShaver_prefs file in your SheepShaver folder.
Note: All manual editing of the prefs file might be lost when running the SheepShaverGUI.exe!

To forward a running webserver add:

  • redir tcp:8080:

On your host navigate to localhost:8080 to see the web site.

To forward an FTP server (such as netpresenz) add:

  • redir tcp:2121:

Use an ftp client capable of connecting to old ftp servers (such as FileZilla) to connect to the IP address of your host and port number 2121.

To share files over the Apple Filing Protocol (AFP, file sharing over tcp/ip) add:

  • redir tcp:548:

And enable file sharing, including the option to share over TCP/IP. Then run SheepShaver or Basilisk (or Qemu) on another computer and use the chooser option “AppleShare”and then “Server IP address”. Enter the IP address of the machine running AFP and enter your credentials. Any other system capable of communicating over the version of AFP running in your installation can connect.

Note: You can add multiple redir lines to the prefs file to gain access to more services running on the guest.

Redirecting to ports below 1024 might require running as administrator, which is not advised.

Start-up Sound

When you place a wav file called “startup.wav” in the SheepShaver folder, it will be played at start-up.


If sound output doesn't work out of the box:

  • With Mac OS 9: Select “built-in” for the output device in the “Sound” control panel.
  • With Mac OS 8.5/6: The Sound control panel is installed in the “Apple Extras” folder. Use it to select the built-in output device.


The latest version of QuickTime that is compatible with SheepShaver is version 4.1.2. Note that it is not possible to downgrade QuickTime by simply installing an earlier version. If you happened to have installed a later version, you will need to remove all QuickTime related files first.


Consult the Printing guide

Getting a rom file from a real machine or an installation disk

You can get one from an actual Macintosh computer or you can skulk around the Internet and download one. If you own a physical Macintosh, you can legally acquire a ROM image following the directions in this guide. Note that a ROM obtained using that method is a New World ROM. An Old World ROM is extracted from an actual hardware Power Macintosh. With the old world rom file SheepShaver can run System 7.5.3 through Mac OS 9.0.4, with the new world rom file SheepShaver can run Mac OS 8.5 through 9.0.4. If you want to install 9.0.4, best use the new world ROM.


For more community-driven assistance, check out our SheepShaver Forum.

sheepshaver_setup.txt · Last modified: 2023/04/30 08:41