Note: These images have been reduced in size to fit into this area. In their original form, the quality was greater.
Here is the About This Computer window.
In the Finder, you have a bunch of options that you can set to your desires.
Even more view options for you to set.
Here is the File menu, not too much different from OS 8.
Mac OS 8.1 is available for free to anyone using Mac OS 8.0. This release is a definite upgrade for any 8.0 users. It is important to try to stay up to date with Apple's OS releases. They always implement new features or technologies. Third party software manufacturers are requiring more and more recent system software to run their applications. So, it is a good idea to update your OS, and 8.1 won't eat up too much of your hard drive space. After installation, your available RAM should stay about the same, depending if you install any extra software that requires a bunch of memory.
There are a handful of new and improved features in 8.1. There are some Finder, sound, and printer improvements as well as many other things. Some of the more important ones are described below.
OS 8.1 provided a much needed speed increase over 8.0 on the PPC machine. Whenever opening large folders with 8.0, it would take a while. After upgrading to 8.1, this problem was gone, almost completely. You may still have a short wait for the folder contents to be listed if you have a few hundred items in there.
Details: Mac OS Extended Format
This is a large and important change in the upgrade. Before, all hard drives were formatted as Mac OS Standard Format. Now, you have the option of reformatting your hard drive to the Extended Format. This allows larger hard drives, usually over 1GIG, to make smaller files. For example, you may find that you created a text file, that is 6000 bytes, but it takes up 64K of space. With the extended format, it will take up 6000 bytes of space, or 6K. But remember, if you want to do this, you have to initialize your hard drive. This means erasing all your data on it. So you will probably want to backup everything. You have to decide if it is worth it. If you have many small files, such as preferences and text files, you may want to use the Extended Format to free up more hard drive space.
Details: Open Transport
When you're on the internet or any network, you will always want to keep up to date with protocols and such things. The new v1.3 includes performance increases as well as some new features. This is an important piece of the upgrade as well.
Each Mac OS update welcomes new features or technologies. Each update is almost always a great idea to invest in. With Mac OS 8.1, it is clearly worth it, especially if you're running 8.0, when 8.1 is available for free. A great source to get 8.1 is at Apple's web site.