AppleScript to Change the Monitor to 256 colors for legacy apps

If you're having trouble trying to use legacy apps on OS X machines that need the monitor set to 256 colors? You might want to try this.

First get cscreen It's a small cli app written by Lynn Pye. Copy cscreen to the local hard drive /bin folder. That's an invisible folder that you get to by using the "Go to Folder" option from the Go menu.

Then write an applescript like this:

Begin script:

tell application "Finder"
   do shell script "cscreen -d 8 -x 640 -y 480"
end tell

tell application "your application"
   activate
end tell

End script

Save the applescript as an application and name it "Start your application" then add that application to your approved items. This will automagically change the monitor to 256 colors and start your application. You could leave the start application part out and just have them run the change to 256 colors script first then start the application of their choice (a simple one step for kindergardners works best for me). Unfortunately either way, you will also have to write a second application to change the monitor back. Use the script below and save as an application named "Change monitor to millions" or whatever works for you.

tell application "Finder"
   do shell script "cscreen -d 32 -x 1280 -y 960"
end tell


Sample cscreen commands:

cscreen -d 8 -x 640 -y 480

Changes your colors to 8 bit (256 colors) and screen size to 640 x 480.

cscreen -d 16 -x 1024 -y 768

Changes your colors to 16 bit (thousands of colors) and screen size to 1024 x 768.

cscreen -d 32 -x 1280 -y 960

Changes your colors to 32 bit (millions of colors) and screen size to 1280 x 960.

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