mac newbee please help (Mac OS 8.1 on iMac G3)

Discussion in 'macOS' started by imac.g3, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. imac.g3 macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2005
    Hi all im a comlete newbee when it comes to mac i have just percested a old iMac g3 its great but im used to using windows and i carnt seem to find eny how to guides on using mac os 8.1 i dount know how to install programs or enything like that im in a bit of a mess and dount know what to do or were to go for help i need to lern my way arround the os eny ideas on were to start?

    allso what should a mac file look like shood it be .dmg or . bin or sit these formats im not sure of only the bin allso i have no idea on how to open a app.
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    Mac OS 8 is pretty out of date and basically unsupported (kind of like Windows 98). I'd upgrade to OS9 at least if not OSX. dmg file are disk images but I think they only work in OSX. .bin is a Stuffit archive iirc.
  3. grapes911 Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    Seriously, go out and purchase a copy of OS X. (I'd recommend getting at least version 10.2 or later) You won't get the full Mac experience on anything older.

  4. freeny macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2005
    Location: Location:
    Definately go out and percest yourself OSX. OS8 is a relic and your not going to get anywhere with it. Ill be surprized if you find any support at all.
  5. strider42 macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2002
    before shelling out money for OS X as some have suggested, there are things to consider on this model. If you have 8.1, it means you have a rev A iMAc, 233 mhz. I have that same model. I don't use OS X because I find the machine is a bit out of date to really keep up with it (slot loading iMacs run it significantly better). its useable, but you really need to max out the ram, and even then, OS 9 or lower wll feel snappier.

    installing programs usually merely requires uncompressing the downloaded file: .bin, .hqx, .sit, etc (.dmg are OS X files I believe) and then double clicking the installer. Some programs, microsofts has some that do this, merely require you open up a disk image and drag the program onto the hard drive.

    The two most important things you can do with this particular model is add ram if its still got the stock 32 megs, and learn about allocating more memory to your programs (OS X doesn't need this, just OS 9 and lower). its also a good idea to update your firmware with firmware udate 1.2. If you got to OS 9 or OS X, you ahve to do this update first. is a great place to learn a bit more about your computer. and I also highly recommend checking out the discussion forums on apple's support website. Lots of info there.
  6. grapes911 Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    I know this was an older Mac, but I didn't realize that this was THAT old of a model. Yeah, I wouldn't go for OSX. You may want to think about getting a new mac.
  7. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    It will help if you post a thread with a title that is representative of the question you're asking; this is the 2,356th thread entitled "Please Help". Also, punctuation, capitalization and breaking questions into paragraphs will help readability. Spelling helps a bit too, if only to save yourself from gentle mocking from other members, who will assume you are a native English speaker and point out your errors.

    If you have a used bookstore or a discount computer bookstore in your area, look for "The Little Mac Book" in an OS8 or OS9 version, or there are lots of other good titles. Anything by David Pogue is good.

    I assume the machine is booting. The first thing you should get is a compatible version of Stuffit Expander. It's free and it will handle decompressing .sit, .bin and other compressed files. Your best resource for shareware files for Mac is

    There are two ways to install programs on Macs, either they come with a self-contained installer, or you simply drag the program folder to the hard drive.

    Most programs have an application icon, and a number of other files and folders together with the application file in a folder. This folder can go anywhere on the hard drive (conventionally though in the Applications folder) but don't move the application icon or any of the other components out of its own program folder. You can "Make an alias" of the application (or actually, any file or folder) to put the alias on your desktop -- an Alias is a pointer, like a shortcut. Use Command-M (Command is the Apple key, where Alt would be on a Win keyboard)
  8. freeny macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2005
    Location: Location:
    Please practice what you preach:rolleyes:
  9. Soulstorm macrumors 68000


    Feb 1, 2005
    I am really sorry, but someone tricked you.

    First of all, if you want to use a Mac, you MUST get yourself a copy of OS X and install it. Don't worry, installation is pretty much self-explained, so you won't have to ask any other person how to do it, no matter how new you are to Macs. The problem is that you probably have to get another machine, because OS X will be slow on your machine. You should really be careful when you buy something that comes from another platform. Probably, the person who sold you that thing, didn't mention that OS 8 is really a relic, and is not supported anymore. Neither is OS 9.

    You will not find any support for OS 8 no matter how hard you search. And it is pointless to do so, for an OS that has been abandoned 5 or more years ago.
  10. Seasought macrumors 65816


    Nov 3, 2005
    Have you tried simply reading through 'Help' in OS 8? I just did some half hearted searching for docs on it and came up could try searching Apple's site for them or even contact them asking for manuals in PDF format to read through.
  11. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    You are making the mistake of thinking that you should be a Mac expert in 5 seconds. This is not possible. One of your challenges is that you have to unlearn some Windows habits. Accept the Mac and the MacOS on their own merits. If your computer has the OS installed and working, don't worry about another OS. Take the time to get used to your new computer. Getting setup on the Internet is really easy, but don't fret if you can't figure it out. Find a friend or colleague who can help you. The computer comes with two browsers--IE 5 and Netscape Communicator 4.7. Play around with the one you prefer. It might take you a few hours, a day, or a week to become comfortable with the Mac. But take the time, whatever it is.

    Only after you understand your computer in the working state that you received should you worry about newer versions of the OS. I don't know how much hard disk space your computer has, but you ought to have at least 10 GB if you want to upgrade to MacOS X. You will also need 256 MB RAM as a barebones minimum to run MacOS X. You will be much more comfortable with 512 MB RAM. Even if you don't upgrade to MacOS X, I strongly recommend that you upgrade to MacOS 9.2.
  12. ahunter3 macrumors 6502

    Oct 15, 2003
    Actually MacOS 8.1 isn't a half-bad OS, and your hardware is going to have a rough time pushing OS X around.

    Biggest problem you're going to have with MacOS 8.1 is that the world has moved on. Figure that 70% of the Mac sw available for download is going to be MacOS X binaries (useless to you under OS 8) and that, of the remaining 30%, 2/3 of it will require MacOS 9.2 or 9.0 or 8.6 as minimum operating systems.

    I would advise upgrading to MacOS 9, your hardware won't whimper about 9.x the way it will about OS X. (You can also upgrade your hardware but I don't know if you feel like dumping money into this machine. With enough RAM and, ideally, a G4 processor upgrade, you can run OS X nicely)

    But if you really want to run 8.1 --

    Your browser: iCab. Nothing else that will run under 8.1 is even remotely up to date, nor easy to find. There is a Classic build of Mozilla that's more compatible with what's out there on the web, but I don't believe it will run under 8.1 <-- you need version 2.9.8

    Places to find other software: isn't bad, you can browse strictly "MacOS 8-9" applications and ignore all the OS X stuff you can't use. Check each program for minimum operating system before downloading anything, remember that more often than not you'll see a minimum OS higher than what you're running.

    You will need Stuffit Expander to decompress archived files. Here is a live link to version 6.5, which will run under MacOS 8.1. Incidentally, that live link goes to the MIT hyperarchive of the old Info-Mac archive:

    Because Info-Mac used to be comprehensive but then stopped getting updated about 4 years ago, it's a gold mine for older versions of freeware and shareware software where the current version won't run under your OS.
  13. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
    There's a lot of bad advice in this thread. You're likely to run into a bunch of frustration if you spend the money on OS X to install on that iMac.

    OS 8 may be a relic, but so is the hardware that was designed to run it. The Rev. A iMac is 7 years old. Yours still has OS 8.1 on it, and only the earliest iMacs shipped with 8.1. Most likely, it's still in its original configuration, which would include 32 mb ram and a 4 gig hard drive. OS X ain't happenen on that machine without spending more money and taking it apart to do the upgrades. Unless you're feeling adventuresome, it's not worth it. It's a fast computer with OS 8 or 9, but frustratingly slow with any version of OS X.

    And ahunter3 provided some great info. I would avoid iCab at all costs, however. It's terribly incompatible with a lot of websites, and unfortunately it's the only recent web browser that will work with OS 8.1. The last release of Mozilla (1.2.1) for the classic Mac OS is pretty good. It'll run with OS 8.6 and OS 9.
  14. buryyourbrideau macrumors 65816


    Mar 1, 2005
    OSX takes up quite a bit on the HD. That would leave you with so little room.

    Ahh I dont even wanna think about that. My 80GB is purrrfect!

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