Resurrecting a Beige G3

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Don't panic, Feb 10, 2004.

  1. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2004
    Location:
    having a drink at Milliways
    #1
    Hi all, I have a beige G3 (266) thatÕs giving me some problems. I was waiting for an update of the iMac, but until next tuesday I decided I might as well try to bring it back to life.
    It was never a speed monster, but it has honestly served me through the years. It worked fine until a few months ago, but then it started to semi-freeze (it might take like 2 hours to start a program, i.e. Word, just to crash shortly after) upon launching almost any program. The only ones that work more or less decently are Eudora and explorer. I have 15Ó AlBook, so I donÕt need it for intensive stuff, but IÕd like to keep it as a basic machine (email, net, word processing, printing and scanning), plus I canÕt use the scanner and printer with the PB (wrong ports). Also, IÕll need to keep on it copies of, say canvas and Photoshop, so that I can open documents for printing.
    I had it mildly upgraded, and it was running OS 9.0, with 224 MB RAM (128+64+32) and a 32 MB ATI 128 nexus video card. It had been running fine in this config for a while, so I donÕt think there was anything intrinsically wrong with it.
    I tried some of the usual stuff (trashing prefs, PRAM, rebuilding desktop, but without signif improvements).
    I tried running NortonÕs, but after an overnight (!) sloooooowly scanning it finally crashed while checking the media (but it didn't find any virus)
    I think that the easiest way would be just to blank it and re-install only the stuff I need (I have a gazillion things that I had installed/ tried/forgot/trashed on it, plus years of documents that might or might not be important). I would like to have a complete backup (you never know, and itÕs only 3GB of stuff) but when I tried to just ÒcopyÓ it to my PB (running OS 10.2.8), it stopped almost immediately because some of the files appear to be damaged. There are many of those, scattered in many folders.
    This raised a number questions.
    Is this possibly the effect of virus/worm or the like? Damaged media? If itÕs a virus (or whatever), will I transfer it to my PB? If I reformat the hard drive, will it solve/erase the problem? Should I take extra steps with the hard drive? If I reinstall, will it "avoid" the damaged media (if that's the case)? Is there a simple way to back it up so that it will automatically skip the damaged files (and maybe keep a log of them) and keep going with the good ones? Or do I have to go manually to each of them?
    Finally, should I stay with OS 9? I still have the disk for 8.5, should I go back there? Can I run OS X (I have an unused jaguar disc I had got for my wifeÕs Tibook, but she doesnÕt want to upgrade) and would it make any sense?
    Thanks all for your inputs
     
  2. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #2
    It sounds like a dying hard drive to me. It could be an extreme file structure problem but I'd bet on the drive being the culprit. Reformatting the drive and reinstalling the OS doesn't cost anything, so go ahead and try that. If it's the drive you'll know quickly (like if an OS 9 install takes several hours).

    As far as 8.5 vs. 9 goes--I say use the newest version your machine can run. OS X should run decently on that machine for basic stuff, but Panther will be a lot snappier than Jaguar.
     
  3. Spock macrumors 68000

    Spock

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Vulcan
    #3
    Well, First I would do a Clean install of OS 9 the installer gives You this option You could also try restting the Open Firmware and if You get nothing then reformat by Booting of a OS 9 CD and running Drive Utility.
    You could also upgrade You chip You can get G4 upgrades for Your Macintosh. Check Sonnets website. You also may want to buy a bigger Hard Disk also if You plan to run X I hope this helps a little.
     
  4. Don't panic thread starter macrumors 603

    Don't panic

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2004
    Location:
    having a drink at Milliways
    #4
    thanks horrortaxi, spock,
    I'll try what you suggest and eventually
    reformat when I'm done sorting through the files (what a pain!).
    One more question. If the HD is dead how do I know which HD is compatible with my system? There are a number of cheap ones (60-70$) at macwarehouse, but they can be ATA 100, ultra ATA 100, ultra ATA 133 etc., at various rpms.
    my G3 has a ATA Caviar 4GB but i don't know what "flavors" its compatible with. where would they have such info? are there heating issues? besides, is it easy to change?

    thanks again

    don't panic
     

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