iMac G3 Not Detecting Keyboard on Boot

Qrani

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 14, 2020
21
8
Cupertino, CA
I recently got an iMac G3 (fully working!) For $20 from my friend, though he didn't have a keyboard or mouse for the computer. So I used just a generic keyboard that I had laying around. Everytime the computer booted into Mac OS 9, it would freeze after a while. I put a new HDD in it, and tried to boot to a CD by holding the D key on startup, but it did nothing. And when I had the old HDD in it, which had Mac OS 9.2, and Mac OS X 10.3.9, I would try to hold Win(Command), Alt(Option), O, and F, to enter the boot list, but it wouldn't do anything. Do I need the original keyboard to do these options on Boot?
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
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You might want to look for a "real" Apple keyboard, as some "generic" USB keyboards might not send the correct key codes for the boot commands.
That being said: Try some of the other keys, as you may not have tried those that (might) work.
For example: the "D" key should boot the hardware test, assuming the CD has the hardware test on the disk. That D key will do nothing if the Hardware test is not on the CD.
You can attempt to boot to a bootable CD (OS 9 installer?) by booting while holding the "C" key (not the "D" key, which is for the hardware test, not booting to the installer or other bootable system.)

Depending on which iMac you have, the Option key may or may not show a boot manager...
Older iMacs will have a pop-out style, tray-loading CD drive. Newer iMac G3 have a slot-loading CD or DVD drive (no tray)
If you have a newer iMac G3 (slot-loading CD), remember that the keys on a generic USB keyboard (with a Windows key) will likely have the Windows and Alt keys reversed for boot commands. Try booting while holding only the Alt key, then again holding only the Windows key. One of those should work.
 

Qrani

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 14, 2020
21
8
Cupertino, CA
When I boot up the iMac G3, and hold the C key, it doesn't boot to the CD, and just does what is does normally, and shows a folder alternating with the finder logo and a question mark, which leads me to believe that it wants a bootable medium, which the CD is not. Nothing at all happens when I hold the Windows key down, it goes the the same screen as regular, with the folder in the middle. When I hold down the Alternate key, it brings up what I believe to be a boot list. It has a refresh button on the left, and an arrow button on the right, thought it shows nothing to boot, since the CD mustn't be bootable, and I put in a new HDD. I will put in the old HDD, and see if me holding Alt on start will show a Mac OS 9 and a Mac OS X volume. My friend who gave me the computer tested it yesterday and it booted into and worked just fine in Mac OS X.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
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A PRAM reset will sometimes help out.
With your installer CD in the drive, Reboot, holding Opt-command-p and r -- I mean Windows-Alt-p and r
You should hear the boot chime. Keep holding those same 4 keys until you hear the boot chime 2 more times, then release the keys, except continue to hold the Alt key. That may force your CD to appear as a bootable volume.

You said that you have a new HD that you tried. Was it actually a new HD, or a used one that you think should be good?
 

Qrani

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 14, 2020
21
8
Cupertino, CA
It was a 40GB IDE HDD that I just had laying around. I had no use for it, so I tried to use it. Also, after I put back in the old HDD (28GB), I booted from the CD, and tried to install Mac OS 9.2.2. It got to about 2 minutes left, and it crashed. It then wouldn't boot to the HDD or the CD, if I pressed Alt on startup, it would go to the boot option screen, and everytime I would try to boot to anything, it would just go back to the boot option screen, essentially doing nothing, or it would go to an Open Firmware prompt. Then after a while by using Command + Option + O + F, and a bunch of other things to try to get it to work, it booted to the HDD. It then went to the Setup Assistant (or whatever it's called), and helped me setup. Once it got to networking, which is where the installer crashed before. It then wouldn't boot to the CD or HDD, like before, and would sometimes, if I was lucky, it would go into the Open Firmware prompt, and I could sometimes type "mac-boot" and it would boot to the HDD, but after a while I just couldn't get it to do anything, so I powered it off for a while to see if I could get it working later. I'll try what you suggested clearing the PRAM.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
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You could also try doing an open firmware reset.
Option-Command-o-f to get to the open firmare screen.
at the prompt, type:
reset-nvram
press enter
You should get an "OK"
then type: set-defaults
press enter again - you should again get an "OK"
type: reset-all
press enter again, and your iMac will reboot

that 40GB IDE HDD -- was that formatted on Windows, maybe with NTFS?
problem might be that you need to initialise that HDD, so it has the OS 9 drivers on the drive. The Drive Setup utility will do that for you, but you have to boot to an OS 9 system (like the OS 9 installer CD), then use the Drive Setup to intialize (format) the HDD. You will see the choice to include the OS 9 drivers as an option. You can install OS 9 without the drivers, but the drivers are required if you want the drive to be OS 9-bootable. (OS X boots just fine without the drivers, but you probably want it dual bootable, eh? )
 

Qrani

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 14, 2020
21
8
Cupertino, CA
After following your instructions, and trying to install Mac OS 9.2.2 on the 28GB HDD, and it crashing during the install, and now it won't boot to any drive, acting like it did before.
 

alex_free

macrumors 6502
Feb 24, 2020
286
524
I recently got an iMac G3 (fully working!) For $20 from my friend, though he didn't have a keyboard or mouse for the computer. So I used just a generic keyboard that I had laying around. Everytime the computer booted into Mac OS 9, it would freeze after a while. I put a new HDD in it, and tried to boot to a CD by holding the D key on startup, but it did nothing. And when I had the old HDD in it, which had Mac OS 9.2, and Mac OS X 10.3.9, I would try to hold Win(Command), Alt(Option), O, and F, to enter the boot list, but it wouldn't do anything. Do I need the original keyboard to do these options on Boot?
I bet this generic keyboard is a 2.4ghz wireless one with a usb thing that plugs into the Mac.

I have a wireless keyboard like above that does not work till way into the boot process so I can not use any boot key combinations like entering open firmware or the boot menu. The solution is to boot OS X, open Terminal.app, enter these commands:

sudo nvram auto-boot?=false
sudo reboot

You will boot into open firmware. Enter the command:

multi-boot

And the alternative boot menu will appear.

The Mac will now always boot into open firmware automatically unless you enter the following terminal command:

sudo nvram auto-boot?=false

or reset the pram and nvram. To boot normally into the default os you can type the open firmware command:

mac-boot
 

Qrani

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 14, 2020
21
8
Cupertino, CA
The keyboard is a wired Logitech K120. I put back in the 40GB HDD, and it still doesn't recognize the CD as being bootable, even after clearing the PRAM and resetting the NVRAM.
 

alex_free

macrumors 6502
Feb 24, 2020
286
524
The keyboard is a wired Logitech K120. I put back in the 40GB HDD, and it still doesn't recognize the CD as being bootable, even after clearing the PRAM and resetting the NVRAM.
It doesn’t show in multi-boot?
 

Qrani

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 14, 2020
21
8
Cupertino, CA
Yes, when I hold down Option(Alt) on startup, the screen has the refresh button on the left, the select button on the right, and no disks or discs shown. With the other HDD in the comptuer, the original one, it shows the HDD and it shows the CDD.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
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Another likely guess: You have a (probably) twenty year-old iMac. The optical drive is ALSO twenty years old.
I don't even try to use the optical drive in my G3 these days. Any installs that I do are either from an external SSD through USB, or booting installs are from a Firewire drive.
 

Qrani

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 14, 2020
21
8
Cupertino, CA
I believe that it is a heat issue. If I let the computer rest a while, and try to install Mac OS 9, it works just fine. If I let it rest after that, then use the Setup Assistant, it works. Every single problem I've had with the computer has been caused by using it for too long. Is there any way I can decrease how hot it gets? It also constantly makes this very annoying sound, and I'm thinking that there could be a problem with the power supply.
 

RhianB

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Sep 3, 2016
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If you can, pick up an old Apple keyboard for 10-15 bucks - it just makes things easier. If the iMac is getting hot, take the thing apart, give it a good clean n’ blowout & repaste the CPU. Since you have it apart, reset the Cuda switch as well.


I too think it makes great sense to swap out the optical drive if you have one as it seems to be squirrelly. IIRC on my revB bondi, I also booted from an external usb superdrive via its 1.1 usb to install OS9 so is an option if you don’t have another pata optical drive.

I like the OS9lives build of 9.2. It has always worked for me across multiple boxes and you can use the utility tools to format the drive & install needed OS9 drivers prior to OS installation.

Conversely. If you have neither, you can use another Mac - in disk utility, erase and format (partition too if you want multiple OS) the drive with OS9 drivers on that machine with something like an external enclosure.
 
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Qrani

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 14, 2020
21
8
Cupertino, CA
I will repair the Mac, and try to get a new optical drive, etc. Though, the actually HDD works just fine, and my install also seems to work, just it freezes after 15 or so minutes of use. If I repair it and there's still a problem with Mac OS 9.2.2 freezing, I will try what you did. Though first, I'm going to take out the HDD and optical drive to see if the sound is actually coming from either of them. If it is coming from either of them, it would be the optical drive though, as the other HDD I put in it, I know for a fact doesn't make that sound, and it still made the sound after putting it in the computer.
 

RhianB

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Those old Quantum fireballs are seriously noisy drives. I have two in my blue & white. They’re loud & slower but same as you - I had them so in they went. If you can live with their hum & are ok with their performance, then it’s a win-win. I replaced the hdd in my revB bondi with a newer fast drive just to help with general responsiveness.

As temps are a concern, another thought I had was to drop a small case fan behind the hard drive to help displace hot air. Something like this:


Actually since the tray loader M4984 iMac cases are a foggy opaque plastic versus the glassy translucent plastics of a slot loader M5521, a nice bright LED fan in there would look hella cool.

Best of luck to you :apple:
 
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DeltaMac

macrumors G4
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...
Actually since the iMac cases are opaque, a nice bright LED fan in there would look hella cool.
...
(I really do try to avoid being pedantic, but ...) I assume that you meant "translucent", not "opaque"
But, yeah, an LED fan would be, well, cool. :cool:
 

RhianB

macrumors 65816
Sep 3, 2016
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As always, context is everything.

In context of the imac g3, the colored shell of the tray loader M4984 is a foggy opaque plastic where the slot loader M5521 is a glassy translucent plastic. An LED fan would look great in both but in the opaque shell of tray loader IMO would diffuse the color more evenly giving a superior effect - something I have been meaning to try in my bondi revb.

I updated my previous post with the ever valuable contextual values to help you to understand.
 
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