iMac PowerMac4,2 boot from external USB DVD drive

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Kenjancef, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. Kenjancef macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2010
    East Providence, RI
    Ok, so a friend of mine gives me his iMac PowerMac4,2 a few weeks ago, says he hasn't booted it in so long that he forgot his user password. Wants me to reinstall the OS, but when I do, it always asks for the password for the account. It is currently running OS X 10.4.11.

    So my question is can I boot from an external DVD drive to reinstall the OS? I have a Tiger DVD, and since the system doesn't have a built-in CD or DVD drive, I have to go external. I connected a DVD drive via USB, but when I boot holding the "Option" key, all I get are icons showing the 2 partitions currently on the hard drive, it does not see the external DVD.

    I read somewhere that this system won't boot from USB external drives, but wondering if that is true. I do not have a way to connect it by FireWire, but there is a FireWire port on this system.

    So in saying all of this, how can I wipe the system clean and reinstall the OS fresh? I'm running into brick walls on this situation, so any help would be appreciated.

  2. three macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2008
    Washington State
  3. bunnspecial macrumors 603


    May 3, 2014
    Unless it has been removed, the iMac should have an optical drive(although some low end-models could not read DVDs). The optical drive is hidden behind a flush-mounted door on the front of the "dome" under the big silver Apple.

    If you're using an Apple keyboard, pressing the eject key while in the boot manager should open the optical drive.

    If the optical drive is missing or dead, I'd strongly encourage you to replace it. Even booting-much less installing-Tiger over USB 1.1 is going to take a long time.

    If you insist on using the USB drive, you may need to boot into Open Firmware to boot from it. To boot into Open Firmware, hold :apple:+opt+O+F. Try the instructions on this page under section 5.1.3 to boot from a USB drive

    By the way, once you boot into the Tiger installer, you can change the passwords without necessarily doing a clean install on the system.
  4. Kenjancef thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2010
    East Providence, RI
    Thanks for the quick replies guys!

    I actually found a site this morning that shows you how to boot into Single User mode and running a few commands to have the Mac reboot into a state where it thinks the OS was freshly installed. It then let me make a new user account with Admin privilages, and I was able to get in.

    I'd still like to do a clean install, so I'll try the Open Firmware stuff to see if it works.

    Thanks again!

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