Re-install on G4 that is wiped clean

ChaoticDetour

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 19, 2014
7
0
I just bought an old iMac G4 15" 800mhz, 512mb, 60 g that had the hard drive wiped completely clean by a liquidation company for bankruptcies. I am planning to use it for some old games and to re access some back up files from a decade ago that my newer computers no longer recognize.

The computer turns on, gives the chime and goes to the blinking ? folder. I can not get it to boot to a CD. In fact the only way I can get it to even open the CD tray is in Open Firmware.

When I try to start the computer, holding down C, the 10.1.3 Install disc does nothing and goes straight to the ? screen. The 10.4.1 Install Disc will sit and think. You can hear it spooling up and down the disc but then after about 30 sec ejects the disc and goes to the ? screen again.

Any ideas? I am told the computer was in working order and that they backed up the contents for legal reasons before wiping the computer for liquidation.

Is this a bad optical drive or software related? Thanks
 

Fairchild

macrumors regular
Oct 6, 2011
107
19
Are you using the older era iMac keyboard (the non chicklet type)?
If not, try the same procedures you described with the older keyboard, I bet it will work.
 

ChaoticDetour

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 19, 2014
7
0
I'm using the older white key board in a clear housing. Says model A1068 on the bottom.

I am wanting to install the 9.2/x combo. I believe I can go as high as 10.4, correct?
 

MacTech68

macrumors 68020
Mar 16, 2008
2,185
149
Australia, Perth
There were two models of the G4 800Mhz 15" iMac.

The first booted MacOS 9.2.2 natively and MacOS X 10.1.2 natively. It came with a SuperDrive (so can read DVDs).

Later, the model was revised and serial numbers beginning with XX303XXXXXX or higher (where X can be any letter or number) no longer booted OS 9 natively. These models only came with a 'combo' CD drive, so CAN'T read DVDs. This model requires 10.2.3 as a minimum MacOS X.

To find the serial number, open the white CD door and look at the door part.
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2994

The CD drives in these were (relatively) easily replaced with standard PATA CD drives so even the second model may now be fitted with a DVD capable drive.

HOWEVER, as Gav Mack points out, the original DVD drives may no longer be reading disks, either for a dusty lens or burnt out/worn pickup diodes.

10.4.11 is probably your best bet, but this was only available (retail) as a DVD. (There was a mail-in media swap for a CD version). 10.3.2 retail is the last CD version that installs on ANY compatible machine OOTB.

It may also help to let us know what the 691-xxxx-x numbers are that are screen printed on the CDs/DVDs you have.
 
Last edited:

Gav Mack

macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2008
2,192
17
Sagittarius A*
There were two models of the G4 800Mhz 15" iMac.

The first booted MacOS 9.2.2 natively and MacOS X 10.1.2 natively. It came with a SuperDrive (so can read DVDs).

Later, the model was revised and serial numbers beginning with XX303XXXXXX or higher (where X can be any letter or number) no longer booted OS 9 natively. These models only came with a 'combo' CD drive, so CAN'T read DVDs. This model requires 10.2.3 as a minimum MacOS X.

To find the serial number, open the white CD door and look at the door part.
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2994

The CD drives in these were (relatively) easily replaced with standard PATA CD drives so even the second model may now be fitted with a DVD capable drive.

HOWEVER, as Gav Mack points out, the original DVD drives may no longer be reading disks, either for a dusty lens or burnt out/worn pickup diodes.

10.4.11 is probably your best bet, but this was only available (retail) as a DVD. (There was a mail-in media swap for a CD version). 10.3.2 retail is the last CD version that installs on ANY compatible machine OOTB.

It may also help to let us know what the 691-xxxx-x numbers are that are screen printed on the CDs/DVDs you have.
I've found that they can read some disks - but installing OS X which requires access across a lot of the media with zero errors is a whole different ballgame altogether. In target the job is done easily compared to pulling your hair out trying with G4 opticals!
 

MacTech68

macrumors 68020
Mar 16, 2008
2,185
149
Australia, Perth
I've found that they can read some disks - but installing OS X which requires access across a lot of the media with zero errors is a whole different ballgame altogether. In target the job is done easily compared to pulling your hair out trying with G4 opticals!
Very true, so long as the cd drive on the OTHER machine is working better. ;)
 

ChaoticDetour

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 19, 2014
7
0
Well my serial number is XX33301BPXX so guess I can't load anything older than 10.4....?

10.4.10 Install cd is version 1.2, 2Z691-6088-A
10.1.3 Install cd is version 1.1, 2Z691-3646-A

Oh and my laptops don't have a CD drive, so if I have to firewire across I guess I would need to buy an external drive. In fact can I used an external drive on the iMac to boot from the CD? Or it would already need an OS and firmware to recognize the external drive in the first place?

Thanks for the help from all so far.
 
Last edited:

Gav Mack

macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2008
2,192
17
Sagittarius A*
Well my serial number is XX33301BPXX so guess I can't load anything older than 10.4....?

10.4.10 Install cd is version 1.2, 2Z691-6088-A
10.1.3 Install cd is version 1.1, 2Z691-3646-A

Oh and my laptops don't have a CD drive, so if I have to firewire across I guess I would need to buy an external drive. In fact can I used an external drive on the iMac to boot from the CD? Or it would already need an OS and firmware to recognize the external drive in the first place?

Thanks for the help from all so far.
In your case I would arise my G4 mini from hibernation to do the install via target. It is the only late PowerPC system I have left for the occasional use for eventualites happening like yours. I actually have the 10.4.11 DMG on the desktop so I don't even need the optical drive to install via target.

A G4 mini goes pretty cheap on eBay and unless you can loan one that would be my next buy in your shoes with a copy of the tiger DMG. As cheap as buying an optical and much more useful managing old Macintosh kit.
 

MacTech68

macrumors 68020
Mar 16, 2008
2,185
149
Australia, Perth
Well my serial number is XX33301BPXX so guess I can't load anything older than 10.4....?

10.4.10 Install cd is version 1.2, 2Z691-6088-A
10.1.3 Install cd is version 1.1, 2Z691-3646-A

Oh and my laptops don't have a CD drive, so if I have to firewire across I guess I would need to buy an external drive. In fact can I used an external drive on the iMac to boot from the CD? Or it would already need an OS and firmware to recognize the external drive in the first place?

Thanks for the help from all so far.
That serial number means your minimum OS is Mac OS X 10.2.3 (Maximum is 10.4.11).

However, the 10.4.10 DVD is for an Intel MacBook Pro. That will not work as it's;

a). Crippled to only install on a specific model Mac

b). If you hacked it to work on any Mac it's still coded for Intel CPUs and hence won't work on a PPC CPU. :(


What you'd need is one of three choices:

10.4.0 Retail 2Z691-5305-A

10.4.3 Retail 2Z691-5599-A

10.4.6 Retail 2Z691-5811-A

These disks are black with a giant grey X on them.