Red iMac (circa 2000) won't start from CD

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by NOLAMac, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. NOLAMac macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2007
    I have an old red iMac (all-in-one model) running on OS9.??? purchased around 2000. I'm sorry I can't be more specific, but it won't start, and I don't have any of the original info or software CDs (lost long ago). I was just using it for internet access for the kids, and now all I get is the flashing question mark when booting. A friend who lost a similar iMac in Katrina game me a set of OS9.0 "software install" and "software restore" CDs, and I tried booting while holding down the "c" on the keyboard, but I still only get the flashing question mark. The CDs say "For iMac DV models" My question is, should I be able to start my iMac from these CDs? Or is there an incompatability problem since they came from a different computer. All I need is to get the darn thing started because I know there's nothing wrong with it. Thanks.
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    The disc should work but some of the older CD drives are starting to die. I've got a similar vintage iMac with a dead optical drive, but I can still start it up using Target Disk Mode with another Mac. :)
  3. NOLAMac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2007
    Thanks for the response

    Thanks mad jew, but I don't have ready access to another Mac, and I think any I'd find would be OSX or greater. I've been able to start the computer to a MS-DOS looking mode by holding command-option-o-f while booting (that was the only way I could eject the CD, btw). Is there some way in that mode to test the CD drive to see if it's working? thanks again.
  4. NOLAMac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2007
    Okay! with a little digging I was able to find a list of firmware commands at:

    I tried the following command in firmware:
    "dir cd:,\"
    what appeared to be a list of files on the OS9 Install CD came up. A total of 18 files or folders came up, including the following, for example:
    1/ 1/ 4 0: 0: 0 Applications
    1/ 1/ 4 0: 0: 0 System%20Folder
    1/ 1/ 4 0: 0: 0 Utilities

    This tells me, at a minimum, that it appears that the CD drive is functioning. So, my original question remains, why can't I boot the computer from this CD?
  5. NOLAMac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2007
    booting from firmware

    btw, when I try to get a dir list from the hard drive by typing:
    dir hd:,\
    I get: "VHB is bad can't OPEN the DIR device"

    sounds like I may have a hard drive problem??? but still doesn't answer why I can't boot from the OS9 Install CD
  6. NOLAMac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2007
    Is there anyone who can help me with this

    I'm stuck and can't get this iMac to boot up. Any help is appreciated. Thanks
  7. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    The model/machine identifier strings have to match ...

    The CD/DVDs are keyed to a specific model.

    Which means restore CD/DVDs from another machine really don't work on another machine.

    And for OS CD/DVDs...

    The OS's have to be newer than the machine (aka, released after) in order for them to work with a machine.
  8. redAPPLE macrumors 68030


    May 7, 2002
    2 Much Infinite Loops
    what you can try is removing the hard drive and install it on another mac. maybe, just maybe, you got an apple store near you and if the mac boots (with your hard drive), the problem should be something else.

    if it is any consolation to you, i can boot my 1999 iMac G3 from the cd, but i can't get it to boot from the hard drive.
  9. NOLAMac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2007
    OS vs Restore CD?

    Thanks for your response. You say that "restore CD/DVDs" from another machine don't work, then you say that "OS CD/DVDs" have to be newer versions. Are you saying that the "iMac Software Install" CD from another machine will work, so long as it's a later OS version, but the "iMac Software Restore" CD from another machine will not, regardless?? If so, then I should be able to start from the "Software Install" CD from someone else's Mac, even if it's an OSX CD?

    Thanks again.
  10. NOLAMac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2007
    Yeah, I've got one near me - they want to charge me $100 just to look at it - the computer THEY sold me to begin with, without software CDs I'm beginning to believe.
  11. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    The system restore CD/DVDs are keyed to each machine, because the OS is updated specifically for that machine's release -- and Apple because the SW mix varies machine-to-machine Apple locks it to that machine's model number.

    The retail OS CD/DVDs have to be newer than the machine, because the OS is built to work on the machines made before it was released. aka, It wouldn't be out of the question for a Intel Mac not to work with a retail 10.4 box -- because it may need OS 10.4.8 to boot.

    So get the System Restore CD/DVDs for your machine, or an retail OS box newer than your machine.

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