Reformatting an old iMac DV SE Hard Drive

Discussion in 'Apple Collectors' started by thoughtwell, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. thoughtwell macrumors newbie

    thoughtwell

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    #1
    I just pulled an ATA drive out of an iMac DV SE from Summer of 2000. It's been sitting in a storage shed at my parents' house for the last decade, and they were cleaning it out (and I forgot it was out there) so I picked it up and took out the drive to review and see if there was anything in there I wanted to archive (if I hadn't done so already 12 years ago, as I do not remember if I did this or not.)

    It doesn't look like there's anything in the desktop or documents partitions. I probably hooked this up to my old laptop in target disk mode around 2004 (since the computer stopped working; screen borked out and I think it was hardware related) and I backed up the files or pulled them off the HD.

    Now, I want to erase the drive and reinstall an older version of OS X (I have an install disk for Panther -10.3, which I believe will run on this) just to see if I may be able to get it working again as a fun little project, but I need to do this from my current computer (either my 15" MBP 2012 at home, or my iMac 5K 2015 at the office.) I have an external DVD drive I can hook up. How would I go about doing this? I know I can erase and reformat the disk in Disk Utility, and I have a DVD drive I can hook up to load up the old disks, but is is possible to install OS X from a disk to a disk hooked up as an external drive using a newer Mac?
     
  2. David Schmidt macrumors 6502

    David Schmidt

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Southeastern USA
    #2
    I'm confused about exactly what computer is going to be playing what role in your scenario. It'll be easy enough to erase the drive either from Disk Utilities or from the utilities at install time. But my question is... what computer is going to be running 10.3 at the conclusion of this exercise? And why can't you perform the install from that machine with the external DVD drive and the soon-to-be-erased drive hooked to it?
     
  3. thoughtwell thread starter macrumors newbie

    thoughtwell

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    Mar 13, 2017
    #3
    Hey David, thanks for your reply. Old iMac (cir. 2000) would be running 10.3 of course, providing it still even works once I put the drive back ;) Also, this old mac (last I remember) had some issues w/ the display which made it difficult to really see what's on screen, thus making any input on that physical unit difficult.

    This was why I removed the drive to erase it and reformat. I couldn't see anything decipherable on the screen back in '04 when I last used it.

    I'm pretty sure this is a CRT component gone bad, and if so, then it's past the point of rescue. However, as one last-ditch effort just to try to get it to work and make sure the issue wasn't software related, I thought I'd do a clean 10.3 install on the old hard drive using one of my other computers if possible, and slap the drive back in and restart. If it works, great! If not, then at least it will go to the e-waste center in town and I know the disk is empty w/ nothing on it. Either way, I needed to erase the drive before getting rid of it.

    As you suggested, now that the disk is empty, I can try putting the drive back in and just installing OS X 10.3 on that machine. I'm just not sure how to load the disk when it's empty. Is there a prompt to ask me? Do I put the disk in at a certain point in time during the booting process? I don't even know yet if the screen will work again.

    It just seemed easier to do this on a computer where I know I would have visual access to a GUI to reinstall and then put the HD back in once I know the software is installed. If upon booting the screen is still borked, then I know for sure it's a bad hardware component and I can proceed to take it away or give it to somebody local for parts if anyone is interested in my area.
     
  4. David Schmidt macrumors 6502

    David Schmidt

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    Aug 22, 2006
    Location:
    Southeastern USA
    #4
    The thing is - you _can't_ install using another computer as a surrogate. The local machine has to inspect its own hardware and decide what drivers to install, etc. But that doesn't matter in your situation.

    If you turn the iMac on and nothing at all ever shows up on the screen, it's not a software issue. If it turns on, gives you the startup "bloooo" sound, then the machine is thinking about being alive, but the display subsystem may be dead. you might have luck hooking an external VGA monitor to the display port on the side (I seem to recall my similarly-vintaged iMac had a display port that would mirror the main display, solving your visualization issue).

    Abandon the idea of first loading up the drive with the OS - that's not necessary. You could put the DVD in the slot of the iMac and hold down the 'C' key to boot from it and eliminate the hard drive software as any kind of issue. But if you can't see what's on the screen, or if it won't start up at all, you're completely out of luck.
     
  5. thoughtwell thread starter macrumors newbie

    thoughtwell

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    Mar 13, 2017
    #5
    If i remember, it will turn on... given this was 12 years ago... but I didn't think about trying to hook up a secondary display. I will have to looks over the ports and see what adapter is needed.

    As far as the CD, do I just kind of force it into the slot before powering up? Should I wait until I hear a chime? When is an ideal time to insert the disk? I know that sounds like a ridiculous question, but I haven't used a physical disk format in years (w/ maybe the exception of a gaming console.) I was trying to think about how you load a disk into a slot loading piece of equipment with no power to it. I guess the slot will still feed, even if the drive installed is empty (upon powering it up)?

    Thanks, David. I definitely appreciate the direction.
     
  6. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    Location:
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    #6
    Mac OS X does not have to inspect hardware like Windows does. Every installation of Mac OS X contains all the needed drivers for the machines that particular version supports. That means you can take a 10.5.8 based hard drive from a 2001 Powerbook G4 and run it in a 2008 iMac without any changes what so ever.
     
  7. thoughtwell thread starter macrumors newbie

    thoughtwell

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    #7
    Good to know. I will probably still go ahead and slap the drive back in and just see if it powers back up. At least this way, I'll can see if it will power up, and if so, I can try to hobble through doing an installation that will probably take FOREVER. That would have been another advantage of installing the OS on a different box... just being able to load it so much faster than what it would do on that older mac.

    If it doesn't boot up, then I know it's just time to throw in the towel and haul it off. Will be kind of sad because I have many fond memories of doing projects at school and my using it for my first few gigs. It was my first Mac... but I really don't miss the slow processing speeds, limiting RAM that would often result in many crashes and reboots,or the small CRT for Photoshop, Illustrator and especially ID... and those zip drives and their disks that costed me a small fortune.

    Yet still, it would be cool to see this little guy light up again... even if it's just for a brief moment for nostalgia's sake.
     
  8. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #8
    Your Intell based Macs cannot be used to install a fresh copy of OS X. You need to use an older PowerPC based Mac for that.
     
  9. thoughtwell thread starter macrumors newbie

    thoughtwell

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    Mar 13, 2017
    #9
    This is definitely a good point. I hadn't even considered that. So maybe that paperweight of a Powermac G5 in the corner of my office might still be good for something, lol. After 10 years, I'm still just a little bitter about that move, given I wasn't able to really use it that long, and certainly not long enough to justify the expense.
     
  10. MacTech68, Mar 13, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017

    MacTech68 macrumors 68000

    MacTech68

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #10
    You may have better luck getting OS9 onto the removed hard disk first - and there are some good reasons to do so.

    Firstly, those slot loading iMacs with early firmware had an issue if you simply booted MacOS 10.2 or later from a CD - it scrambles the factory display settings, resulting in a machine with either a dim display or no display at all, even to the point of shutting off when it tries to turn the display on at initial power on. Installing the firmware update requires booting from the hard drive with MacOS 9.1 minimum. There is no firmware updater that runs on OS X.

    https://support.apple.com/de-at/HT2377

    Yes, the above symptom can be indicative of a component failure, rather than the scrambled factory display settings, but it would be nice to know what firmware version it has before you go any further. Booting OS9 is the safest bet when you don't know the revision.

    The SVGA port is at the bottom rear of the machine (if it's at least a "DV" model and NOT the base model). The base model has no firewire ports on the right hand side.

    [​IMG]

    The slot loading drive will not accept a disk without the machine powered on. If the hard drive is blank, the machine has no choice but to boot from something else. So if the CD/DVD drive is working, the machine will automatically boot from the CD drive if the HD has no system.

    Another 'gotcha' is that reformatting the drive for use in a PowerPC Mac requires that the partition type is "Apple Partition Map". Very late Intel machines with late MacOS X does not allow this IIRC. - somebody correct me if I'm wrong. o_O EDIT 1 - Seems I'm wrong - according to this: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH22240?locale=en_US

    So, if you still have an OS 9 'install CD' for the iMac, it's probably worth while booting from that, running 'Apple System Profiler' from the Apple Menu and checking the firmware revision of the machine.

    EDIT 2 - The firmware update can STILL be accessed from Apple - https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1283?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
     
  11. David Schmidt macrumors 6502

    David Schmidt

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    Southeastern USA
    #11
    You've got your marching orders - none of any of this matters if the base machine doesn't work. Turn it on and find out. :)
     
  12. thoughtwell thread starter macrumors newbie

    thoughtwell

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    #12
    Well folks, it looks like I ran into a little hiccup... I can't seem to locate the power cord :( I thought it was in a drawer in my office, but turns out it was just a firewire cable colored like the OG cord. Looks like this will have to wait until I hit up my parents' place this weekend to check the morgan building just to make sure it's not there. I definitely want to avoid spending any money on this since even if it works, I probably won't get much use out of it... but we shall see. Maybe it's sitting out there on a shelf in the shed.
     
  13. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Inside
    #13
    Those take generic power cords. You may have a few sitting in a box or a drawer somewhere. You could barrow the one from your 5K iMac even, just pop off the little white plastic plate and plug it in.
     

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