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Ferkner's picture
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Joined: 2021 Feb 4
Cannot boot from CD on iMac G3

I've been trying to boot from a disc because my install of Mac OS 9.1 seems to have gotten screwy and I wanted to reinstall. But for some reason it will never boot from the CD or even see the CD no matter what keys I push during start up. I try to run the installer off the disc while on the desktop but I get an error that says the software can't run on this computer.

So how do I get the iMac to boot off a disc, or how do I just reinstall the OS?

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24bit's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

Do you have the matching installer CD for your iMac?
Is the CD readable with another Mac or Mac emulator?
Given both answers are yes, your iMac´s CD drive may have issues, obviously. Wink

It should no be too hard to replace a atapi 50pin slim line optical drive.
Many old laptop drives will match electrically, fitting it in physically is the harder part.

adespoton's picture
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Joined: 2015 Feb 15

So just to check... you've tried rebooting with C held down and got no boot, and you've successfully inserted the CD while booting off the HD?

Have you tried inserting the CD while booted off the HD, going to the Startup Disk control panel, selecting the CD, and then rebooting?

Also, you could try what I've done and partition the HD with a 700MB partition, and restore the CD to that partition. This allows you to emergency boot off that partition to repair your main one, even if the CD drive isn't working.

Ferkner's picture
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Joined: 2021 Feb 4

I tried booting with C Held down and it goes straight to the hard drive. I hear the disc spinning but it doesn't boot from it. I set the CD at the first boot drive in the Controls Panel. I started the computer with the disc in and held some other combination of keys to get the boot options on the screen and only the hard drive shows up.

As far as I know the drive works fine. I've read discs with it and I've burned discs with it. I used my Mac Mini to burn and OS 9 disc and it won't work. If I try to run the disc from within Mac OS 9, it says I can't run that program in this computer.

I read that some iMacs can't boot from CD if they have a certain firmware version on it. Since the drive seems to work correctly I am guessing this is probably the problem.

I can definitely give the partition thing a try if someone can explain how to do it. This is the first time I've really used a Mac since 1999 and after fighting with this thing I can see why Laughing out loud

24bit's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

Which iMac do you own exactly?
I do recall a difficult search finding a bootable OS9 CD for my iMac Bondi blue.

Macobyte's picture
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Joined: 2020 Nov 23

I had an install CD that would hang halfway through on one of my (tray load) iMac G3s, also Mac OS 9. I tried to clean install multiple times and it would hang for hours in the same place. I thought my drive was going bad but a very, very gentle swabbing of the lens with isopropyl alcohol solved the issue. Your problem sounds a little more serious but I'd say it's worth trying this and seeing if it's solved that easily.

Ferkner's picture
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Joined: 2021 Feb 4

Mine is a slot load drive so I can't really get to the lens.

I am interested in creating a boot partition though. I'm guessing my machine has that firmware that prevents booting from disc.

sfp1954's picture
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Joined: 2013 Dec 29

Your machine is telling you that you are using the wrong CD.
So let's start from the top.
What's the exact machine?
everymac.com
What's its minimum OS?
Maximum OS?
What CD did you download and are you trying to boot? Universal 9.0.4?
https://macintoshgarden.org/sites/macintoshgarden.org/files/apps/MacOS_9...
As far as I know there is no 9.1 Universal disk. You must install 9.0.4 + 9.1 update.
How did you create the CD? Toast? Disk Utility? ImgBurn?

https://macintoshgarden.org/apps/mac-os-install-cd-library

Ferkner's picture
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Joined: 2021 Feb 4

From what I can tell it's the Summer 2001 iMac: https://everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/specs/imac_500_indigo.html

It should be able to handle early OS X. I created the discs using ImgBurn in Windows and then Toast in Mac OS X on the Mac Mini I also have.

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

As far as I know there is no 9.1 Universal disk.

I do have a Universal 9.1 install CD (a white disk with large orange colored 9 on it). The disk ID is Z691-2746-A which denotes it as being a International English copy. US releases would have that code minus the "Z" in front, if there were any US releases. My disk gives a choice of Australian, US, or UK English installs, IIRC.

I had assumed there was a copy here already, so I may add it up to the MG later.