What to do?

Hi everyone, This is my first time using Mac. I used PC til Vista then migrated to PCLOS Linux. A local school that is closing gave me 11 IMAC computers. Two of them are completely dead. The others will load to a blinking "?". I suspected the drives were wiped clean or no good. I checked them all and found them all to be bad. Then they gave me an EMAC which was dead also but I found the drive to be good. I installed the EMAC drive in one of the IMACs and it booted to OS 10.4.6. I installed 512 megs of PC133 in it. The problem is that it is sooooo slow. It takes forever to close and open windows. Drags something fierce. Is it possible that this 500 mhz IMAC isn't supposed to have OS X on it thus making it slow. Maybe 9? I have three OS 9 disks but they won't boot while holding the "C" key down at startup. Looks like they might work to downgrade.

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I'll bet the school was glad to find someone who would take

those slow machines off their hands.
It is almost certain that those iMac's are the PPC variety and have the CRT screen. Yes??

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what to do

mrmacfixit, Thank you for your reply. I kinda thought that these iMACS were a little on the old side. I tried in vain to download and install an updated Adobe Flash player as I wanted to view youtube and check internet speed with PC Pitstop but kept getting messages that said my current system wasn't supported. Even tried the archived versions but no go. I took the hard drives and tried to "FDISK" them on a PC to clear any partitions hoping to install an OS but only found one good one.....the one I'm using now that has the OS 10.4.6. The school has plenty more they said but I think I'll pass on the rest. Thanks again for your info. Much appreciated.

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Also, be VERY careful working on these if they're the old CRT iMacs. All eMacs were CRTs. These things have a very high voltage capacitor that can store a LETHAL charge of electricity for DAYS to WEEKS at a time. They can even build up secondary charges when not connected to a power source. If you don't have some kind of discharge tool, then just be EXTREMELY careful while working on these things.

The rest has already been covered pretty effectively, but if it were me, I'd just take them to the nearest electronic recycling place and consider the cost incurred as your bit of civic duty to the community. They're generally just too old to be useful for much.

Though I suppose you could try some of the PPC Linux distributions. Then you may be able to make one or two of them into a workable sort of guest terminal if you have a spare bedroom in your place. Something that a person could potentially use to check email and do some basic web browsing on. You'd need a pretty stripped down window manager, but that should be doable. Maybe cannibalize some of the RAM from one system to boost the amount of RAM in another, and try to make one or two half-way decent systems and then just take the rest to be disposed of somewhere or put them up on ebay for people who will buy them for parts. If you find a couple of buyers for parting out of the systems, you could maybe consider taking some more off the hands of the school.

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G4s are still good for internet browsing

While I agree that G3s are too slow. That emac G4 still could be a good internet machine. It will hold up to 1GB of ram. Tiger will run just fine on it, and if it has a 1 GHz or larger processor, and a GB of ram, it will run Leopard. There are also other things you could do to make it faster, like TenFourFox for a browser. It is a PPC build of Firefox. mactubes, is a YouTube browser that basically converts Flash to html5. VLC and mplayer, are also good apps to have, for viewing video. All of these apps are free.

I know this advice isn't for everyone, but if a G4 is all you have, or just like to tinker with old macs, like I do, then there is quite a bit you could do to keep your old G4 alive.

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Finding life for early iMacs

Based on the 500 MHz clock speed I'm assuming you are talking about one on the colored iMacs. You should be able to run OS X 10.4.x on it without any problems. I used mine at work until 2010 when it was replaced with a new iMac. It wasn't a speed demon when compared to newer Macs but at one time it was considered to be fast.

If I was preparing an iMac for use I would start by booting up from the OS X 10.4 system disks. The disk utility is on disk 1. Assuming you have removed everything from the hard drive you want to keep, I would repartition the drive as a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) partition and then do the "easy install." This should eliminate the old eMac data from the hard drive.

Macs are similar to PCs in that they work faster if you don't junk them up with a bunch of useless software. If I was preparing one for home use I would start with the software included with the operating system and go from there. Once you have the OS installed and go through Apple's online registration process it should automatically start the software update process, if not you can run software update from the Apple menu. Software update will update your software to the most recent version of OS X 10.4 and related Apple programs.

That vintage of iMac uses a standard ATA drive. Some of the other posts have warned about the high voltage capacitors. If you stick with the hard drive/CD drive cage you should be okay. I would suggest that you keep track of every screw you remove. With the iMac turned upside down it is easy for one of those screws to fall into the top (video) part of the iMac. If a screw falls into the machine it will have to be removed. The safest method is to turn the Mac back to the upside up and hope the screw will fall out through one of the openings. Of course the power cord should always remain unplugged from the machine while you are working on it.

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All good advice but,

I would question the running of 10.4.11 on this G3 machine.

It has already been declared "soooo slow"

best OS for the G3 was 10.3.9


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