Broken system folder icon?


I installed os x and didn't have to much trouble, but in dealing with my internet connection I found that I had to restart using the mas os 9.1 still on my hard drive on a different partition. I was able to do this fine but then when i used the updated startup disk control panel to change my startup disk back to os x's partition I ran into my problems. Upon restart there very quickly appeared an icon that looked like a system folder ripped in half??? I have never seen this before so i don't know what it means or how to deal with it but it just stays there andthe only thing I could do was start up with the os x installer disk and erase my osx partition (not a loss since there wasn't much on it) and reinstall. But I tried going back to os 9 by the same process again and found the same problem. Sure I could just go by the "don't do that " fix and not ever boot into os 9 but is there something that I am doing wrong that everyone else knows how to do right? or anyone know what that icon means?
I also thought I would mention that the slow speeds on os X are driving me nuts on my 333mhz b&w g3 with 192 mb ram(build 4k78) :(
Apple, why do you always have to let me down like this??? I swear its a love-hate relationship sometimes.