Gray startup screen on old iMac G3


Music writer

I have an old iMac G3 which has been left aside for a couple of years and lately, I decided to prepare it for one of my grandchildren. I completely erased the internal drive and installed OS X 10.2 on it.

My problem is this: When I turn it on, the screen is gray and on the upper left corner is this message:

bootr, unknown word
Failed to boot
Apple iMac Open Firmware 3.0.f3 built on 12/02/98 at 10:25:41
Copyright 1994-1998 Apple Computer, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
0 >_

The only way I can get this to disappear is to restart the computer and zap the PRAM.
Then I get to the desktop and everything works normally.

Of course, I cannot ask a child to zap the PRAM everytime he wants to use it.

Can anyone help me with this, please?

Thank you.


The iMac is a 266 MHz PowerPC G3 with 96 MB of memory.
Well, part of the problem would be the amount of RAM that the system has. Mac OS X requires AT LEAST 128 MB for it to just run. And at least 256 MB to be able to do anything with it. You aare way below the RAM spec which is why you might be getting these kernel panics.

Have you tried running Disk Utility in order to rule out any hard disk problems? It's located in Applications-->Utilities. Have it verify the disk for any problems. If it finds any, boot off of the Mac OS X CDs and run the Disk Utility from there to repair the drive.
Hi, nixgeek and bobw

I want to thank you both for your help. My problem is now solved.
I first ran Disk Utility and was then able to rule out any hard disk problem. Thank you for your suggestion, nixgeek.

I then downloaded and installed an update of the Firmware and everything became normal.
Thank you bobw.

It feels so good to know I'm not alone and that people who know more and better than me are ready to help.

Thanks again!