Help Me Get My iMac G3 setup


Hello. I don't know if this forum has noobs, but if they do, i'm going to sound like one. Last month, I got my Aunt's old iMac G3. I need some help with some things:
Identification: on the RAM access area, the padding on the door says 1999, on the bottom of the iMac it says 2000. The iMac has a 700MHz CPU, and i read that was only on the last wave released in 2001.
Weird thing at startup: When the iMac starts up, i hear the Startup noise(bummm) and see the happy mac. After a second, a little rainbow wheel shows up at the top left corner, then the mac continues to start up and works properly. I'm a PC guy, so I have no idea what this means.
Ethernet internet: The iMac has built-in modem and Ethernet. Today I connected it to my dad's modem/router, and had no success(I plugged i the Ethernet by the way.) My dad has a Windows PC. Will this be an issue? From what I know the computer has Mac OS X 10.1 on it.
Please help! I'm hoping on upgrading the inside components soon.
I'll get you started.
You have what most folks call a slot-loading iMac (for the slot-loading CD drive)
What you are describing is a normal boot to OS X, prior to OS X 10.2, and later OS X versions. The little spinning rainbow at boot is very normal on old OS X versions.

Does the ethernet cable that you plugged in to the iMac - come from a multi-port router or modem - or from a box with just the single ethernet port? If one port, then that modem needs to be power-cycled before it will recognize a different computer than the one that is normally attached.
You can also (on the iMac) open the System Preferences, then the Network pref pane. Click the drop down to make sure that the Ethernet port is selected, and that Configure is set for Using DHCP. Click the Apply button if it is dark (available). Watch the IP Address block. Unplug your ethernet cable and wait for a few seconds. If there is a set of numbers in the IP address block, it should disappear within that few seconds. Plug the ethernet cable back in, and a set of numbers should appear within a few seconds. If that number begins with 169 - try restarting the modem or router again. If it does NOT start with 169 - but is 192. or 10. or maybe something else (NOT 169.) - now, try your internet.

Otherwise, your iMac is likely working OK - although you could upgrade to a newer version of OS X. An example: you won't likely get any printer to work, until you can upgrade past 10.2. Yours can be upgraded to 10.4 system. Your RAM can be upgraded to 2 x 512MB for a total of 1 GB of memory.
Even if you go to the max memory and the latest OS possible (10.4.11 - OS X Tiger) It's still a G3 processor, and things you might be used to (such as viewing videos, or playing games) will simply be very slow if they work at all.
One good reason to upgrade as much as possible - you will struggle to find a browser to work properly until you get to OS X 10.4.11 - and even those are quickly becoming obsolete.
Having a Windows machine and a Mac in the same room will not be an issue. To make things easy in connecting to the internet, get a router or small workstation switch. The router connects to the modem and your machines then connect to the router. Printers can even connect to the router if it has an ethernet port. All the machines will work seamlessly and both Windows and Mac will be able to connect to the internet at the same time.
No, not on the older OS X versions - the spinning ball appears during boot, and is normal.
If you see it later, after boot is complete, then - yes - that does then indicate that an app is temporarily not responding.
You may have a browser that is just too old to use that link properly (and Internet Explorer 5 will probably qualify as "too old"
So, just go to the iCab web site, and browse to the download page from there.