Help with stripped IMac


Hi, I just bought an IMac at Goodwill. It's a G3 of unknown speed with 92mb ram and a 6gb harddrive. When I turn it on, all I see is a little file in the middle that switches from the Mac smiley face to a question mark. I'm assuming, since Goodwill erased the harddrive, that the computer doen't have an operating system at all. What do I do? Is there a place I can download an older operating system, burn it, then put it on the IMac? Also I should note my main computer is a Windows machine. Yikes! Any help would be great.


In Geostationary Orbit
Well they may have whipped the drive. Just start it up holding down the Option key and it should show what operating system is installed. If nothing is installed, you can buy OS 9 from OWC. OS X will not load onto the computer without some third party software called XPostFacto.

Robn Kester

I heart nothing
If you are looking for OS 9, I have a copy that I don't use I would part with for shipping costs only. It can then be updated to 9.2.2 by going thru the 3 other updaters (9.0 -> 9.1 -> 9.2.1 -> 9.2.2) found here:

However, OS X _will_ install on it contrary to what was said above. All iMacs have supported OS X out of the box. It will run Tiger, but you will need the CD versions of the installers.

But I'd recommend more RAM for OS X, as Tiger requires at least 256. The problem is that if its one of the oldest iMacs, it will only do a small amount of RAM.


Staff member
I'd recommend Panther instead of Tiger on that machine, though. Tiger is said not to install on machines without FireWire, btw., but any early iMac is better off with Panther in my opinion.