It really is a crime that Apple has let this go on for such a long time.

Mr. Smith12

My slot loading DVD iMac 400Mhz G3 running OS 8.6 is dead, and Apple's Mac OS X killed it.

It really is a crime that Apple has let this go on for such a long time. Someone wrote a few years ago that over 6 million iMac's like this were sold. I guess Apple wanted to sell 6 million new computers to old iMac owners.

As of June 1, 2005 it's clear to me that Apple has known for a long time, maybe years, that it's Mac OS X product WILL damage a perfectly good iMac if OS 9.1 and the latest firmware upgrade have not been installed YET, they make NO mention of this in the Mac OS X system requirements. In fact Apple tells the iMac owner on the retail Mac OS X box, and on the Apple web site, that an iMac G3 CAN be upgrade to Mac OS X. The Mac OS X customer has a reasonable expectation that upgrading an iMac that meets or exceeds the Mac OS X system requirements that are stated on the retail box will NOT end up with a damaged iMac that no longer works. I want Apple to repair, at their cost, all iMacs that have been damaged by the Mac OS X installer.

An example of an iMac that would be damaged by the Mac OS X installer is a slot loading, 400 MHz G3 iMac DV sold at the end of 1999 with Mac OS 8.6 installed at the factory. An iMac like this that is in perfect condition and running Mac OS 8.6 will be damaged if the owner tries to install Mac OS X.

I would have NEVER thought Apple would do this kind of thing, but now I know. I did everything listed on the web pages shown, but nothing worked.

I called Apple support and explained the problem. They didn't really care and told me they would sell me OX 9 for $99.
When you say damage, do you mean hardware damage? I didnt think this was really possible unless there was a serious design flaw in the hardware...
Hardware damage is not possible the way you describe.
Could you describe further how is this damage in practise? DVD drive quit reading? Hard drive fused?
How much RAM did / do you have in that iMac?
8.6 as the factory installation is quite some time ago... so it may run there, but not be the fastest.
i have heard of cases that if OSX was installed on a computer without the right firmware (as described) it would blow the firmware, killing the computer. it would fry. apparently, theres no way of fixing them, no one knows how. it's a dead box. painful
I had an old g3 at one point with os 9 on it. When I put X on, the monitor freaked out, went black and I was sure it was a gonner. Then I checked around a bit, and found that I needed to update the firmware.

I put the X install cd/dvd (don't remember) back in after hooking up a different monitor and updated the firmware. The firmware update is on the cd and it tells you to install it if you read the documentation that comes with it. At least it did back then.

Anyway, after updating the firmware and maybe a reinstall (don't remember) the monitor worked again like new and I never had another problem with it.

Anyway, what I'm saying is that you're probably experiencing what I did. Not an easy fix, but if you can get your hands on a second monitor and know your way around the hardware a bit, you can get it working again. I was able to anyway.
Taken directly from the READ BEFORE YOU INSTALL pdf
on the Panther Install Disk # 1:

Updating your computer’s firmware.
You may need to update your computers firmware.
If so, you must do it before you can install Mac OS X.

If you start the Installer and see a message that you
need to update your computers firmware, quit the Installer and restart your computer using your current startup disk.
To find firmware updates for your computer, open the
Apple Software Updates website:
It turns out that Apple has known for a long time that the Mac OS X installer will damage the old iMacs that don't have OS 9.1 and the firmware upgrade. However, Apple wants to sell new Macs and what better way to sell new Macs than to break the old ones. In all the years OS X has been out Apple could have added the following to the Mac OS X system requirements, but they didn't!

"Mac OS 9.1 and latest firmware upgrade."

If you want to understand this problem go to the links shown below. I followed all the steps shown on those pages and in the end the iMac would not boot.

Just last week I had people who sell Macs, while reading the Mac OS X system requirements off the retail box, tell me that the Mac OS X upgrade to a 400 MHz G3 iMac DV running Mac OS 8.6 would not be a problem.
Is it really that hard to install the firmware before you start?

Nothing about the computer breaks by not installing it (just no more display).

Plug another display into the VGA port, install the firmware update, then update to OS X and there's no problem.

Stop being so melodramatic. You ought to be glad that Apple happily supports old technology instead of taking the Windows route and insisting on higher and higher specs.
There were also cases with Mac OS X 10.0 or 10.1 destroying Firewire drives for some reason. I think it's a firmware problem like it has been said before, not a problem of OS X.
The iMac firmware issue has been a known installation step for most people for a long time.

It's surprising that no-one has written a self-running program which can install the FW update "blind" by just inserting it on a CD into an unpatched iMac.

Off-topic: HomunQlus, you're gonna look mighty silly with that signature if Mac OS XI comes out :p. Using your archaic technology forty years into the future (assuming you plan to live that long)
texanpenguin said:
Off-topic: HomunQlus, you're gonna look mighty silly with that signature if Mac OS XI comes out :p. Using your archaic technology forty years into the future (assuming you plan to live that long)

If Mac OS XI comes out, I'm pretty sure I'll use that then, and the sig will be changed accordingly... :D :)
Hm. That, too, could be off if Apple starts dropping the "Mac OS" moniker completely and calls their OS versions ONLY after the codenames. ;)

Back on topic: Really, the requirement of installing the newest firmware is very clearly stated in the ReadMes and the manual that comes with OS X. It's not like they're hiding anything.

Plus: OS 9.1 is NOT a requirement for installing OS X, since you can install OS X on a computer without any kind of operating system on it (i.e. a clean harddrive). So should they make a _big_ message that reads "Install firmware first!" on the package, the install media as well as the software installer? Should they do big messages for ANYthing a user could do wrong? No: They create a manual for that. And ReadMe files. Etc.
Fryke you make a good point and maybe people should read the ReadMe files but in reality how many people actually do that? Would it really hurt to add an extra line to the system requirements that reads "Firmware XXX.X". Yes ultimately it is the end-users responsibility to read the manual but why list system requirements other than CPU/RAM/HDD...what about "Built-in FireWire", why not screw those people too? However since Apple didn't include it from the beginning I think anybody would have a hell of a time convincing apple to change it now considering corporation == never wrong and how many of there users are trying to install 10.x on that model iMac...probably not enough where they are going to care. Besides a bricked computer is just an excuse to mortgage the house and buy another!
Well: There's different Firmware revisions for different hardware. They'd end up with a looooooooong list of requirements for different hardware which only confuses people.
Why can't they make the firmware installation part of the Install process? Add all the different firmwares onto the install disc. Couldn't be too large, especially if you compress all the ROM images and given that Apple knows which Macs are officially supported.
R&D Dollars...they don't really want to spend money on something that they don't need to spend it on so they probably wont unless Mr. Smith has a large following of 400Mhz G3 iMac users, and even then...
I personally don't see how it could cost them R&D money. They have already made those macs. Surely it can't be too hard to pull up the technical specifications of all the supported Macs and see what firmware needs to be upgraded? You could do that in a day, get a few interns to do it and it would cost less than 3 retail copies of OS X.
Ok I have seen loads of these iMac's with the problem, here is the solution to get the display up and running.

Step One

If the machine has a VGA port plug-in an external monitor and apply the firmware update.

Step Two

If you don't have a VGA port or an external monitor handy try letting the machine start up from a HD not a system CD when you get to the desktop just hit the space bar.

Step Three

If these don't work for you remove the RAM reset the machine the reset button is located to the left of the RAM slots a little round button.

If the above don't work you're stuffed, I've seen this problem on lots of machines we keep a OS 9 hard disk in the office so we can boot up these old iMac's and press the space bar to wake the machine.

Another problem you can have if you don't update the firmware on the iMac's is a non functioning mouse.

Always make sure you have the latest firmware on your mac before updating and on devices like firewire drives.

Hope this helps you.