Serious problems with iMac G5


My friend bought a new iMac G5 (2GB RAM -- OS 10.4.2). She has been using it mostly to import and edit digital video (DV) using iMovie. She has had continuous problems with iMovie -- the application often crashed, and sometimes caused the system to freeze, requiring a Force Quit to be performed. Finally, her entire system crashed yesterday -- all she gets is an apple icon on her screen and nothing else. She called Apple Support, and they said that she probably has to reformat her hard drive.

Questions are as follows: 1) What could be causing this problem, especially on a new machine? 2) Is there another option besides reformating her hard drive? 3) If there are no other options, is there any way for her to save the data from her hard drive before reformatting?

Thank you,
First, I'd start from the installation media and find the Disk Utility from the Apple menu to check and repair (actually: just select repair, no need to check first, as that's done anyway...) the drive. Maybe you can get the iMac to boot again like that.

If you can, I'd backup everything vital and _do_ the reinstallation.

If you can't, you can install Tiger onto a FireWire or USB-2 harddrive, boot from that and see if it mounts the internal drive, so you can backup from there.
Thanks very much for your response. I'm afraid that her machine won't boot up. I have a PowerBook G4 (OS 10.4.2) -- is it possible to connect her machine to my laptop, boot from my laptop, and attempt to read her drive? If so, what is the procedure for doing this?

Thanks again,
You need a firewire wire. To plug your powerbook firewire port and imac's firewport. Then you need to have imac reboot and press T till iMac's screen show up icon of firewire. You should see on your powerbook have other hard drive appear in your desktop from iMac. You are able to transfer files from iMac to your powerbook.
I was able to boot up from the DVD and reinstall the OS system files without having to reformat the hard drive. I don't know what caused the problems before, but hopefully they won't appear again!

Thanks for your help!
It might be RAM if the machine is acting strange (apps crashing, kernel panic). Sometimes even Apple installed RAM doesn't work correctly (for example the build in 256MB stick in my mac mini - later I replaced it with 512MB)

The first step, before reinstallation is to use the HW test CD Apple usually provides. It might give an indication where to search for problems.