Can't install OS X Panther on iMac G3 Snow

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CWJ_Wilko's picture
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Apologies in advance for my thoroughness and bluntness and bitterness in this post, it's just that I've tried (what I think) is everything out there to try, except for a few things which I'll mention. I'm exhausted!

I'm having trouble getting OS X installed onto my iMac G3 slot-loading 'Snow' model. (600mhz, 1GB RAM, 60GB HDD with USB, Firewire etc, from Summer 2001)

Everything works fine with the first install CD, but it throws a kernel panic on 'Step 2' of the installation (not sure if this is right before it asks for the second CD, or if its still somewhere during the read of the first CD).

- The CDs are the retail 'black' edition discs, and were shrink-wrapped brand new, so I'm ruling them out
- Additionally it has no problems reading from other CDs, including real Audio CDs, burnt CDs, etc, so I'm ruling out the disc drive.
- I have updated the firmware (this is a common problem)
- I can install OS 9 from a burnt CD just fine
- OS 9 itself seems to work fine, have had no crashes at any point when running it
- I have tried every variation of installation, including reinitialising the hard drive, installing on top of OS 9, on different partitions etc.
- I have tried many different key combinations on startup, cleared the PRAM and NVRAM, and a few others, no difference

Looking for any tips from anyone that may have run into similar issues so I can track this down faster. I'm suspecting its a hardware problem. This is what I will try next, in order:

- Zero-wipe the hard drive (this was recommended here: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/511042)
- Replace the hard drive
- Replace the hard drive ribbon cable (this was brought up in another thread as a point of failure)
- Install onto a Firewire drive (to completely remove the internal IDE hardware from the equation)
- Remove a stick of RAM
- Replace all the RAM
- Smash with hammer.

Anything I missed? It's an awesome computer which would be even better with OS X.

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Dr. Webster's picture
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Re: Can't install OS X Panther on iMac G3 Snow

Do the OS X discs you're having problems with work properly on other computers? Just because they were "new" doesn't mean they're defect-free.

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CWJ_Wilko's picture
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Re: Can't install OS X Panther on iMac G3 Snow

I don't have another iMac to test these on, but I can read from all the discs in OS 9 just fine. Is there a deeper diagnostic I could run on Disc 1 to see if it has any faults?

(It's a great excuse to buy another iMac to try this, but even if I wanted to, there isn't any available at the moment for the right price).

MaxTek's picture
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Re: Can't install OS X Panther on iMac G3 Snow

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to remember having the same problem years ago and what I did was format the hard drive with the Panther disk and install OS X, THAN install Classic (OS 9) on the drive

try this as well:

Reset Open Firmware. This is done by holding Command-Option-O-F (that's oh, not zero) and typing the commands "Reset-NVRAM" and then "Reset-All".

CWJ_Wilko's picture
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Re: Can't install OS X Panther on iMac G3 Snow

Thanks MaxTek. I've tried installing OS X on a formatted drive without OS 9, but I haven't had a chance to zero the drive yet, so not sure if that is causing issues.

I thought I reset the NVRAM and reset a few things, but not through the Open Firmware console. I'll have to try that as well.

Cheers Smile

mmphosis's picture
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Re: Can't install OS X Panther on iMac G3 Snow

I am having similar issues with a PowerBook G4. I started getting the Panic message recently, and I think that it is due to the hard drive failing. Using a different and working Mac via firewire and Target Mode on the PowerBook, Disk Utility freezes when zeroing the entire disk. The PowerBook works if I boot off of a partition on the other Mac using firewire and Target Mode on the other Mac.

I did manage to get a working system onto the HD of the PowerBook, but I think so far I've been lucky. The clean system did not take up much room on the hard drive, so maybe I missed writing / reading a possible bad part of the drive. I am looking to replace the HD with SSD, but replacing the drive on the PowerBook is a tedious process.

I've been attempting NetBoot without too much success. Getting nfsd (Network File System Daemon) to work is my current hurdle.

gsmcten's picture
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Re: Can't install OS X Panther on iMac G3 Snow

I am not sure about the PowerBooks, but the 5300 series Laptops have an IDE Drive.
If it is the same with the PowerBooks, could you possibly use a CFFA Card?
You would need an adapter, but they are not hard to come by.

Steven Smile

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mmphosis's picture
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Re: Can't install OS X Panther on iMac G3 Snow

I got nfsd to work, and bootpd is working, and I am able to boot from network drives. Smile Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard)

> If it is the same with the PowerBooks, could you possibly use a CFFA Card?

Yes! Smile I have a PATA SSD which probably has the adapter builtin. I've tried the PATA SSD in a Mac Mini and it works. It is just a matter of me taking the PowerBook apart, removing the HD, plugging in SSD and crossing my fingers that it works and I don't break too much of the PowerBook in the process.