I'm new here at Applefritter, so hello from Fort Wayne!
I thought I might try your ears here with the crazy problems I've been having the last week with my Blue & White Powermac G3. I bought it about 6 months ago for $5 at a garage sale; it was still pretty much standard, but with upgraded RAM (to 128 MB) and Panther installed. I wiped it, and upgraded the RAM to 384 MB with Tiger, using it as a file server.
But a couple of weeks ago, my iMac G3 400MHz started having problems, and I decided I was tired of Tiger on it, so I was going to downgrade to Panther. During the install (but after I wiped my HD), it told me the disc had problems. I didn't have any CD-Rs to burn a new copy from my backup images, so I brought out the Powermac to see if it could use the disc any more reliably, as in my experience the tray drives seem to perform better than slot-loaders.
I got Panther installed after a few tries, realizing that it was hanging during the BSD subsystem installation and skipping that part. I then upgraded the RAM to a full GB. It was working pretty well, and I had some stuff installed on it, and some of the updates, but the first strange thing that I noticed was that Software Update wasn't finding all of the updates that I knew should be there, even the 10.3.9 combined update, thus leaving me with straight 10.3. So I started looking online for a few things, such as an updated iTunes, etc.
Well, while looking online, I happened to mention some of the new Get A Mac ads to my brother, who told me he hadn't seen one of them. I went to apple.com/getamac, and it told me I needed to upgrade to the newest version of Quicktime, so I went to mac.oldapps.com and found the newest version Panther could handle: 7.4.1, and downloaded it. I installed it, and I'm pretty sure it told me to restart, so I did.
When I started back up and logged in normally, the Finder tried to start itself, and then, with only half the menu bar loaded (the clock and other stuff on the right hand side hadn't finished), it 'Unexpectedly Quit'. I could look at the Dock, and launch applications from there, but after a couple minutes of running any of them, they too would 'Unexpectedly Quit'. I decided I'd probably installed something wrong, so booted into OS 9 and slowly dragged my 3 GB+ of personal files over to my PC using a 256MB memory stick, and tried to reinstall Panther. Halfway through the installation process, it comes up with "There were errors installing the software, please try installing again." After a number of tries, and having it stop in different places, even with trying a minimal install, I tried installing Tiger again. That did the same thing. OS 9 was the only thing I could get to run stably on it.
Then I had an idea. I took the HD out of my iMac and put it into the Powermac. It booted Tiger perfectly fine. So I took the Powermac's HD and put it into the iMac and installed Tiger, and put it back into the Powermac. But now I cannot get it to install any updates or anything, even though they appear in Software Update and download; the Installer either says that there were errors installing the software or it quits unexpectedly. I was going to try and install the 1.1 firmware update, but it requires OS 9, which hangs while trying to boot from my CD. While trying to get that to work, I found out I already had the newer firmware, but OS 9 still refuses to boot from the CD.
So it's a very strange predicament. Sorry I presented it in story form, it's longer, but I thought it would be more interesting to read, and would leave out fewer details. I've figured that it's not a memory issue, nor a hard drive or DVD-ROM drive issue, and its not any of the IDE cables. I can't think of anything. Thanks for reading this far, to anyone who actually makes it though this.