Skip navigation

Imac G4...starting over....

871 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Aug 18, 2011 7:15 PM by MGW RSS
rxdude94 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Aug 13, 2011 9:17 PM

I was lucky enough to get an Imac G4, 1.25 with 256mb ram, 80 gig HD.  It also has airport extreme. This is my frist Mac, and I really like it, but it is slow. I want to do a few things to it to make it run better....and I need some advice.


1. I want to wipe it clean, start over like it was new.  How do I do that??

2. I want to upgrade the RAM, i think i've seen you can upgrade it to 2 GIG. That is the max, i think.

3. I would like a bigger HD, but I may just get an external firewire drive and use that to store my media.


i would appricate any advice, and also any suggestions on what else i could or should do.




also, can i use a wireless bluetooth keyboard and magic mouse with this??

  • MGW Level 7 Level 7 (26,940 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 15, 2011 5:45 PM (in response to rxdude94)

    1.  You can wipe it clean by booting from the install disc and then going to the Menu bar and selecting Disk Utility>eras.  One pass should be good enough.  Then reinstall the OS from the install disc.


    2.  No problem with upgrading, go to and plug in your specs, they will tell you what RAM to buy.


    3.  Using an external firewire drive is a good idea.


    4.  If you have bluetooth installed, I think you can use a BT keyboard, but I think the mouse needs a later OS than you have.







  • rccharles Level 5 Level 5 (5,150 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 16, 2011 12:38 PM (in response to MGW)

    I'd hold off wiping your Harddrive. You may have valuable software on it.




    TenFourFox is FireFox for the PPC

    "World's most advanced web browser. Finely tuned for the Power PC."

    TenFourFox is noticably faster for than FireFox.




    More RAM will help. You have the minimum.  I noticed an improvement going from 768meg to 1gig.




    See what the slowdown is via Activity Monitor.


    Macintosh-HD -> Applications -> Utilities -> Activity Monitor


    Look at what is happening with your Mac when you run Activity Monitor.

    Macintosh-HD -> Applications -> Utilities -> Activity Monitor

    Click on the CPU tab on the lower half of the window to see how much time you are using and if any applications are hogging the CPU.



    You can gain some understanding of Activity Monitor by  looking at it every once in a while.  Look at the small graph.


    Here is how I have my cpu display set up:






    Do you need more cpu memory.

    Click on System Memory to get statistics on memory usage.  You should have some free memory.

    The number to look at is page outs.




    Mine is 13397. This means that some of my programs and data had to be written to disk because cpu memory filled up for a time.  It means my programs ran a little slower than they could have.  I could run fewer programs, deal with the slowness, or buy more memory. I'd say you want at least 512meg of memory for 10.4.


    If the entry for entry for Page ins/outs is:

    Page ins/outs: 29163/0


    Notice I have 0 pageouts which says that I am not using my harddrive for extra memory space.  Thus, I have enough memory.


    Activity Monitor has a neat feature where it can display a dynamic dock icon.  In Activity Monitor View > Dock icon > Show cpu history.


    "Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor :"


    Managing Memory


    See   Kappy



    Problems from insufficient RAM and free hard disk space




    Here are two utilities for making a complete backup of your internal hard drive.  I've recommend using one of these so that you can create a bootable system  on your external hard drive. ( PPC require a firewire connected drive. )  Once created, you can run your system from the external drive.  Hold down the option key on your keyboard then power on your machine.  This will bring you in startup manager click on the drive image you wish to boot then click on the arrow key to the right.


    "Clone, synchronize, backup. Schedule and forget it."


    "SuperDuper is the wildly acclaimed program that makes recovery painless, because it makes creating a fully bootable backup painless."




    Has everything interface:

    FireWire 800/400 + USB2, + eSATA 'Quad Interface'


    save a little money interface:

    FireWire 400 + USB 2.0

    This web page lists both external harddrive types. You may need to scroll to the right to see both.

  • rccharles Level 5 Level 5 (5,150 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 16, 2011 5:48 PM (in response to rxdude94)

    Running off of a Firewire drive will be about the same as running off the internal drive.  ( At least, it seems that way for me. ) For like $110, you can get a 1t byte external drive.  See my previous post. You need firewire to boot an external drive on a PPC.  I'd make multiple partitions.  I'd make one 80gig to make an exact copy of your internal drive.


    Get the Mac to set up  an additional administrative account.  You can then change the password on your old account.


    Start with your computer power off.  Hold down command-s. Power on your computer. 


    Type in the following:


    The first two commands will depend on your release of Mac OS X.  Look at what is typed out in the console to determine the exact format.
    # Type the follow two instructions to access the startup disk in read/write. Press return after each command.
    /sbin/fsck -fy
    /sbin/mount -uw /


    cd /var/db
    #List all files. The l is a lower case L.
    ls -a
    #The move command acts as a rename command in this format.
    mv -i  .applesetupdone .applesetupdone.old




    Once you've done that the computer reboots and it's like the first time you used the machine. Your old accounts are all safe. From there you just change all other account passwords in the account preferences!!
    Limnos adds detailed explainations:


    The above the idea came from a post by JoseAranda at September 9, 2006 3:48 AM
    You will need to scroll down to see this post.  Search for applesetupdone


    Once you have a new administrative account, you can change the password of your old administrative account
    blue apple > System Preferences > Accounts

  • rccharles Level 5 Level 5 (5,150 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 17, 2011 6:40 PM (in response to rxdude94)

    Good to hear.


    Any USB keyboard will do, but there are some sound volume keys & an eject key on my mac keyboard.



  • MGW Level 7 Level 7 (26,940 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 18, 2011 7:15 PM (in response to rxdude94)

    Arctic Silver is the most recommended brand.









More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.