9 Replies Latest reply: Nov 5, 2012 3:47 AM by 511
kismoore Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Here's what I have: Please tell me what I need.. and keep it simple. I'm a simple mind. Just a little bit of FYI: I have newer versions of Macintosh OS software for other computers in the house. When I buy the new upgrades for our laptops, I always buy the family coverage which allows for 5 computers to use the discs for upgrades. We are currently all on Snow Lep right now, with no intentions of moving to Lion yet. Snow works fine for us.

A little background info on the iMAc desktop computer I'm trying to upgrade: It came from a homeless shelter and was donated to us for our home school. I get the feeling that the OS that they have on here might be a bootleg version of Mac software because it's missing several key things and all the core services AND I would like to start with a completely fresh upgrade.. erase everything currently on the computer, including administrative stuff... everything. Fresh starts are so nice for macs.

Can anyone patiently walk me through the process or should I take the computer in and have Apple do it for me?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks.



Hardware Overview:


  Machine Name:          iMac G5

  Machine Model:          PowerMac8,1

  CPU Type:          PowerPC G5  (3.0)

  Number Of CPUs:          1

  CPU Speed:          1.8 GHz

  L2 Cache (per CPU):          512 KB

  Memory:          1.25 GB

  Bus Speed:          600 MHz

  Boot ROM Version:          5.2.2f4

  Serial Number:          W8******PP7



ATA Bus:




  Model:          PIONEER DVD-RW  DVR-K04F

  Revision:          I437

  Detachable Drive:          No

  Protocol:          ATAPI

  Unit Number:          0

  Socket Type:          Internal


<Edited by Host>

  • 1. Re: I bought a used iMac and want to upgrade everything in it
    Klaus1 Level 8 Level 8 (44,495 points)

    With a PPC G5 iMac Leopard 10.5.8 is as far as you can go. All further versions of OS X require an Intel processor.


    You forgot to say what version it is running at the moment!

  • 2. Re: I bought a used iMac and want to upgrade everything in it
    kismoore Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Picture 1.pngok.. so lets say im upgraded as far as i should go.. thats fine too but as I said before, the version they have on here "feels" bootlegged. It's missing stuff. It's missing the disc for one (something that truly annoys me) and archive utility is gone, address book is gone, I can't find Disc Utility anywhere... it's basically a mess. Outreach is the nice group os peeps that gave the machine to us but I really want to take this machine to strip and stat over with the legal discs that I own for Leopard. If I need to go back to Tiger for the machine, that's fine too, I will buy it if I can find it. I prefer a legal version of whatever is on here.


    Message was edited by: kismoore

  • 3. Re: I bought a used iMac and want to upgrade everything in it
    Klaus1 Level 8 Level 8 (44,495 points)

    OK, you are running the final version of Tiger 10.4.11.


    In order to upgrade to Leopard you first have to buy it, and it is no longer available from Apple.


    Look on eBay or Amazon for a black retail DVD version of Leopard 10.5 (not a grey update DVD). Expect to pay a bit more than you thought.


    Once installed, yu can use Software Update to update Leopard to its final version of 10.5.8, or download that from here:



  • 4. Re: I bought a used iMac and want to upgrade everything in it
    kismoore Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    When I do the install will I be given the option to start fresh and remove everything currently on the computer? I am not the "outreach" people that you see on the owner information. We want the software to reflect us as the owners.

  • 5. Re: I bought a used iMac and want to upgrade everything in it
    kismoore Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Also... with the information I provided, do you think this system is going to be a stable one after the upgrade? Kids want to use the computer for stuff like facebook and minecraft, maybe some editing in iphoto for calendar and cards..stuff like that.

  • 6. Re: I bought a used iMac and want to upgrade everything in it
    Rambling Joe Level 2 Level 2 (280 points)

    If you are wanting toupgrade hardware components, these are some of the options you have:


    The maximum amount of RAM your iMac can hold is 2.0 GB.  The following link is for 2.0 GB matched RAM upgrade:




    Here is a link to videos on installing RAM, Hard Drives, and Optical (DVD/CD) Drives:




    If you want to upgrade your hard drive, you need a Serial ATA (SATA) hard drive.  Here is a link to compatible hard drives:




    And while you have the back off, you might want to replace the PRAM battery:




    But before you spend any money on these upgrades, you should watch the video on replacing RAM, to see how to open the back of the iMac, then actually open the back of your iMac.  Blow out any dust, and visually inspect the 28-30 capacitors for bulges or leaks, as this is a fairly common problem with these iMacs.


    If there are any bad capacitors, you should replace all of them, not just the one(s) that are bad.  Depending on your techincal expertise, you might be able to do it yourself, google "G5 capacitor kits", the parts themselves are not to expensive.  But if you're paying someone to do this repair, it could cost between $250-$500.


    I hope this info was helpful.


    Good luck.

  • 7. Re: I bought a used iMac and want to upgrade everything in it
    Rambling Joe Level 2 Level 2 (280 points)

    It's been a few years since I actually ran the Leopard Install, but if there isn't a button offered to do a clean install, you can go to Menu Bar at the top of the screen, and select Utility (or Utilities, I don't remember which), the open Disk Utility, and do a complete re-format of your hard drive.


    I don't remember if the regular OS Install will install all of the applications and everything, but if not, then once you've completed the OS install, there is a package on the DVD for Optional Installs that includes Applications Address Book, iCal, iChat, iTunes, Mail, Oxford Dictionaries, Safari.  There are also optional installs for iPod support, Additional Fonts, Language Translations, and Printer Drivers.




    I forgot to mention in my earlier post about hardware upgrades, that WiFi and Bluetooth were options and not neccessarily included.


    If your iMac doesn't have these, this link can take you to identifying, purchasing, and installing these components:




    Good luck.

  • 8. Re: I bought a used iMac and want to upgrade everything in it
    kismoore Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you RamblingJoe and that WAS quit a ramble. I have enough info to see that it is prob a better bet to get a newer iMac on a payment program. I already know there is at least 1 bad capacitor and, as I said I can't even find Disc Utilities. It appears to be gone (mystery). While I was waiting for your answer, I turned off the machine to basically do a re-set and the machine didn't want to come back on for awhile. It was weird and I don't want to deal with confusing and invisible problems that need fixing. It's back on a running the internet so I guess it's my interactive paperweight for now. All the things it would need to satisfy the family is way too expensive and time consuming, plus the lack of bluetooth.. annoying. You've convinced me to get a new computer and pass this one along. Thanks again.

  • 9. Re: I bought a used iMac and want to upgrade everything in it
    511 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    i was given an imac g4 with a 20" inch screen. it was diagnosed as needing a logic board due to a voltage spike. well long story short,  replacement from ebay. came with 1 gb of ram and an airport extreme card. added a bluetooth card and antenna too. everything is working. beautiful screen and fresh install of leopard. but there is nothing to run on it. everyone has stopped supporting the arch. i have put less then 100 dollars in this and had fun disassembling it but powerpc is going to be tuff to deal with. no flash no firefox no vuze no chrome and apparently no longer supported by apple. really a shame as this thing looks brand new. next stop for me at this point is gentoo linux. the downside there is this has an nvidia gpu which is closed and proprietary and will only get 2d. if your g5 has ati graphics i would suggest linux for that machine.