Previous 1 2 Next 16 Replies Latest reply: Dec 16, 2008 1:28 PM by Don Archibald
isaac436 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Does anyone know what I need to do to upgrade a mac os 9 to mac os x. I was told something about firmware. I have the mac os x software but it wont install.

imac, Mac OS 9.0.x
  • Allan Eckert Level 8 Level 8 (47,455 points)
    Hi isaac436;

    If you can give use more details on exactly which model iMac you are interested in upgrade to OS X, we might be able to help you with more details.

  • isaac436 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hey Allan

    Here's some info:

    System: 9.2.2
    Model: iMac
    Processor: PowerPc G3

    Let me know if you need more info.

    Thanks a lot!!!

  • Don Archibald Level 10 Level 10 (101,285 points)
    Hi, Isaac -

    There's a wide variety of iMac G3 models; knowing exactly which one you have would help us help you. The fact that it is running OS 9.2.2 does not help to identify which model it is.

    This Apple KBase article can help you identify it by Apple model designation -

    In addition, please give the CPU (machine) speed; the amount of physical RAM it has; and the size of its hard drive plus how much free space that drive has available.

    It can be dangerous to attempt to install OSX on early model iMacs which have not had their firmware updated. Please do not try to install OSX until we are able to further advise.
  • isaac436 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Speed: 400 MHz
    RAM: Built-in (64MB), Virtual (65MB), Largest Unused Block (27.8MB)
    Hard Drive Size: 13GB (8.61 Available)
  • isaac436 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    the hard drive size is actually 10GB not 13

    i think this fits the description of my computer:

    iMac DV (Summer 2000) 2000-08 Mac OS 9.0.4 v2
    Ruby 400 MHz Slot loading CD-ROM, 10 GB hard drive
  • Don Archibald Level 10 Level 10 (101,285 points)
    Hi, Isaac -

    That model iMac is suitable for OSX versions 10.4 and earlier. It can not use OSX 10.5 (Leopard).

    If the OSX install disks you have are ones that came with a different model Mac, even an iMac, they are not usable; such are model-specific to the model they shipped with. You will need to use a retail (separately purchased) disk set.

    In particular, the retail disk set for OSX 10.4 comes on DVDs. If your optical drive is not DVD bootable, you would need to get those on CD. You can get such, as well as older retail sets, from sites like this one -


    You have sufficient space available on your hard drive. OSX will need 1.5 to 3.0GB of disk space to install, depending on version and customization of the install.

    In addition, OSX runs best if it has 5GB of free space on the drive, though it can manage with less (figure on a minimum of 3GB free space). It needs this space for its version of Virtual Memory and for such things as its automatic on-the-fly defragmenting of files.


    If you do not know for sure whether the firmware on the machine has been updated, go ahead and update it - if the update is not needed, the installer for it will so state and refuse to run further. You can download the needed firmware update for that model from this Apple KBase article -
    Article #HT1395 - Firmware Updates

    Do this before attempting to install OSX.


    Your iMac has insufficent RAM for any adequate version of OSX, such as OSX 10.2 or later.

    OSX 10.2 and 10.3 require a minimum of 128MB of physical RAM; a more realistic minimum is 256MB.

    OSX 10.4 requires a minimum of 256MB of physical RAM; a more realistic minimum is 512MB.

    OSX runs better the more RAM it has available. Your machine has two RAM slots, and can use modules as large as 512MB; this gives it a max capacity of 1.0GB of RAM.


    OSX is not an upgrade to OS9; it is a different family of OS altogether.

    OSX and OS 9 are designed to co-exist on the same drive; and, on machines such as yours using OSX 10.4 or earlier, OS 9 can be used within OSX as Classic. In this mode it provides an environment in which many OS 9 programs can be used without needing to restart the machine using OS 9 as the boot OS.

    The importance of this is two-old -

    • The default install of OSX will not remove your install OS 9. Instead, it will be installed alongside OS 9.

    • If you remove the install of OS 9, you will not be able to use any of your old OS 9-only programs. Since OSX has a different base than OS 9, OS 9-only programs can not run in it (they don't speak the same language).
  • n_welch Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    I say just ditch OS 9 althogether and buy a new MacBook, but that's just my opinion...
  • isaac436 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
  • Ivy Chong Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Instead of buying OSX10.4 in CD set, can I possibly copy it to an ext harddisk and then boot from ext hardisk? I have another computer with DVD-rom to do that.
  • Don Archibald Level 10 Level 10 (101,285 points)
    Hi, Ivy -

    It all depends on what model machine you have, and what kind of external drives it can use.

    What model is your machine?
  • katybbfr Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Don Archibald
    Have read all this thread and your replies. Can I resurrect this subject - I have v. similar problem but not sure how to proceed.
    My iMac similar spec to previous query and with 16.44GB available. Firmware recently updated in Oct (4.9.1).
    No Mac stores easily available in my location for purchase of OS X. Have discussed with a UK Apple store who said I could not upgrade a G3 iMac to OS X 10.5 which is all they will sell as latest OS. What is maximum v. upgrade I can run on my Mac? and where is best to buy on internet?

    Also, when I upgraded the OS 9.1, 9.2.1, 9.2.2 I am left with 3 icons on desktop named MacOS xxx Update.smi. As these have been run and successfully installed, can I trash these - they show on Profiler as taking up total 160++MB file sizes.

    I am a real novice so wary of installing etc so need some more guidance as to which order steps to take.

    At present running OS 9.2.2 I also only have old version IExplorer 5 and with this am not able to access an old account set up in Yahoo UK, nor a new account here in France with provider Orange as this old browser does not seem to work properly. Have been advised to upgrade to Safari but this needs OS X...... Catch 22 for me. Can you or any other expert please help and explain.
  • Don Archibald Level 10 Level 10 (101,285 points)
    Hi, katybbfr -

    Welcome to Apple's Discussions.

    I'm going to answer your questions based on your statement that your Mac is much the same as Isaac's model.

    The folk at the Apple Store are correct - you can not install OSX 1.5 on that machine (its CPU {machine} speed is too slow).

    Before investing in OSX in order to be able to use Safari in order to access certain sites, you might first try a different browser. Many folk have found that the WamCom build of Mozilla provides access to many sites that IE can no longer handle; you can download that from here - (note - that is a direct download link; file size is about 15MB)

    If you feel that you do need Safari and hence OSX, you can obtain versions earlier than OSX 10.5 at sites like this one -

    I don't know whether there is a similar site in the UK; some US sites/retailers won't ship or bill to a non-US address, so you may need to make suitable arrangements if you need to purchase from a US site.

    Unlike OS 9, OSX does not come in various languages - each set of install disks contain all languages applicable to that version. If you are not sure whether your optical drive is DVD bootable, get a set on CD.

    You can use any version of OSX previous to OSX 10.5 - this means 10.4 (Tiger), 10.3 (Panther), or even 10.2 (Jaguar), provided that you have sufficient RAM (physical RAM, not counting any Virtual Memory in use) in the machine to support the OSX version you get.

    You can also elect to not install all the language versions that the default install for OSX places on the drive - this can save more than a GB of drive space. You can make that choice when you run the installer for OSX.

    Also, when I upgraded the OS 9.1, 9.2.1, 9.2.2 I am left with 3 icons on desktop named MacOS xxx Update.smi. As these have been run and successfully installed, can I trash these....

    Yes - or archive them (on a Zip disk, external drive, or burned to a CD, whichever you use for your normal backups) against possible future need, in order to save time downloading them again.
  • Ivy Chong Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I hv PowerPc G3, 300mhz with CD-RW, 512 Ram. My external hardisk is Maxtor brand. I have 10.3 but in DVD. Sufficient infor?
  • katybbfr Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hello Don
    Most grateful your full explanations and help. I will try these. Have some other issues which I need some help with removing/uninstalling old softwares to tidy up. Will raise a new discussion point.
    Thanks so much, katy
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