5 Replies Latest reply: Jun 9, 2010 9:57 AM by a brody
adamyala Level 1 (0 points)
Hello everyone,

I'm a university student working with some faculty to get an iPhone app development program going and so far it has had it's obstacles.

We were given a bunch of iMac G4 17 inchers from the university surplus. All the iMacs have been wiped and have no OS on them. I do however have a copy of Snow Leopard that I would like install on them but have been having some troubles.

First off, the only Apple equipment I have are the iMacs. I have no Apple keyboards, only IBM keyboards. So when other suggestions online have told me to hold the command or Apple buttons, I'm at a loss.

When I start up the iMac it comes to a gray screen that has a flashing question mark. I restart and open the disc try, put in the OS disc and restart while holding the C button. The screen stays in gray for about 20 sec, then the iMac just spits out the disc and the question mark comes back.

Anyone have any suggestions of where to go from here to get this stuff installed?


imac g4
  • Debby Level 1 (35 points)
    You can not install Snow Leopard 10.6 on a G4. The highest you can get is "Leopard." Snow Leopard is for intel machines. I don't know what operating system you need to use the iPhone/iPad/iPod developers software.

    The Leopard 10.5 can be bought through Apple for $129 single computer. They will ask for the serial number of the machine you will be putting it on.
  • macbig Level 4 (1,680 points)
    You will also have to up the Ram to at least 512MB to install Leopard.
  • BGreg Level 6 (17,495 points)
    Welcome to the Apple discussions.

    When you boot and you get the ?, it means the system can't find anything to boot off of. You'll need to either have an original OS X DVD that came with those iMacs, which I'm guessing you don't have, or a retail version of any operating system, except Snow Leopard (which you know from Debby's post won't run on a PowerPC-based system).

    The command Apple key is the same as the IBM/Windows control key.
  • a brody Level 9 (65,765 points)
    Welcome to Apple Discussions!

    If your G4s are at least 867 Mhz, you can install Leopard, but not Snow Leopard.
    This thread explains how to get Leopard directly from Apple:


    Alt keys = Option key.
    Windows logo key = Command key.
    For purpose of installation though, the 'C' key and/or option key booting may only work with Mac specific keyboards from Logitech, Microsoft, or Apple. You'll only need one of those USB keyboards to set it up. Once setup, the IBM USB keyboards will function fine. The only caveat will be troubleshooting and/or if they ever buy another Mac, they may have to get used to the Option, Command key configuration on the keyboard, as the orientation is opposite on the Mac keyboards from that of the PC keyboards.
  • Steve M. Level 5 (4,740 points)
    Since you're in a university setting, it seems that there should be at least a few other Mac users around there that you might know. Seems like some of them might have an old Tiger retail disk, of course one that they are no longer using since they've subsequently upgraded to Leopard or Snow Leopard, and you could perhaps snap one up for a pittance under those circumstances and at least get one of your G4s up and running on Tiger. I know Tiger will run well on those machines. Not sure if that will fit the bill for the work you need to do on the iPhone app development or not though.

    Steve M.