11 Replies Latest reply: Mar 22, 2014 7:03 AM by jemibrown
RaffyBordeleau Level 1 Level 1

Hi there!


So I recently came across an old iMac G3 by a dumpster (It is perfectly functional, the fact that I found it by the dumpster has nothing to do with the problem). I brought it up to find out that every user created on the computer is password protected. I've been trying to get past it, but it's impossible. I can't afford an install CD, resetting the PRAM and the PRU doesn't do a thing, and Open Firmware is a pain. Is there any way to get into the iMac without having to buy a disc or go all around town trying to find the original owner so I can get his passwords?

iMac G3 (CRT Slot-loading), Mac OS 9.2.x
  • Don Archibald Level 10 Level 10

    Yes, provided the machine is running some version of OS 9, but you will need to use a bootable CD. This CD need not be an OS Install CD; it can be a utility CD, such as Disk Warrior or Tech Tool. You just need to be able to boot the machine to an OS not resident on the hard drive.


    Once booted to the CD, do not run any install program, etc. Then open the System Folder on the hard drive; in that folder, open the Preferences folder.


    In the Preferences folder, locate the file named Multi-User Prefs and throw it away. Empty the Trash.


    Then restart the machine normally. It should now boot to the OS 9 on the hard drive, with no mention of users or passwords.


    You may be able to borrow such a CD from someone in your area. Check with a local Apple User Group - most largee cities and universities have one.

    Apple - User Groups

  • RaffyBordeleau Level 1 Level 1

    Thank you so much Don, but I still have one small problem. Every bootable CD I tried failed to work (Yep, I checked if they were CD's and not DVD's, and if they weren't Windows formatted). So I have two more questions; one, what key(s) should I be pressing at startup (I have a Windows keyboard, by the way), and why aren't any of the CDs working?

  • Don Archibald Level 10 Level 10

    With the CD in the drive, restart or boot, then press the C key and keep it held down until you know the machine has started to boot to the CD.


    Alternatively (and this may not work with a G3 - depends on firmware), restart or boot, immediately press the Option key (Alt on a PC keyboard)m keep it held down. This should bring up Startup Manager, a bright blue screen with a few large icons on it. If yhos works, use the mouse to select the icon representing the CD, then click the right-hand (straight) arrow icon.


    Note - one of the problems with many non-Apple keyboards is compliance with the Mac-standard startup keyboard command set. Not all non-Apple keyboards comply with that set; some do.

  • RaffyBordeleau Level 1 Level 1

    Okay, so I was doing it right the first time, thanks again. But still, none of the discs I'm using are showing up. Again, I have made sure the ones I've used are not DVDs and are not intended for Windows. I've attempted resetting the PRAM again and seeing if that solved the issue, but nope! So what do I do now? Thanks again.

  • Don Archibald Level 10 Level 10

    Since you mentioned that more than one user was password protected, in OS 9 hat means it must be a Multiple Users setup rather than a hardware password.


    A Multiple User account setup can not be defeated by resetting PRAM or doing any other thing to the hardware. Reason - Multiple User accounts (and associated passwords, etc.) are purely software-based. Multiple Users is loaded during the loading of the OS; unfortunately, it is designed to not be defeated by booting with 'extensions off'.


    Not all CDs are bootable, of course. For one to be bootable, it must have a viable OS on it, one that is valid for the machine.


    If your machine is a slot-loadig model, one of the original ones of that series initially released in October 1999, then it can use -


    • an original Software Install CD which used OS 8.6.


    * any retail (white label) OS 9.x Install CD.


    • if its firmware has been updated, it may be able to boot to a retail disk for OS X 10.3 and, only for the 400MHz model, OS X 10.4.


    Some users have reported that after the firmware on such early machines was updated, they would no longer boot to their original OEM disk, often not being able to boot to anything earlier than OS 9.1.

  • RaffyBordeleau Level 1 Level 1

    Thanks Don! You've been a massive help to me. I have one last question before I get to work on trying to fix up this ol' iMac. Can I use a Linux disc? If so, what kind of Linux disc? Is 32-bit okay? Does it have to be a certain kind of distro because of the PowerPC processor?


    Again, thank you so much for your help.

  • Don Archibald Level 10 Level 10

    Can I use a Linux disc?


    That's something I know nothing about; I've never tried using anything other than a Mac OS.


    Perhaps someone else who has that info will post in with it.

  • jemibrown Level 1 Level 1

    Hey Don I've got a problem, I was given an iMac G3 just last year, just the computer and no keyboard or mouse.

    Anyway there is already a registered person on the computer and I can't find any where to reset the computer.

    Can you help??

  • Don Archibald Level 10 Level 10

    What OS is the machine running?

  • jemibrown Level 1 Level 1

    I think it's running OSX 7...I think, I'll confirm that later.

  • jemibrown Level 1 Level 1

    No just found out its running OSX10.1