1 Reply Latest reply: Mar 5, 2013 8:25 PM by Allan Jones
gerowen Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I just got an old used eMac from my mother-in-law, and at first I was excited about actually owning my first Mac to tinker around with, but I'm having some problems.


First you should know that I've never "really" used an Apple computer, or OSX for that matter, outside of poking around on one in a store.  I've ran various flavors of Linux/Unix over the years, but never OSX.


1) She apparently tried to upgrade it to a newer version of OSX.  She's not a technical person, so I'm not certain what version she tried to upgrade it to.  As it sits, it boots and gets to "Starting Mac OS X", the progress bar fills all the way up, and it stops.  The animation continues and I can move my mouse around, but it never goes past that point, and I've let it sit for an hour at a time.


2) I tried booting from a Clonezilla CD to make a backup image of the hard drive to my server before I went screwing around, that way I could restore it to the condition it was in when I got it, since she never gave me a restore disc of any kind.  However I have two issues.

  a) There does not appear to be any external method of opening the CD drive other than popping open this little "Apple" door, and sticking a knife down between the body of the computer and the CD drive so I can press the eject button.  Is there some hidden button somewhere I can use to open the CD drive since the OS won't boot?

  b) The CD is fine, I've used it on other computers, but even now that it's in the drive, I hear it spin up occasionally, but the computer refuses to boot from the disc, and I'm not sure how to force it to do so.


3) It does not appear to recognize my keyboard.  It's a regular PC keyboard that connects via USB.  My PC mouse works just fine, but the keyboard does not appears to be getting any juice.  I've tried swapping USB ports and the mouse works in all of them, and have even tried different keyboards.  I do not own an Apple keyboard, and this one does not appear to want to recognize normal PC keyboards, therefore making it impossible for me to try the various key combinations I've found with Google to force it to boot from CD.


Here is the information I found on the inside of the CD tray door.


eMac 17 CRT

1.25 Ghz processor

256 MB RAM


Serial: YM*****SCF


<Edited by Host>

eMac 17
  • Allan Jones Level 7 Level 7 (33,440 points)

    Your 1) and 3) : You may need to buy or borrow an Apple keyboard to do this, but try booting while holding SHIFT. That's a safe boot that disables most extensions and does some boot volume checks. Macs have a lot of startup keyboard commands  and some require an Apple board. As I have enough Apple boards to service our stable of Macs, I've not had occasion to try safe-booting a Mac from a non-Apple board.


    If you get a stable desktop with a safe boot, immediately try a regular restart to see fi the disk check cleaned up enough dreck to allow a start.


    Your 2 )a: Press and hold the mouse button during startup, If there is a disk in the drive, that should open the tray. Later Macs require the computer to be on wall power for manual eject to work.


    Many 1.25Ghz eMacs have near-fatal logic board issue due to bad components that affected more computer makers that just Apple. Yours is not in the serial number range that was published, but affected computers have been reported outside the range. The problems, once covered by a now-expired repair extension program, are too expensive to repair on such an old computer. You can take a peek in the RAM door on the bottom of the case. It MAY show affected capacitors indicating others have probably failed. This image shows leaking capacitors visible through the RAM door,



    [click image for larger view]


    If you see this, I'd recommend not putting any more time into this computer.