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Question: Installing Mac OS 9.0.4 (retail) on iBook G3/500 (M6497)

Hello everyone,

I'm new to the forum and searched for an accurate answer to the issue I'm facing before posting, but couldn't find a 100% match thread. Hope you guys could give me a hand here:

I've recently acquired a used iBook G3/500 (Dual USB - Tr) of eBay. The exact model number is M6497 and the Apple Order Number according to everymac.com is M7698LL/A. See here https://everymac.com/systems/apple/ibook/specs/ibook_500.html

I mainly purchased this unit in order to boot and run Mac OS 9 natively, along side with the more modern Mac OS Tiger 10.4.6 for PowerPC which is capable of running the classic environment from within OS X.

The iBook itself arrived with the original (grey) discs for restoring this very model to the factory settings with Mac OS 10.2 Jaguar, but I purchased separately (off eBay too) both Mac OS 9.0.4 in the retail box, and the Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.6 family pack in a retail box as well. So theoretically, I shouldn't have any problems installing from the installation discs as they're not specified for a specific model.

Now, the problem I'm having is that I couldn't manage to make this iBook to boot to the OS 9.0.4 disc, only to Tiger. I tried holding C upon boot when the OS 9.0.4 disc is loaded in the optical drive, and also to hold ALT in order to see all the boot options. No matter how many times I tried or what I did, the OS 9.0.4 disc just doesn't boot nor show up in the boot menu. On the other hand, the Tiger disc does flawlessly. Now I must say here that the original OS 9.0.4 disc is intact and loads correctly from within OS X. I also tried to make a full image of it just to make sure that all the sectors on the disc are readable. Everything went successfully. Just can't boot into OS 9.

This is very frustrating as I double-checked that this model is capable of booting into OS 9 and spent quite a lot on the iBook itself, and also on the original retail discs. Just in order to enjoy the classic environment natively and to run games from that classic era.

From that point I just tried to run the classic games I have from within Tiger, but it just say that I don't have OS 9 system folder preinstalled so it could use it to run Classic.

Any help would be much appreciated.


iBook, Mac OS 9.0.x, iBook G3

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Nov 17, 2017 10:06 AM in response to Niel In response to Niel

Thanks Niel.
Do you have any source for that information? At first I thought acquiring a 9.2.1 retail disc of eBay, but then thought that it would be better to get the 9.0.4 base build just in case (as you cannot go backward but only forward) and to update it after installation up to 9.2.2.

Nov 17, 2017 10:06 AM

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Nov 18, 2017 12:54 AM in response to goldeng2017 In response to goldeng2017

Well, since I've already spent the $$$ on a retail mac OS 9.0.4, hoping that it will boot fine on my iBook G3 since it's a RETAIL copy(!), I just found a digital download of mac OS 9.1 online and burned it to disc. Now the iBook boots to it fine, but it gives the following 'bomb' error message at the "Starting up..." state:

"Sorry, a system error occurred.

bus error

To temporarily turn off extensions, restart and hold down the shift key"

I tried to reboot while holding the 'shift' key, saw the message that the extensions are off when the installer boots, but the same error shows up again.

Any suggestions?


Nov 18, 2017 12:54 AM

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Nov 18, 2017 12:31 PM in response to Niel In response to Niel

Thanks for the input Niel. The image file was also made from a retail copy of OS 9.1. If it wasn't compatible then it would either not boot at all, or say that it doesn't support my model upon boot. But instead it gives an error message pointing probably to something else. Anyway, I had enough this weekend trying make this iBook to work with OS 9 in order to enjoy a few classic games. As for now I'm just going to put this flowerpot aside, forgetting that I ever purchased it. However, if anyone else who reads this happened to encounter this error message in the past, or maybe succeeded to install OS 9 on this model then I'd be happy to hear. Thanks!

Nov 18, 2017 12:31 PM

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Nov 19, 2017 4:30 PM in response to goldeng2017 In response to goldeng2017

The lesson for any who follow this path would be for those persons

to realize the Mac has never/seldom ever been able to run an older

version than it shipped with. That includes use of installation media.

Match the hardware with its vintage software kit for compatibility sake.

Good luck & happy trails! 🙂

Nov 19, 2017 4:30 PM

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Nov 20, 2017 2:50 AM in response to goldeng2017 In response to goldeng2017

For this model to boot into MacOS9.1 (or MacOS9.2.2) this system needs to be

installed first; when the Mac OS X 10. system (to 10.4.11) second. The 'classic'

mode in Mac OS X 10.4.11 Tiger can then be made to pointedly look for OS9.1.

Your iBook G3 white DualUSB 12-inch first model is similar to one I had owned.

With basic optical CD drive, 10GB hard drive, and maxed to 576MB RAM; and

it looked new although second hand. Even had the retail box and all accessories.

{+ Included Panther OS X 10.3.9 - when sold to a friend 30 miles down the road.}

Had bought a new Mid-2005 12-inch iBook G4 1.33GHz (last model) before selling.

And still have this later build. ~ So I've had first and last white iBook 12-inch models.

Plus I recently restored Tiger 10.4.11 (Classic is non-boot) in my iBook, w/ new battery.

Mostly because an upgrade to Leopard 10.5.8 ran too slow in this later configuration.

And could use an upgrade to PATA version SSD, instead of stock 40GB rotational HDD.

In any event...

Good luck & happy computing! 🙂

Nov 20, 2017 2:50 AM

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Question: Installing Mac OS 9.0.4 (retail) on iBook G3/500 (M6497)