7 Replies Latest reply: Mar 18, 2007 7:29 AM by ali brown
Filmmakerken Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
I have an old G3 iMac that is running OS 9.2. I'd like to upgrade to OS X.

Hardware info: G3 @ 333MHz, 196MB Ram, Tray CD-ROM Drive, USB 1.1 ports (no firewire).

I'm running a LAN and can connect to this machine from my MacBook Pro.

As I understand it, OS 10.3.9 is the most advanced version I can install on my iMac. However, almost all of the Panther software for sale on Ebay is on DVD.

Is there a way to use a DVD install disc with my iMac? Disc copy on CDs? Boot the iMac from the OS 9 CD and drag a disc image of the panther DVD over the LAN? Anything.


MacBook Pro, 2GHz Core Duo, 1GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.4.8)
  • Niel Level 10 Level 10 (289,395 points)
    The retail Mac OS X 10.3 package ships on CDs; any Mac OS X 10.3 installation DVD is probably machine-specific, and won't work on your model of iMac. You can get retail Mac OS X 10.3 installation disks from this page.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (262,785 points)
    First, your computer will require a firmware update: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=60384. The update can only be installed while booted directly into OS 9.1 - 9.2.2.

    You will need more RAM. You will not have satisfactory performance with less than 384 MBs of RAM. You will need at least 8 GBs of free space to install OS X.

    Installing on a PowerBook G3 Series, an original Power Macintosh G3, or an iMac

    If you see a message when you select the destination disk that you need to install Mac OS X on a partition completely within the first 8 GB of disk space, choose Open Disk Utility from the Installer menu, then click Partition to see the partitions of your disk. The first partition is the top one. Select it and make sure it is 8 GB or less in size. If the first partition is larger than 8 GB or your hard disk only has one partition that is larger than 8 GB, you need to partition your disk again. Partitioning the disk erases the entire hard disk, so be sure to back up your files first.

    Panther is distributed on CDs not DVDs. You must boot the iMac directly from the Panther Installer Disc using the iMac's internal optical drive. You can purchase a Panther installer package on eBay or from www.applerescue.com. Panther comes on three CDs that have black labels with a large gray "X". Do not purchase anything offered on a single DVD or discs that have gray labels or discs that have the word "Upgrade" on the label. None of these will work.

    Do not expect superior performance on your hardware. The iMac you have was designed long before OS X was ever released. It has neither the CPU nor video horsepower for OS X, and OS X will run slower than OS 9.

    You may need to replace the internal PRAM backup battery if it's never been replaced. If the battery is weak or dead (likely after this much time) you may have considerable trouble trying to install OS X.
  • Filmmakerken Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Thanks to both Kappy and Niel. You have confirmed most of what my research was indicating. I'll continue to look for Panther on CDs.

    It is worth noting that a number of Ebay retailers are selling "new, in the box" Panther on DVD, not CD.

    Niel's resource was nice but $139 for Panther... Ebay has it going for $30 - $50. I can almost buy a used G3 iMac with OS X already installed for $139.

    Perhaps you can make other recommendations. My motivation is that my daughter uses the iMac and recently got an iPod. As it is now, I have to use my MBP everytime she wants to change something. Additionally, the kids use it for net access. Both IE and Netscape are outdated and unsupported. I'm looking for an interim solution until I can afford a new Mac for them.

    Finally, my questions about the possibilities of installing from DVD weren't answered. Is it possible?

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (262,785 points)
    Panther should not cost $139.00. There are no "New in the box" versions of Panther on DVDs. Panther was released by Apple on three CDs. Try www.applerescue.com ($59.)

    Yes, your question about installing from DVD was answered. You must install OS X using the computer's optical drive. You cannot install from your MBP over Ethernet. You could install from an external DVD drive, but it would have to be Firewire and the computer has no Firewire ports.
  • ali brown Level 7 Level 7 (26,465 points)
    Hi Filmmakerken!

    If you know what to look for, a Full Retail Version, of the Panther Install CDs, can also be purchased rather inexpensively, at some additional online Apple retailers, Amazon, eBay, FastMac, etc.

    As already posted, be sure not to purchase grey, upgrade or machine specific CDs or DVDs.
    Panther is only on CDs, not DVDs.
    Unless purchased from AppleRescue, the discs should look exactly like the images in the above links, and not say Upgrade on them.

    Additional info in these links.
    Using OS X Install CDs/DVDs On Multiple Macs
    What's A Computer Specific Mac OS X Release
    Software Update, Upgrade: What's The Difference?

    Minimum Panther System Requirements
    Additional Panther System Requirements

    Shop Carefully, Examine All Documentation, And Good Luck!

    ali b
  • Filmmakerken Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Kappy, $59 is much better. I'll assume from your response that a disc image won't work because it'll be stored on the drive I'm trying to install to.

    Thanks everyone for the resource links. Now... is it worth the time, money and trouble...?
  • ali brown Level 7 Level 7 (26,465 points)
    You're Welcome Filmmakerken!

    "...is it worth the time, money and trouble...?"

    Only you can be the judge of that, but since installing Panther 10.3.x, I can't remember the last time I started up in OS 9.
    Although my iMac has a bit more horsepower than yours, and I didn't need to make any modifications before upgrading. So the upgrade was quite painless.

    And Thank You, for extending the courtesy of awarding stars in Discussions!

    ali b