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iMac G3 System Drive Upgrade

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This is an informational post for anyone thinking about this.  I bought a used slot loading iMac G3 and added RAM to bring it up to 1 Gigabyte and the OS to 9.2.2.  I purchased an IDE I/F card for using an SD memory card instead of a spinning drive.  The original drive was a Maxtor 30 GB HD that was original and even though it worked fine, I wasn't sure how long it would last.  So I tore the bottom of the iMac apart and replaced the HD with the I/F card and a 64 GB SD card.  That's when the fun began.


Pulling the bottom off the iMac broke the front plastic tabs.  That tuned out not to be a problem as there are screws holding the bottom in place. After removing the RF metal shield, I could access the HD and replace it.  Of course the mounting holes for the IDE I/F card did not match the HD mounting holes so I cut up some cardboard and taped it to the frame with electrical tape.


Booted the iMac using a OS 9.2.1 CD and started the install.  The installer did NOT see the SD card.  So I pulled everything apart and used the Mac Pro to format the SD card with HFS Extended.  Put it all back together and still did not see the SD card.  Now what?  As a lark, I tried to install 9.2.1 on a different SD card plugged into USB.  That worked so I did a full install.  Now I had 9.2.1 running slowly on the iMac.  The OS still did NOT see the IDE SD card.  RATS!  Now what?


Perhaps the IDE I/F card is not compatible with the iMac.  I went back to the Maxtor drive and that's when I noticed that there was a little Apple symbol on the drive.  CRAP! Is a blessed Apple drive needed?  I found nothing on the Internet that suggested the iMac system drive need to be blessed by Apple with their custom firmware.  Now what?  So I tore the iMac apart again and dropped in a 160 GB IDE HD and rebooted slowly back into 9.2.1.  The installer did NOT recognize the 160 GB HD.  What's going on?  My hair is getting thinner by the minute as I pulled it out.


Did some more research on the interwebs and someone mentioned Drive Setup.  AHHH, a clue!  I spent a lot of time with Drive Setup when trying to install OS 7.5.3 on my LC475 when I replaced it's system drive with a SCSISD I/F card.  I ran Drive Setup and sure enough the 160 GB drive showed up as unformatted.  After initializing, it came up on the desktop.  Yeah!!  I wonder if the SD drive would show up?  So I tore the iMac open AGAIN and reinstalled the IDE SD I/F card and booted slowly into 9.2.1.  The SD card showed up in Drive Setup, initialized as a single partition and it works fine.  I installed 9.2.1 and it now zippy boots into 9.2.1.  Thank you, thank you thank you!


Okay now I'm back in business and it only took 7 hours to go through this.  Since I installed 9.2.1, do I really need to upgrade to 9.2.2?  Do I gain anything?


Thank you for your time,



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  • 68kMLA Supporter

I was hesitant to reply since I don't know for sure, but since nobody has chimed in I'll toss in my two cents worth.


It's my understanding that 9.2.2 was mostly optimizing 9 for use in classic mode under OS X, with perhaps support for newer machines thrown in.

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