Charles Moore's Mailbag

Getting Tiger on a G3 iMac, OS X 10.6.5 Troubles, Firefox 4 Beta 7 for PowerPC Macs, and More

Charles Moore - 2010.11.23 - Tip Jar

Installing Tiger on a G3 iMac

From Wade:

Dear Mr. Moore,

I have read your Macintosh material for many years now and have taken from it on quite a few occasions.

Today I would like to give back.

You can get Tiger on one of these old CD-RW, USB 1.1 G3 iMacs very easily if you happen to have the right equipment on hand.

Our 2001 600 MHz G3 iMac was giving us so many problems in the beginning of 2008 that we shelved it until last week. My wife had need of a higher quality home recording studio than what we currently have. (We are professional musicians.) I decided to see if maybe this wonky old thing could be used in Mac OS 9.2.2, since it was so bad in OS X. The CRT seemed to be dying a slow death due to the strains of OS X 10.3.9 - which all turned out to be incorrect.

First - When we get so used to LCD monitors, we tend to forget simple things about the old CRT. It was out of focus. That was it! Doh! I refocused it, and the monitor looks crisp and new in all three available resolutions. With a gig of RAM it fairly flew in the old Mac OS. So those CRTs seem to be far more tough than I thought.

Second - Since the 10.0 install from the factory, we had only ever installed over the existing system, never once wiping the disc and starting fresh. This was probably why the thing was sooooo slow and wonky. And it could not play videos at all. Well, I decided to put OS X back on this thing, because the old OS did not seem to like our Snowball USB microphone. (The new one may not either, as this may be a USB 1.1 vs. 2.0 issue.) I installed 10.3 from my retail discs, and things were as bad or worse than two years ago. Then I repaired permissions, installed OnyX (as you have recommended), and things got to be pretty smooth. I did all of the updating. Voilà! The thing was working better than it ever did for us!

Third - I decided to try 10.4 Tiger on this machine, realizing that there would be tradeoffs in speed versus added functionality - and a better chance that our mic and software would be compatible.

So here I sat with a retail Tiger DVD for PPC, which should work on this machine. I have an external DVD drive, too. But it is USB 2.0, which this machine will not read at all. So I try to copy the install DVD onto a 16 GB USB thumb drive. This is a no-go. The thing will not even see the drive if it is created on my MacBook (10.6.5). I try to format it on the old iMac and then restore a .dmg of the install disc onto the USB drive. It still will not work at all.

Then, I realize that I can use Target Disk Mode if I can find a FireWire cord. I have something here with FireWire. I remember the connector specifically. Maybe I have a cord with this plug on both ends and I can do this tonight. I search to no avail.

Then it hits me: Our two iPod minis from 2004 have both USB and FireWire cords! They could be used a external FireWire drives!

I wiped and reformatted the iPod on the old iMac first. Everything formatted on my Intel MacBook was unreadable on the PPC iMac in 10.3.9 - nothing made on the MacBook would show up on the older iMac as readable. Any USB thumb drive would get the dialog box asking whether I wished to initialize the disc as it was unreadable by the Mac OS.

So something in Disk Utility on the Intel version was making things useless on the older machine. So I decided to format on the old one, hoping that the Intel Disc Utility would be sort of "backwards compatible" in this regard. And it was! The iPod that was wiped and reformatted on the old iMac showed up on the MacBook just fine. I did not re-erase the iPod. I instead restored my recently made .dmg of the 10.4 Tiger retail DVD onto the iPod mini.

Most importantly, in order to make it bootable, I opened the Get Info window on the iPod after the restore was done and deselected the "Ignore privileges on this volume" check box at the very bottom. This is important.

After this was done, I rushed into the other room and plugged the old iPod into the FireWire port of the iMac and booted it up with the Option key down. Up came the installer window for Tiger. It installed perfectly and quickly. After a restart and the Welcome video, I created a user account. The iMac found my AirPort network and logged in with no problems. I repaired permissions and then ran Software Update. I am now on 10.4.11 and all is well.

Earlier today, I installed an AirPort Card and the adapter into the RAM compartment. I added a Microsoft Arc USB wireless keyboard and a Wireless Mobile Mouse 1000 into a Rocket Fish USB hub.

This old thing still rocks!

Hope this information and procedure helps someone!

Fan since 1998

Hi Wade,

First, thank you for the faithful readership for so many years. I'm humbled.

Second, thanks for this excellent and detailed tutorial, which I'm guessing will be helpful to many LEM readers wrangling old machines, and congratulations for getting that old iMac purring again.



From Sean:

I was amused to read your Comments that 10.6.5 is a step backward. You seem to be blending a whole bunch of "facts"" into your conclusions.

For example - Spaces hangs - that is an Apple issue. TypeIt4Me needs an update - not an Apple issue.

Separating the Apple bugs that remain after an Apple update from the "other guy's software" that needs an update to work with 10.6.5 might be a more honest way of painting it.

And no, I rarely if ever do the safe boot thing either.

Unsolicited $.02


Hi Sean,

For me the operational fact is that none of these issues plague me in OS X 10.5 Leopard, which I would happily continue using were it not for its nonsupport of some applications I need. This is on the same computer, using pretty much the same suite of applications on the same network.

The TypeIt4Me issue seems to have been a transient anomaly, since it hasn't recurred since that one time I mentioned, and there is no reference on developer Riccardo Ettore's site of known issues with OS X 10.6.5 incompatibilities. I also acknowledged that the letter transposition problems with Dragon Dictate in third party applications was likely a Dragon problem (ironically, Dictate is one of my core production apps that demands 10.6).

However, it's harder to forgive the continued Spaces hang issue, which has been widely reported for many months and which banefully is even worse in 10.6.5 than it was in 10.6.4. One would hope, perhaps foolishly, that something might be done about the hot running and spontaneous wake-ups as well, since neither is a problem in Leopard, and Snow Leopard is supposed to be leaner and more efficient (although I've perceived little of either in seat-of-the-pants impression).


Snow Leopard Woes

From Tom:


Your article on Low End Mac about your experiences with Snow Leopard reminded me of an experience I had with my 2-year-old Mac Pro. After updating from Leopard to Snow Leopard, I started having problems with the Adobe Creative Suite, especially Photoshop. First, it would crash when I tried to save a big file. Finally, it got so bad that the application refused to open at all. I bit the bullet and did a clean install of the operating system and all programs and haven't had any problems since.

I think you wrote a while back that you had partitioned your hard drive so you could choose to boot either into Leopard or Snow Leopard. I've found that having two OS X installations on the same computer gave me no end of problems. It's maybe similar to having both OS X and Linux installed on the same computer. OS X has to be installed on the first partition and Linux on the second for things to work right.

Hope you get this all cleared up soon.


Hi Tom,

Thanks for the interest and suggestions.

My original install of Snow Leopard was clean on a previously unwritten partition that I had reserved for the purpose - not an update of my existing Leopard install, which I left undisturbed.

You may be right about there being issues associated with having two bootable systems on separate partitions on the same hard drive, but that has been my practise since the mid-'90s, and I've never encountered difficulty before. And wouldn't any issues be somewhat reciprocal? Leopard remains smooth as silk in coexistence with Snow Leopard on the other partition.

Also, the Spaces hang, the hotter running, and spontaneous wake-ups have all been reported by an array of users, most of whim presumably don't have two versions of the OS on their drives.


Editor's note: Like Charles, I have been partitioning my Mac's hard drives since the SCSI days - for instance, being able to switch between System 6 and 7 on my Mac Plus. Most of my G4 Macs have both 10.4 Tiger and 10.5 Leopard installed, as well as Mac OS 9.2.2 for Classic Mode, and, like Charles, I have never experienced any problems due to the presence of different Mac OS versions on different partitions.

That said, Apple switched from its own Apple Partition Map (APM) to GUID Partition Table (GPT) when it moved to Intel CPUs in 2006. It's possible that some things have changed with that transition that would make having different versions of OS X on different partitions of the same drive problematic. dk

Why Your MacBook Runs Hotter

From Alex:

I have found why it runs hotter.

My 13" MBP has run hotter since the 10.6.5 update. The problem is the process Quick Look Helper and quicklookd. They suck up the CPU's resources. I have no cure but only a treatment. All you do is quit the process and avoid using stacks.

Hi Alex,

Thanks for shedding some light on this.

Hmmm. I love Quick Look and find it's one of the things I miss most on my Pismos in OS X 10.4. I don't use Stacks.


Mac OS X 10.6.5 Update: No Problems Here

From Björn:

Hi there,

I have not a slight idea what is going on at your machine, but must say that at ours the update was without any trouble, as where the last ones all. It might help if you post a list of your installed non-Apple gadgets, so everybody has a chance to built its own thinking on it?


Hi Björn

Actually I don't have a lot of system add-ons. Ones I do use include TypeIt4Me or Typinator, both of which are applications and not add-ons per se, plus the PTH Pasteboard clipboard utility.

I do use beta and alpha browsers, currently including Firefox 4.0.7 and Opera 11 alpha. Here's a screenshot of my System Preferences.

System Preferences on Moore's MacBook


Download Firefox 4 Beta 7 for PPC Tiger

From Cameron:

Hi Charles:

Here's the download URL for Firefox 4 beta 7 "TenFourFox," built for Tiger PPC. There are separate versions for G3 and G4/G5.

Thanks, Cameron! I've been trying out TenFourFox in the G4 version. Seems to work pretty well, although still a bit buggy.


Editor's note: I have it running on my G4 Power Macs in 10.4 Tiger and 10.5 Snow Leopard. I have not tested it very much at all, but I can report that it does work. dk

Power Mac G4 Worth Repairing?

From Frank:

It's been a while since I've written you about my Macs, first off recently my Power Mac G4 died. One day it wouldn't boot up, and I suspect its the power supply. My other 3 iMac G3s are still working perfectly. The question I want to ask is that is the Power Mac G4 worth repairing?

Hi Frank,

The answer to your question would be what do you use this machine for and how cheaply can you repair it. Both variables.

As a general observation, my philosophy is that one is probably better off putting the money, if it's to be a significant amount, toward the purchase of a newer machine.

The sun is setting on the PowerPC era, and Intel/X86 (or perhaps ARM/iOS!) is the future. OTOH, I'm hardly practising what I preach by continuing to use a couple of 10-year-old Pismo PowerBooks simply because I like their feel and cool running.


Quicksilver and Big Drives

From Alex:

I was able to get my Quicksilver 2001 to address all the space in a 250 GB HDD. When I was installing Yellow Dog Linux, the installer said that there was a drive that needed to be fixed (I don't know how or what it does when it "fixes" it) because another OS might not address the drive's full capacity. After it fixed it, it was addressing the drive's full capacity - but only when running YDL.

Thanks for the update, Alex.


Editor's note: There is conflicting information about "big drive" support on the 2001 Quicksilver. Apple doesn't list it as supporting large volumes (over 128 GB) on the internal hard drive bus, but several Low End Mac readers have reported successfully using 160 GB and larger hard drives on that bus. At this point, we believe that the 2001 Quicksilver is not afflicted with "big drive" issues. That said, Disk Utility may show "big drives" as having 128 GB capacity even though the Finder is aware of their true capacity. dk

Looking for SpellTools 1.4

From Lanny:

Charles, I hope you can help me.

I downloaded SpellTools 1.3.3, but I can not find Craig Marziack anywhere on Web. Will you please email me the 1.4 update so I can use SpellTools on my Mac running OS 9.1.

I take it for granted that you have the update. Marziack is not to be found.

Thank you,

Hi Lanny,

It's been literally years since I thought about SpellTools. The built-in spellchecker in OS X pretty much made SpellTools no longer relevant for my purposes. If I still have a copy of the updater, it's probably on a dusty old floppy or Zip disk, and my current Macs don't support either.

I'll post your letter to the Mailbag, and perhaps another reader will be able to help you out.


Go to Charles Moore's Mailbag index.

Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS news feed

Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at and a columnist at If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

Links for the Day

Recent Content

About LEM Support Usage Privacy Contact

Follow Low End Mac on Twitter
Join Low End Mac on Facebook

Favorite Sites

Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
Deal Brothers
Mac Driver Museum
JAG's House
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ

The iTunes Store
PC Connection Express
Macgo Blu-ray Player
Parallels Desktop for Mac

Low End Mac's store


Open Link