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Ask Max: Can I install OS 9.2 onto a B&W G3 from iMac restore discs?

Asked on 05/09/2007:

I recently traded in my iMac (700Mhz G4) at a local Apple Specialist store for a newer 17 inch iMac, 1.25 ghz. and later discovered that the newer model wouldn't boot into OS 9. I still have my original OS 9 install discs complete with software restore discs, applications and OS X. I wouldn't have traded my older Mac if I had known that OS 9 would have to be abandoned as a default operating system. I do have an older Blue & White 300 Mhz. Yosemite model that I want to run OS9 on. At present almost every OS 9 application is non-operational on this B & W model including DVD player. I have OS X Panther installed and DVD player works when I use OS X. Why can't OS 9 applications work if the installation was successful? Is the OS 9.2 iMac version that came with my iMac compatible with a Blue & White tower model or is there another OS 9 full install version that I need to make my machine work? I replaced the original CD-Rom with a DVD-Rom, supplied as an added bonus by my local Apple Specialist. Do I need to erase the drive and start over, install my iMac OS 9.2 only or get another version of OS 9?


Not all OS discs are made alike. Some of the versions of OS 9 are only for use in Classic and others are only equipped to support specific hardware. Starting with Mac OS X 10.2, Apple did not provide a separate OS 9 install disc as part of the software included with new computers. OS 9 had to be installed as part of the restore or separate install. It may be that your iMac OS 9 is not a full version but instead a version intended to be used mostly through OS X Classic. If that is the case then you are going to have troubles. A good test is to try launching "SimpleText" to see if that OS 9 Application works. If SimpleText works then the base part of OS 9 is functioning. At that point it is just a matter of troubleshooting your extensions and trying to repair them. It may be better and faster to buy a used retail copy of OS 9. The good news is that any version of OS 9 will run on a B&W G3 tower. Just perform a clean install of the retail OS 9 and you should be fine.

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