I have an iMac G3 that does not have a DVD drive, which was gifted to me along with install media for Mac OS 10.0-10.4. When I received it, it had Mac OS 10.4 on it, but I have since wiped the hard drive and am installing my way back up to it (I'm currently on 10.3).

However, I'm not sure how to install Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger) since it comes on a DVD, but this iMac doesn't have a DVD drive. The original owner said something about how they put Tiger on an iPod to install it, but didn't remember the details. I could probably scrounge up an iPod if I need to, but I'd also be interested to know if there are other ways to install Tiger on a Mac without a DVD drive.

  • Do you have access to another Mac with a DVD drive?
    – Monomeeth
    Dec 7 '16 at 6:12
  • @Monomeeth I can borrow one, although it would be running the latest version of OS X. Dec 7 '16 at 6:20
  • Is it really a good idea to have the stack overflow system to pick out random old posts and bump them to the top of the list as if they are brand new questions? This seems like a terrible system. So many comments to problems long since solved or abandoned.
    – l008com
    Oct 25 '18 at 12:31
  • @I008com Raise the issue on Meta if you think it should change. Oct 25 '18 at 13:36

If you are looking for old MacOS Versions you can go to the download site of https://developers.apple.com and get an old version of MacOS. I didn't see your particular 10.4 Version, but I did see 10.3.9 and 10.5 Leopard. The different downloads can be found here. You can download them to your desktop and install it.

  • I see no OS installers at all there - do you need to be a paid developer to see them? [I can see a lot of other things right back to Xcode 1, 2003]
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 11 '16 at 16:28
  • Go to downloads, then bottom of the page "view downloads", then again bottom of the page "view more downloads". Then you get a complete list of downloads. Uncheck everything except OSX. Then scroll down and item number 191 is OS X 10.3.9 and item number 186 is OS X 10.5.0. This should be the link to OS X 10.5.0. adcdownload.apple.com/Mac_OS_X/mac_os_x_v10.5_leopard_9a581/…
    – MacUserT
    Dec 12 '16 at 6:25
  • Nope - paid devs only. "Your Apple ID must be associated with a paid Apple Developer Program or Apple Developer Enterprise Program to access certain software downloads. You can download Xcode below or sign in with a different account."
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 12 '16 at 7:43
  • I'm sorry, then I'm out of options
    – MacUserT
    Dec 12 '16 at 10:50

You can get an 8 GB USB thumb drive. Format as APT/HFS+. Use Disk Utility on another Mac to image/restore the contents of the USB drive to the USB drive. Plug that drive in to the iMac and it should be bootable. It will be slow as all hell because it may only be USB1.1 depending on the age. But it should work given enough time.

Other alternatives including doing the same thing by partitioning the boot drive and using the extra partition volume. But on older Mac OS, you need to be booted off a different drive to cut up a drive, so that won't work for you.

You could also use a NetBoot server on another machine and boot the installer over ethernet. But I suspect that's not something you're set up for either.

I think that USB option is it. If it's a newer model G3 iMac, maybe it has FireWire. Using a FireWire drive would be much more bearable.


buy or loan an external DVD drive

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