Many years ago I was bequeathed an eMac. I believe it's a 1 GHz G4. It's been sitting around doing nothing for a long time, but now I need to install realMYST Mac edition, from 2002, and it's my best bet.

I was given three OS X install discs with the eMac: A 10.0 disc, an eMac Software Restore disc (that says it has Panther on it), and also a set of Panther upgrade discs. Unfortunately, the eMac refuses to boot from either the 10.0 disc or the Restore disc. It will boot from the Panther Upgrade disc, but I can't install it because the hard drive is blank and doesn't have a previous version of OS X on it!

Is there some file on the disc I could delete, some plist I could change or something, to make this installer not do the upgrade check? Or does anyone have any ideas on how to get it to boot from the restore disc?

EDIT to clarify:

The discs that the eMac won't boot from are in perfect condition and entirely readable by other Macs; the eMac simply won't boot from them. But it boots perfectly every single time from the Panther Upgrade disc. And the Panther Upgrade disc is way more scratched up (to the naked eye, anyway) than the others.

Apparently this eMac shipped with OS X 10.3 Panther. The restore discs claim to have Panther on them. But the eMac won't boot from the restore disc, even though it boots from the Panther Upgrade disc.

  • Have you another Mac you can check those CD's on? The drive on your eMac may be marginal after all this time. A freshly burnt copy of 10.0 or the restore CD might work, where the original disks failed. Apr 30, 2012 at 1:43
  • According to [MacTracker][1], a 1.0 GHz G4 eMac used an original OS of Mac OS X 10.3. Could it be that this disk did not come with this eMac? If so, perhaps the 10.0 disk doesn't include the needed drivers for this eMac. [1]: mactracker.ca Apr 30, 2012 at 3:59
  • I replied to y'all's comments via clarification in the post; forgive me if you were aware of this already, I just realized that the edit might not alert you in the same way as a direct comment reply. May 2, 2012 at 1:08

2 Answers 2


The restore disk will work on the old eMac, I remember working on those things, they looked as big and bulky as they really are.

The eMacs had two major issues with them.

  1. Sound card failed. It was a known issue, and Apple at the time if you had your cert, allowed you to repair them.
  2. The CD drive failed. Which it sounds like your may of, if you can read other CDs then it may be that the CDs that it came with either is not compatible with the machine or the firmware may of been updated, and caused the computer to no longer recognize the disks as compatible. Which sometimes was a known issue.

On a side note you never stated how you were attempting to get your computer into booting from the CD... there are multiple ways to try.

The easiest way to see if the disk are even being recognized as a boot disk is as the computer is starting to press and hold down the shift key while the computer is booting. Don't let go until the screen shows all drives that are bootable.

If your CDs are ever going to be recognizable it is going to be here.

Also, and I hate to say this, but make sure you have the correct CD in when you start up, otherwise I really can't guarantee you will ever see the CD.

You can also eject the CD from this screen as well, so if it doesn't show up, you should be able to eject the CD from there, and try other disk.

If this doesn't work, really your only other choice is getting a friend with an old computer and external HD case and install the OS on the drive.

To get to the drive you need to unscrew the back, if I remember correctly they were still using star bits back then, #5 I believe. I may be wrong, but if you need help taking the computer apart ask, I may be able to still get the repair guide for the eMac and tell you how to fix any issues hardware wise you may have with it.


You are in a bit of a pickle, but not one you can't escape. :)

  • If you have another ancient Mac, you could use probably use target disk mode (hold T when booting) to install a version of Mac OS X on it.
  • If you don't have another Mac, take the 10.3 Restore disc to a local video store and pay a few dollars for it to be resurfaced. You'd be surprised how bad a CD can look before and still work after. I recommend this over the other approaches, because the Restore CD probably contains software you won't be able to get any other way. (Of course, don't read this as a guarantee that the 10.3 CD will work when resurfaced, but I think it's a good bet.)
  • Failing that, you should try to get a Retail 10.3 or 10.4 (Tiger) CD. I think you'd want to upgrade to Tiger anyway on this system.

A few more notes, assuming your eMac is really 1GHz (it's definitely a G4, they all are):

  • Your eMac requires a special build of 10.2. You should be able to use a 10.3 or 10.4 retail CD, but you're not going to be able to use a 10.2 retail CD. That 10.0 CD? I don't think any eMac will boot off a 10.0 CD.
  • If the eMac is faster than 1GHz, it may require a special build of 10.3 and you won't be able to use a retail 10.3 CD.

Personally, I found 10.4 the best version of Mac OS X for running Classic Mac apps. So if you can't get the restore CD to work (or even if you can), it's worth keeping an eye open for a 10.4 Retail CD.

See also:

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .