After seeing some “too good to be true” offers at BestBuy, I decided to make my little iMac a server on a grand scale. I bought a 120 gig drive and a Verbatim 52x24x52 CD-RW from BestBuy for $95 (after $150 of rebates) and set home to install my new booty.
First of all, you have to understand the condition of poor Chani (the green iMac). Chani has been opened so many times that the plastic has been practically torn to pieces, so the whole chassis is “wobbly” at best. To get access to all of the ports on the iMac, I had to take the underside off, and now the fan doesn’t exactly blow air into the monitor. Oh well. Note that this is not a slight on Apple’s part; I have basically taken a sledge to the thing and it keeps on ticking. My old CTX POS x86 box (The one I threw out the window, Foz) didn’t take half the crap that I have put li’l Chani through.
Anyhow, so after making sure that the Verbatim CD-RW worked in OSX (Toast Titanium, not the finder or iTunes… but that’s OK since I am only going to use it as a backup device), and that the Western Digital 120 gig drive was not DOA and recognizable by the iMac, I was able to start the process.
The first problem was one that I had run into a long time ago and had forgotten about. You see, the one problem with Chani, and one of the main reasons I have had my hands in her guts so often, is that her CD-R stopped working some time ago. After the 3rd RAM upgrade, I think I broke something and it has never worked the same since. The iMac internals have one normal IDE controller and one laptop CD-R controller.
Therefore, I had to get an extra-long IDE cable and a set of “Y” power cables and string the CD-RW and hard drive *outside* the chassis of the iMac, on the left side opposite the various plugins. The IDE controller is now full-up and the laptop CD-R controller is empty, mostly because I don’t have an extra laptop CD-R and also because I don’t know if it works anymore.
Anyhow, the aforementioned problem was that the iMac will only try to get a system folder from the primary drive. In other words, only the primary-master drive is actually bootable. Not a bad assumption on Apple’s part, just highly annoying to me because now whenever I install an OS, I have to make the CD-R a master and the HD a slave, boot from a bootable OS disk, and then install on the slaved HD. Also, note that the first partition of a large disk has to be 8 gig or less (to be safe I made mine 7.5 gigs). Alan, no one else seems to have these two tips on the web, so this could be very important for you!
The other caveat is that I don’t have a full Jaguar disk. I have a 10.0 disk, the 10.1 upgrade, and the 10.2 upgrade (that upgrades only from 10.1 to 10.2, *not* from 10.0 to 10.2). Thus, I was highly peeved when I found out that I had scratched the 10.0 disk and the old Creative 52x CD-R that I had previous to the Verbatim CD-RW would not read it.
Several hours and a lot of cursing later two Good Things happened.
First, I discovered Carbon Copy Cloner, which is basically Ghost for the Mac, with several added bonuses, one of which is that you can copy disks “live”, when they are mounted in the OS (instead of having to go outside the OS to get to it). There are other way cool features, like making images, creating boot disks, doing netinstalls, and a lot of other things that I will never use but it is nice to know exist (and are so easy) in the Mac world. Also, it means that no matter what happens on the install/upgrade right now, I can always go back to a known working state.
The second discovery was that the Verbatim drive actually reads the 10.0 disk, meaning that I was able to get the basic OS on the disk, and am doing the various upgrades.
So I have done a clean install of 10.0 and 10.1, and the 10.2 upgrade did not allow for a clean install option. It looks like there are a gazillion localization files, so since I don’t speak Chinese, Swahili, or Uzbekistani, I think I am going to use deLocalizer and see if that works.
Also, it is amazing the speed increase between the 24x CD-R and 5400(?) RPM Hard Drive that came standard and the 52x CD-RW and 7200 RPM HD that I installed. I remember the 10.0 installation taking forever, and the 10.1 update being equally sluggish. Now, I have gone through the latter 1/2 of the 10.0 install, the whole 10.1 install, and most of the 10.2 install just while I wrote this entry (30-40 minutes thus far). I may have spoken too soon, though, as the current upgrade to 10.2 is saying one hour, 2 minutes for the rest of the 10.2 install…. hmmmm…
So there ya go folks, one happy iMac owner who has successfully upgraded his machine. Next is to put all of the guts into an ATX case care of a little power-line mod, and then the case modifications themselves!