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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

OS 10.3 - Reformatting used Mac G4

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Member Since: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 2
MacSwitch is on a distinguished road

MacSwitch is offline
Hello all! First, thank you for being here. As a new mac user, it's very comforting to see all the wonderful people willing to help!

My husband and I recently received a used Mac G4. We've never owned a Mac before, and we are the only people we know that now own a Mac. We've wanted one for years but could never justify the cost without knowing for sure that we would like it. We've both used Mac computers many years ago (early 90's), so we thought we would. (2 of my brothers are network managers so we always have had instant tech support for our pc.) Anyway, this G4 is great and we've already noticed a difference from using a pc. But now we want to make some changes, and we're not sure how.

First, here's what we have:

Power Mac
450 MHz PowerPC G4
128 GB hard drive (55 Gb available)

The guy we got this from made alot of movies and stuff (I think for school). We're running OS 10.3.9, but the disks he gave us with the computer are for 10.2.1. There's alot of software on this computer that we won't probably use (movie making stuff), so we could get rid of it. But we also would like to clean the whole computer off and start new. We'd like to erase every sign of a previous owner. We want it to be Ours!

So, I was going to just reformat. Since we just started using it, we really don't have anything to backup. Although, I'm not sure what software came with the computer and what he added, so that makes me a little nervous.

I'm not sure what the best course of action would be. I only have operating disks for 10.2.1. So I don't want to wipe out the system. But I do want to reset the Computer Name. If I have to purchase a new operating system, I'll just go buy the newest one I can for a G4 (I think it's OS 10.4, but I'm not sure). If I can put that off for a bit, I'd like to.

Eventually, we'll give this computer to my teenage daughter and buy a brand new Mac, but we can't do that yet. So I'm trying to make this computer a little more enjoyable for us.

It runs a little slow sometimes. Can't hardly watch videos online. Mostly we just use it to surf the web, email and listen to music. We'd like it be faster, if possible. I thought maybe all the software on the hard drive is slowing it down.

I guess I just need some advice. I also noticed some documentation on upgrading firmware and I have no idea if I need to do that or not.

Any help would be appreciated!
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Member Since: Jan 27, 2008
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Mac Specs: iMac 17" 1Ghz G4  iPhone 3G  10.5.5

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If this is the model you have, you can upgrade to 10.4 (Tiger) Using Software update, you can get it to 10.4.11
You can also upgrade the ram to 2 GB max. (4x512mb) That will help with performance.
For now, if you haven't already, create a new account for you and your husband and delete the previous owners account. That should help cleaning it up a little. You really wouldn't want to downgrade back to 10.2 (Jaguar) as Panther (10.3) has a lot more features and stability. When you can, I would upgrade to Tiger. I would also focus on upgrading the ram first, as it will help the most. It looks as you have enough HD space (55GB) for now as well.

Check these sites for pricing and comparison.
Memory Upgrades for your Apple PowerMac G4 AGP Graphics "Sawtooth" 450MHz (1999) at
Crucial Memory Upgrades for Macs - Apple Memory - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, Digital Cameras and more!

Check here for available firmware updates.

When all else fails, try everything!
The Rep System and you.
Life's a joke...If you're not laughing, then you didn't get it.

June 2008

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Member Since: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 2
MacSwitch is on a distinguished road

MacSwitch is offline

Thank you for your quick response. I'm going to do the things you suggested, and see how it goes. Thanks!!
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