Forgot Your Firmware Update? No Problem

For those of you reading TAB on a G3 iMac, be assured that we sympathise with your plight. This contributor himself was stuck on a Wallstreet 266 for a week earlier this month while Apple replaced a bad TiBook. Many of you may have been affected by — or put off upgrading to Mac OS X because of — the nearly forgotten dead-screen problem. For those of you who have forgotten the problem, here’s a brief synopsis:

Mac OS 9 didn’t much care what firmware version your iMac was running, and a lot of users either didn’t know there were firmware updates available, or didn’t install them for whatever reason. Mac OS X, on the other hand, required the latest firmware update in order to run properly, and if the firmware wasn’t up-to-date, installing Mac OS X on the iMac would result in an iMac with no internal display. Connecting a monitor to the VGA port worked in the case of the iMac DV models, but it didn’t help users with earlier iMacs, and it required extra hardware that the user likely didn’t have. The end result of all this was that a lot of people ended up with unusable iMacs that they weren’t able to fix themselves.

No longer.

“Poenn” has posted a very simple workaround for the problem on Mac OS X Hints.

Start up the screen-dead iMac, let it boot into OS 9, and wait until the Finder has loaded — you can guess that pretty well by the sound of the HD. Then push the On/Off button to put the iMac to sleep. When the green LED turns to a blinking orange, your iMac is asleep. Then wake it up with a keystroke on your keyboard and (presto!) you have your screen back!

Be aware that the display only will work until your next reboot/shutdown, so now would be a good time to run the Firmware Updater! After the update, the iMac will boot once more with a dead screen (as stated above), but after another shutdown, it will be alive again from then on.

This will be welcome news to anyone in the keep-’em-running-until-they’re-dead school of thought. There’s no real reason to toss these useful machines just yet.

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