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New hard drive - how to format when boot option doesn't work?

I purchased a replacement HD for this computer and installed it today. I am unable to start with the boot option (option key down) or from the original installation disks for the iMac.

Holding the Option key down on startup does not display the boot option menu. A blue screen is all I get with two small rectangle buttons - one with a refresh and the other with a forward arrow. Clicking either produces no results.

Attempting to start from Installation Disk 1 or Disk 2 does not work as neither appears to have a proper system folder.

All of my Macs are much newer than this one and the CD's will not load in those.

I appreciate any ideas or suggestions on how to create a startup disk/volume that I can use to format the new drive and then install the OS.

Thank you

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Only the OEM CD/DVD will boot that machine, unless you can put a boot system on an external drive, or Target boot and connect one of your other Mac's running < 10.5.8. (The last rev of X that machine can use).

Sample image of install[ disk.

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Thanks for the reply Machead3. I guess I'm missing something. I'm not clear what qualifies as OEM CD/DVD. This is the set of Apple CD/DVDs that came with the machine. They are gray in color and I've read on some lists they must be black to be a startup disk. I'm not sure about that. Do you know any more about this? I have an older Mini that is not connected to anything. I'll check the OS on that, perhaps it is old enough to allow startup via Firewire?


The Gray disks generally had one disk that was the OS install, (maybe a second disk with applications) and/or test-diagnostic tools. I have never heard that the OEM disk was black (one flavor of X came on a black disk) .


10.3 came on black disks. Please give us the part number on your disks.


Disks that came with iMac are gray. OS X 10.4.2, AHT version2.5.3, Disk version 1.1, 2Z691-5669-A.

I also have Mac OSX Leopard, Install DVD, version 10.5, 2Z691-6037-A.

I have tried to start the iMac with the Leopard disk [which should be a version that will install on this G5 iMac], but the disc ejects after a search period. The old Mac system folder with a blinking question mark in center displays - requesting an OS.

The option key held down for boot option does not work on the iMac. When this is tried, I see the blue screen with two rectangles described in my first message.


I have ordered a 16GB USB stick drive which I hope to set up with a Leopard OS and utilities and then use that as the start up disk for the iMac so that I can format the new drive.

Another option I have is the older Mini [circa 2006]. Its OS is Leopard (I have a note on it not to upgrade to Snow Leopard as certain apps on it won't run.) It is not in use - just a historical standby in case I ever needed to look at those apps. The plan I have here is to connect it to monitor, keyboard and mouse, then start it and then see if I can terminal to the iMac with Firewire.

Thought I'd try the stick drive first, but maybe the older Mini is a better option?

Thanks for your assistance.


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Your G5 processor limits the operating system you can use. This machine will only upgrade to 10.5.8. Higher systems than that require an intel processor.

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Thanks, Mayer. That's what I thought. Leopard is 10.5.8 so it should work if I can find a way to start the computer. At this point, I'm not even sure the hard drive I installed is working. I'm just assuming it does and is formatted wrong. The blue screen with strange rectangles is very un-Mac like, so that adds to my assumption. I would think the boot option is accessing ROM(??) but since it doesn't work, I'm not sure what the problem is. I won't be able to work on this again until Sunday, but I appreciate all the responses I've received. They are all helpful.


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