The iMac G3 is, to my nostalgic eyes, the most beautiful computer ever designed. So when I saw one lying there at the dump I had to take it, to see if it would boot. It did. It hadn’t been used since ’06 and was slightly beat up. I took pictures while restoring it, but much of this post is from memory.
When I found the machine it was booting OSX, and absolutely dog slow. It’s crazy how much faster SSDs have made computing; we used to wait. I posted on /r/vintageapple and got tons of help picking a hard drive replacement. Of course I found out that you pretty much need a working disc drive to boot one of these things, so I picked one of those up on ebay.
In order to get the thing apart you need to first remove the plastic on the bottom, then remove the EMI shield which is a metallic mesh under the plastic. It requires some finicky movements and faith that it’s not all going to fall apart on you. Also screws will try to get lost, so be careful about that. I was able to recover all of the screws once I removed the drive cage; I even had some extra!
Once the thing was put back together with a new hard drive and disc drive, I installed OS9Lives’s version of OS9 from a burned CD. I was then able to load games on via a USB key!