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I recently acquired an iMac G3 (slot loader) and I am trying to install Mac OS 9.2.1 on it. OS installer seems to boot to Mac OS just fine. The problem is when I try to run the installer, it doesn't detect any volumes (as if there's no hard drive). Disk utilities also don't detect a hard drive.

I opened up the mac to check if there's a hard drive and there is. I also unplugged and firmly plugged back in the power and ribbon cables going into the hard drive. In addition, I removed the cmos battery for a minute, then placed it back in the slot where it should go.

I tried installing again after doing all of these things and the disk utilities and installer still don't detect the hard drive.

Do I need to replace the hard drive? Could something else be wrong?

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Try temporarily installing it in another computer, even if it's just to see if this loaner can see a hard drive. If not,I'd recommend a new drive, they're relatively inexpensive, and since you just acquired this iMac, you don't have any data on it to lose. If the loaner computer DOES see a hard drive, there's probably something else wrong. Make sure to totally unplug this Imac from the mains for a few minutes as well.

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    As the guy who runs one of the big mac abandonware sites says when anyone drops into the chat to ask for help getting a machine set up and working, once you've confirmed the drive is dead, spend $3 on Aliexpress for an IDE-SATA converter or get a BlueSCSI ($35-50 + SD Card) or whatever is appropriate for a given machine. They just work beautifully. Don't go for a native period drive. They're all old and prone to failure due to stuff like the lubricants congealing.
    – ssokolow
    Jun 28, 2023 at 11:23

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