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15 inch "Desk Lamp" iMac G4 700MHz M6498 PowerMac 4,2

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Retrieve data without logging in (iMac G4)

Howdy. I am unable to log in to my family’s old iMac G4 for reasons outlined here: Accounts pane does not appear (iMac G4). I am considering factory resetting the computer so that I can log in with a brand new account (hopefully that will work) but I don’t want to lose all of the precious files in the process (all our old photos, music, etc.).

Before I factory reset, is there a way to transfer our old files from the G4 onto a newer computer / external hard drive without being able to actually log in? I am considering getting a Firewire > Thunderbolt adapter to connect to my 2015 MacBook Pro but I don’t know if I’ll be able to actually transfer files without logging into the G4.

Any tips would be appreciated!

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It should be possible to connect it to your MacBook and see it as an external drive if you have target mode boot option, no login required ("Target Disk Mode is useful for accessing the contents of a Mac which cannot be booted from its own operating system"). After that, you could also run Disk Utility and such to try repairing the drive

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