OS X Panther on iMAC model 5521 will not log in - need data recovery

First of all I can spell iMac, that's about it...

A friend handed me his Blue iMac model # 5521 (I think thats a G3).
It had 1 dimm 512Mb Ram 1 dimm 128Mb
I removed the 128 stick to get rid of a mis-match if that was the cause.

Here is the issue

Takes about 3 minutes to get to the log in screen
Enter his user ID and password
Click Continue
Waited overnight and its still not logged in.

All I want to do is recover the data so he can wipe the OS and start over.

Here is what I would like to try.
Boot to a Live Linux CD (Ubuntu for PPC).

How do I get it to boot to the CD?
If you know a better way...

Points to whoever give the best way that works to get data from drive...
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To boot up from the CD, hold down the key 'c' while power up.  If you have firewire on the iMac and you have another iMac whichever Mac with firewire, you can do firewire diskmode.  Connect a firewire cable between the two Macs, boot up the good Mac, then hold on the 't' key while booting up the faulty Mac.  The harddrive of the faulty Mac will appear as a disk on the good Mac.  You can then copy the files out.
cpctechAuthor Commented:
what about to a PC via USB?
I dont think any have firewire in them (never looked)

I have at my disposal
Win XP
Win 2k
2003 server
HI cpctech, PC is no good :( sorry.
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cpctechAuthor Commented:
any other suggestions?
Calling my contacts to see who has a Mac...
Firewire disk mode is probably the best way to go (if your faulty iMac has a firewire port).  Otherwise, try Ubuntu PPC.  You can also reinstall the system using archive and install, make sure that you select "preserve user and network setting",  it "SHOULD" keep the old data.  However, I would try firewire disk mode or Ubuntu first before going down that path.

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btw, you should also try to do a disk repair by booting up from the original panther CD (holding down the 'c') key to see if it will fix the problem.
cpctechAuthor Commented:
will try both sylong
cpctechAuthor Commented:
Thanks sylong,
I actually had to pull the HD and place it in a XP box of all things and use norton ghost on it.

I awarded the points based on your advice, will need to go by a Mac just to have one for this kind of mess in the future...

Thanks for the help
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