We had a G5 serving most of our business needs, and low and behold it died one weekend after running tests extensibly for 48 hrs on full use. This large amount of heat caused by this busted one capacitor on the motherboard left of the word “G5.” (later on, more of them gave way)
Needless to say we had an old 733Mhz G4, yes, running Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) and slapped it on the desk where the old iMac was slain. We popped in the backup drive, and opened up the “Migration Assistant.” It then asked for Time Machine backup location, and began copying over the data.
This included anything and everything (hoyotoyo) and and made it just seem like all of our files were just some tv program we plugged into the back of our computer. After logging into the copied-over account: WALLAH ! All files are back where we wanted them. Applications, you name it.
UPDATE: iMac has been re-capped by Ron’s TV, a guy with a great understanding for electronics in town with resources greater then many bigger cities, and as per this re-capping tutorial it’s entirely possible with the right soldering gun. Your average cheap 10 dollar gun will make the job super hard. The issue that we ran into was the tri-layer+ board which had large units of solder that spread the heat viciously. Not being able to focus the heat as easily was a pain in the butt. With patience, it is entirely possible.