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G4 PCI Powermac: Start-up hangs at "Waiting for Local Disks"

Posted on 2004-10-12
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I have a G4 PCI 350 mhz PowerMac running OSX and also Classic.  My roommate was using it when it began acting "strange" (couldn't find files he knew existed), so he rebooted, but it got to "Waiting for Local Disks" (progress bar about 3/4 full) and hung up.  Hours later, still nothing.  I have run Norton Disk Doctor after booting from the Norton disk, and found a few Catalog B Tree problems, which were partially fixed by Norton.  I also reset the PRAM, but nothing.  I cannot boot from the system install disk, as it freezes up during the early stages of the installation - when it asks me to choose a start-up disk, no disk shows up to choose.  I am able to boot from the Norton disk and connect to my external Firewire drive to backup files that are on the G4 - so it's reading the hard drive.  But just won't start up normally.  I cannot find anything online about this.  Any ideas?
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Question by:ariellebw
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by:weed
ID: 12292966
What version of OS X? Which install disk are you booting from?
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by:jonkreisler
ID: 12297184
Sounds like the disk may be dying. If it does not spin up fully within a reasonable timeframe, the Mac gives up on it.
I would suggest making sure you have a backup of everything. You may need to replace the boot drive.
Since you can boot from some CDs and read the problem disk, I suspect the problem is the disk itself. (Although not being able to boot from a bootable CD does sound troubling.)
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by:ariellebw
ID: 12297621
I am using OSX 2.2.8.  I was booting from the OSX 2.2.5 disk.  However, I found something on the Apple support site about resetting the logic board by removing the battery for 10 minutes.  I did this and nothing seemed changed.  But then I booted from the Norton disk again to try backing up more files.  I then reset my hard drive as the start-up disk (aparently the start-up disk choice is erased by the logic board reset) and was then able to clean restart, from my hard drive, and it actually worked.  I finished backing up things and then restarted again - no problems.  I was able to work normally after that.  I thought maybe the battery was dying, but the time is accurate even after being shut down for a while.  So I guess I'm wondering if this is something (like a dying disk) that is likely to keep happenning.  I replaced my hard drive only a year ago, so it should be okay, I think.  Could it still be the battery?  Or just a random file corruption caused by it freezing in the middle of several tasks (buring CD, printing, etc) that my roommate was doing when it crashed originally?
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by:jonkreisler
jonkreisler earned 50 total points
ID: 12298363
Replacing the battery is an easy solution and less costly than a new hard disk.
The battery is lithium 3.6 v 1/2 AA.
I would still recommend a strict regimen of regular backups and keep an eye on the hard disk.
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by:kellymcgowan
ID: 12303078
How many drives are in your machine?  and do you know if they are ATA or scsi or both (if more than one)?

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by:ariellebw
ID: 12303129
I just have one drive - I put it in about 1 year ago, and it is an 80GB ATA (100, I believe?), Maxtor brand.
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idarmadi earned 200 total points
ID: 12304862
Ariel,

Try booting from OSX Install disc that you have.  When it enter "installation window" select Disc Utility from the menu.  Try *repair* your hard disk from Disk Utility SEVERAL TIME.  While you're here, do the *repair permission*, several time too.

If you have to resort to third party utility, I much recommended Tech Tool Pro over Norton Utilities.  NU in PC is good, older NU for classic Mac is okay, NU for OSX is not recommended (at least by me).

Good luck.
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