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Formatting drive of a powerbook G4 using CD of OS X for G5 and then re-installing OS X

Posted on 2009-03-29
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Last Modified: 2013-12-27
I have a Powerbook G4 15 inch model.
The password for the SINGLE ADMIN  user that was created at time OS 10.4.9 was installed is rejected.
Attempts to RESET a Password were not working since the CD I have does not bring you to that prompt.
Is there a way to format the drive of this Powerbook G4 which I do not have the original OS CD's ?
1. if yes, how
2. Will the OS X for G5 can be then used to re-install the OS on the Powerbook.

While this clearly is a dumb approach but I am not finding anyone who can respond effectively and do not want to spend 150.00 for an OS that I actually do not need. Currently the Powerbook G4 is configured with Auto-Login and all is working fine

Thansk for any help anyone can provide ????!!!!
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Question by:jfk1959
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by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 24016550
You don't need the CD to reset the password .. you can boot in single user mode and reset the password as follows, see the section on changing the Admin passwordhttp://www.macshadows.com/kb/index.php?title=Gain_Admin_Control_of_Mac_OS_XOnce you've reset the password you'll have more control of the G4.If you have a generic OSX installation CD and it is one that will work for PPC processors you can boot from the CD (hold down the C key at startup with the CD inserted) and it will boot and allow you to reformat the Hard Drive and install OSX again.However it appears you have an OSX installation CD that came with a G5 Mac.  The problem is that drivers and other elements of OSX that may be needed for your G4 may not be included on the G5 installation CD.   I would not recommend using an installation CD that came with a newer Mac to install OSX on the G4.You have 2 choices.1. Once you've reset the password on the G4 and all is working OK... create a new user if you want and login as this new user.  New user accounts have almost all the benefits of reformatting the Mac as you'll have no junk files and preferences etc associated with this new account.2. BACKUP the G4 to a disk image on an external USB drive using Carbon Copy Cloner or a similar application and then have a go at using the G5 installation CD.  If it fails you can restore your disk image and revert to option 1.As OSX 10.6 is due in a few months and OSX 10.4 Tiger is pretty much at the end of the line, it should be possible to pick up a generic installation CD for OSX 10.4 Tiger on eBay or Craigslist for a few $$ and not the $150 you mention.
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by:jfk1959
ID: 24407944
1. I already tried that before.
2. When doing that (booting while holding Apple Key & S together:
I get .... black screen with .................................... Localhost:/ root#
upon entering of the command ........ fsck -y and pressing either one of the Enter Keys I have on this laptop ... nothing happaned.... I can keep on typing or sit on the key but it will not do a thing.... either key are working perfectly when you boot up the OS normally, connect it to the network, and same ENTER keys are used when promted to restart the Powerbook G4, so the Enter Key do not have any mechanical issues, but when booting to this mode they cerase to work somehow.
Please do NOT close the case, in hope that someone may be able to figure it out and get me a solution that actually work and resolve the problem.
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Author Comment

by:jfk1959
ID: 24407948

1. I already tried that before.

2. When doing that (booting while holding Apple Key & S together:
I get .... black screen with .................................... Localhost:/ root#
upon entering of the command ........ fsck -y and pressing either one of the Enter Keys I have on this laptop ... nothing happaned.... I can keep on typing or sit on the key but it will not do a thing.... either key are working perfectly when you boot up the OS normally, connect it to the network, and same ENTER keys are used when promted to restart the Powerbook G4, so the Enter Key do not have any mechanical issues, but when booting to this mode they cerase to work somehow.

3. Please do NOT close the case, in hope that someone may be able to figure it out and get me a solution that actually work and resolve the problem.
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 24409607
If you'd told us sooner we could have advised you ..

The fsck command is a file system check and a precaution before performing any administrative tasks .. but it can be ignored if you're just resetting the password

1. Boot in Single user mode
At the shell prompt enter the following commands

mount -uaw /

sh /etc/rc

passwd yourusername
*it will prompt you to enter a new password

reboot
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Author Comment

by:jfk1959
ID: 24416528
Dear Mr. eoinosullivan:
I again booted to single user ode, by holding together Apple Key and the "S" Key (S as in Sam, Summer, Symbol or Salute). At Localhost:/ root#    I entered as you suggested the command        mount -uaw /                    the command is clearly displayed on the screen but regardless if pressing the ENTER KEY (The One on the right side of the keyboard - right above the shift key, or when pressing the ENTER KEY (The one to the right of Apple Key and to the left of the Home/left Harrow Key) nothing happaned as well.
Since both enter key have been tested and are known to be good when creating text file and they have no issue in moving you to the next line upon a single press on them, it looks to me as I said before, something is causing them to become disable once I boot with either Apple Key and C, or with Apple Key and S.
I also tried to press Apply Key and Enter Key, (Not that I think it will do anything)  but nothing get processed. The command remain displayed on the screen and if you press delete key, it is being removed as it should one character at the time. One other think I noticed is that my Cap Lock Key is also become disable when booting like that.
Also, everytime I have tried to boot as described ago to this shell, I could not shut down the laptop, and had to hold the Power Button for about 10 seconds to do a Shutdown. Is it possible that these manuver had fuc%$#@ up my keyboard when going to this single user mode ?
I also booted to the GUI and launched in System preferences the Item keyboards, it allows me to test the keyboard so I typed 3 words and upon pressing of the ENTER KEY, the 3 words became highlighted, which indicate that the key works fine....
Could you be so kind and look up your arsenal of tricks, shticks or anything lese, and let me know what can be done ?
Other than that, this Powerbook G4 works fine and does all that I need it to do, including networking, running application, web surfing, email, wireless connectivity etc.
I do not know what more to write or say, so I guess I will wait for your follow up if you see something else I could do.
Thanks for your time and effort in looking to this issue, truly,
Jacob Kaufman
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Accepted Solution

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Eoin OSullivan earned 500 total points
ID: 24416745
JK. Can you get your hands on a USB keyboard? It may give you a working ENTER key
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Author Comment

by:jfk1959
ID: 24418308

Dear Mr. eoinosullivan:

Believe it or not it turn up to be bad ENTER Keys, which leaves me totally buffled by that. Both ENTER KEYS have been working in the GUI mode of this Powerbook G4, and have been tested 3 times including if they work when typing clear text memo, and they did with no single failure.

Needless to say I followed the steps your provided in the link and was prompted upon bootup to enter some info and then go to the stage of creating a new user and a password... I was then able to RESET the Password for the old user including input of Hints and all is well..... under the Moon and the Sun.

I Also, completed update of the OS to 10.4.11, which is what my client wanted all along.
I am supporting Windows and Novell Environments, and never before have I seen an laptop keys doing what this Powerbook G4 have done. So I guess when I hear next time about wierd things with Mac OS, I will have to agree only.

Thank you again, for your efforts and have a wondeful week.
Very truly,

Jacob Kaufman
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Author Closing Comment

by:jfk1959
ID: 31564162
I tip my hat to Mr. eoinosullivan!!
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