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Powerbook G4 wont boot

Hi,

My old G4 Powerbook wont boot, it just sticks at the spinning grey wheel.

Can get into single user mode, and have tried fsck which says the volume appears to be ok. Can't get into safe mode, and booting from the install disk comes up with "panic: We are hanging here... " and instructs reboot.

Any ideas?



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jns_johnson
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jns_johnson
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5 Solutions
 
mccrickCommented:
What are you using for a boot disk? Tiger (10.4) would be the best. What speed is your computer?

You might have a bad logic board or bad memory. You could have a bad Boot disk or you might have an incompatible boot disk. You could also have a corrupt/broken OS on your hard drive and a bad optical drive.

Things to try.

Try restarting with Shift key down (Safe Mode)

Use an external DVD drive or another Mac booted in target disk mode with your current boot disk

Try another (known working) boot disk. It should be a retail version of Tiger. Other boot disks, such as those which came with a different Mac are usually incompatible, although they should display a message stating such, not, the message you got.

Disk Warrior can really help with those older machines if it is software corruption.

As far as I'm concerned, the only way to solve this type of problem is to apply the possible solutions until one fixes the problem. If you don't have the tools or resources, you gotta take it in to a pro.

A few other tips included here like reseting PRAM here:
http://www.cultofmac.com/how-to-fix-common-mac-startup-problems-macrx/50685
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jns_johnsonAuthor Commented:
Actually can't find the boot disk that came with it, tried using one that came with a power mac g5. Also tried with a firewire dvd drive but same "panic:" thing.

What's the best way of finding which OS is installed, and the computer speed etc?

Safe mode wont work.

Thanks for your help.

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strungCommented:
Generally speaking, Macs won't boot from an OEM disk from another model Mac. You need a full retail install CD if you don't have the OEM disk that came with your computer.

Try resetting the PMU:  http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1431

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mccrickCommented:
That's good. Sounds like you simply need to reinstall the OS using the right disk. It doesn't matter too much what is on there unless you had already upgraded to 10.5 and you want to take my advice and put 10.4 on there. Since you don't know which OS you have, you probably have 10.3 or 10.4; either way 10.4 would be much better. Get that disk and you will likely be able to do an ARCHIVE install which will get you back on your feet.
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njxbeanCommented:
Or, if you have access to another mac, you could put it into Target disk mode and reinstall the OS that way.  
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nappy_dCommented:
could be a number of issues but generally when this happens here are my troubleshooting steps:
- reboot and hold CMD+S until a command prompt on a black screen appears
- at the command prompt, type without the quotes "fsck -fy" then press the return key
- if and when the process completes, type "reboot" and press the return key
- as the boot starts, immediately hold "CMD+V"  this will show the kernel boot process
- during this boot process if any errors occur or the process hangs, grab a screenshot with a digital camera or mobile phone and post the error from verbose boot.
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jns_johnsonAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the comments.

Resetting the PMU has not seemed to have helped.

I have connected to a G5 as target mode and backed up most of what I need to, ran disk utility also.

Also tried Disk Warrior which said it had repaired some stuff but still gets stuck on the grey wheel when booting (left it on for 12 hours last night).

Verbose shows its getting stuck here:

Macintosh /System/Library/CoreServices/loginwindow.app/Contents/MacOS/loginwindow:
Login Window Application Started
INIT_Processeses(), could not establish the default connection to the WindowServer.Apr


The above just keeps coming up every few seconds (with a new date and time), has been doing so for over 30 minutes. Photo attached

Typing sw_vers -productVersion in single user mode shows: 10.4.11
Is there any point trying this?: http://download.cnet.com/Apple-Mac-OS-X-Tiger/3000-18513_4-10203618.html

Thanks again for the advice.


IMG00106-20110502-1258.jpg
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njxbeanCommented:
Download 10.4.11(from the apple website) and install that via target disk mode.  Then see if that allows you to boot.
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jns_johnsonAuthor Commented:
Have downloaded the 10.4.11 update (ppc) from apple, tried mounting it on the G5 then restarting in target mode, powerbook connected (held down option startup) but nothing other than powerbook HD appears as boot drive.

Also tried buring the update to CD and again looking for it as a boot option but not there.

How do i install via target disk mode?

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njxbeanCommented:
See the link i posted previously for instructions.  Its for a DVD, but the concept is the same.  Basically, just run the installer on the g5 and when prompted choose to install the update on the Powerbook HD.

You dont need to book with a CD to install the update on your powerbook from your g5.
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strungCommented:
The 10.4.11 updates is only an update, not a full  OS. It won't likely help.

If disk warrior won't finish, the problem is likely your drive.

At the least, what you probably need to do at this point, assuming you have recovered all your data, is to reformat the drive and install a fresh operating system from a full retail install CD.

You may in fact have to replace the drive altogether.

Start the G4 in target disk mode, then open Disk Utility on the G5. Does Disk Utility now see the G4 drive? If it does, what does it say the S.M.A.R.T. status is? If it is anything but "verified", your G4 drive is toast.

If it does show "verified", run "Verify Disk" and see what errors you get and report back. You could also try "repair disk", although if Disk Warrior does not repair the drive, it is unlikely that Disk Utility will.
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jns_johnsonAuthor Commented:
Ahh of course, I was doing it the wrong way round (thanks njxbean!). I will try and install the update now and see what happens.

DiskWarrior will finish and replace but it does not boot after, likewise with Disk Utility - no problems found, "The volume appers to be OK.", but the S.M.A.R.T status is "Not Supported"

Is there any possibility it could be a dead battery that is stopping it from booting?
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strungCommented:
I guess S.M.A.R.T. only works for internal drives.

Try booting with the battery removed altogether.
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strungCommented:
Also, if you are going to try the 10.4.11 update, make sure it is the COMBO updater that you are using:  http://support.apple.com/downloads/Mac_OS_X_10_4_11_Combo_Update__PPC_

not the incremental update.
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jns_johnsonAuthor Commented:
Thanks strung,

I have tried removing the battery and the COMBO update but still not booting.

Realistically how long should I be leaving the spinning wheel before restarting, is 15 minutes long enough to assume it has got stuck?
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mccrickCommented:
I'm reposting what I typed earlier. It really is the next thing that you should be doing. All this other stuff is what I call the pigeon dance.

"Try another (known working) boot disk. It should be a retail version of Tiger. Other boot disks, such as those which came with a different Mac are usually incompatible, although they should display a message stating such, not, the message you got."

This has nothing to do with the updater. You use the updater once the OS is installed and everything is working.

Yes you may have a bad hard drive. Probably not. Probably not a bad logic board. Probably not a bad DVD drive. But you do need a full retail copy of the OS that is known to work with your model computer. If the known good installer fails then you try the Firewire trick to get around bad DVD. Depending on the way that fails, you look at  replacing HD. Logic board probably not worth doing if it comes to that.

I think you've covered all the quick and easy niggly bits. PRAM, PMU, etc. Now it's time for the real fix.
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jns_johnsonAuthor Commented:
Ok, thanks mccrick.

I have looked everywhere and cant find the OS disk that came with it. Where would I get a replacement?
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strungCommented:
I believe if you call Apple, you can get replacement OEM disks sent to you.
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njxbeanCommented:
call the Apple Store and ask for an operating system specialist. Have your computer's serial number at hand. They must have it to determine if they have the proper disk set in stock. If they have it, there is normally a nominal fee of about US$30 for the service.
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mccrickCommented:
the retail cost is about $150. In my opinion (depending on which model G4 you have) you have already paid for the license and should not need to pay for it again. You may try calling Apple for a replacement disk, but they might want to charge you just to discuss it. In a fair universe, you would pay them $10 for a replacement of the disk that came with your computer. You don't really want it though if it's 10.3.

Frankly I would carry the thing into an Apple store and they might just take care of it for you. If that is not an option, I would hop on craigslist and see if someone has a retail version of 10.4 or the original disk for YOUR machine. Happy hunting.
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mccrickCommented:
what njxbean said sounds good, i was typing my post when that one came in, not trying to contradict.
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strungCommented:
Also E-bay. But be very careful to make sure you are buying a full retail 10.4, and not an OEM disk. http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=os+10.4&_sacat=See-All-Categories
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jns_johnsonAuthor Commented:
Ok thanks guys,

I just tried what is supposedly a 10.4 Install DVD on an External DVD drive and it comes up with a diagram about batteries (photo attached), no explanation and not entirely obvious what it wants.

Does anyone know what this means?

IMG00110-20110502-1637.jpg
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mccrickCommented:
that's saying that the computer does not see a mouse. If you have a wireless mouse, you would need to ad batteries. On a laptop, it could mean a bad trackpad. As a service part it's the keyboard and trackpad and it's not cheap. Plug an external mouse in to get around this for now.
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jns_johnsonAuthor Commented:
Thanks mccrick, USB mouse working (trackpad was wokring fine so maybe just an issue with this copy of 10.4) am now through to Install Mac OS X - if I choose Archive and install will it delete all my files? (think i have backed up but would like to double check).

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njxbeanCommented:
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1710

yes, but it saves alot of those files in a previous system folder just in case.    
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jns_johnsonAuthor Commented:
Ok, as there is only 700 mb left on the G4 HD would it be better to do an erase and fresh install?
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strungCommented:
Yes.
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njxbeanCommented:
i would recommend that.  Its better to start fully clean.  especially if you have a backup.
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strungCommented:
If you only had 700 MB left, that might well have caused your problem in the first place. Macs start acting up when the available free space on a drive falls below 15%.

You will need to do a serious clean-out.
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jns_johnsonAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone, I will double check the backup and do a fresh install.

@ strung, i think you may be right - last time it booted it did some updates and has not booted since.

is it worth deleting some stuff through target mode and trying to restart or is the damage done?

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njxbeanCommented:
Its probably just best to do a nice and clean installation.  its time.  :-)
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strungCommented:
To be on the safe side, you could try to use Carbon Copy Cloner and Target disk mode to clone the existing drive to an external USB or Firewire drive, or to second clean drive in the G5 before erasing.

Carbon Copy Cloner:  http://www.bombich.com
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jns_johnsonAuthor Commented:
After a few attempts at reinstalling I have finally got it working (after running the combo upgrade in target disk mode).

Many thanks to everyone who has helped, much appreciated.

Last thing, does anyone know if it would be worth putting Leopard on it? Tiger doesn’t even support Firefox or Flash updates anymore!
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jns_johnsonAuthor Commented:
Low disk space and worn out battery look like the root of the problem.
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