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cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17
FireWire Multi-Boot Mini G4

I finally did it: I caved and got a 500GB iOmega MiniMax firewire drive! Laughing out loud it came formatted with exFat, which I know I need to reformat so here go my questions:

  1. Out of all my FireWire-capable Macs, my Pismo officially supports OS 9, but it can also boot 8.6, so could or should I have my classic partition have both OSes (so I can play with 8.6 on the Pismo)
  2. I was thinking of adding Tiger and Leopard partitions, but for my older Intel Macs, can they boot from an OS 9-formatted drive? If so, up to what Mac OS? Snow Leopard, Lion, Mtn. Lion, etc.

My basic gameplan: I want to create a G4 Mini-compatible OS 9 partition and I thought of using my Pismo to install the 'Mini G4' OS 9. I also thought of formatting the drive w/either the Pismo or any of my bootable Macs, then use my newest Intel Mini a copy the OS 9 boot image to one of the partitions then install OS 9 from the mounted boot disk (I already have a non-working OS 9 boot disk)

I do want a little cross-access between a wide range of OSes (remember that I want to encode 68k video from mp4 and mkv media, and maybe even 3ivx for 480p media on OS 9) so having newer OS X boot options would be very nice.

My OS X-capable Macs include a PB G4 w/a broken keyboard, a Pismo, three G4 Minis, a couple of Single-Core Intel Minis, a 2006 Macbook that goes up to Lion and an Intel Mini that goes up to El Capitan (I think I need a special FireWire cable for my newest Mini, though).

I also have several OS X boot volumes and installers on a few USB flash drives, so I could clone these boot volumes to the iOmega: I think I have as from Panther all the way to El Capitan (minus Mavericks because I didn't have a new enough Mac to add it to my purchased apps when Apple had it available on the iTunes App Store) I may still want a backup of the installers and/or drive images on the drive, but some of my ideas might be overkill for a tiny 500GB FW drive, lol!

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Troyd's picture
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Joined: 2014 Nov 14

Intel Macs can only boot from GUID formatted partitions. PPC Macs (apart from a few late 2005 Macs) can only boot from APM partitions. Not sure this will allow you to do what you want to do. At best you could share a FW drive partitioned with GUID and running Tiger 10.4.6 or later between a late 2005 PowerMac G5 and an early Intel Mac Pro. If you have the special Tiger Server 10.4.7 Install Disc or any retail Leopard Install Disc then you will have a Universal OSX that can be booted by both select PPC and Intel Macs.

As for MacOS9, just partition with Tiger/Leopard using your Mac Mini G4 and you won't need to install the OS9 drivers. Using the special MacOS9lives Mac Mini G4 Install Disc, it has an updated ROM that does not need OS9 drivers on the partition in order to boot from. That means you can use Disk Utility from OSX to resize partitions on the fly later if you want to. You will need an APM partition for MacOS9 and no Intel Mac will be able to boot it, of course.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Thanks for that info, Troy; my setup will be much simpler then! Smile none of my Minis have hard drives and all of my attempts to boot them have failed, including the special MacOS9lives and target disk mode with my other older OS X Macs.

I figured the APM partition would be needed, so I can use one of my older Macs to create five partitions: one for MacOS9lives OS 9 version, clone a Tiger and Leopard partition, create a data partition and clone of the special OS 9 system folder in case I need to replace the system folder or troubleshoot my Classic partition using classic tools. I could even try adding a sixth partition w/a clone of the MacOS9lives install disk!

I hope reformatting the iOmega drive doesn't disable some of the ports it comes with. I don't even know how all of them are even used; it didn't come w/any instruction manuals!

One thing though, would the iOmega FW external need the OS 9 drivers to boot my G3 Pismo? I'm only asking because it's my only other FW Mac that boots OS 9. (although I'm guessing from the answer you gave the MacOS9lives version doesn't need them)

sfp1954's picture
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Joined: 2013 Dec 29

As long as you are in the PPC realm just use the Tiger (or Leopard) disk utility to format and partition the drive and check off the "Install OS9 Drivers" for each partition you want OS9 to be able to see.
IMPORTANT: OS9 has a partition limit of something around 160GB. If you have a partition larger than that and OS9 tries to access it the odometer rolls over (so to speak) and you can end up wiping out the whole drive.

I'm not sure if 8.6 is compatible with Apple Partition Map. That would be something for further research.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

I had a real good experience hooking up the drive to my Pismo after using Disk Utility on Tiger. I didn't check the OS 9 drivers option, but my Pismo saw all the partitions under OS 9 anyway!

I copied the contents of the MacOS9Lives CD to my 6th partition and used that partition to restore the OS 9 image to my 1st 75GB partition. Unfortunately, when I connected the MiniMax to the G4 Mini via FireWire and held the option key at startup, the select drive screen appeared, but it didn't populate, which is the same thing that has happened when I've connected other PPC Macs to it with Tiger and Leopard. I have no idea why they're not seeing any external drives.

Troyd's picture
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Joined: 2014 Nov 14

Boot your Mac Mini G4 with the MacOS9 lives CD v9 and the Iomega Mac Mini drive attached via FW. Can you see the FW mount? What does Sys Profiler tell you in the Devices tab?

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

None of the three Mini G4s have booted from the MacOS9Lives CD I burned and they also refuse to show neither any of the OS X PPC Macs or the hard drive I've connected via firewire/target disk mode. All three Mini G4s have RAM installed and are just missing their hard drives.

On the iOmega MiniMax, all of my partitions are smaller than 150GB to ensure OS 9 compatibility. I made six partitions, including a drag-and-drop copy of the MacOS9Lives CD onto a 500MB partition. The first partition has the MacOS9Lives hard drive restore; funny, in all my years using the Classic OS, I've never used Apple Disk Tools image restore feature!

My Pismo sees in option-boot and successfully boots from both the MacOS9Lives CD, the first and last partitions of the iOmega firewire drive, so I'm stumped as to what's going on w/my three Minis!

sfp1954's picture
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Joined: 2013 Dec 29

So let's be clear on the initialization process.
Open Disk Utility from either PPC Tiger or Leopard.
Select the whole drive/volume.
Choose the Partition tab.
Click on the Options button and select Apple Partition Map.
Return and setup your number of partitions and sizes.

https://app.box.com/s/0mktephlwashyr9lhcj6h3mp2ticwp2i

Now you can get OS 9 on any partition just by dragging and dropping the system folder.
But for Tiger and Leopard you either have to:
1- Do a complete clean install from DVD.
2- Use Carbon Copy Cloner
3- Or you can try the "Restore" function in Disk Utility. I don't find it very reliable and I think the source and target must be the same size sometimes.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

I was trying to check to see that my OS boot CD and firewire disks work first, which I did with my G3 Pismo Powerbook, but had I cloned a Tiger and Leopard drive onto USB flash drives some time ago, so I was going to use CCC to create my firewire OS X partitions; right now they're still empty.

And as far as how I partitioned the iOmega FW external, I used a Tiger Disk Utility and I did choose the whole drive, and I also selected APM via the options button and the two partitions I have OS 9 on boot my Pismo perfectly and all my partitions show up in the special MacOS9Lives OS 9.2.2 finder.

I guess my next step is to clone Tiger and Leopard onto my external and keep on trying.

sfp1954's picture
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Joined: 2013 Dec 29

What utility are you using for the cloning process?

cbone's picture
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It's going to be Carbon Copy Cloner, I just need to find my thumb drives and locate the power adapter for my '06 Macbook, then I can copy them over; I'm pretty sure they're clean, or near clean, Tiger and Leopard installs.

I thought the Minis might have had firmware passwords, but then option-boot would give me different display, wouldn't it? I never played with firmware-level security, but from what I've read before, no other drives boot unless you boot into its original drive or log in first and unlock the firmware password. Again, all that's new territory to me, but 'something's rotten in the state of Denmark'!