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commodorejohn's picture
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OS9 installer won't run on Power Mac G4

I recently rescued a Power Mac G4 (AGP) from the recycle center. The case is a little banged-up, but the internals are fine, and it passes POST and gets to the point where it displays the ? folder icon. (It has a PC-formatted hard disk in it, as the recycle-center folks had already taken the one that it came with.)

So I've been trying to install OS9 on it. I've burned the Sawtooth install and restore images to disk, and it will boot from CD. Problem is, it only boots to the point where it displays the rounded-corner gray desktop and the mouse cursor, and goes no farther. It doesn't hang, I can move the mouse cursor around, but it does nothing and stops reading the disk.

Any idea what would cause this, or how to address it? I've come up with very little, other than some hints that it may be an issue with the battery being dead; I haven't tested it yet, though I do have a spare I can try. The only other potential hardware issue I've noticed is that the sound doesn't work - the boot chime isn't played over either the interal speaker or the headphone jack.

Or is it some kind of software issue? Does it have to do with putting a drive with a PC partition table in there? I don't see why that would keep it from booting off CD properly, but you never can tell how Mac OS will react to a hardware environment it isn't expecting...

I really don't want to throw away what seems to be a perfectly usable machine...

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commodorejohn's picture
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Update: pretty sure it's not the hard drive, as I used the Debian installer to write an Apple-format partition table. Unless it's actually trying to read system files from the hard disk when booting off CD, which would be so wrong-headed I can't even conceive of it.

n0's picture
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Maybe the Power Mac doesn't boot OS 9? You might have to resort to using Classic in OS X.

Don't know much about these machines, but are the AGP PowerMac and the Sawtooth the same computer? Because you cannot use one Mac's system-specific restore disks with another.

Good luck!

commodorejohn's picture
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Sawtooth is the AGP Power Mac G4, yes. It should boot OS9, as there are machine-specific disks for it (and according to Wikipedia even a generic OS9 disk should work, but who knows.)

MikeTomTom's picture
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Sawtooth AGP Macs (according to everymac dot com) all shipped with 8.6, so a generic Mac OS 9.x should work with this. This one here should also work.

Could be battery related tho...

SwedeBear's picture
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If the formatting doesn´t succeed 100% you might have problem mounting the disk or the Mac to recognize it at all.
Try to reset P-RAM; Alt + Com + P + R during start-up until a chime. Repeat this, ie continue holding down the keys for 3 chimes. Then let it start from your CD-ROM and make a new, complete formatting of the internal disk.

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Sounds like a problem with the disc or the drive. In my experience with older macs, the thing most likely to fail is the CD-ROM drive, and the thing least likely to work is to burn a disc on a newer machine and to try to use it on the older setup. It's not impossible, but the failure rate is pretty high.

commodorejohn's picture
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Well, turns out it was the disk drive after all. I should've tried replacing it earlier, I just figured if it was booting at all it couldn't be too far gone. Eh, at least it's working now Smile On to OS9!

commodorejohn's picture
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Ahh, all up and running 9.2.2. And with 640MB RAM I don't think memory will be too much of an issue Wink

Temporary Joe's picture
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Whoa, it's commodorejohn from The Comics Curmudgeon! Neat!

commodorejohn's picture
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It is indeed! Whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?

Temporary Joe's picture
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Pseudo3D! The reason it's "Temporary Joe" is because I lost my original password.

commodorejohn's picture
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Ah, fun! I guess you've gathered what I was on about the other day, then Smile I saw this sucker at the recycle center and thought it would be a shame to let it get scrapped when I could be putting it to use...

commodorejohn's picture
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And posting from Classilla! Ahh, beautiful Smile

sczahra's picture
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I've got an old mac g4 tower (the original no frills 400mhz blue one) and the only time i could ever get it to boot properly from cd was to have the actual powermac g4 disc, which is os9 designed specifically for the g4. i dont know why, but mine will only boot from the one labeled for the g4. so maybe try to borrow the disk from somebody, im sure its kicking around someplace