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MacGenius1289's picture
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Joined: 2013 Mar 16
Performa 5500 Grey screen at startup

Hi all,

Basically the problem is that upon start up, when trying to boot from the hard drive the computer shows the mouse and then freezes. With the hard drive connected it tries to read from the CD drive (while holding C) then stops and does not read from the floppy drive.

Disconnecting the hard drive the computer shows a floppy icon with the question mark and at this point it will boot from a CD or floppy.

It originally had Mac OS 9.1 but I tried downgrading it to Mac OS 8 so I initialised/erased the drive but could not get Mac OS 8 to install as it was installing/updating the hard disk drivers. At this point I restarted the computer and now it does not want to boot from the hard drive.

I connected the Performa's drive to my PowerMac G4 MDD and can confirm that the drive works, is wiped and is formatted Mac OS Standard. I installed Mac OS 9.1 onto the drive and placed it back into the Performa and it still does not want to boot - gets frozen at startup.

What is the best way to resolve this, am I missing something simple that I overlooked or is it more involved? If it helps I do have the Performa's restore disc, and retail copies of Mac OS 8 and 9.1.

Thanks everyone.

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MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

Did you try resetting the Cuda reset switch? This should be done any time you make changes to hardware (such as reinstalling an OS to a hard drive using another Mac).

Cuda Chip reset switch button PM 5400/5500

Cuda Chip reset switch button location

If not, try resetting it. If that doesn't work you may need to go one step further and reset the logic board which is basically the same procedure, except you remove the battery and wait 10 minutes before reattaching it, then reset the Cuda Switch.

When resetting the Cuda reset switch, only depress it for a brief moment as I believe it drains the clock battery rapidly. Also, you will need to reset your Mac's date and time in the Control Panels after carrying out this procedure.

MacGenius1289's picture
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Joined: 2013 Mar 16

Thanks MikeTomTom for the reply, I managed to get it working.

I put the hard drive back into my PowerMac G4 and using disk utility verified the drive, apparently there was an error with the MBR (master boot record), repairing the drive said it was fixed, but verifying it again still showed the same problem. So I ended up erasing out the drive with zeros and formatted the drive as Mac OS Extended.

Placed the drive back into the Performa, turned it on, and it gave me a screen with a question mark, inserted the Performa's restore disc to boot off. At this point I was able to initialise the hard drive and restore the original software.

I will take note of your suggestion MikeTomTom if anything strange happens but for now it appears to be working. I'll also have to find a new internal battery for it as time is not kept. Any idea of where I could get a replacement?

bertyboy's picture
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Joined: 2009 Jun 14

MBR ?

Surely the drive has to be partitioned with APM to boot a PPC ?

Mac OS Standard vs Mac OS Extended ?
This may not have been critical, as Mac OS Standard was used for CDs, even boot CDs, for some time after Mac OS 8.1.

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

I'll also have to find a new internal battery for it as time is not kept. Any idea of where I could get a replacement?

Yes, those 4.5 volt brick batteries are expensive. Much better if you purchase a 3 x AAA battery holder and remove, then solder the wires from the old brick battery connector to the pack. Replacing AAA's is much cheaper (and easier to find).

You can get this holder from Radio Shack for a $1 (helps if you live in the US I guess) but eBay should find similar.