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Booting a Mac G4 from CD


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#1
Drago337

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Hi,
I have a Mac G4 that I cannot boot from the cd. Is there any suggestions?

I know little about Mac systems

Edited by Drago337, 24 October 2009 - 04:25 PM.

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#2
Deon

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Hey Drago337 and welcome to GeeksToGo!

To boot a Mac using the CD drive, the usual step is to insert the CD, reboot and hold the 'C' key on the keyboard.

When doing that, what happens on your machine?


D :)
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#3
Drago337

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I tried that first, but then i noticed that the key board was not working on the machine. the key board is good. Plus, it is a blank hard drive.when it comes up it shows a little file folder in the center of the screen flashing a "?". like i had said, I know very little about a mac...
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#4
Deon

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Hang on..

the key board was not working on the machine

the key board is good.


Which is it?

I assume the error is due to the fact there is no OS on the drive to boot to.

If the keyboard is not working, you can plug an external keyboard in (via USB) to test if that is the problem.


D :)

Edited by Deon, 28 October 2009 - 01:36 AM.

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#5
Drago337

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it is both, the key board is good, it works on another machine but it was not working on th g4...
the error has to be due to the blank hard drive.
Will try a usb key board tomorrow.
Thanks
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#6
arekdaset

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The keyboard should work even though there is a blank drive. I think the easiest way to solve your keyboard problem is to get a MAC keyboard. If your using a mac everything related to that machine has to be mac. If you go by that concept you will save a lot of headaches. Like Deon said holding the 'C' key should do it but I would go get a mac keyboard.

All mac keyboards are USB.
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#7
fisheromacs

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Check all cable connections/power connections to the CD drive.

You should be able to boot the G4 with the CD in the drive and holding down the 'C' on the keyboard, as has already been said.

It should make no difference what brand of USB keyboard you use, just be aware that there may be some key mapping differences: such as the CMD key on a Mac keyboard will be the Windows key on a windows keyboard.
I am currently using a Dell USB keyboard w/ my G4, whatever is handy with my Macbook, and a Compaq keyboard with my G3.

Have you tried zapping the PRAM, it shouldn't help an issue like this, but is worth a try.
Restart your computer and hold down the CMD-OPTION-P-R keys during startup, wait until you have heard 3 chimes then release the keys and let the machine boot.
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#8
amw_drizz

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Also, What are you using to boot the G4 with? Since certain mac install disks will run on certain hardware. For example, you cannot go any get Mac OS X SL (10.6) and expect it to work. Neither will 10.5 (L). The last OS X release that will run on G4 Machines that is 100% is Tiger. (10.4) But getting a OE copy or Retail copy of tiger now a days can be difficult. And it may take a few tries to get it to install on the machine. (It took my G4 3 tries before the install finally took).

Another thing, what G4 style is it? Since there are many different sub-models. Each one has different hardware specs, Some may run 10.5 others wont. Hardware is key with Mac OS's. (Unless your installing Mac OS 9.2 on it)

Is it a burnt cd/dvd? because Macs in general do not like booting on burnt disks and require the "special" boot sector to boot on.

What happens if you leave the machine on for about 5 mins does it load the cd? The reason why I ask is with my G4 with a transplanted HD out of a normal pc (formatted as NTFS) it wouldn't load the cd using the shortcuts on the keyboard. And it finally boot the dvd for me.

Usually clearing the PRAM will only help with non-boot / start issues where the machine won't turn on.
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#9
RME

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Coming in on this late, and I apologize if it's already been solved.

I haven't seen any indication that the machine is starting and loading firmware correctly. Do you hear a 'chord' as the startup chime? (In particular, NOT a series of beeps or 'bird chirps', which among other things is the way the Mac tells you it has a bad memory chip).

There 'should' be a functional internal speaker if you unplug any external speakers -- but just in case, you might want to have a known-good set of speakers to plug into the back.

I have never had difficulty using a USB keyboard to get my G4 towers to boot from CD by holding the "C" key (but nothing else!) down immediately after you hear the chime. This does presume:

1) that your CD drive is connected and workable; and
2) that the CD is actually inserted in the drive when the system goes through power-up.

Things can get just a bit complex if the machine doesn't have an external CD eject button, your keyboard doesn't have the 'dedicated' Apple 'eject' key on it at upper right (looks like a little triangle) and the Mac doesn't automatically kick the drive open for you to load the 'expected' CD if it isn't in the drive and you're pressing C down. My 'recommendation' is to access the front of the physical CD drive (removing bezels if necessary) and use a straightened paper clip in the hole to pop the tray open.

Be aware that you can often NOT use 'restore' or 'install' disks made for one flavor of G4 in different machines. (I do not recall, however, having one of these just sit there and fail to give me a message like "you cannot use this disk with this computer"). What you might have to do in this case is find or purchase a retail copy of the Mac OS (eBay is one source) ... but another issue rears its head here. Nobody here seems to have thought to mention that the install disk for 10.4 is a DVD, not a CD, and it will not work if what you have is a CD drive (as a great many G4s do). In my not-so-humble opinion, the correct 'fix' for this is to obtain either a 'combo' drive (CD-RW+DVD-ROM) drive or, better, one of the later versions of internal IDE DVD-RW drive, and put this in place of the CD drive. (There are some complications regarding sharp-edged and taped internal shields in some machines -- use common sense and care when doing the job!) You don't need any complicated IDE jumper setting matching on a Mac (although someone else here might jog my memory on whether it's better to have a jumper on 'master' or no jumper at all for your given model of DVD-RW drive...)

Note that if you can find somebody else with a Mac that has an open hard-drive bay and cabling, you might have THEM run Disk Utility to format your hard drive and install your copy of OS X on it for you. [Note I did NOT say 'have them clone their OS install on your drive'!]. When you install this disk back into your computer, it should have no trouble finding and starting from that disk directly (as it's already trying to do that... you are correct that the 'flashing icon' means that the Mac has found the IDE interface, but can't locate a valid System folder on the hardware).

The "other" trick that I've used is that you can make the Mac into a big, fancy external FireWire drive by holding down the "T" key when you start up. If you have another Mac, with working DVD drive, and connect this to yours with a FireWire cable, the 'other' Mac will recognize your computer's drive and should be able to run the OS X install on that drive. (I did this in extremis with a couple of G3 laptops and iMacs...)

I've had mixed results with using an external DVD drive on a FireWire connection to be a startup drive for initial install. Theoretically, the firmware 'should' see such a drive before it gives up looking for system folders. This might be worth a try if you can't get access to another Mac... but be certain whatever external drive you use is known to work with Macs. (Many use Windows-specific code to keep their cost minimized, so beware...)

If you're still involved with this, let me know how things are working out.

RME
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