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12" powerbook woes

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by jaynetoyne, Nov 13, 2006.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Im a fairly experienced mac user but now im stumped by a 12" powerbook G4 I bought from ebay.
    I bought it for a smidgen over £400 but it only had a 20gb hard drive so thought, no problem, wop a bigger one in and reboot it from the disk that came with my 15" powerbook G4.
    So I put a bigger (80gb) hard drive in it and have tried to boot it from my disk, it gets as far as the installer and then when i get to the window to choose the destination, my hard drive has a little red no go symbol on it.
    So I erased the disk and formatted it, verified it so its mounted...
    still got the little red no go symbol saying i cant install to that destination.

    what could be the problem? am I missing something really simple? what else could I try? Should I admit defeat and go to the apple store in london and let them sort it out? I really hoped it would be a straight forward simple job but its turned into a right pain in the backside!

    thanks for any help

  2. macrumors 6502


    Hmmmm, I thought 12inch Powerbooks never came with anything smaller than a 40GB HDD. If the HDD that you got was indeed only 20GB, it might suggest that whoever you bought it off put it in there themselves, which means the one you're putting in would be its 3rd. That would mean theres been a lot of opening up and swapping of drives, which can't be good for it.

    Did the machine boot up before you swapped out the older hard drive?
  3. macrumors 6502a


    I don't know. Did you format it in "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" form? Maybe that makes a difference? Did you buy the drive new? Possibly it is defective. Does it have a warranty, or could you get tech support from the drive's maker?
  4. macrumors G4

    That 20GB drive is suspicious as hell. I'm wondering if the IDE controller on the logic board has gone, but the seller tried to swap out the drive to see whether it would cure the problem.

    However, first do a PRAM reset to see if that helps. Also go into single user mode and run fsck -y on the disk to check for errors.
  5. macrumors newbie

    it worked fine, or seemed to work fine when I got it, and I also thought that powerbooks never came with anything less than a 40gb...
    looking inside the powerbook its pretty clear to see someone has been fairly unsympathetic with the machine before I got it, theres a few screws missing here and there, theres a strip missing near the dvd drive which holds the case more securely closed. but, im not too worried about that, its just a simple machine to use for internet, itunes and iphoto. you take a risk buying on ebay and this is the first time ive had a problem, so i cant really grumble.

    i formatted the new disk in OS extended ( journaled)
    its recognising it, but not letting me use it...
  6. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    If I read what you are saying correctly, I think your problem is that you are attempting to install OSX on the 12" PowerBook with restore disk from another Mac. This will always be a no-go situation as these restore disks are tied to one type of hardware. You could try mounting the 12" PB drive onto the 15" PB in Firewire Target Disk Mode and use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone the OS from the 15" onto the 12" PB.
  7. macrumors newbie

    ok, so ive downloaded the CCC and superduper so I have a choice..

    I gues I will need to put the old hard drive back in, do the clone of old powerbook 12 hard drive onto my fire wire portable or powerbook 15, then put the new hard drive back in the powerbook 12, then plug in either the portable firewire hard drive with the clone or plug in my powerbook 15 visible as a hard drive... then er, boot from the clone?

    not sure, can anyone clarify?
  8. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    You don't have to use an external Firewire drive at all. The 12" PB can be booted in Firewire Target Disk mode by holding down the "T" key when you start the Mac. You can then use a Firewire cable to connect it to the host Mac, and the disk should appear on the host's desktop precisely as if it was an external Firewire drive.
  9. Moderator emeritus


    Just out of curiosity... to generalize this. When you re-install OS X on a computer using system restore discs... does it allow for the system restore discs to install onto the Mac with which they were purchased but to a different drive than the original boot drive of that Mac, or does it also appear to check to see that the drive is one of the types of drives that Mac shipped with?

    To be honest, I have never swapped drives on any of my Macs. But what I'm curious about is, if I put a new drive in my iMac, say, and tried to install OS X from scratch on it instead of restoring a clone, would it refuse me in the same way it refused the OP?
  10. macrumors newbie

    ah ha..
    so I copy the old disk to my powerbook 15... ( by mounting the 12 as a disk in the first place?)
    then swap the drive over ad do the same again... mount it as a hard drive on teh powerbook 15.. and then drag the clone onto the hard drive?
  11. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    No swapping required. Just start up the 12" in Target Disk Mode and connect it to the 15". You should then be able to run CCC or SuperDuper to copy whatever you like (presumably OSX) to the drive on the 12".
  12. macrumors newbie

    so I can just copy my powerbook 15 osx and everything onto the powerbook 12? that sounds just toooo easy!

    am going home now ( with fire wire cable and a limp powerbook 12) so I will try it after ive had my tea.

    will report back if it works.

    thanks for your help so far.
  13. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Give it a try and let us know if it works. If the drive on the 12" doesn't appear on the desktop of the 15" then you know something is wrong with the 12" drive.
  14. macrumors 6502a


    I'm thinking no. Because I just did this with my iMac without the trouble of the OP.
  15. Moderator emeritus


    Ahhh, good to know... no immediate intentions but I might someday pop the biggest SATA drive I can squeeze into my iMac in. :D Thank you! :)
  16. macrumors newbie

    pfffff, nothing, the 12" wont start up in target disk mode, i hear the bong then the screen is black..no bouncing firewire symbol and nothing appearing on my 15", ive looked in disk util and nothing.

    not sure what to do next really, im fairly sure that the drive is working because i was able to format it yesterday.
  17. macrumors newbie

    how about i put the old HD back in the 12", use carbon copy cloner to make a bootable disk, on a dvd for eg, then swap the HD again and try booting from the clone?
    would that be a possible way?
  18. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Do you have an external Firewire drive? If so I'd suggest cloning OSX to that drive, plugging it into the 12" and seeing if it will boot the Mac. At this point I'm wondering if you aren't experiencing a hardware problem. Otherwise, I'm running out of theories.
  19. macrumors newbie

    well, ive done everything i can possibly do except wap the old hard drive back in to do a full diagnostic test of the system.
    what seems to be apparent is the lack of anything happening with the firewire port. it doesnt recognise anything plugged into it, so it may be part of the problem... im not sure.
    however, theres a rather clever chap where i work who's quite nifty with macs so ive handed it to him and told him to do whatever is necessary to make it work!
    watch this space for the final verdict.
  20. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Please update when you know more. I'm really curious about this one. ;)
  21. macrumors newbie

    the final verdict..

    I think its time for an update on the saga of the simple HD swap on a 12"powerbook.

    the laptop is back in its original supplied to me state... with its 20gb hard drive.
    it works with that one no problem.
    the laptop firewire connection has never worked and still doesnt work. dont know whats wrong with it.
    the dvd drive is erratic, sometimes it doesnt eject it just clicks and re mounts the disk on the desktop. this could be down to illfitting panels not allowing the disk to come out, ie snagging on the inner edge.
    so ive come to the conclusion that the laptop is a lemon.

    the mac guru where i work took it apart to try and install the other hard drive which was loaded with a bootable version of OSX and it wouldnt work.
    the drive also crashed another machine when he tried it in that one to see if it works.

    ive not had very much luck really.

    so im going to break the poewrbook12 for parts, its generally in very good condition, the screen, the case, bluetooth, memory card, etc. and try to get some money back. the person who sold it to me has basically wiped his hands clean of it and refuses to talk to me when i tell him he sold me a dodgy computer.

    ah well, you live and learn.

    if anyone needs some spares, then let me know.
  22. macrumors 6502


    Damn, you've had some really ill-luck with this haven't you?! Sorry to hear about the troubles you've had with it, and I hope you get back some money through the re-sell of the parts.

    Good Luck!!! :)
  23. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Sorry to hear you couldn't make it go. Possibly a repair shop could set it straight, but that might just be good money after bad.
  24. macrumors member


    Hi, sorry to hear about the powerbook troubles, that really sucks. I cant really help, but I can make a suggestion. You should PM szsiddiq or at least jump on his thread--he is trying to mod a 12'' PB and is looking for parts right now. If you want to get rid of it, this guy might take it off your hands.

    Good luck:)

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