Help! Premature Powerbook Demise!

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Stan, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. Stan macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2003
    I have a Powerbook G4 1Ghz, which will no longer boot up correctly. When I switch it on, it chimes as normal, and the grey screen appears. Normally, this would be followed by the circular lines whizzing round in the lower half of the screen and finally a change to the blue screen. Unfortunately, the grey screen remains where it is, steadfastly refusing to move.

    My suspicion is that the PBook is booting up as normal, there may be a hardware fault with the screen. So my questions are these:

    1. Any idea what might have caused this problem?

    2. I have an iMac G5 as well, is there anyway I can access the data on the Powerbook using the G5? I tried connecting via Firewire but cannot access the user account. Ideally, I would like to copy all the work off the Powerbook onto my G5 before I really start going at it, or hand it over to a repair shop.

    Many thanks for your advice, Stan
  2. generik macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2005
    Is the blue screen part of the login screen?

    I was actually wondering if your hard drive was toasted... but yeah, it might also have been a loose connector somewhere inside.
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    If you see the gray screen, a problem with the actual screen mechanism, I think, is pretty unlikely.

    Have you tried:

    - booting off a system install disk
    - holding down Cmd-Opt-P-R during boot up? This resets the firmware. You have to hold it down until you get an extra chime, I think -- the chime sound will be different or will happen twice or something, and then you know the firmware was reset.
  4. mrichmon macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2003
    If the grey screen is displaying as it normally does then it is unlikely to be a screen issue. I suspect a reinstall of OS X will rectify this problem but first you need to get the data off.

    Possibly a disk error possibly just a corrupted filesystem.

    If you reboot the machine holding down the shift key you may find that the system boots into safe mode.

    To connect via firewire you need to turn off the powerbook, then hold down the "t" key while you turn the powerbook on. Keep holding down the "t" key until the screen turns blue and has a yellow firewire symbol bouncing over the screen. Now connect the firewire cable between the iMac and the powerbook.

    You should now be able to copy your data off. Remember to unmount the powerbook from the iMac. And then pull out the restore DVD that came with your powerbook and see if you can reinstall OS X.
  5. Stan thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2003
    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. The reboot & T trick does mean the Powerbook icon appears on my G5 desktop. However, because filevault is on, I cannot retrieve and copy the data over from the account where all the data is kept! Is there any way I can get round this? For example, can I view the Powerbook log in screen on the iMac somehow, so I can log in and drag the data to the G5 desktop?
  6. mrichmon macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2003
    You can try to mount the file vault image by double clicking on it.

    This is a trade off you make when using the file vault... if things go wrong then your files are very difficult or impossible to recover.
  7. Stan thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2003
    Do you mean double clicking on the Powerbook icon when it appears on the iMac desktop, after the connection by firewire? This only brings up the usual apps/docs etc, it does not allow me to log into the user account.
  8. mrichmon macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2003
    There is no way that it will let you "log into the user account" since your powerbook is acting as an external drive, not as a computer.

    If you double click on the powerbook icon on the iMac desktop then double click on the Users folder, then double click on the users account folder. Inside the user account folder you should see a disk image, double click on the image. This should mount the filevault volume on the iMac desktop.
  9. Stan thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2003
    I'll give that a try, mrichmon, thanks very much for your help.

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