Booting up with G5 external drive

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by SabreFan66, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. SabreFan66 macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Hi, all. I have a hard drive that's in a dying iMac G5. The drive is a Seagate Barracuda, 7200.9, 160 GB. The product number is 9BD132-042.

    I wanted to put it in a G5 PowerMac 12,1. But it's an iSight model that is very difficult to open.

    What options would allow me to boot up the iSight from that drive?

    Thanks in advance for your assistance.
     
  2. Raging Dufus macrumors 6502

    Raging Dufus

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    #2
    I'm not quite clear on what you're asking.

    1. Do you already have the Seagate hard drive removed from the dying iMac?

    2. And you want to boot another iMac G5 (the iSight model) from that Seagate drive?

    3. And you don't want to open up the iMac G5 iSight to do it?
    If the answer to all of those is "yes", then what you need is an external drive connector, either by itself or as part of an external drive case. If it has to be bootable, you'll need FireWire; if you only want to transfer data, USB will suffice.

    Before we get into product recommendations, tell me if I'm on the right track here.
     
  3. SabreFan66 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Yes to all three. Sorry for any confusion. Thanks.
     
  4. Raging Dufus macrumors 6502

    Raging Dufus

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    #4
    Ok, here's an example of what you need: Amazon.com: Acomdata-Firewire & USB 3.5-Inch-Enclosure

    That's just an example, and that one happens to have both FireWire and USB. You can find cheaper options, particularly on eBay, and particularly if you only need USB. FireWire options will be a little more expensive, but you can still probably find one for less than the Amazon one linked above. The enclosure will need to be for SATA and 3.5" drives, make sure it meets both of those.

    Your iMac will boot from an external FireWire disk, but it won't boot from USB without a bit of hackery. It has two FireWire-400 (also known as IEEE-1394a) ports to enable this. What you do is take the hard drive, put it into an enclosure like the one linked above, connect the FireWire cable (that should come with the enclosure) from the enclosure to your iMac. Then you startup while holding down the option key, and you'll be able to choose the external drive to boot from. It's simpler to do than it is to write about.

    However, you should know that booting from an external drive is not a great solution for your iMac G5 iSight. It has an onboard drive that - assuming the drive is healthy - will provide better performance than anything you can hook up externally. Let us know if you have any questions about any of the above.
     
  5. SabreFan66 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    Thanks, Raging Dufus! Yeah, this is more of a stopgap move than anything permanent. I can't get my old fonts installed into Classic on the iSight. I really need those fonts for a job. I always just dropped the font files into the font folder in the System folder and they were available to Classic programs. Not so on the iSight.
     
  6. Raging Dufus macrumors 6502

    Raging Dufus

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    #6
    Sounds like you're running Tiger w/Classic on the iSight. If you want to keep what you've got on there, and all you're really interested in from the old iMac is those font files, here's some things to consider:
    • You don't really need to be able to boot from the old Seagate drive, all you really need is to transfer files. You could just transfer your Classic System Folder from the old drive to the iSight. That would replace your entire OS 9.x (Classic) installation on the iSight, bringing those old fonts with it.
    The only reasons you might not want to do this would be:
    • if the System Folder from your old iMac is corrupted; you said it was "dying", so depending on what you mean by that, corruption of the data might be a concern.
    • if the System Folder on the iSight contains things you don't want to lose.
    • If cost is an issue, a USB drive enclosure (all you need for just transferring files) will, on average, probably cost about 10 bucks less than a comparable FireWire-equipped model.
    • However, what I would do is go with FireWire, especially if you're planning on using that iSight for a while and/or you have other PowerPC-based Macs. FireWire is indispensable for external booting of these systems.
    • If there's nothing wrong with the Seagate drive, leave it in the enclosure, leave it connected to your Mac, and use it for backups. That way you'll be able to recover with another Mac if your iSight bites the dust.
     
  7. SabreFan66 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Thanks. By "dying" I meant that the G5 doesn't boot up anymore, except sometimes first thing in the morning, and then it will stay functional for only a short time. I've gone through this with a number of G5s. I just buy a "new" one on eBay and pop the old hard drive into it. But the G5s seem to have gotten scarce. No wonder.

    I put a backup folder of fonts into the iSight G5 System Folder, and the fonts became available in Classic programs. However that backup does not include the fonts I need. I tried putting those fonts into the backup folder and then into the System Folder, and it didn't work. I'm guessing I need the Fonts folder from the System Folder on the old hard drive where the fonts were successfully installed. That's tough to do with the current condition of the old G5.

    I'm back to needing that hard drive enclosure. What physical stores do you think would carry them?
     
  8. Raging Dufus macrumors 6502

    Raging Dufus

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    #8
    I don't know your location, but if you're in the U.S., Best Buy or just about any electronics store should have USB enclosures. Office supply stores like Office Depot, Staples, etc. should have them. You might even find them at WalMart. The trick will be finding a FireWire enclosure, if that's what you decide to get. Those will likely be scarce in brick-and-mortar establishments; but you could always ask, you never know.

    If you don't care about any data that's currently on the iSight, your best bet is to get a FireWire enclosure, boot the iSight with it, then use a program like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper to clone the contents of the Seagate drive onto the iSight's internal drive. Then you'll have exactly what you had on your old iMac, on your "new" iMac. These programs are simple to use, you just need to make sure you download the version that's compatible with 10.4 Tiger - for Carbon Copy Cloner, it's 3.4.7; SuperDuper! is 2.7.1. You may have to dig a bit on their sites, but you can find them there, and they're free.

    Clone the old drive onto the new, boot from the new, then erase the old one and use it for regular backups with whichever cloning program you chose. This is important, you're playing with fire by waiting for one Mac to die and then hoping you can get your stuff onto the next one - especially with iMac G5's, which are known to have a high failure rate. For that matter, hard drives can die too, whether the Mac is still good or not.
     
  9. Raging Dufus macrumors 6502

    Raging Dufus

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    #9
    Another thing too, if you go the FireWire route: Make sure it's FireWire 400 or IEEE-1394a - NOT FireWire 800 or IEEE-1394b. It's not likely you'll run into the latter, it wasn't common and relatively few Macs ever came with it. iMac G5's of any variety only ever came with 400 (1394a), and that's what you need. Your iMac can use 800, but only with an adapter which you'll almost certainly not find in a physical store.

    Here's what a 400 (1394a) connection looks like:

    [​IMG]

    The FireWire ports on your iMac (and on an external drive) will look like this:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. SabreFan66 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    Great stuff, Raging Dufus.

    This hard drive is actually from the original G5. So it's almost 15 years old.

    Would Target Mode be a good play here if I just want to grab that fonts folder?
     
  11. Raging Dufus macrumors 6502

    Raging Dufus

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    #11
    Age of the hard drive makes little difference, it's how much it's been used. Seagate drives are generally good quality. As long as S.M.A.R.T. status shows good in System Profiler, I wouldn't have a problem using it as a backup drive. Unfortunately, you can't check S.M.A.R.T. status over USB or FireWire, so it may be a moot point. In any event, you should really use something for backup, but enough of that for now.

    I'm a big fan of Target Disk Mode, but unless there's something you haven't told me, I don't see how it will work in your situation. You have to have at least two working Macs to be able to use TDM. You could put the Seagate drive back in the dying iMac and hope it boots up and runs long enough for you to complete the transfer. Or, if you have another Mac you can put the Seagate disk in, you could use TDM that way. What did you have in mind?
     
  12. SabreFan66, Aug 11, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019

    SabreFan66 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    I put the drive back in the "failing" Mac. It will boot up first thing in the morning, but usually not again. I just tried file sharing with an Ethernet cable with no luck. Both machines had file sharing on, but the target Mac did not mount on the iSight, only a Dropbox folder. I don't have a FireWire cable to try TDM.

    It seems like the successful morning bootup should be a clue. Battery issue? By the way the capacitors look fine. In other bad G5s I think I've usually seen bulging.
     
  13. Raging Dufus macrumors 6502

    Raging Dufus

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    #13
    Yes, capacitors are usually the issue with iMac G5's. What you're describing doesn't sound like a battery issue to me.

    Unfortunately my experience with iMac G5's is very limited. Hopefully someone else who knows these machines better can chime in here with some advice for you.

    It would be helpful if you could describe what you mean by "It will boot up first thing in the morning, but usually not again." For instance:
    • Does this literally mean "in the morning" or just after some period of inactivity? I can't imagine an issue that would restrict a Mac's operation to a particular time of day, unless somehow a system setting has changed.
    • When it does boot, does everything appear to progress normally in your experience?
      • Is there anything unusual occurring during startup?
      • Unusual sounds, images on screen, artifacting, anything?
    • When it does boot, is it taking longer to boot than usual?
    • Do you get the Apple "bong" sound on startup?
    • When it won't boot, what happens?
      • Does it respond at all, or just refuse to power on?
      • Does it begin a boot sequence, and just fail to complete?
      • Do you ever get a screen that looks like this:
    proxy1.duckduckgo.com.jpeg
    • When you do get it functional, how long does it run? Is it always the same amount of time?
    • When it stops working, what happens?
      • Does the iMac just power off?
      • Do you get a black screen but it stays on...e.g., you can still hear fans running, etc.?
      • Does the screen remain normal, but the computer "freezes up", i.e., becomes unresponsive?
      • Does it go into a kernel panic (screen that looks something like the following):
    proxy.2duckduckgo.com.jpeg
    I'm not trying to be nitpicky, but any further info you could provide will help someone troubleshoot your problem.

    Alternatively, you could just go buy a FireWire cable, boot the bad iMac in Target Disk Mode and see what happens. Maybe it will stay running long enough to get that fonts folder transferred over. Or, why not move the fonts folder onto a USB flash drive and transfer it that way?
     
  14. SabreFan66 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    The questioning is useful. Here's what I've been doing: I get up in the morning and try to boot up the computer, and it always boots up. But after having to shut it down, it doesn't boot up again. After maybe 10 tries, I give up until the next morning. Morning isn't the magic elixir, it's the period of time it sits while plugged in. You got me to thinking I don't have to wait as long as I've been waiting. I just tried to boot up after not trying since about 10 this morning, and it booted up.

    The boot is perfectly normal. The computer behaves quite sluggishly, but for maybe 5-10 minutes you can copy individual files to a flash drive (but trying to copy the fonts folder brings a "data could not be read or written -36 error"), look around the System folder, open files, etc. Then the spinning beach ball takes over, and you have to shut down. Once, the mouse pointer froze.

    Trying to boot again brings a normal bong sound, then either a momentary black screen followed by a normal screen and a flashing folder icon with a question mark, or just a folder icon without a question mark. It will sometimes get as far as the Apple logo then hang up. After 30 seconds or so there's a loud fan noise.

    I did manage to verify today that the hard drive appears to be OK. System profiler shows "Verified" next to the SMART status.

    I'd love to go buy a Firewire cable, but I live in the sticks. I drove half an hour earlier to get to the nearest Staples, and they didn't even have the USB enclosure. Nor did Walmart.
     
  15. Raging Dufus macrumors 6502

    Raging Dufus

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    #15
    OK, that's good info. This sounds like a disk issue, even though SMART says it's verified. Try this: start the iMac in Safe Mode by holding down the Shift key at boot (begin pressing Shift from the moment you press the power button). Safe Mode turns off unnecessary extensions and other things, leaving OS X with just the basics that it needs to run. This will take a bit longer than usual, while your disk gets checked for problems.

    Assuming it completes the boot process, try the following:
    • Try again to move your fonts folder onto a USB drive. You may find that it works now; if so, I guess your immediate problem is solved.
    • Open the Disk Utility program, and try verifying the hard drive. See the pic below. Choose your drive from the column on the left, then near the bottom on the right, click "Verify Disk". Give it time to complete the process, and see if it reports any errors.
    When you've finished the above, you can just restart the iMac (or shut if off) and it will reboot into normal mode.
     

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  16. Raging Dufus macrumors 6502

    Raging Dufus

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    #16
    I should clarify something.

    I think a disk issue is involved here because of the flashing folder icon w/? on startup, plus the I/O error when you try to copy files, boot hanging at the Apple logo, random freezing, etc. These are all symptoms that something is amiss with your OS X installation, either because of some hardware issue with the drive or because other things have caused data corruption.

    However, that doesn't mean that replacing the drive would make your iMac OK. Having to wait any period of time between boots shouldn't make drive issues disappear, even momentarily. If it was only a drive issue, shutting down and restarting should "reset" things so that your startup experience is more consistent - maybe not successful but at least similar from one attempt to the next. The fact that booting and running are inconsistent and unpredictable lead me to believe there are other hardware issues as well - a good bet on iMac G5's, and likely due to capacitor failure even if you can't see it yet.

    Just FYI, FWIW.
     
  17. SabreFan66 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #17
    The hard drive enclosure came today and got the job done. The drive mounted on the iSight desktop, and I was able to get files off of it. I replaced the fonts folder on the iSight, and that didn't do the trick, but when I replaced the whole System Folder, the fonts appeared in Classic applications.

    I didn't try booting from the drive using FireWire. I'm happy to go to bed with my immediate crisis over. As I sat here on Sunday and used a program called FontMonger from 1991 (!) to convert fonts to suitcases, I realized it's time to make some changes in my computing life. (Actually, the font conversion gambit seemed to have worked — until I created a PDF of the file and got a bad box warning of some sort.)

    The only glitch in the hard drive enclosure is that I can't get the drive to sit flat. Two metal tabs with screw holes make the drive just a little too long. I was afraid to try and bend the tabs, so all I could do was slip the metal covering over the drive and forget about sliding it into the housing. Hey, at that point it was "any port in a storm."

    Raging Dufus, I can't thank you enough for your help. Honestly I don't know what possesses you and people like you to help true dufuses like me, but I certainly am glad you are possessed with that spirit. THANK YOU.
     
  18. Raging Dufus macrumors 6502

    Raging Dufus

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    #18
    I think most of us have been in your shoes. You're very welcome, I'm glad you got it working!
     

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