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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 1, 2024
Hi there! New posting, but not new looking at threads that helped me in the past.

I got an iBook G4 for my University final project, I wanted something that could run natively OSx and 9 (actually, in hindsight, maybe this wasn't the best option).

When it arrived, it all seemed to work fine, but very soon everything went south..

  1. It came with 10.4.11, and I got a popup saying there was an update. I did the mistake to say yes (tough it was cool there where still updates for an unsupported MacOS).
  2. Now it just freezes at bootup on the grey apple logo phase, with the spinning wheel turning on eternity.
  3. Tried resetting to factory, but nothing works
  4. Tried to copy install Images into an USB, but found it is impossible to boot from USB, even from open Firmware with this model.
  5. Eventually got the install images (they came on dmg format and couldn't convert to ISO, so no way of burning them. Undusted an 2009 MacBook pro... and DVD was toast), so after purchasing an external USB DVD burner, managed to get the images.
  6. Then... Nothing. Eventually I sourced the official dvd's... and nothing, no boot up pressing C, or with the alt boot loader, so I concluded that the optical drive was toast on that laptop too... At one point I did manage to get the DVD read, but it will make noise and anfter 10 mins it wouldn't finish reading.
So I went to ebay, and I can find a ton of those drives for 12" iBooks G4, but literally 0 of the 14". I suspect I can use them anyway, considering a DVD has the same diameter, but I also understand that disassembling this laptop is a pain in the a$$. I also already spent too much trying to relive this laptop, so I don't feel like risking it and getting one of those drives out of the market in case someone needs it.

Any advice? And sorry for the long explanation, I wanted to vent up my odyssey with this machine.


macrumors 6502
Dec 8, 2019
The Lab DX
Optical drives like these are just IDE with a funny connector (I believe it's actually a standard connector as I've seen it outside of Apple machines).
You'll likely need to source the correct rails for your model but it should just work with any standard IDE slimline slot loading optical drive.

Try some of the methods in the Open Firmware wiki for booting an installer from USB. You'll need the drive layout to be Apple Partition Map or it won't boot.
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