Go Retro! Easy OS X 10.5 Install for iMac G4 or other PowerPC

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by rmlphoto, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. rmlphoto macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2011
    So here's my story since this is my first post. I'm definitely a noob when it comes to terminal commands and all of that stuff but I'm pretty handy with a computer and google and I have become best friends when it comes to DIY fixes.

    Well, with the new iPad 2 coming out in 2 days and me, being a poor college student, having no money, I had to decide between my unibody macbook or the new iPad. Well I've never had an iPad so I decided to sell the macbook and save the cash for a new toy. Then I remembered I had to sync my ipad and iPhone 4 to something... That's when I bought the beautiful $100 iMac G4 with 700Hz and 768MB of RAM :)eek: below Leopard requirement)

    After realizing that my purchase was pretty much useless without leopard I spent 2 whole days trying to get my downloaded retail OS X 10.5 .iso to install via External HD. Finally, after a million searches and no luck, leopardassist not working at all, attempting to figure out the terminal hacks to change the install dvd, and posting the G4 back up on craigslist, I figured it out! and now I'm here to help

    This has got to be by far the easiest way to install Leopard on an Unsupported mac. With help from lowendmac.com and some tampering of my own, this worked like a charm. So here it is...this will make you want to pick up a G4 for decoration (they really do make nice lamps with the bright LCD)

    NOTE: this has only been tested on my iMac G4 with specs listed above. From what I read, it should work with any specs of most older macs.

    What you need: Unsupported Mac of your choice running 10.4 I assume
    External HD with at least 8GB of space (0r some other USB drive)
    A copy of Leopard OS X 10.5 Install DVD (I don't care how you get it ;) )
    Disk Utility, A Keyboard, and Maybe a Pen and paper to write this down if it's your primary computer.

    Step 1: Open disk Utility and Restore your Install DVD disk Image to the external USB device of your choice. This is done by clicking the restore tab, Dragging the Install DVD disk image to the Source section, and the Destination will be your USB drive which can be dragged from the left column.
    Note: My USB was partitioned as Mac OS Extended (Journaled)

    Step 2: after the Image is Restored to your USB drive click on the info button in disk utility to view the information for your Install DVD partition.

    Mine looked like this :
    Disk Identifier : disk1s3
    Mount Point : /Volumes/Mac OS X Install DVD
    File System : Mac OS Extended (Journaled)

    Take note of the disk1s3!!! the "3" will come into play later. your number may be different.

    Step 3: Reboot your computer to open Open Firmware by holding down COMMAND + OPTION + O + F
    Type this into Open Firmware to change your computers specs viewed by the Install DVD
    (thanks to the people at lowendmac.com)

    For single CPUs:
    dev /cpus/PowerPC,G4@0
    d# 867000000 encode-int " clock-frequency" property

    For Dual CPUs:
    dev /cpus/PowerPC,G4@0
    d# 867000000 encode-int " clock-frequency" property
    dev /cpus/PowerPC,G4@1
    D# 867000000 encode-int " clock-frequency" property

    Step 5:
    Figure out how to boot from YOUR USB
    type devalias and press enter

    you will see something like
    usb1 /pci@f2000000/usb@19/disk1

    wherever you see the disk that your USB is under (in this case disk 1) use that "usb*" from the left hand column.

    now is where that disk1s3 "3" comes into play

    Simply type
    boot usb1/disk:3,\\:tbxi and press enter

    wait patiently while your now compatible computer loads the leopard install DVD

    So... In case that wasn't clear the usb1 corresponds with the "disk1" from the settings and the disk:3 corrsesponds with the s3.

    Your numbers may be different. but this was simple and it worked!

    I will try to answer any questions as best I can but this worked for me and it was the easiest possible way I could think of...no firewire, no burning dvd...no modifying install disk...just 3 little lines in open firmware and now I'm running OS X 10.5 and it honestly seems snappier.

    Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any damage to your computer.


    P.S. I know there are many sites that list how to do this with a CD or DVD but after tirelessly looking for how to do this from a USB for over 8 hours (literally) I thought it should be wrapped up into one easy post.

    Attached Files:

  2. OrangeSVTguy macrumors 601


    Sep 16, 2007
    Northeastern Ohio
    You won't get no help here with pirated software.
  3. chungasarnies macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2010
    "A copy of Leopard OS X 10.5 Install DVD (I don't care how you get it )"

    Thing is, most of us aren't thieves, so we do. And if you think you can replace a Mac with an iPad, I think you're about to be very disappointed.

    Also, forgetting that you have to sync your devices to something - lol

    ALSO, you're running 10.5.1 in that screenshot, and you need 10.5.8 or later to sync according to Apple.
  4. rmlphoto, Mar 9, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011

    rmlphoto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2011
    it's not my business how anyone gets their software I just care how I get mine.

    Also, it's not like I "forgot" I had to sync my devices, I rarely do unless I'm jailbreaking, and I have a netbook pc I could use for that so it's not like I'd be stuck.

    This was meant to be informative so stop hating.

    also, I replaced a Mac with a Mac and the iPad will be great for absolutely everything I need it for. Everyone is different. No need to be so hostile.

    and yes, I WAS running 10.5.1 until I just updated...which went flawlessy...

    Please be respectful no need for your comments. And to whoever said I won't get any help here...I already got no help here and I wasn't looking for any, I was providing help.

    EDIT: and if you wanna make a comment about me Jailbreaking save it, I don't use pirated software on my iphone either, but I do like biteSMS, which I pay for, because it is a lot better than the iOS sms options. And Jailbreaking is legal.

    So much for welcoming someone to the forum

    Attached Files:

  5. rmlphoto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2011
    you obviously didn't read any of the post except that one quote listed below, which like I said,I DON'T care how the software is obtained that's not any of my business.

    And I was not looking for any help
  6. Jiten macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2008
  7. fhturner macrumors 6502


    Nov 7, 2007
    Birmingham, AL & Atlanta, GA
    Not sure why you got beat up by a couple of posts there, but nice work...kudos! Thanks for being thoughtful enough to share. Glad you got the old G4 to run Leopard. Enjoy that new iPad!

  8. SkippyThorson macrumors 65816


    Jul 22, 2007
    Utica, NY
    OP, I for one welcome your post and there may come a day where the second iMac in my signature will thank you! Your method summed up here looks extremely simple and handy. Many thanks for posting it.

    I have to say, I don't believe I sensed any hostility from those that didn't 'love' your post, but there are those here who get quite defensive and up in arms over pirated software - which I also don't fiddle with for obvious reasons. I personally have the same comment as you, though. I don't care who gets what and how they go about it. It's not my place to dictate, even if I don't condone it.

    In other news, I have a retail Leopard disk, and the older iMac I keep in my office is getting a little tired. I missed Tiger when I upgraded my iBook, and now that I have it again on my iMac, I don't think I really missed it as much as I thought. That upgrade may happen soon. Your specs are nearly identical to mine, save 100mhz. Any considerable lag under Leopard doing light work?
  9. rmlphoto, Mar 9, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011

    rmlphoto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2011

    Thanks for the positive responses I was wondering what kind of community this was going to be after that warm welcome I got. I'm glad to help. I spent more time than you could imagine just trying to figure out how to boot from USB in open firmware and everywhere that said how to do it was unclear and had a bunch of obviously unnecessary steps. This method worked great and was a huge sigh of relief and hopefully helps anyone else in the same situation.

    Oh and I can't wait to get that new iPad. T

    This also inspired me to spend more time learning about Terminal

    Good luck to anyone else and thanks for the nice welcome you guys

    By the way, This was one of the way more difficult alternativeshttp://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?s=&goto=lastpost&threadid=371302
  10. rmlphoto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2011
    I'm glad to help! thanks for the kind welcome.

    I've been using leopard now for about 4 hours and it seems shocking snappy for this old dinosaur. Every once in a while the stacks from the dock will show a little shadowing behind them because it's such an old graphics card but I'd say that you won't encounter any unexpected lag compared to tiger. I've noticed most things seem faster than tiger. Start up time remained the same also. I've really only run Safari, Itunes, and Mail.app at the same time as far as multiple apps open and I don't think I encountered the pinwheel at all, which is kind of frustrating because my macbook that I sold with 2GHz and 4MB of Ram showed the pinwheel plenty of times.

    I read somewhere, and I wish I could find it now, that you should turn off the 3D dock effects and change some other settings to have it run better with the graphics card but honestly it's been running find without any modification. I haven't tried watching videos of any sort on it yet but like I said, I'm getting an iPad, that will be my main video watching source, along with the 22 inch screen I can connect it to.

    Best of luck, I highly recommend it! And as I mentioned, the update to 10.5.8 went perfectly, and then another update becomes available to get the latest Itunes and Safari and some other things and that went perfectly as well. Just synced my iPhone for with its 8 year old cousin and all went well. No complaints here thus far. I'll keep you updated on any quirks.
  11. Hrududu macrumors 68020


    Jul 25, 2008
    Central US
    Its a good way to get the OS onto an unsupported Mac if you don't have another PPC Mac around that does support Leopard. By far the easiest is to do like I did with my Cube and boot it up in target disk mode, attach it via FireWire to a PPC Mac that does support leopard, and using that Mac, install Leopard onto the mac thats attached as a target disk.
  12. NZed, Mar 10, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2011

    NZed macrumors 65816


    Jan 24, 2011
    Canada, Eh?
    The two first comments were pretty offensive(somehow).

    btw we(at least most of us) welcomes you!!!
  13. VanneDC macrumors 6502a


    Jun 5, 2010
    Dubai, UAE
    "downloaded osx 10.5 retail iso"....

    I for one would say welcome to the forum, but please dont pirate/download crap you dont own...
  14. MacHamster68, Mar 10, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2011

    MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009

    thats why some got a bit angry , as leopard was never made available to download by apple , you did need to buy the disc ,if not its pirated
    so your post is nice an helpful for those who want to get leopard running , up to that point
    ..anyway have fun with the iMac G4 ,
    was a great idea to become a intel free household and you got my respect for that, but a iPad ...why :confused:
    for the price of a iPad you could have bought a pristine condition PowerBook G4 or iBook G4...at least they could run a proper operating system (OSX)
    ok the iPad might have some uses , but generally its just a iPhone thats not able to be used as a phone any more
  15. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2009
    United Kingdom
    The OPs method is ridiculously over complicated - there is specific freeware to achieve this called LeopardAssist - its avaliable here, and it is a lot easier than the mess suggested by the OP - installing Leopard from USB 1.1, which is what nearly all the unsupported Macs have is diabolically slow (Having installed it over USB 2, it wasnt fantastic, USB 1.1 would be impossibly slow). Especially since you can get DVD drives for all these models for pennies.
  16. fhall1 macrumors 68040


    Dec 18, 2007
    (Central) NY State of mind
    The OP said in the first post he couldn't get LeopardAssist to work.
  17. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2009
    United Kingdom
    My point was that unless it fails, which is very rare, his list of instructions is far far more complicated. If it failed for him, he shouldve just linked to the LEM article where the method was first discussed, instead of implying his solution was the only way forward/ "an easy way" - Messing in OF is not easy.
  18. rmlphoto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2011
    THank you for the welcome!
    Good point, unfortunately, the 3 leopard disks that I do OWN are all hardware specific, and I was not having any success with those. Having purchased 3 Macs with leopard disks in the past and purchasing one retail snow leopard, I feel I didn't do too much of an injustice.
    Eh, I just wanted a new toy to play with. I've had a few macs, admittedly mostly Intel macs, and I just wanted something different. You can only do so much on them in comparison to an iPad, obviously much more can be done on the Mac but I've been playing with these for years.
    So, in my case, where I'm booting from an external hard drive regardless, leopard assist did not work, even though when the computer would boot after leopard install denied the system requirements the about this mac would show "867Mhz". So leopardassist was doing its part but for some reason (I don't know enough about it) it was still not working. I'm not sure why I care what you say, but this method was Ridiculously easy. For anyone who wants to boot from a USB the restoring in disk utility is necessary, getting the info takes one click and writing down "disk1s3", you type,literally, 4 lines into OF, and bam you're done. Sounds pretty simple to me, I just tried to be thorough in my explanation. THere was nothing complicated about my mess. Thanks

    Right. thank you
    It is easy. For anyone.
  19. SkippyThorson macrumors 65816


    Jul 22, 2007
    Utica, NY
    I believe the application you're referring to is Docker. I had it readily available on my 1.25ghz iMac and my iBook when I installed Leopard just in case, but both run great. With anything in the mhz world, I would personally think about having it ready again, but if it runs as good as you say, maybe I still can go 3 for 3 and not need it. :) Docker turns off all of the eye candy, and in other cases, throws in some options for other requests people have had for Leopard features.

    It's actually not overcomplicated at all. He summed it up pretty well. A few little lines, and that's that. I do agree with the speeds of USB 1.1 being... dreadful. However, there's nothing remotely hard about this method besides maybe waiting for the end-result.
  20. rmlphoto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2011
    Just wanted to update you on a few things. Youtube definitely isn't a fan of leopard but I also don't have any way to compare it to tiger because I never tried it on there. i'd imagine the results are similar but you get perfect sound but miss about 1/2 of the frames of the video. Also, I read a lot of people having a white screen when waking from sleep, I tested this multiple times today and last night and never had any problems. Opens up right to the screen very quickly.

    and to clarify, my graphics card is:
    Chipset Model: GeForce2 MX
    Type: Display
    Bus: AGP
    VRAM (Total): 32 MB
    Vendor: NVIDIA (0x10de)
    Device ID: 0x0110
    Revision ID: 0x00b2
    ROM Revision: 1057.008.1

    I also put the "applications" folder on the dock and opening as a grid wasn't too smooth so I changed that to "list" with no problems whatsoever and i'm still using the 3D dock without a hitch.
  21. SkippyThorson macrumors 65816


    Jul 22, 2007
    Utica, NY
    YouTube acts about the exact same on my 800mhz iMac running Tiger. Audio is just fine, but video stutters frame to frame every other second or so.

    I always have the Utilities folder in my dock in addition to the Downloads folder, and opening in a grid gives me a slight delay on the higher iMac and the iBook, but after the the 1 second delay, it opens pretty smooth. I've never tried list view.
  22. rmlphoto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2011
    It's not much on aesthetics but it gets the job done haha
  23. chungasarnies macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2010
    Where did you legally get a Leopard .iso then ;) It's not my business, but i don't think we should be condoning pirating here on MR

    First two comments weren't offensive, they were just matter of fact.

    I'm sorry you got upset for not being 'welcomed to the forum'.

    I AM interested in how you got a ppc booting from usb though, i was under the impression that wasn't possible
  24. rmlphoto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2011

    Maybe I overreacted but I explained myself. Maybe using the .iso wasn't the most ethical way but desperate times called for desperate measures.

    For the record. I tried restoring TWO legitimate Leoard DVDs to my USB drive, on this old Imac...each one took two seperate 4 hours to restore to the drive and both failed. So in total, with the .iso, I spent 12 hours just waiting for the Install DVD's to restore to the USB haha. Rough

    and yes now it can be booted from usb
  25. skinniezinho, Mar 13, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011

    skinniezinho macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2009
    I tried this solution with my powermac but never managed to get it working so tried a "insane" thing:

    Formated my powermac drive in Apple Partition Map.
    Carbon copy cloned the Leopard dmg to a partition on a external HDD
    Installed it using my macbook, on a second partition of the same external HDD (if you have more than 1 external HDD simply install it there)
    Updated MacOS X t0 10.5.8 and installed my stuff (I've only done that because downloading/installing stuff on the macbook is way faster)
    Carbon copy cloned the Install partition to the powerpc hdd (using the an hackintosh just because I don't have an IDE Case with usb adapter)!Strangely cloning on the Powermac makes it boot to a "prohibition signal")
    Boot it on the powermac and everything is up and running :D

    Of course if you have a case for your powerpc hdd it is much easier...just install it directly there...

Share This Page