Help installing OS 9 / OS X on old G4 (tried everything)

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by turlehe, May 29, 2008.

  1. turlehe macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2007
    My friend got a free G4 Digital Audio powermac from uni as they were upgrading. They had to destroy the harddrives in them because the data protection act or something like that. He bough a new maxtor hard drive (mac compatable).

    For the past 2 days i've been trying to install os x / os 9 with no success. I intially installed OS X via Target Disk mode usng my macbook, it went fine but the G4 was not recognizing the hard drive at all at boot (macbook was!). I tried changing the jumper settings on the hard drive, still no luck. I've tried reseting the PRAM etc, even the CUBA. The G4 just loads up with the smiley face and flashing question mark.

    Really pissed off at the moment, can't figure out whats wrong, anybody got any idea?

    Exhausted tbh :)
  2. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    1. The firmware may need updating to run OS X.
    2. The HD better be smaller than 137GB in size, since that's the limit of the size on the PATA bus of that machine.
    3. The OS X Version you installed was undoubtedly for the Macbook only, and possibly Intel version only. Neither of which will work on that Mac. You will need a retail version of OS X to install on that Mac.
  3. merl1n macrumors 65816


    Mar 30, 2008
    New Jersey, USA
    I don't know how many times I have seen this problem and helped people on this forum.

    You stated you purchased a Maxtor drive. Yes it is compatible with the Mac, but most likely has the wrong Partition mapping scheme. Most drives come pre-formatted from the vendor to use with a Windows PC.

    What you need to do....

    1. Boot into target mode and on your other Mac, bring up Disk Utility.
    2. Select the drive itself (not the volume beneath it) and click the Partitions tab.
    3. Change "Current" to "1 Partition" (this enables the "options" button).
    4. Click the options button
    5. Select the Apple Partition map and click ok.
    6. Name the disk and click "apply".

    This will reformat the disk with the correct mapping for the G4.

    Now unmount the drive from your Mac and power off the G4. Disconnect the cable.

    Install OS9 FIRST by booting from the CD.

    Upgrade 0S9 to version 9.22

    Run Disk Utility and repair permissions

    Now you are ready to install OSX. Keep in mind that OS9.x is NOT supported on Leopard (10.5). I'm not sure if it is supported on Tiger (10.4), but it IS supported on Panther (10.3) in "Classic" mode.
  4. turlehe thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2007
    cheers guys, that helped a lot.

    I think the hard drive may be 160 gigs actually, damnit, any way of getting around that, just buy a smaller drive?
  5. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
  6. msheldrick macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2008
    you could just buy an ATA card

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