Just installed a hard drive in my PB but I still get the Grey screen!!! Help!!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by yerbluez, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. yerbluez macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2009
    I just installed a 80gb hard drive into my PowerBook G4 1.25 ghz. My old hard drive had crashed so I ordered one off of ebay. After installing it and putting the pb back together when I start it up the only screen that appears is the notorious Grey screen with a flashing question mark on a folder.

    I tried booting it while holding down "c" with the system software cd in. Nothing seems to work.

    Can someone point me in the right direction here? Does this sound like the HD needs to be formatted or that it just isn't being recognized?


    PowerBook G4 15" 1.25ghz
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Try holding the option key when rebooting, you should then be able to select the system disc to boot off of.

    Is it possible the OSX install disk is damaged? Obivously you're getting the question mark because the hard drive is not formatted and no OS is on there yet.
  3. yerbluez thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2009
    I tried holding the option key down and then a screen with two arrows come up. One looks like the refresh sign and the other is just a generic arrow. I tried clicking them both but they do nothing....

    If the hard drive needs to be formatted before I can install an OS on it can I do that without taking it back out??
  4. drtech macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2009
    Getting the grey screen would be normal for a new hard drive with no OS installed, however, your Mac should boot from the installation disk. It sounds like it is not seeing the DVD.

    You may want to try a different DVD, or it is possible that a cable was inadvertently disconnect from the optical drive when installing the new hard drive. I think I would try to get the Mac to boot from the DVD before looking at issues with the hard drive.

  5. Wotan31 macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2008
    x2 on all points.

    And why in the hell did you buy your new hard drive off of ebay? :eek: I would never trust my data to an ebay hard drive. New ones are so dirt cheap these days, I can't see any possible reason to buy one on ebay. Newegg.com or some other site and buy a brand new one with a factory warranty.
  6. yerbluez thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2009
    Thanks for your replies folks. I'm trying my best to get to the bottom of this.

    I don't believe the disk is damaged as I tried a friends and it didn't recognize that either... However the disc I have does say PowerMac G4 and not PowerBook G4. But the friend I bought it from said that is what it came with.

    I don't think the drive has been disconnected either as it spins when ever I click the arrow that looks like the refresh symbol.... Also the eject button works with it.

    I couldn't find any new hard drives that were ATA and weren't too expensive... I hope that's not the problem....

    Any other ideas guys?

  7. drtech macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2009
    You may want to try an off-the-shelf DVD installation disk. Another option to try is zapping the pram. This can be done by following Apple's procedure found at: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1379. Essentially, you are holding down Command, Option, P & R while booting and waiting for the "beep" (not the "bong").

    Both the optical drive and the hard drive are on the ATA bus. If there is an issue with the hard drive (especially electronics), it wouldn't be out of realm of possibility that it would "take down" the entire ATA bus with it, thereby causing the DVD drive to not work properly. If this is the case, the good thing is that once you remove the malfunctioning hard drive, the optical drive should work again. It is unlikely to cause permanent damage to the computer or DVD drive.

  8. yerbluez thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2009
    If the optical drive was not working would it still spin and respond to the eject button? Also I have no clue of any store that still sells the old Mac OS Tiger... I don't think this PB could run anything that is later than that. Perhaps i should put in a brand new hard drive, I'm hesitant to do that as that right away however because as I said I just replaced it.

    Do you think trying to boot it via Target mode from another powerbook would work? thanks a lot for helping out

  9. drtech macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2009
    Yeah, it is possible that the drive would spin and eject but not read. Where I am coming from is that you should be able to at least see a DVD in the optical drive, and right now, the Mac isn't even seeing the DVD.

    It certainly wouldn't hurt to try target disk mode to see if the hard drive shows up in Disk Utility on another Mac. You can even install an OS across target disk mode (provided the other Mac is not an Intel based Mac; they have to match PPC or Intel to install across target disk).

    If this was a case where you booted from an installation disk and didn't see the new hard drive, then it would be fairly cut-and-dry. What is odd is that the DVD does not appear to be working now.

    The article I linked to in the previous post also spoke of resetting the PMU if zapping the PRAM did not change the symptoms. Have you tried that as well?

    Unfortunately it may come down to pulling the drive simply to troubleshoot.

  10. yerbluez thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2009
    yeah it definitely isn't showing the cd at all even though it spins.. However tonight I noticed that I may actually have the wrong boot disk after all. It says Power Mac G4 Software Restore which I believe has an earlier version of OS. I read somewhere that these powerbooks can't boot from OS 9 discs... besides I would think the one that came with it would say PowerBook G4 Software Restore. So I contacted the person I bought it from and she is going to look for it.

    If that doesn't fix it then I guess I'll try the Target disk mode. In the end I might have to give in and bring it to the shop.... but at least I'll have learned a little bit.

    I did try the PMU after zapping the PRAM. Didn't change much.

    thanks for your continued advice. Will keep ya updated.

  11. drtech macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2009
    Well, stranger things have happened, but it should boot from an OS 9 disk (especially the older PowerBooks) given that the original PowerBooks shipped with OS 9. The Intel Macs will not, but the PPC's should.

    But, like I said, troubleshooting involves eliminating each possibility until only one remains. (Of course, that's easier said than done).

    Good luck!
  12. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    There is no way you can possibly boot from a POWERMAC disc to a POWERBOOK.

    They are completely different machines

    You need a retail Tiger disc.

    i have one

    Let me know if you want it.

    Powermacs have specifically coded OEM discs.

    PowerBOOKs have specifically coded oem software discs.

    Tiger retail discs contain code for all Macs of that time frame.
  13. drtech macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2009
    Absolutely. I was just commenting on the fact that an PowerBook will run OS 9, not that it will run a PowerMac installation disk.
  14. yerbluez thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2009
    Hey Guys,

    well here is an update. I found out it was the wrong cd and ordered one from Apple. I put in the drive and held C and what do you know it booted up. I then formatted the hard drive and began to install OS X. However there is still a problem.... For some reason it's running very slow. Every time I clicked on a new field to type info during the installation, the colored wheel would rotate for about 30 secs.... It seems as if it's just really bogged down or something. It installed it all the way but even on the desktop it remained slow....

    Any ideas about what could cause this? BTW when I installed the hard drive (which is refurbished) I was not able to put the bracket back on becuase the screws had been stripped out... could this result in slow speeds?



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