Need help swapping mac mini hard drive into iMac g5

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by DeadCthulhu, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. DeadCthulhu macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2009
    Hey everyone, I'm new to this forum and I would greatly appreciate any help you can lend me on this swap.

    I recently recieved an iMac g5 (20") and I am trying to use an old 40 gig hard drive from my first mac mini which is a g4. I have it set up externally via USB and the drive has os 10.4 with my old files. When I boot up the Imac with a os 10.5 install disk it says that it cannot be installed on this mac, I am not too conscerned with upgrading to 10.5 but more with booting from this extrernal drive in an attempt to keep my old files. I'm not sure what steps to take to teach the iMac to boot from this external drive.

    Also the iMac has no internal hard drive and when I boot without the install disk I only get the flashing folder/ question mark...

    Thanks for any help you can provide!!
  2. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    To boot off the external drive, attach it to the iMac and hold the alt/option key during boot. This shoudl prompt you with the available drive(s) to boot from; just click it and hit ENTER.
    I guess you can't boot off the 10.5 instal disk because the iMac doesn't have an internal hard drive. So it makes no sense to boot from the install disk.
    Another reason might be that the iMac just won't boot without an internal hard drive installed because this is set up in its OPen Firmware.

    I donÄr know how hard this is to perform, but the most straight-forward way for me would be to put a hard drive into the iMac. It's not possibel to use your Mac mini drive for that because it is 2.5" and the iMac needs a 3.5" IDE/PATA drive.
  3. DeadCthulhu thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2009
    No luck

    I tried the alt/option and it did not recognize the drive, or give me any option but the 10.5 disk, even when I took the disk out and restart there were no options to boot from, if I load the iMac from the 10.5 cd then I can look at the drives available to repair, and it does see the external drive then, but when I try to set it as the default boot drive in the disk utility it does not show it as an option...

    Thanks for the help, any other ideas?

    Should I try the repair function? Or will that erase my data?
  4. pdubak macrumors member

    Oct 20, 2009
    It is possible to install 10.5 but I don't think it'll do ya any good unless you have the space on your drive. You need to partition the external drive and Restore an image of the 10.5 Disk on the empty partition (think it's about 12GB at least), then boot to that partition which will be like a simulated 10.5 Disk except on the drive and not the DVD. The installer should then let you select the other partition on your disk to upgrade.
  5. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    Can a G5 boot from USB? Or only from Firewire?
  6. toolbox macrumors 68020


    Oct 6, 2007
    Australia (WA)
    I believe it's firewire!
  7. LouisBlack macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2007
    Balham, London
    Indeed. USB booting only came in with the Intels.
  8. DeadCthulhu thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2009
    FireWire vs. USB

    So putting that drive in a USB case was pointless cause the iMac won't be able to boot unless it's via FireWire?
  9. LouisBlack macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2007
    Balham, London
    'fraid so. PowerPC Macs like the G5 can only boot an external drive through Firewire.

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