Power Mac G5 Blinking Folder

NintendoFan

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Original poster
Apr 14, 2006
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I have a Power Mac G5 that has a blinking folder issue. I know it usually means it's a hard drive issue, but the one in it is working (tested) and I tried another known working one to no avail. Only the only two key commands I've got to work on startup are 'Option' and 'PRAM reset'. The machine also spins up the fans full throttle after about 3 - 5 minutes of being on.

Any ideas?

Video of what's happening:
 

Spartan1984

macrumors newbie
Jan 17, 2020
3
1
The folder actually means it can't find a boot system at all, so the hard drives can be working fine but the computer is unable to detect them. I would be surprised if it was the cable, but most likely the logic board. A good way to test this is to see if you can boot an install disc that came with the computer or to put your good known hard drive into a firewire enclosure and attempt to boot from that. If you can find the install disc you should be able to hold opt on boot up and select it as the start up volume and see if disk utility can see your drives.
 

NintendoFan

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Original poster
Apr 14, 2006
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I don't have the install disc, but I burned one from Mac Garden. Can't seem to get it to boot from CD. Also, don't get anything from Target Disc Mode.
 

VanneDC

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Jun 5, 2010
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Dubai, UAE
I don't have the install disc, but I burned one from Mac Garden. Can't seem to get it to boot from CD. Also, don't get anything from Target Disc Mode.
Which install disc? leopard? notori=ously hard to burn.. ive wasted gowd only knows how many DL dvd's on that puppy before I got a working one.. try a tiger CD
 

RhianB

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You could try plugging a known ata boot drive into the cdrom ribbon cable and see if you can boot from that?

Best of luck to you.
 
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Soba

macrumors 6502
May 28, 2003
269
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Rochester, NY
I have a Power Mac G5 that has a blinking folder issue. I know it usually means it's a hard drive issue, but the one in it is working (tested) and I tried another known working one to no avail. Only the only two key commands I've got to work on startup are 'Option' and 'PRAM reset'. The machine also spins up the fans full throttle after about 3 - 5 minutes of being on.

Any ideas?

Video of what's happening:
Just to be sure, try resetting the PRAM 3 times in a row (that is, until you hear the startup chime 4 times). I've found this to resolve many boot problems on other systems.

You might have to briefly release the keys between boots in order for the keystrokes to register on the next boot. Try quickly releasing the keys when you hear the chime and then immediately holding them down again. The system should restart each time if you do this.

If that does not work, try resetting the PMU/SMU on the system, but I do not expect this to help with the symptoms you're describing. I would ordinarily provide a link, but the method of doing it is different depending on the model of G5 that you have. Please Google it (make sure you include your mac model and year in your search) and you should find the right instructions for your machine.

Also, the fan behavior you describe is normal (your posted video is not showing up for some reason, so I'm going by your description). Early G5s would spin up their fans to maximum if the OS didn't boot, similar to what would happen when the Mac suffered a kernel panic. It's been a while, but I recall this was fixed in a later BootROM/firmware update, which quieted the fans quite a lot. It's possible your system is missing this updated firmware, thus is exhibiting the old behavior. To be clear, this is just an annoyance and isn't a symptom of any problem (I think).
 

AphoticD

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Feb 17, 2017
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I would recommend downloading Apple Service Diagnostics (ASD), burning to disc and booting from this to scan the hardware for faults.

ASD v2.5.8 suits the G5s except for the “Late 2005” models which requires v2.6.3.
 

NintendoFan

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Original poster
Apr 14, 2006
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I would recommend downloading Apple Service Diagnostics (ASD), burning to disc and booting from this to scan the hardware for faults.

ASD v2.5.8 suits the G5s except for the “Late 2005” models which requires v2.6.3.
Awesome! That worked. I failed the test. Something to do with the fans and thermometer. The fans are reading "fans are spinning faster than they should" and the thermometer is reading "alarm settings 2."
 
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AphoticD

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Awesome! That worked. I failed the test. Something to do with the fans and thermometer. The fans are reading "fans are spinning faster than they should" and the thermometer is reading "alarm settings 2."
Is there a lot of dust build up inside the machine?

I would strip it right down, pull out the logic board and power supply to inspect. If it’s a Liquid cooled model, check for any signs of leaks and corrosion. Download the Apple Service Manual to suit your model (from tim.id.au) and test the pinouts on the PSU. Then rebuild and apply new thermal paste to the CPU(s).

It’s a big job and may result in no change, but worth trying before investing in another logic board, power supply, CPU, or throwing the machine away.

Edit: it could also be faulty RAM. Before fully dismantling, strip back to a known good pair of DIMMs (or remove all but one pair) and try running the hardware test again.

Edit 2: try to find a working “minimal configuration”, by removing devices connecting to the logic board, like the HDD, airport card, expansion cards, etc to see if the hardware test passes with various components disconnected.
 
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NintendoFan

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Apr 14, 2006
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Is there a lot of dust build up inside the machine?

I would strip it right down, pull out the logic board and power supply to inspect. If it’s a Liquid cooled model, check for any signs of leaks and corrosion. Download the Apple Service Manual to suit your model (from tim.id.au) and test the pinouts on the PSU. Then rebuild and apply new thermal paste to the CPU(s).

It’s a big job and may result in no change, but worth trying before investing in another logic board, power supply, CPU, or throwing the machine away.

Edit: it could also be faulty RAM. Before fully dismantling, strip back to a known good pair of DIMMs (or remove all but one pair) and try running the hardware test again.

Edit 2: try to find a working “minimal configuration”, by removing devices connecting to the logic board, like the HDD, airport card, expansion cards, etc to see if the hardware test passes with various components disconnected.
Pulled some of the RAM out (OWC) and now it passes the test, but still get the blinking finder folder. Hmm...
 

AphoticD

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Are you able to boot from a Mac OS X Leopard DVD? It’s possible that faulty RAM could have corrupted the boot drive.

Try booting from the installer disc then run Disk Utility to see if your HDD partition map is still valid and run First Aid.

If the HDD volumes are not accessible, you may need to erase and reinstall the OS. Be sure to attempt backing up the HDD via a different device first if there is important data on there.
 

NintendoFan

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Are you able to boot from a Mac OS X Leopard DVD? It’s possible that faulty RAM could have corrupted the boot drive.

Try booting from the installer disc then run Disk Utility to see if your HDD partition map is still valid and run First Aid.

If the HDD volumes are not accessible, you may need to erase and reinstall the OS. Be sure to attempt backing up the HDD via a different device first if there is important data on there.
Gave it a shot. Won't boot from 10.4 or 10.5.
 
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AphoticD

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Gave it a shot. Won't boot from 10.4 or 10.5.
Was ASD burnt to CD or DVD?

If ASD was on a CD-R, then just to rule out DVD reading failure, I would try downloading and burning a copy of 10.3 Panther which shipped on CD.

I’ve seen ODDs which are happy to boot from CD, but fail to boot a DVD.

10.4 Tiger CD images can also be found.

If you want to bypass the ODD to then install 10.5 Leopard, you could use dd or Disk Utility to “burn” the installer iso/dmg to a USB thumb drive, then use Open Firmware on the G5 to boot from USB.
 

defjam

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How are you creating the discs? I assume you're using the same method for the OS discs as you did for the ASD disc? The ability of the system to boot ASD suggests the system is fine and that the issue is with the OS installation you're using.
 

iluvmacs99

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Apr 9, 2019
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Gave it a shot. Won't boot from 10.4 or 10.5.
The drive in your PowerMac G5 is DVD capable, but you need to obtain an original universal boot CD of Tiger (it should be 4 discs in total) as well as a universal binary copy of Leopard. There are copies of Tiger for some specific Mac Mini G4s out there that are not able to boot from your G5 and a boot Leopard install disc for Mac Intel Macbooks that won't install because it's for Intel. I tried as I have different original Apple copies of Tiger and Leopard for different older Macs in our store and some gave me the blinking folder, but not for the intended machines they were made for. If you are still unable to read from your G5 DVD drive, you can attach an external USB optical drive that is DVDRW capable (most cheap PC laptop external drive) and boot from there using the "Option" key to select that boot CD/DVD. This works with both the Leopard and the Leopard Server copies. The ASD copy will work no problem.
 
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NintendoFan

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So, it won't boot from a DVD, but will boot from a Tiger Install Disc. But after it restarts from the Disc 1 installation, it comes back to the same blinking folder and then boots from the install disc again.
 

RhianB

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So if the disc boots, Id venture a guess that the CD-ROM drive & pata cable are ok.

Did you try a new Sata cable yet? What about swapping hdd bays? Clone to a different drive & install?
 
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NintendoFan

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So if the disc boots, Id venture a guess that the CD-ROM drive & pata cable are ok.

Did you try a new Sata cable yet? What about swapping hdd bays? Clone to a different drive & install?
I've swapped bays. It sees the hard drive and will install the first disc, but after it needs to restart, it returns to the same thing that's happening in the video in the first post.
 

RhianB

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So that rules out the cables. You dropped down to a minimum ram config, reset pram, & can boot via os disc so the optical drive is fine. Definitely points to a wonky logic board on the harddrive.

At this point I’d be looking for a different drive that is known to be good, is 7pass erased, formatted as extended journaled w/ Apple partition map scheme (not GUID) so it is free of any data & can boot on PowerPC hardware.

If you still cannot get the drive to boot, it points to a defuncto mainboard IMO. Good luck
 
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NintendoFan

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So that rules out the cables. You dropped down to a minimum ram config, reset pram, & can boot via os disc so the optical drive is fine. Definitely points to a wonky logic board on the harddrive.

At this point I’d be looking for a different drive that is known to be good, is 7pass erased, formatted as extended journaled w/ Apple partition map scheme (not GUID) so it is free of any data & can boot on PowerPC hardware.

If you still cannot get the drive to boot, it points to a defuncto mainboard IMO. Good luck
Good call on trying another drive. Installation went without a hitch. Odd though, as the other drive is working just fine as an external drive on my other computers. Any known issues with a ST1000DM003 on a Power Mac G5?
 
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Amethyst1

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Oct 28, 2015
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It's a SATA 3 drive, the G5 has issues with that I believe. Is there a jumper on the drive to drop it down to SATA I speed?
 
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repairedCheese

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Jan 13, 2020
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Good call on trying another drive. Installation went without a hitch. Odd though, as the other drive is working just fine as an external drive on my other computers. Any known issues with a ST1000DM003 on a Power Mac G5?
I can't speak specifically for the ST1000DM003, I did just install an ST4000DM004 into my own G5, which, being a 4tb drive I never tried to do anything involving booting off of it, but the system has no trouble accessing it. Leopard clearly doesn't know entirely what to make of the thing when I look at the detailed drive information, but everything works.

Which, at the very least, is to say I don't think Seagate has dropped support for SATA 1 in at least some of their drives, at least not completely.
 

FarmerBob

macrumors regular
Aug 15, 2004
153
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Same with a G5 iMac that I inherited. I tried all the tried and true techniques and nothing worked. I pulled the drive and it's intact. All the info is there and I did a CCC archive, wiped and reinstalled and we're all good. Now to find out how far I can take this as a "Hackintosh".