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miksat

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 27, 2018
58
43
Republic of Serbia
Recently got myself a 12 inch Powerbook for around 20 bucks. It's been great fun playing with the machine but unfortunately it's missing the optical drive. I want to do a clean reinstall of Tiger because there are files here from the previous owner.

Unfortunately I can't use my discs because the machine physically does not have an optical drive. I was trying to write the DMG to a hard disk partition but turns out the feature to repartition your Startup Disk was only introduced in Leopard. iPartition won't do it either for some reason. Found an old USB 2.0 stick but apparently the version of Disk Utility in Tiger is broken and won't write DMGs to USB devices (Resource Busy error). I gave my only modern Mac to my dad after I got myself a new Windows computer so I had to use TransMac to write the bootable USB which it did. But even though it's detected in the OS itself I can't get it to be recognized in the Option boot menu or OpenFirmware.

Anyone here have any advice? Maybe a bad USB stick? Is there a way to do this with dd through terminal? Thanks in advance!
 

alex_free

macrumors 65816
Feb 24, 2020
1,060
2,245
Might be worth it to try an external cd drive. FireWire will work, USB ones are iffy. I have a usb DVD burner that will work to boot install discs on the Mac mini but not the clamshell or the iBook mid 2005.
 

miksat

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 27, 2018
58
43
Republic of Serbia
Might be worth it to try an external cd drive. FireWire will work, USB ones are iffy. I have a usb DVD burner that will work to boot install discs on the Mac mini but not the clamshell or the iBook mid 2005.
I’d get an external firewire drive but those are rare in my area and if I’m already going to purchase something I might as well buy a SuperDrive and install it.

Edit: Would a SuperDrive from a 15 inch PowerBook work in a 12 inch? What about drives from iBooks?
 
I’d get an external firewire drive but those are rare in my area and if I’m already going to purchase something I might as well buy a SuperDrive and install it.

Edit: Would a SuperDrive from a 15 inch PowerBook work in a 12 inch? What about drives from iBooks?

Yes, a SuperDrive from another PowerPC laptop should work.

All optical drives for the PowerPC laptops use the IDE/ATAPI bus, and most were manufactured by Matshita/Panasonic. These can be identified by the “UJ-8**” model number. (Combo optical drives tend to have a model number prefix of “CD-…”). I have successfully upgraded the DVD-read optical drive on an iBook G3 with a “SuperDrive” (Apple’s trademark for any optical drive capable of burning DVDs), using a Matshita optical drive model which only came bundled with PC laptops.

So yes, pulling a dual-layer SuperDrive out of a late PowerPC laptop or early Intel Mac laptop should work in your 12-inch PowerBook. Key is the drive must have the IDE/ATAPI bus (and not the later SATA bus for the optical drive which began with the unibody Mac laptops of late 2008, onward).
 

miksat

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 27, 2018
58
43
Republic of Serbia
Unfortunately been unable to find a firewire optical drive or replacement SuperDrive. I bought a new USB drive to see if it was my old one just being wonky. Specifically got a 2.0 drive but even then after writing the DMG to the drive on a APM partition, it won’t recognize it in OpenFirmware. Bizarre.
 

Project Alice

macrumors 68020
Jul 13, 2008
2,025
2,100
Post Falls, ID
I know FireWire optical drives are hard to find. It took me a long time to find one I liked to use on my iMac G5.

FireWire hard drives however are not that rare. They are plentiful on eBay. You can clone an install image to a FW hard disk and install it that way. That’s what I would do. Most of us on this forum have one of those filled with different installers. It’s much faster than optical media too.
I don’t even bother with USB on PowerPC Macs.
 

weckart

macrumors 603
Nov 7, 2004
5,840
3,516
Why wouldn't iPartition work for you? It's always done the business for me. It's even added OS9 boot drivers to a drive formatted only for OSX without deleting any existing volumes.
 

miksat

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 27, 2018
58
43
Republic of Serbia
Why wouldn't iPartition work for you? It's always done the business for me. It's even added OS9 boot drivers to a drive formatted only for OSX without deleting any existing volumes.
It can't partition OS X Tiger drives while the system is running from the drive. That feature was apparently only introduced with Leopard and up.
 
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weckart

macrumors 603
Nov 7, 2004
5,840
3,516
It can't partition OS X Tiger drives while the system is running from the drive. That feature was apparently only introduced with Leopard and up.
Ah, yes. You need to create a bootable DVD disc with iPartition on it or run from another Mac via TDM. A bust optical drive isn't a help in this situation.
 

Jack Neill

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2015
2,269
2,299
San Antonio Texas
Ive overcome this before by using a white MacBook in TDM and a fire wire cable. If the only reason you want to wipe it is the old files you can just make a new account and then delete the old one.
 
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Certificate of Excellence

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2021
845
1,292
Target disk mode was my first thought. I have a minig4 who's sole purpose (aside from holding up my fav reads on my bookshelf in my office) is to TDM OSX 10.5.8 images to powerbooks as I acquire them. Works like a charm.
 

mectojic

macrumors 65816
Dec 27, 2020
1,236
2,378
Sydney, Australia
I really struggled with this same problem too. A last-resort option is to pull out the hard drive (and the million screws required), use a hard-drive reader plugged by USB into another Mac, then format the drive in Disk Utility and install Tiger via that computer. For the install you can either use the DVD/CD drive, or just use CarbonCopyCloner.
 
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Project Alice

macrumors 68020
Jul 13, 2008
2,025
2,100
Post Falls, ID
I really struggled with this same problem too. A last-resort option is to pull out the hard drive (and the million screws required), use a hard-drive reader plugged by USB into another Mac, then format the drive in Disk Utility and install Tiger via that computer. For the install you can either use the DVD/CD drive, or just use CarbonCopyCloner.
Why didn't you just use target disk mode?
 

Project Alice

macrumors 68020
Jul 13, 2008
2,025
2,100
Post Falls, ID
I do not possess any firewire cables. The only one I tried to buy never worked. I haven't liked Firewire personally, especially since I often use a 300 MHz Clamshell and 333 MHz Lombard, both of which do not have Firewire.
I would’ve bought a new cable before opening up that mess.
FireWire is literally the best thing ever created IMO. Even when it comes to my non-FW macs like my Wallstreet or PB1400 CS, I have a CF to FW800 adapter I use to transfer files to and from.
 

Macbookprodude

Suspended
Jan 1, 2018
3,306
898
I know FireWire optical drives are hard to find. It took me a long time to find one I liked to use on my iMac G5.

FireWire hard drives however are not that rare. They are plentiful on eBay. You can clone an install image to a FW hard disk and install it that way. That’s what I would do. Most of us on this forum have one of those filled with different installers. It’s much faster than optical media too.
I don’t even bother with USB on PowerPC Macs.

Plenty on ebay !
 

bunnspecial

macrumors G3
May 3, 2014
8,330
6,437
Kentucky
What OF commands are you using to attempt to boot?

BTW, in general bootable USB drives don't show up in boot picker in USB 2.0 Macs(but generally will in USB 1.1 Macs). Most USB 2.0 Macs can boot using OF, but there are a few late models that I don't think will(or at least I've never een successful).
 
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Project Alice

macrumors 68020
Jul 13, 2008
2,025
2,100
Post Falls, ID
What OF commands are you using to attempt to boot?

BTW, in general bootable USB drives don't show up in boot picker in USB 2.0 Macs(but generally will in USB 1.1 Macs). Most USB 2.0 Macs can boot using OF, but there are a few late models that I don't think will(or at least I've never een successful).
I’d like to add that on USB 2.0 Macs, I (and I’ve seen similar reports from people online) have had success booting other operating systems such as Linux from USB, but been unsuccessful in booting Mac OS X from USB. The last time I tried this I was greeted with prohibitory circle trying to boot a Leopard installer, but a Linux one will work just fine.
 

Doq

macrumors 6502
Dec 8, 2019
474
721
The Lab DX
I have, on my Companion (the A1046) attempted to run a Mac OS X installer from three different USB drives at some point. One of them didn't work at all, including OF. Another showed up on the boot picker, no OF shenanigans necessary. The third didn't show up on the boot picker, but still worked with OF shenanigans.

As always, your mileage will vary. I've had good levels of success with Kingston branded USB drives.
 
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theMarble

macrumors 6502a
Sep 27, 2020
974
1,361
Earth, Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
I've had this exact problem before. My 15" AlBook and 12" AlBook both have broken optical drives which I haven't gotten around to replacing. These days I use a LaCie DVD-RW drive over FireWire 400 to install old OS X versions. Back in the PPC days, you could boot from USB using the Option Menu if it was an official "Mac OS X Install DVD", alot of the time the discs are "Mac OS X Upgrade DVD", which cannot be booted from the Option Menu. You will need to use OpenFirmware to force boot.
 
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