PowerMac G3 & G4 Help.

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by rjmat42, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. rjmat42 macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2012
    Central Arkansas, US
    Hello, first off I am new to both this forum & the world of Mac's. I am primarily a Windows guy and have never tinkered with anything Apple beyond an iPod. Forgive me is I am placing this thread in the wrong section as I did not find a section that best fit the topic i am asking about. I recently acquired a PowerMac G3 & PowerMac G4 in which the previous owner told me they were non-functional...they were free so I figured I would either get them up & running or I would recycle them.

    About the G4:
    I received the G4 & was told that the previous owner attempted to restore the original OS X to the Hard Drive with no success. A little research revealed that it is a PowerMac G4 Quicksilver 2002 (800MHz). After doing a thorough cleaning of the inside of the machine and making the a few Hardware changes (see below) I hooked it up to a Monitor, Keyboard, & Mouse. After powering the G4 on I hear (what i'm assuming is) the boot sound. The computer then goes to a completely gray screen with a small folder icon in the center that flashes between a question mark & a funny little face. I managed to acquire a Retail version of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger & 10.5 Leopard from my Distributor. I placed the Tiger DVD in the tray (since it has no eject button on the machine or Keyboard I used the paperclip method) and booted the Mac & held the "C" key to boot from the DVD. The only difference between the two boots was that while the Mac was reading the DVD it would stop flashing the question mark & stay steady on the funny little face before going back to flashing the question mark again. I need help from someone who knows what they are doing to get this machine up and running (if possible).

    I made the following hardware charges to the G4:
    -Removed the 802.11b Airport card (going to use a Netgear WG111v3 802.11g USB Adapter)
    -Added a second 40GB Hard Drive (that makes two 40GB Hard Drives)
    -Upgraded the RAM from 512MB to 1.25GB (2x512MB Sticks & 1x256MB Stick)
    -Besides those improvements it is otherwise Stock

    About the G3:
    It is a PowerMac G3 Blue & White, I have not done any research on it as of yet but I did upgrade the SCSI Card & SCSI 9GB Hard Drive to a 40GB ATA Hard Drive. The new Hard Drive came out of a Windows Machine so it needs to be formated for use as a Mac Drive. After hooking it up to a Monitor, Keyboard, & Mouse and powering it on it does the same thing as the G4. I still need to upgrade it from a CD-RW to a DVD-RW DL (unless i can do a USB Install of Tiger).

    So I am hoping that someone can help me get these machines up & running. I plan on giving the G4 to a friend who currently does not have a computer at all & use the G3 as a very basic Web Server or as a tinkering computer. I do have a Retail Copy of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger & Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard both purchased from my computer parts distributor. Any help is appreciated and since i do plan on keeping one of them I do intend to get my hands dirty learning the ins & outs of Macs. Thanks in advance for help. :)
  2. macuser453787 macrumors 6502a

    May 19, 2012
    Galatians 3:13-14
    Sounds like there may not be a functioning OS on the hard drive, among other possibilities. This approach may sound odd, but I think of it as Troubleshooting 101, Step One: Eliminate as many variables as possible to isolate the issue. Meaning, for the purposes of troubleshooting the boot issue, get the machine back to stock condition as much as possible:

    1) Bring RAM down as close as possible to minimum system requirements of the OS you want to install (you can add the rest of it back later once the issue is solved).

    2) Remove the extra hard drive.

    3) Unhook anything external besides the monitor, keyboard and mouse.

    4) Double check that the ATA connection to the remaining hard drive is secure, on both the hard drive side and the motherboard side.

    4) Power on the computer and immediately hold down the Command key (also called the Apple key), Option key, P and R keys simultaneously until it "bongs" three times, then release all 4 keys. This is called zapping the PRAM.

    If it boots from there and takes you to the desktop, you have a functioning OS and can begin any software/hardware upgrades you want.

    If you get the same results as before, you may have to reinstall the OS from the disk, in which case you should check out this link:


    Specifically, where it says "By custom order, it [meaning your G4 model] also could be configured with a DVD-ROM/CD-RW "Combo" drive". NOTE that this model of G4 didn't necessarily come with the combo drive that reads DVDs and would allow you to boot from your purchased Tiger and Leopard DVDs. At this point you would need to:

    1) Pull the optical drive carriage out of the computer and check the manufacturer label to see whether the optical drive is DVD-ROM/CD-RW or only CD-RW.

    2) If CD-RW, I suggest buying a new DVD/CD optical drive from your local computer store or online at one of many places such as OWC, Newegg or others. They're really inexpensive anymore.

    If it turns out to be an optical drive purchase, then:

    3) Install the new optical drive,

    4) put in the OS DVD of choice and boot up holding the C key as you did before. If it works, you can

    5) use the DVD software to wipe the hard drive and do a fresh install of the OS and

    6) then boot from the hard drive.

    If none of that works, post a reply and we can go from there.

    Not sure about Tiger/Leopard on G3s. You may want to search applicable threads on this site for more info about that. In general though, install a DVD-RW optical drive. Then put in the OS DVD, boot up while holding the C key, format the drive from the DVD software and then try installing the OS.

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