PowerMac G4 finder and question mark and won't read hard drive

macuser1232

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 20, 2012
666
3
Hi,

I just purchased a Mac G4 and when I start it up I get the finder logo and a blinking question mark. I am almost positive it is because the Mac can't find the system folder but I have tried putting multiple hard drive's in it and the Mac G4 can't read any of them. I tried holding the option key down to see and there was no hard drive icon visible. Also the cd drive won't work because when I stuck a Linux cd into it and held down "C" it didn't do anything.
 
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Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
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Do the hard drives you're putting in have a known good, bootable Mac OS 9.x.x, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, or 10.4 installation on them?
 

macuser1232

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 20, 2012
666
3
Do the hard drives you're putting in have a known good, bootable Mac OS 9.x.x, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, or 10.4 installation on them?
No. They are all clean hard drives. Well maybe not completely clean. I'm working on fully wiping them.
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
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If they are blank hard drives, what is the iMac supposed to boot from? A Linux cd likely won't work to well for booting and the C at boot can be unreliable when starting up. It's best to always use Option and select the optical disc. Try using a Mac disc to start up the iMac.
 

macuser1232

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 20, 2012
666
3
Sorry guys it is actually a G4!

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If they are blank hard drives, what is the iMac supposed to boot from? A Linux cd likely won't work to well for booting and the C at boot can be unreliable when starting up. It's best to always use Option and select the optical disc. Try using a Mac disc to start up the iMac.
I don't have any Mac discs. Right now I am mainly focused on getting the Mac to read the hard drive I have in it when I hold down Option. After I get the hard drive working I'll get an OS. Also, is there any specific monitor I should get for my G4?
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
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A hard drive will not show up at the boot menu (option at boot) unless it has a bootable installation on it.
 

macuser1232

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 20, 2012
666
3
A hard drive will not show up at the boot menu (option at boot) unless it has a bootable installation on it.
hm ok. so how would I get a Mac OS (for example Tiger) onto one of the hard drives I have?
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
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You'll have to find a Panther, Tiger, or Leopard disc to get Mac OS X working on that iMac.
 

macuser1232

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 20, 2012
666
3
You'll have to find a Panther, Tiger, or Leopard disc to get Mac OS X working on that iMac.
Sounds good. But why won't it read the Linux Tiny Core CD I put into it?
__________________
Last edited by Intell; Yesterday at 9:41 AM.
 

macuser1232

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 20, 2012
666
3
I noticed the cd/dvd drive has an orange light that comes on. What does that mean? I'm guessing that's why the cd won't work.
 

zen.state

macrumors 68020
Mar 13, 2005
2,181
4
So you don't understand that a computer needs an OS to boot or what it means when an optical drive activity light blinks. Is this the first time you have ever used a computer?
 

macuser1232

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 20, 2012
666
3
So you don't understand that a computer needs an OS to boot or what it means when an optical drive activity light blinks. Is this the first time you have ever used a computer?
... I have a considerable amount of knowledge in computers. It's just that when I put a blank hard drive in this old PC desktop, it recognized it even though there was noting on it.
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,883
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The BIOS sees the drive. Macs don't have a BIOS. Thus, their boot menu won't show it. They have OpenFirmware, which can detect the drive and show you information about it if you put in the correct command.
 

jbarley

macrumors 68040
Jul 1, 2006
3,805
1,639
Vancouver Island
So you have a considerable amount of knowledge of checking your email on your macbook pro that you take into the apple store for repair every time the disk-drive turns on.
This qualifies as a "Troll post" pure and simple, offering absolutely no helpful advice and designed only to be inflammatory.

Didn't your momma ever tell you "if you can't say something nice, it's best to say nothing at all?"
 
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macuser1232

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 20, 2012
666
3
The BIOS sees the drive. Macs don't have a BIOS. Thus, their boot menu won't show it. They have OpenFirmware, which can detect the drive and show you information about it if you put in the correct command.
Ohh Ok thanks. I noticed it didn't have a BIOS!
 

DrakkenWar

macrumors 6502
Nov 7, 2010
272
0
San Antonio,Texas
Ugh.. There is google.. And yet so many do not use it...

http://forum.tinycorelinux.net/index.php?topic=13404.0

TinyCore linux does not and will not work on a PPC based mac. There are some other recent threads around discussing different flavors of linux viability on PPC. If you are truly not trolling I would suggested taking a look about at those.

Since you do not have an MAC OS disks around that will work in that particular computer, I would suggestL http://mintppc.org/. While you do have to register to get access to the iso, it is really one of the best out there if you want to give an alternative os a go. Download to your mac, burn the .iso file as a bootable image, insert into your G4, hold the "C" key, and install should be pretty easy to follow.
 

macuser1232

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 20, 2012
666
3
http://forum.tinycorelinux.net/index.php?topic=13404.0

TinyCore linux does not and will not work on a PPC based mac. There are some other recent threads around discussing different flavors of linux viability on PPC. If you are truly not trolling I would suggested taking a look about at those.

Since you do not have an MAC OS disks around that will work in that particular computer, I would suggestL http://mintppc.org/. While you do have to register to get access to the iso, it is really one of the best out there if you want to give an alternative os a go. Download to your mac, burn the .iso file as a bootable image, insert into your G4, hold the "C" key, and install should be pretty easy to follow.
One step ahead of you :) I literally got mintppc a couple days ago and it always freezes up when it get's to the languages page. I just bought some more ram for it and I thought maybe that would fix it but it didn't(I didn't buy the extra ram just to see if mintppc would work) Also, since Macs use EFI firmware and not BIOS I don't know how I can check how much ram I have installed.
 

MagicBoy

macrumors 68040
May 28, 2006
3,864
868
Manchester, UK
PowerPC macs are quite different to a Wintel PC, or an Intel Mac for that matter. There's no BIOS or EFI, they use OpenFirmware.

If you need to test the machine it's best to get hold of the Apple Hardware Test CD.