PowerPC G5 install OS X assist

rugman66

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Original poster
Oct 11, 2018
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Hello,

If there is a thread already here that explains this please update with the link and I'll gladly read it. I did search the forum but did not come back with information I'm looking for.

I recently acquired a 2004 PowerPC Mac G5 with no hard drive, and thus no Mac OS. I have read about the latest OS that will run on it, and tried to install via USB and optical disk from acquired dmg install files but not successful, wouldn't find the media. I read that a Mac must have the original OS shipped with it installed first, then it can be upgraded. Is this true? If so how to create boot-able install media. I have borrowed a Mac Air to be able to format media correctly, but need some SME guidance. This is my first Mac and I'm really exited to use/play with it. I always loved the appearance of this case, and the design inside is awesome. Hoping I can get some guidance.

Specs from EveryMac.com per the serial number lookup

2.0 GHz PowerPC 970fx (G5) x2
Order M9455LL/A
Model A1047 (EMC 1969C)
Family Mid-2004
ID PowerMac7,3
RAM 512 MB (2GB installed)
VRAM 64 MB
Optical 8X "SuperDrive"

Thank you
-John
 

AL1630

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Apr 24, 2016
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You don't need to install the version of OS X that shipped with a Mac, so that won't matter as long as you're using any OS that's compatible with that machine. Did you burn the boot disk using another Mac, and if so, can it read the cd at all?
 
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AphoticD

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Your G5 will boot from any Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5 retail DVD. The minimum OS for your model G5 was 10.3.4. You do not require a pre-installed system of any kind.

(Assuming your MacBook Air is running a more recent OS such as 10.11 El Capitan or later, otherwise the Disk Utility instructions are a little different)

1. Insert the USB drive into the MacBook Air and use Disk Utility to Erase the device. Choose the "Apple Partition Map" option to prepare it as a boot device for your PowerPC Mac.

2. Once formatted, restore the .dmg file to the USB drive by selecting the new volume (e.g. 'Untitled 1') from the left panel and then choosing 'Restore' from the Edit menu, selecting the 'Image...' option.

3. Once completed, eject the USB drive and plug it into the G5.

4. Boot the G5 into Open Firmware by holding command-option-O-F.

5. Type 'dev / ls' to view the G5's OF device tree and look for your USB device which has a 'disk@X' attached, this will be your connected USB drive.

6. You then tell OF to load from the USB device with a command such as;
Code:
boot usb1/disk@1:,\\:tbxi
(Using the appropriate numbers as per the dev tree lookup).

That should boot the installer.

If you burn the .dmg to a DVD, the boot sequence is simply "hold C on startup" instead of using the OF commands.


EDIT: Match your USB device 'alias' (e.g. usb1) to the device tree by looking it up with the 'devalias' command.
 

rugman66

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 11, 2018
6
3
Sorry for late reply. Was out of town over the weekend, thank you both for responding.



I tried with a USB drive as you specified. It was listed as disk@1. I ran boot usb1/disk@1:,\\:tbxi
but the system could not find the usb drive. I did some research on the Sandisk USB drive I'm using, and their own documentation states is not intended for a boot device. So that's probable my issue with that. I also tried to burn the .dmg image to an 8Gb dual layer disk that finished with out issues, but when I mounted the DVD on the Mac Air only the large back X graphic was to the left, no files to the right. If I mount the .dmg image directly I see the black X graphic and the files to the right. I tried to boot the G5 with it anyway and could hear the optical drive working it, but then came up with no boot-able image. So at this point I guess I need to purchase a USB 2.0 drive that will boot an OS. I thought of doing the image restore process on a second SATA hard drive I could connect in the G5 to be the boot-able install disk for the primary SATA drive. Would that work?



Thank you

-John
 

AphoticD

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Feb 17, 2017
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Hi John,

You came close. The USB should still be bootable, despite the manufacturer's recommendation. Navigating Open Firmware can be a fine art. It's not like any other Mac interface, nor like a standard PC BIOS in any way.

Try going through the following;

1. Boot into OF again with the USB drive attached and get your 'devalias' listing to see the shortcut / alias names to the USB devices. Here on my Mac mini G4, 'usb0' points to the full device tree address of '/pci@f20000000/usb@1b,1'.

OF-BootA.png



2. Next, I've executed the device tree listing with 'dev / ls'. You'll likely be prompted to view the next screen before you see your USB drive in the list.

OF-BootB.png



3. Here in my Mac mini G4's device tree. I can see the '/pci@f20000000' device in the tree, which is the parent responsible for the USB buses. I can see 'disk@1' which is a child of 'usb@1b,1', which is a child of 'pci@f20000000' at the root of the device tree.

OF-BootC.png



4. Executing 'devalias' again, I can confirm that the '/pci@f20000000/usb@1b,1' device has the alias of 'usb0'.

OF-BootD.png



5. Lastly, I have instructed OF to 'boot usb0/disk@1,\\:tbxi'

Because of the device alias, this is shorthand for:
'boot /pci@f20000000/usb@1b,1/disk@1,\\:tbxi'

If you're curious, you may find the ',\\:tbxi' part of the command is superfluous as this is the standard behaviour of 'mac-boot'. Open Firmware searches two levels deep ('\\') for a TBXI compatible boot loader. In our case, this boot loader is called 'BootX' and is located at '/System/Library/BootX'

( @LightBulbFun could certainly expand upon a lot of this as OF "tinkering" is just one of his many talents :) )


If you still can't get in via OF, then there are still options for you. It is strange that the burned DL DVD didn't get the G5 up and running. A couple of things come to mind;

1. How did you burn the disc, as in, was it burned via the MacBook Air with an external DL SuperDrive using Toast or Disk Utility or did you use one of the .dmg burning apps for Windows? We've seen many of the Win solutions fall over when it comes to making bootable discs.

2. Is the install disc 10.4 "Tiger" or 10.5 "Leopard"?

3. If it is Tiger, is it definitely a PowerPC compatible boot disc? (As in "Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger Retail DVD"). There are many flavours of bootable Tiger installers across the 'net, mostly from the OSx86 community, which will not boot a real Mac and are intended only for older Hackintosh systems.


To answer your question; Yes, you should be able to restore the installer onto an external hard drive - the preferred method would be via Disk Utility on the MacBook Air. If it has a standard SATA interface 'under the hood', then take the HDD out of it's enclosure and connect it into the spare bay in the G5. The Mac will automatically pick up the bootable installer drive and you're sailing. **

** EDIT **: Be sure to partition your external drive with the "Apple Partition Map" format using Disk Utility. The drive's default partition format is likely either MBR or GUID and won't boot your G5. I believe later model G5s could boot from GUID drives, but I think you're limited to APM-booting only on the 7,3 models.
 
Last edited:

Traace

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Jul 21, 2018
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I still got a 4,7GB (single layer dvd) osx leopard (lang. trimmed | ENG only) iso.
Just burn it with another system. Then boot it with your PPC.

If someone need it PM me :)
 
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rugman66

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 11, 2018
6
3
Hi John,

You came close. The USB should still be bootable, despite the manufacturer's recommendation. Navigating Open Firmware can be a fine art. It's not like any other Mac interface, nor like a standard PC BIOS in any way.

Try going through the following;

1. Boot into OF again with the USB drive attached and get your 'devalias' listing to see the shortcut / alias names to the USB devices. Here on my Mac mini G4, 'usb0' points to the full device tree address of '/pci@f20000000/usb@1b,1'.

View attachment 795734


2. Next, I've executed the device tree listing with 'dev / ls'. You'll likely be prompted to view the next screen before you see your USB drive in the list.

View attachment 795735


3. Here in my Mac mini G4's device tree. I can see the '/pci@f20000000' device in the tree, which is the parent responsible for the USB buses. I can see 'disk@1' which is a child of 'usb@1b,1', which is a child of 'pci@f20000000' at the root of the device tree.

View attachment 795736


4. Executing 'devalias' again, I can confirm that the '/pci@f20000000/usb@1b,1' device has the alias of 'usb0'.

View attachment 795737


5. Lastly, I have instructed OF to 'boot usb0/disk@1,\\:tbxi'

Because of the device alias, this is shorthand for:
'boot /pci@f20000000/usb@1b,1/disk@1,\\:tbxi'

If you're curious, you may find the ',\\:tbxi' part of the command is superfluous as this is the standard behaviour of 'mac-boot'. Open Firmware searches two levels deep ('\\') for a TBXI compatible boot loader. In our case, this boot loader is called 'BootX' and is located at '/System/Library/BootX'

( @LightBulbFun could certainly expand upon a lot of this as OF "tinkering" is just one of his many talents :) )


If you still can't get in via OF, then there are still options for you. It is strange that the burned DL DVD didn't get the G5 up and running. A couple of things come to mind;

1. How did you burn the disc, as in, was it burned via the MacBook Air with an external DL SuperDrive using Toast or Disk Utility or did you use one of the .dmg burning apps for Windows? We've seen many of the Win solutions fall over when it comes to making bootable discs.

2. Is the install disc 10.4 "Tiger" or 10.5 "Leopard"?

3. If it is Tiger, is it definitely a PowerPC compatible boot disc? (As in "Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger Retail DVD"). There are many flavours of bootable Tiger installers across the 'net, mostly from the OSx86 community, which will not boot a real Mac and are intended only for older Hackintosh systems.


To answer your question; Yes, you should be able to restore the installer onto an external hard drive - the preferred method would be via Disk Utility on the MacBook Air. If it has a standard SATA interface 'under the hood', then take the HDD out of it's enclosure and connect it into the spare bay in the G5. The Mac will automatically pick up the bootable installer drive and you're sailing. **

** EDIT **: Be sure to partition your external drive with the "Apple Partition Map" format using Disk Utility. The drive's default partition format is likely either MBR or GUID and won't boot your G5. I believe later model G5s could boot from GUID drives, but I think you're limited to APM-booting only on the 7,3 models.
AphoticD, Wow! thank you for so much detail.

OS image trying to install is 10.5.4

DVD: I burned the .dmg image on the media via external DVD drive attached to a Mac Air. The .dmg image mounted on the Mac Air showed all files, but once the DVD finished burning with no error the files were not present when I mounted it on the Mac Air.

OF devalias: When I run that command the screen output fly's by, and once it completes half the USB info in out of range up screen. Hitting any key does not pause it. I guess I could just try boot usbX/disk@1,\\:tbxi' through all the number and see if I hit one. I'll do that now.

Install from SATA drive: If the above doesn't work I'll will do this as last resort.

I'll update after I attempt the above.

Regards
-John
 
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rugman66

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 11, 2018
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3
So I tried boot usb0 -> 3 but each came back with "cannot open device". I then used the full path for my G5 of /pci@0,f0000000/usb@b/disk@1 but still could not open device. I then decided to make a secondary sata drive an install disk, but the external sata enclosure I have is no longer functioning. I'm starting to think the Mac gods don't want me to get this working, getting really frustrated. I'm going to order another external sata adapter and try one more time with a second sata drive as the install media. Hope it works or I'm probably throwing in the towl.
 
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AphoticD

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You could try feeding a partition number into the boot command, for example 'boot usb0/disk@1:3,\\:tbxi' for booting from the 3rd partition of the device.

You can get a partition map reading on the 'Air via Terminal with 'diskutil list'.

Here's the output for my Leopard install Firewire drive, which is actually an old iPod.
Code:
/dev/disk7 (external, physical):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:     Apple_partition_scheme                        *15.0 GB    disk7
   1:        Apple_partition_map                         32.3 KB    disk7s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS Mac OS X Install DVD    14.9 GB    disk7s3
Does your USB drive show a similar output? Post your output if it's quite different.

It might be worth trying a few different USB ports and rebooting between port changes.

Keep on persevering! :)
 

LightBulbFun

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ill also add that OpenFirmware does not always play ball with all USB Mass storage devices

so it might be worth trying to use another USB stick or USB HDD. :)

(I personally own a PowerMac7,3 Mid 2004 Dual 2Ghz G5 much like the OPs machine and I know for a fact it can boot from USB if you feed it the right OF commands like @AphoticD says)
 
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AphoticD

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ill also add that OpenFirmware does not always play ball with all USB Mass storage devices

so it might be worth trying to use another USB stick or USB HDD. :)

(I personally own a PowerMac7,3 Mid 2004 Dual 2Ghz G5 much like the OPs machine and I know for a fact it can boot from USB if you feed it the right OF commands like @AphoticD says)
Good point. I’d forgotten about this, but a few years back, I had problems booting my PowerBook G4 with a USB3.0 thumb drive, so I bought an older stock 16GB USB 2.0 drive, which solved it.

The fun we have with these fickle old Macs :)
 

rugman66

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 11, 2018
6
3
Hi Everyone,

Apologies for not updating in so long. I was traveling, and then other issues came up, and this is the first I've been able to come back to this. I have not yet been able to install the Mac OS yet. For convenience I video captured the commands I'm using to try to install the OS hoping some of you could sanity check me as I'm sure I'm entering an incorrect command. I've uploaded to YouTube unlisted so only the awesome people on this thread can access. Editing the video looked fine, but the finished uploaded YouTube vid looks to have cut off the top a bit. If I need to do it again please let me know.


Thank you so much, hope to hear back with some insight.
-John
 
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Macbookprodude

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Jan 1, 2018
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Hi Everyone,

Apologies for not updating in so long. I was traveling, and then other issues came up, and this is the first I've been able to come back to this. I have not yet been able to install the Mac OS yet. For convenience I video captured the commands I'm using to try to install the OS hoping some of you could sanity check me as I'm sure I'm entering an incorrect command. I've uploaded to YouTube unlisted so only the awesome people on this thread can access. Editing the video looked fine, but the finished uploaded YouTube vid looks to have cut off the top a bit. If I need to do it again please let me know.


Thank you so much, hope to hear back with some insight.
-John
Just try this.

boot ud:,\\:tbxi - Its been awhile I think that is the correct syntax. This always worked for me.
 
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rugman66

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Original poster
Oct 11, 2018
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Hi John, good work putting the video together. Can you try;

boot /ht@0,f2000000/pci@4/usb@b/disk@1,\\:tbxi
Thanks AphoticD,

Unfortunately that command resulted in the same outcome.
[doublepost=1542855313][/doublepost]
Just try this.

boot ud:,\\:tbxi - Its been awhile I think that is the correct syntax. This always worked for me.
Hi MacbookProDude, glad you joined the thread.

Interestingly when I tried you command, even though still the same outcome, it did call out "ud:3,\\:tbxi as the path it couldn't open. I know the image is on partition 3 on the USB drive. Is this a standard reply, or did it actually detect the partition 3 on the drive?
 

Macbookprodude

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Thanks AphoticD,

Unfortunately that command resulted in the same outcome.
[doublepost=1542855313][/doublepost]

Hi MacbookProDude, glad you joined the thread.

Interestingly when I tried you command, even though still the same outcome, it did call out "ud:3,\\:tbxi as the path it couldn't open. I know the image is on partition 3 on the USB drive. Is this a standard reply, or did it actually detect the partition 3 on the drive?
Thanks, it should work as it always worked for me, though i had only one USB drive hooked up to my PB G4.
 
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AphoticD

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Thanks AphoticD,

Unfortunately that command resulted in the same outcome.
[doublepost=1542855313][/doublepost]

Hi MacbookProDude, glad you joined the thread.

Interestingly when I tried you command, even though still the same outcome, it did call out "ud:3,\\:tbxi as the path it couldn't open. I know the image is on partition 3 on the USB drive. Is this a standard reply, or did it actually detect the partition 3 on the drive?
It sounds like Open Firmware is recognizing the device and seeing partition 3, but that is as far as it gets.

At this point, I would go with @LightBulbFun ’s advice and try using a different USB drive.

As I mentioned earlier, I went out and bought a “USB 2.0” specific thumb drive just for my PowerBook G4 and I’ve been using that for booting the Tiger, Leopard and Ubuntu Mate installers on my PowerPC Macs for the past year or two.

Getting the older stock may not be necessary, but I figured 2.0 is more period-specific [for the PowerMac G5] than a 3.0 spec device and more likely to be compatible.