Second hand PowerBook - no hard drive, no discs

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by JEBurns, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. JEBurns macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2010

    Someone has kindly donated a PowerBook Pro. 2.66GHz, 17 processor. 15.5 screen. Recently fitted with a new battery. The hard drive has been removed because it died. There are no discs. The previous owner was a tourist in London half-way through a 3 yr world trip (long story).

    I am looking to fit it with a Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500GB 2.5" SATA 5400RPM ( I've found several videos on line which show how to do this so I'm fairly confident and am relishing the challenge.

    It's the absence of software discs that is the problem. I already own a PowerMac Pro but only have single licenses for everything...never thinking that I would ever own a PowerBook. What is the easiest/most economical way of reusing my current software on the PowerBook? I'm still on OSX 5.8, it works fine, I'm happy with it, see no reason to up-grade. Will I have to change my mind?

    I would like to reuse some other software:

    Microsoft Office;
    Adobe Acrobate Pro;

    What are your thoughts on this?

    Kind regards,

  2. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I think you have a MacBook Pro i7. Significantly different and more powerful than the Powerbook. Anyhow, go buy a $30 snow leopard retail disk, and there you have your OS. Don't know if you can reuse other software though. To be sure, what exactly does it say just under the screen?
  3. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Can't reuse the other software. On a basic level, it's illegal. On a more technical level, some of it might be uninstallable, some of it might actually realize what you're doing and get mad.

    You have a Macbook Pro, not a Powerbook. They're very different machines and you might confuse some people here. The Powerbooks were discontinued years and years ago, and are very old machines. They also run different software.

    Cheapest route to get software on there is 10.6, which is $30. It should have also come with iLife, but you don't have the original disks...

    You could try going to the Apple store to try to get restore disks from them for your machine. This would come with iLife as well.
  4. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    NO WAY those specs are right. But if they are, it must have "fell off the truck." If it IS an i7, then its AT MOST 6 months old so it would have warranty if the hard drive died. If it is an i7, then you are one lucky person - I just paid $1900 for mine a month ago.

    EDIT: Wait a minute... the OP said it had belonged to a tourist half-way through a 3 year trip. In other words even if they had bought it right before leaving on said trip, it would be about 1.5 years old. My guess is that it might be a 2.66GHz Core2Duo. Still, a great machine. Are you sure its not a 1.67Ghz PowerBook? That would make more sense in the story...
  5. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    It being originally stolen could be an explanation. It would be why the hard drive was missing (yanked because the thief couldn't log in and didn't have the original disks to wipe it.) It would also explain the lack of original disks.
  6. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I agree, it is very likely that it was stolen, unless it actually happens to be a PowerBook G4, which still would have been a very generous donation. An almost new i7 would be a bit too generous.
  7. BertyBoy macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2009
    I thought the Microsoft licence agreement allowed install on one desktop and one portable computer, as long as it was the same owner, and only one would be used at a time.

    You may have to check the Toast license agreement, I'm still on Toast 7 so it may have changed since then.

    You could buy Snow Leopard and wait for the new iLife, or just ask Apple for a replacement set of the original discs. You may need the serial number of the laptop.

    I'm not suggesting anything illegal has happened, but
    it is a rather new and expensive laptop to donate
    to go to all the effort of removing the internal hard disk without replacing it.
    to be 18 months or so on a 36 month round-the-world trip from the US and only be in the UK, likely your first srop
    to take a 15" laptop, rather than a 13" round the world - I did it (once) with a 17" PowerBook, it's a LOT of weight to have constantly on you. Since then I've left it at home and used my iPod Touch.

    Who knows, maybe they made a claim on their insurance. If it had been me, I would have DHL'd it home.

    You could maybe borrow a suitable OS disc to see if it boots before you go spending money on a 2.5" disk and OS and iLife, etc, only to find that it's a complete dud.

    Did you get a power cable with it ? (I mean who takes a laptop on a 3 year tour without a power lead)
  8. JEBurns thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2010

    First of all, thank you very much to all of you for replying. Your comments were very much appreciated and have given me lots to think about.

    I also ought to say that when I posted my request it was only a few hours after I'd received the laptop, it was late at night, and I couldn't find my reading glasses (so I was tired and squinty), which will explain how I'd miss-IDed the MacBook Pro. I had also taken some of the spec info off the Apple factory box which wasn't a smart thing to do as it belonged to the replacement MacBook Pro that the donor had bought for herself and not the original laptop.

    The original laptop is a 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo/ 4GB Vram/15.5 screen.

    I was also a little bit suspicious...on the grounds that there is no such thing as a free I did spend a bit of time researching the donor's background on the web from her business card. She does have history which goes back a few years, as does both her agents (I'd cross checked their credentials against those of other artists on their client list) - so everything seems to check out as solid. She's even got a travel log on her website which makes for interesting reading, especially as all of the places that her and her husband have stayed at on their world trip have been 5 star luxury hotels. They're not short of a bob or two.

    From what I know of the artist she just got fed up with the old laptop - she had recently replaced the battery, then the hard drive went on the blink so she had to have the contents rescued (and the in-house instruction label from the company who did that was still on the laptop so I was able to check that out too), plus 9 of the keys are so worn you can't see the symbols on them anymore. I guess she decided she'd spent enough time stressing over the old lap top and decided on a brand new up-graded model instead.

    This morning I visited an Apple store and spoke to one of their staff on the subject of extending the licenses and unfortunately Apple aren't very flexible there. I will have to purchase an OS family bundle and up-grade my MacPro tower as well to make things as economical as possible. I will have to contact the other software manufacturers separately to see what their policies are. I thought I'd ask on this forum first just in case I'd overlooked something.

    I'll order the new hard drive in the morning and once I've installed and booted it up I'll then order up the new keys and swap them over...thank goodness for the internet and access to illustrated idiot-guides!

    Thank you again for your time and expertise.

    Best regards,


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