Will a PowerBook G4 17" Laptop boot from CD w/out a HD?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Hack5190, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. Hack5190 macrumors 6502a

    Hack5190

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    #1
    I'm considering the purchase of a PowerBook G4 17" Laptop. The owner claims "Worked fine before having hard drive removed for security reasons". The only possible opportunity I have to test this machine would be to run the PowerBook Apple Hardware Test (AHT).

    My experience with G5's tells me booting from disc w/no hard drive is possible. However I'd like confirmation if anyone has ever tried it.
     
  2. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #2
    Owning two 17" PowerBooks and a 17" MBP I can tell you that they will boot from DVD/CD as long as there is a valid OS to boot from.

    Just insert the disc and if there's no drive the Mac will search the bus. But if you want to force it hold down OPTN when booting.

    The issue will be getting your disc back. To do that you'll need to shut the Mac down when done, then holding down the trackpad button, boot the Mac until it spits out the disk. If that does not work, you'll need to attach a mouse, repeat, but this time hold down the mouse button (left click if a two button mouse) until the disc ejects.

    Personally, I'd be more worried about physical damage.

    Most of the people that I've heard use the comment "removed for security reasons" were paranoid and not delicate about removing the drive.
     
  3. Hack5190, Feb 10, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016

    Hack5190 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Hack5190

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    #3
    Erik getting the CD back isn't a concern, their cheap! However since there are 2 PowerBook AHD images I'll burn and take both along (with a USB mouse) just in case.

    The "removed for security reasons" does worry me a little, unless I disassemble it there isn't any way to confirm it was removed properly.

    Right now I'm waiting on a response from the seller confirming they are willing to let me run AHD. Then I can start asking the real questions :rolleyes:

    This will be an in person sale, no shipping for this one.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 10, 2016 ---
    As I suspected, the seller is not willing to let me test it - no test, no sale.

    Thanks for the info Erik!
     
  4. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #4
    There are a number of things that have to be removed to get to the hard drive on a 17. Any particular one could indicate less than careful removal.

    First is the battery. Second is the ram door. It's held by three tiny, very short and flat screws and most people either lose them or strip them. Either way if they are missing it's not too much of a cause for concern - except if the seller is trying to hide any inside damage by making sure the ram door is secure.

    However, here's where it gets dicey. The top case has a couple of screws that need to come out from the underside as well as the screws on the sides of the case. Getting to the underside screws is done after removing the ram door. But a careless person may not pay attention to the ribbon cable. It attaches to the logicboard via a sliding locking bar and the cable runs through a slot in the LB to the underside of the top case. The cable connection/connector is behind one of the ram chips.

    If the seller wasn't careful the locking bar or the ribbon cable could be damaged. You will know immediately if that's the case if the trackpad and keyboard are non-responsive.

    Missing a few screws on the sides aren't a big deal. It happens. But if some are missing try and see if there is any missing posts (they slide into the holes which you screw the screws into on the side.

    Just a little bit of what to look for that may give clues to how carefully the hard drive was removed.
     
  5. Hack5190 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Hack5190

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    #5
    Wow that's really good information to know when looking at a used unit, thamks! As I mentioned the seller want let me test the unit, so there is no way to know if it works since the HD was removed. No test, no interest, no sale.
     
  6. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #6
    No problem! I've opened a few 17s for various things (logicboard, LCDs, hard drives, DC-In boards, etc) quite a few times. :D

    Seller probably has something to hide if they won't let you examine it. Good call.
     
  7. Hack5190 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Hack5190

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    #7
    The 17" uses an ATA hard drive, did any PPC laptops use SATA?
     
  8. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #8
    No.
     
  9. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #9
    No Mac PPC laptops came with SATA drives, only PATA.
     
  10. Hack5190 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Hack5190

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  11. MacCubed macrumors 68000

    MacCubed

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    #11
    I say go for it, I have bought all my PPC Macs As-Is for P&R off of eBay. They all have had problems, but in the end they are much cheaper than purchasing a fully working used one! It's also a lot of fun getting them up and running again!
     
  12. Hack5190 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Hack5190

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    #12
    MacCubed I thought about that option. But when the seller said "I purposely priced it so I would not have to deal with people unpacking it" my interest was gone. If I'm not allowed to unpack how do I know it's not a box of rocks :).
     
  13. MacCubed macrumors 68000

    MacCubed

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    #13
    I say it depends on the price, if it's under $30 then I say go for it
     
  14. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #14
    Or worse yet, the Mac arives looking like it got beat to hell by a bunch of rocks.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 11, 2016 ---
    That's a price I'd go for, but only on eBay with a clear description (and photos) of any problems. My son's Mac was $25, but the seller was a liquidator and very clear explained that the LCD was broken off and the case was beat up (mainly markings on the case, not dents). Provided pics that showed everything.

    I've got too much unuseable junk lying around in my garage. But that's just me.
     

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