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Thread: G4 wont boot

  1. #1

    Choobus's Avatar
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    Question G4 wont boot
    I got a power mac G4 for free from school. The school got it from some computer lab up north, my school system do not work on macs, so they gave it to me. When I try to boot the computer up it turns on, but shows me a file icon, with the finder symbol repeatedly switching to a question mark. The lady who gave it to me said the motherboard might be bad, but I do not think she knows for sure.

    So, what steps could I take to fix it? If it is the motherboard could I replace it?
    Or should I junk it?

  2. #2


    Member Since
    Jun 19, 2008
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    First thing you could do would be to boot and hold the option key on the keyboard. Do you see the hard drive icon in the middle of a couple of arrows ? you'd highlight the HD icon and click the right pointing arrow and it will boot to start up disk.

    What does the specs say on back of the machine ? There should be a little silver label near the plug input.

  3. #3

    Choobus's Avatar
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    I hit control, I see a refresh cymbol and a right arrow. I see no hard drive. It said it was made in 2000. it does not have a dvd drive

  4. #4

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    Specs:
    Imac 27" Retina 5K, 512GB flash memory, 3.3GHz, 16GB memory, macOS Sierra beta.
    Looks like the machine is searching for an operating system. Any chance school formatted the hard drive and now it is blank?

    Think you will have to get retail Panther or Tiger CD's as it has no DVD, and it probably is a G4 PCI Yikes machine. Here are specs if it is that model:-

    http://www.everymac.com/systems/appl...ac_g4_350.html

  5. #5

    Choobus's Avatar
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    Yes, I think you are right. I need a tiger CD. All of my tiger/leopard cds are in DVD format. Where could it get old versions of mac? A bit torrent site or something?

  6. #6

    hughvane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Choobus View Post
    I hit control, I see a refresh cymbol and a right arrow. I see no hard drive. It said it was made in 2000. it does not have a dvd drive
    That should be Option (not Control).

    If 2000 was its year of manufacture, your model of G4 may be the 'Mystic' version (ref: Mactracker), and will run a DVD-ROM. Search eBay (or similar) for a 2-hand unit and pop it into your G4. That way you can read both CD and DVD, and you can use the disks you've already got.

  7. #7

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    Specs:
    Imac 27" Retina 5K, 512GB flash memory, 3.3GHz, 16GB memory, macOS Sierra beta.
    In fact maybe go even further than hughvane suggests and pop a DVD burner in there. They are pretty simple to fit, you will find how to's at www.xlr8yourmac.com. A Pionner DVR-115DL here in Australia is available for $39.00 and that would be cheaper that purchasing new discs?

  8. #8

    Choobus's Avatar
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    Well, I installed a DVD drive that I had on an old PC. I also put in 768 MB of ram. I put in the leopard disk and the intall process began. It went a good ways until it said something like, leopard could not be installed on this computer. I think i need a version of Tiger or Jaguar. The lady who gave me the G4 has every version of mac since OS 8. So i will try loading tiger today. I will report any progress.

  9. #9


    Member Since
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    if the dvd drive you installed is a burner you might be able to update the firmware, via patchburn. google patchburn and see what you come up with.

    Just because leopard is the newest OS doesn't make it a good match for your G4, free or not. Like harryb said, it won't handle it.

    Stick with 10.3, run all the updates, or 10.4, depends how fast it is, you'll need more ram too.

  10. #10

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    Specs:
    Imac 27" Retina 5K, 512GB flash memory, 3.3GHz, 16GB memory, macOS Sierra beta.
    Leopard will not install unless the machine has an 867MHz processor as the minimum requirement, and from its age no way will it install, or handle, Leopard.

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