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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

PowerBook - frozen startup, please help!

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Member Since: Jun 12, 2008
Posts: 3
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hello... I'm new to this forum and have had a hunt around but can't find the right answer to my problem... here's hoping someone out there can help...

I have a powerbook g4 12inch which wont start up. it does chime but then gets frozen on grey, or sometimes makes it through to a smiley and question mark. I have tried to start in single user or safe mode but no luck. The main problem is that I can't start it from a cd (i actually have a broken disc-drive but do have an external with a disk warrior cd and that doesn't go).

I am presuming that I have a hard drive failure here and have ordered a new one (to arrive in a few days) but I have seen that most forums related to hdd failure expect people to be able to start from cd anyway. does this mean i have a more serious problem?!

I did manage to get into open firmware and "reset-all" though i don't really know what i can do with this open firmware, is there any way to run a hardware check from it, given that i can't start from the system cd?

any suggestions on where to go from here? i'm slightly afraid that if i change the hdd it wont make any difference...?

thanks for your help
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Sherman Homan

Member Since: Oct 27, 2006
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From all you describe, it sounds like a bad hard drive. Safe boot won't work because it wants a hard drive to work with. Is your CD drive Firewire or USB? Does your Powerbook support USB boot? Most models did not...
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Member Since: Jun 12, 2008
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Yes, that sounds plausible. The external cd drive is fire wire. How do I find out if it supports usb boot? I bought it in september 2005..
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Member Since: Feb 25, 2004
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I had a client machine last week in a similar situation. It turned out that because the HD was dead, it was blocking I/O communications, preventing the optical drive from functioning.

I replaced the HD and all was well.
Good luck!

Roger Michaels
Apple Certified Consultant
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Member Since: Jun 12, 2008
Posts: 3
littlemac is on a distinguished road

littlemac is offline
Thanks, lets hope that is the case! i'll update this when i get the new harddisk and give it a go...

Yep, I got the new harddisk today and managed to install it (what a procedure...). Single user mode still won't work, but I can get to the chooser screen by holding the alt key at start-up and now get the choice to either run the hardware check or install osx from the external CD drive. Hardware check confirms that all is in working order.

First I was cheerful, but unlucky as I seem to be, osx fails during installation, blaming it on a faulty dvd!!. SO I will have to find a different operating system dvd...What a pain.
But the original problem seems solved. Anyway, fingers crossed
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