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ZING 09-20-2008 02:07 PM

G4 Blue screen question mark folder Need help!
I just got a G4 Ethernet version for my daughter and when I boot the mac it shows a blue screen and after a few mins a folder with the mac face comes up and switches to a question mark folder and back and forth... I do not have any disk with it, in fact the saler gave me a live cd of PCLinuxOS. What do I need to do to get this mac up and running for my lil girl without having to spend any more money? I called the guy and he told me he didn't know the command to get the mac to boot from CD.

I know how to use Linux but I've never messed with a Mac before.

skaheadpunk 09-20-2008 02:33 PM

To boot from disk you usually have to hold down C as soon as you hear the startup chine, or basically on start up. I dunno about the Linux issue. A lot of the time the question mark folder can mean hard disk failure - it can't find anything to boot from. Did it work before?

I think you might need an OS X install disk as a minimum.

ZING 09-20-2008 02:38 PM

i have no clue, I paid $60 for the mac, I was told to try yellow dog, is there a place i can get the OS X installation CD for free?

skaheadpunk 09-20-2008 02:41 PM

What's yellow dog?

And no, probably not... but I'm guessing you can pick up a copy of 10.3 (Panther) or 10.4 (Tiger) pretty cheap at the moment.

chscag 09-20-2008 02:41 PM

I agree with skaheadpunk, your hard drive is probably defective. As far as obtaining an installation disk, none for free that I know of. Best place to look for one is probably on eBay. You should be able to find one there at a low cost.


dtravis7 09-20-2008 02:44 PM

Yellow Dog is a Linux that was made for Power PC Macs like yours.

I doubt you will find a free copy of OSX but on that machine, I would look for Panther 10.3 on Ebay. Be sure it's not a Machine Specific CD but a Full Install.

ZING 09-20-2008 02:48 PM

ok before i spend any money i have a few hard drives in the house laying around from computers I brought back from Iraq. I will try those after I download Yellow Dog and openSUSE, now how do I get the pc to boot the CD?

skaheadpunk 09-20-2008 02:49 PM


Originally Posted by skaheadpunk (Post 728908)
To boot from disk you usually have to hold down C as soon as you hear the startup chine, or basically on start up.

Like that.

dtravis7 09-20-2008 03:43 PM

I had very good luck with an older version of Ubuntu that ran on Power PC hardware. I just messed with it as I love OSX, but it worked quite well on even my old iMac G3.

ZING 09-21-2008 08:13 PM

ok so i got both yellow dog and suse for ppc and well i still get the same thing.. i can't get it to boot the CD

Mac SK 09-21-2008 10:48 PM

You have to make a CD from the download dics image.On a windows machine it done like this. Nero Burning ROM (windows): Open Nero and close the wizard. Go to "File" and then to "Burn Image..". In the next dialog, click on "Image files (*.nrg)" and select "All Files (*.*)". Choose linux.iso and click "Accept". Make sure the next dialog says Type: Data Mode 1, Block size: 2048, Image header: 0 and Image trailer: 0. In the next dialog, make sure the "write" and "finalize" options are active, then click on "Write". That makes a bootable CD with a linux OS on it. Most of these Linux OS's are on DVD's now. I have Yellow dog linux and it came on 6 CD's. May be easier to buy a Linux PPC DVD on Ebay.

ZING 09-22-2008 11:39 AM

I'm sorry Mac SK, I use Linux and make ISO boot disk all the time, I made a Suse PPC dvd boot disk on an dvd-+RW.

I am using a wireless Logitech Mac and PC keyboard, "I bought it since I could work it with Linux and not have a Windows key on it." Do you think I need to use a wired usb keyboard?

ChiJoan 10-14-2008 03:06 AM

Mac G4 flashing "?" folder pic on screen

Likewise my recently acquired G4 has the same problem with the latest Debian PPC, Fedora, and YellowDog. Ubuntu 6.06 Live CD and OpenSuse 11.0 were successful on it. I bought it knowing there was no OS on its hard drive, but at $15.00, I took a chance. I also increased the RAM to 1 gig before I installed OpenSuse.

Someday, I hope Ubuntu or another Debian-based distro picks up the ball and scores an all-time hit. Adobe needs to support Linux on the Power PC, too. Remember Apple is not planning to support the Power PC platform for very long. I hope they surrender the codes to somebody, otherwise they'll be a lot of Macs in the dumps I'm afraid. Or a lot of people drilling holes for Intel motherboards in their Mac tower cases like I've seen on the Web.

Since this is a Mac Forum, I should ask if they make a Live CD of OS X to see if it will run, or do you know for sure what version will? I started with an Atari 8-bit computer, I still have my XT-PC clone, Tandy Model 100, and so I've been around awhile. I also turn Gateway full-tower cases into housing for AMD dual-Opteron and Intel Xeon motherboards. Old I.T. cast-offs are not junk to everyone.

Pushing "Option + C Key" only gave me 2 push buttons on the screen, one had a circled arrow, the other an arrow pointing right, and there were no words on the screen. I appear to have the DVD reader installed, an ATI Rage128 video card, and I unplugged the Apple 20 gig hard drive, and installed to a 60 gig for OpenSuse 11.0.

Thanks for reading,
ChiJoan, Reno, NV

harryb2448 10-14-2008 06:17 PM

First off you have to make sure the firmware is updated prior to installing any version of OS X. This was done by installing OS 9.2, going to the Apple web site and downloading the firmware update and following the install instructions, which included holding the programmers button for a number of chimes.

Failure to do the upgrade resulted in the blue screen of death. The firmware should be 4.2.8f1 or similar.

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