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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

PowerBook - Flashing Question Mark on Re-install


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junkman

 
Member Since: Jan 29, 2009
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Hi, I had an issue where my powerbook g4 wouldn't boot from the harddrive or CD. To cut a long story short I went for an erase/reinstall, and because it wouldn't boot from the CD, I connected it via target disc mode to a Macbook.

Running disk utility on the Macbook, I erased the drive on the Powerbook, and after verification it came back OK. I was then told that in order to be able to install Leopard I had to reformat it to GUID Partition Table (it was on Apple Partition Map). I did this, installed Leapord, and it worked (i.e. it booted into the newly created user, via the Macbook).

I then shut down the Powerbook and rebooted it normally, it went straight to grey screen/flashing question mark. Target disc mode still works.

Are Powerbooks supposed to be formatted to Apple Partition Map after all? If so, how can I install OSX back onto it? It still won't boot from the CD!
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ADKhikerVW

 
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You can't use an Intel Mac to install OS X on a PowerPC Mac with target disk mode. Intel Macs use GUID while PowerPC Macs use Apple Partition Map. Even if you format the drive correctly in Target mode with the MacBook, when you try to install OS X on the PowerBook it will tell you it can't boot from that disk, and you will not be able to install it.

HOWEVER, there is a solution to this problem. You can always create a new partition on your MacBook and install a fresh copy of Leopard to it. Then boot to your original partition and open Disk Utility. Plug in the PowerBook and start it up in Target Disk Mode. Format the PowerBook with Apple Partition Map. Go to the restore tab in Disk Utility and select the new partition you just created on your MacBook as the source, and the volume on your PowerBook as the destination. If all goes as it should, it will copy the Leopard installation to your PowerBook while preserving the correct partition map, so it will be able to boot.

Hope this works for you and if you have any more questions feel free to ask.
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junkman

 
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That's great, thanks for the advice - does creating partitions endanger the data already on the drive? I was under the impression they could only be created during reformatting?

Also, would it work if I created the partition in an external drive and installed the fresh copy of Leopard there? The Macbook doesn't belong to me so I don't want to mess about with it too much.

Thanks!
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junkman

 
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.....(contd from above) another question occurs to me - what is normal behavior for a Powerbook that has had it's harddrive correctly formatted to Apple Partition Map but has no OS or anything else on it? Would you expect, having powered it up, just to see the flashing question mark?
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ADKhikerVW

 
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It is always a good idea to back up your data before partitioning, since it is possible to lose data. In Leopard you can partition on the fly, even if you are booted from the disk. You can add, delete and resize partitions in Disk Utility without losing data.

Yes, if you installed Leopard to an external Firewire or USB drive it would work the same way. Just make sure you can have both the external drive and the PowerBook attached to the computer at the same time so you can do the restore.

And no matter what the partition scheme, if there is no OS you will get the flashing question mark.
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bobtomay

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADKhikerVW View Post
... You can add, delete and resize partitions in Disk Utility without losing data...
Unless you delete the partition your data is on. (Must clarify that for some folks.)

I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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junkman

 
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Thanks for all your help, that's definitely given me hope and something to work with.
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