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  1. #1

    Orinoco's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 05, 2010
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    Athens, Greece
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    5
    Specs:
    Mac mini (2007) C2D 2.0 GHz, Powerbook G4 (early 2005) 1.67 GHz, iPod 5G, iPhone 3G
    Exclamation Powerbook G4 won't boot from ANY kind of external drive!
    Hello all,
    This is my first post on this forum and I guess the title says it all. I have a PB G4 17" early 2005 model. Everything works perfectly on it and its running Tiger 10.4.11.

    The problem started when I decided to buy an external case and install a drive with Leopard in it so I can boot from it in Leopard without messing with my internal drive. So, I bought an AKASA Integral 2.5" USB 2.0/FireWire case and I installed a brand new 2.5" 320GB WD Scorpio Blue drive in it. The drive's native interface is ATA/IDE since this is the kind of interface the AKASA case needed.

    I booted off my Leopard CD-ROM and installed the OS on the external drive which was connected via FireWire to the Powerbook. Everything went fine.

    However, when I tried to boot the PB off the external drive (via firewire of course), I got the "folder with the questionmark" icon first and then the PB proceeded to boot from the internal drive containing the Tiger OS.

    I have to mention three things at this point:

    1) When I connected the AKASA to my Intel Mac mini (2007) it booted flawlessly via BOTH firewire and USB. So we know that the drive is indeed bootable. It won't boot via USB on the PB but that's to be expected.

    2) I can connect the drive via USB or FireWire to the PB and it shows up fine in Finder (in Tiger) and I can read/write to it with no problem. The drive has been formatted with APM (as it should for PPC booting).

    3) I even tried cloning my internal HD to the external HD via BOTH SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner. Although the copying went fine it still would not boot!

    So, we have a drive that, although is partitioned for PPC booting, it boots on an Intel Mac but not on the PPC PowerBook

    Is it possible that the previous owner set the prefs so the PB will not boot off an external drive? And if this is the case how do I change that? (I have already reset PRAM.)

    If you have ANY ideas please help because I'm about to resort to voodoo, black magic and doing some kind of weird dance in the forrest!

  2. #2

    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
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    Nambucca Heads Australia
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    Imac 27" Retina 5K, 512GB flash memory, 3.3GHz, 16GB memory, macOS Sierra beta.
    To format an external HD, first erase, then partition, even if you have only the single partition, format Mac OS Extended (Journalled) and run the Leopard install whilst connected by Firewire. G4's generally will not boot using USB2 despite what some may claim.

    To boot from the external, connect it up , go into Tiger System preferences, select the Leopard External drive, and restart. if the external is left connected during boot, press Option after the chimes.

    There has been a lot of discussion on leaving external drives connected during shut down with some folk believing this causes corruption of the installed OS, and better to drag icon to trash and then disconnect external drive.

  3. #3

    Orinoco's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 05, 2010
    Location
    Athens, Greece
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    5
    Specs:
    Mac mini (2007) C2D 2.0 GHz, Powerbook G4 (early 2005) 1.67 GHz, iPod 5G, iPhone 3G
    harryb2448 thank you for your quick reply.

    "To format an external HD, first erase, then partition, even if you have only the single partition, format Mac OS Extended (Journalled) and run the Leopard install whilst connected by Firewire. G4's generally will not boot using USB2 despite what some may claim."

    Did exactly that 2-3 times

    "To boot from the external, connect it up , go into Tiger System preferences, select the Leopard External drive, and restart. if the external is left connected during boot, press Option after the chimes."

    Same here. The Powerbook just does not want to boot from the external drive no matter what. As I said before, my mac mini boots fine from it.

    "There has been a lot of discussion on leaving external drives connected during shut down with some folk believing this causes corruption of the installed OS, and better to drag icon to trash and then disconnect external drive."

    My experience is that it doesn't matter if you leave the drives connected. I have been booting my mac mini off an external LaCie 500 GB drive for over two years now while I ALWAYS leave it connected on shutdown.

    Anyway, the PB still does not boot off the AKASA firewire drive and I am going nuts listening to EVERYBODY ELSE saying how easy it is to boot a Powerbook off firewire. I must be the only person in the world that has this problem...
    Mac mini (2007) 2.0 GHz Intel Core2Duo, 4 GB RAM, 120 GB HD, DL Superdrive
    Powerbook G4 (early 2005) 1.67 GHz PPC, 1.5 GB RAM, 100 GB HD, Superdrive

  4. #4

    dtravis7's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 04, 2005
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    Modesto, Ca.
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    iMac 2010 27" QuadI7 OSX10.11, iMac 2008 OSX10.11, MBP Late2011OSX10.11 , iPad Air, iPhone 3GS
    Be sure the partition on the external is using Apple Partition Map and NOT GUID. GUID is only for an Intel Mac. That might be why it's booting on an Intel Mac but not the Power PC Mac.

  5. #5

    Orinoco's Avatar
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    Mar 05, 2010
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    Mac mini (2007) C2D 2.0 GHz, Powerbook G4 (early 2005) 1.67 GHz, iPod 5G, iPhone 3G
    dtravis7, I thought the same thing: that the partition might be of the wrong type but, when I checked it I saw that it is indeed using Apple Partition Map. Of course that makes things worse because it does not explain either why the drive will not boot the Powerbook or why it boots the mac mini.

    And I am still wondering if, somehow, this PB has been prevented from booting off external disks...
    Mac mini (2007) 2.0 GHz Intel Core2Duo, 4 GB RAM, 120 GB HD, DL Superdrive
    Powerbook G4 (early 2005) 1.67 GHz PPC, 1.5 GB RAM, 100 GB HD, Superdrive

  6. #6

    dtravis7's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 04, 2005
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    Specs:
    iMac 2010 27" QuadI7 OSX10.11, iMac 2008 OSX10.11, MBP Late2011OSX10.11 , iPad Air, iPhone 3GS
    One quick question, what 10.5 DVD are you using for the install? The Full Install Retail or a copy that came with another Mac? That makes a big difference and especially installing it on a PPC system.

  7. #7

    Orinoco's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 05, 2010
    Location
    Athens, Greece
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    Specs:
    Mac mini (2007) C2D 2.0 GHz, Powerbook G4 (early 2005) 1.67 GHz, iPod 5G, iPhone 3G
    I am using a retail version of Leopard but from what I read I should be able to use any version since Apple is using a universal installer (i.e. for both Intel and PPC). Also when I cloned the PB's internal Tiger HD onto the external HD it still did not boot! It looks like the PB is looking for a system on the external HD and does not find it (folder with questionmark) although I know that the system on the external drive is perfectly fine.
    Mac mini (2007) 2.0 GHz Intel Core2Duo, 4 GB RAM, 120 GB HD, DL Superdrive
    Powerbook G4 (early 2005) 1.67 GHz PPC, 1.5 GB RAM, 100 GB HD, Superdrive

  8. #8

    dtravis7's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 04, 2005
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    Modesto, Ca.
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    Specs:
    iMac 2010 27" QuadI7 OSX10.11, iMac 2008 OSX10.11, MBP Late2011OSX10.11 , iPad Air, iPhone 3GS
    DVD's that come with a Mac are not universal. I don't care what anyone says. Also they will only install on the machine or one of the exact specs, that the DVD came with. That is a for sure thing.

    If you have a Retail though, then that is not the issue. That was the reason I asked.

    Cloning with SuperDuper should work.

    Try this just to see. Boot holding down Command+Option+P+R and keep them down till you hear 2 startup sounds. That is resetting the PRAM. Just a shot in the dark but if you have not tried it, give it a go.

  9. #9

    Orinoco's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 05, 2010
    Location
    Athens, Greece
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    Specs:
    Mac mini (2007) C2D 2.0 GHz, Powerbook G4 (early 2005) 1.67 GHz, iPod 5G, iPhone 3G
    Cloning with SuperDuper should have worked but didn't.

    I also reset PRAM (and even NVRAM through the "reset-nvram" open firmware command). No matter what, the PB's startup manager does not see this drive.

    I'm starting to think that the AKASA case itself is to blame. I will be taking it back for exchange soon.

    Thank you for all your help. I'll let you know how it turns out.
    Mac mini (2007) 2.0 GHz Intel Core2Duo, 4 GB RAM, 120 GB HD, DL Superdrive
    Powerbook G4 (early 2005) 1.67 GHz PPC, 1.5 GB RAM, 100 GB HD, Superdrive

  10. #10


    Member Since
    Mar 17, 2010
    Posts
    1
    Not alone
    I feel your frustration. I have pretty much the same setup as you're describing and the same issue.

    My mac is a Powerbook 17" from early 2005, one of the cursed models with the screen that fills up with hideous vertical lines. It's hard drive failed a few days ago. I figured I'd follow some internet instructions and ripped apart a new USB 2.5" drive - tore apart the mac, then noticed the mac was IDE and the new drive was SATA (as the instructions said to get >.<)

    Before incurring more expense I decided to try booting off my 1TB WD USB/Firewire/E-SATA drive. It took a day to get all the stuff off it, format it, install OS X...and then find it doesn't boot.

    I've followed all the instructions that Orinoco has pointed out above. The install CD is a retail copy. The drive model is known to be good for purpose. I'm using it via Firewire. APM is selected for the partitioning.

    All I get is that stupid folder icon with a question mark. Holding option down on boot shows only the install CD, nothing else.

    I'm going to fork out for another internal drive in a few days and install that, but still, I'd like to know why this PB can't seem to boot from external drives.

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