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  1. #1
    Question Power Mac G4 AGP won't boot from Retail OS X Panther 10.3 Install discs
    Hi, I read the "What OS Disk Do I Need?" post, and I seem to have a situation that does not fit those guidelines:

    I have a Power Mac G4 AGP Graphics, 500 MHz (Sawtooth), 1.75 GB SDRAM, Boot ROM version 3.2.2f1. I got it used with functioning OS X Panther 10.3.9, no original discs, no recovery partition. I only use it for recording music, I use only ONE program and it runs well so I see no reason to change the setup, however being that the OS was installed 12+ years ago, I would like to do a clean install if possible.

    I got a set of 10.3 discs off Ebay, they are black with white X's, they say Install not Restore, disc numbers are 2Z691-4585-A, 4586-A & 4587-A, all of which fit the description of Retail discs. When I insert Disc 1 it mounts to desktop as "MAC OS X Install Disc 1" and if I Option+startup it appears as boot choice, but booting from it just gets the grey screen with apple turning into a prohibitory (slash circle) symbol. The internal optical drive is shot so I'm using a Que! USB2 external drive which I know it works because I am able to boot from grey OS 9.0.4 Install or Restore discs I got from a friend. Just in case that drive was a problem for booting from the OS X disc, I tried copying the CD to a 2nd installed HDD, but it did not appear as a boot choice (I did read online about formatting an HDD with a bootable partition by selecting a GUID Partition Map Type but my Disk Utility program did not have an Options button to do that). Also I don't think it's a firmware issue because, as I said, it's already running 10.3.9. Also I did try resetting the PRAM several times, and I disconnect the power source nightly.

    I did hear from an Apple Senior Advisor and several online articles that these Power Macs require a specific boot version which is hardcoded into the Mac itself, and there’s no way to find out what that is... but would that apply to Retail discs or just Restore discs? What other reason could it be why my Mac won't boot from these discs? If it's that they will only allow booting if OS 9 is detected then I'm out of luck, because I'm not willing to risk wiping the existing OS X unless I know I will be able to replace it.

    Any suggestions?
    Last edited by tbubah; 03-14-2017 at 10:53 PM.

  2. #2
    Power Mac G4 AGP won't boot from Retail OS X Panther 10.3 Install discs

    Member Since
    Dec 11, 2010
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    Chicago
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    Your Mac's Specs
    late 2012 mini w/SSD
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    Retail 10.3.x should boot. But, I'm not sure if that model Mac will boot from anything connected by USB. I read online that 10.4.3 and above can be booted from USB.
    Sounds like your best bet is replacing the internal, IDE DVD drive. Including one out of an old PC.

  3. #3
    Power Mac G4 AGP won't boot from Retail OS X Panther 10.3 Install discs
    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
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    Nambucca Heads Australia
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    Your Mac's Specs
    iMac, i7 4GHz, 32GB memory, 1TB Blade, macOS Catalina,
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    PowerPC G4's do not boot from external drives. Period. Nor do they boot from Firewire for the later MDD models. You need a working optical drive mounted in the computer to boo from the install disc. Replacing the optical drive with an internal is a very easy job on your G4, one you handle no problem.

    Sorry took a while to find archived teardown for a G4. I always had a good run with Pioneer DVD-RW units, such as a `05/109 models. They work natively in OS X.


    http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage...rdrive_g4.html
    Last edited by harryb2448; 03-15-2017 at 03:41 AM.
    Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  4. #4
    Thank you both for your quick replies. I also initially thought the external drive was the problem, until I read somewhere that Sawtooth models did add USB booting, also since I thought they were referring to booting from a thumb / flash drive as opposed to an optical drive connected via USB... and lastly like I said, since I can use that drive to boot to 9.0.4 (am using it to install 9 on the 2nd drive right now).

    Anyway, I have several old PC's here all with working optical drives; will any of those work, or does it have to be a Mac drive? I don't need a fitting mounted drive today necessarily, if it will work once connected... I just want to get this clean OS install done.

  5. #5
    Power Mac G4 AGP won't boot from Retail OS X Panther 10.3 Install discs
    ferrarr's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 21, 2012
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    Pawtucket, RI, US
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    Your Mac's Specs
    L2014 Mac mini macOS 15, iPhone 8+ iOS 13, 12.9" iPad Pro 1 iPadOS 13,  Pencil 1
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    Any Internal optical drives should work.
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  6. #6
    Power Mac G4 AGP won't boot from Retail OS X Panther 10.3 Install discs
    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
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    Nambucca Heads Australia
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    25,224
    Your Mac's Specs
    iMac, i7 4GHz, 32GB memory, 1TB Blade, macOS Catalina,
    Rep Power
    31
    As Bob says, and no doubt they will all be IDE connections. You may have to remove the 'lip' from the front of the drive to enable the door to close fully.

    They may not boot the machine if used as external drives, but try it and see. Generally the only Macs that will boot from external USB are Intel models. There are a couple of exceptions in the G5 range.
    Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  7. #7
    Just wanted to report back and say thanks everyone, you were right, it was the optical drive that wasn't booting the disc.

    I should also clarify (although technically this is now a hardware discussion) that I tried 2 internal IDE optical drives and one of them didn't work, it was an H-L (Hitachi-LG) DVD±R/CD-RW drive manufactured in 2006 pulled out of a Dell PC; the light lit up and disc spun but the Mac wouldn't mount any discs in it. The one that worked was a Compaq DVD±RW manufactured in 1999 pulled out of an HP PC.

  8. #8
    Power Mac G4 AGP won't boot from Retail OS X Panther 10.3 Install discs
    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
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    Nambucca Heads Australia
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    Your Mac's Specs
    iMac, i7 4GHz, 32GB memory, 1TB Blade, macOS Catalina,
    Rep Power
    31
    Yeah we knew we were right mate as we all tried this fifteen to twenty ears ago us old guys! Maybe the Hitachi is dodgy also. Main thing is you got it done good work.
    Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

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