free PowerBook G4 won't boot? where to start looking?

Oct 1, 2011
Reaction score
Willimantic, Ct, (homesick for Florida)
Your Mac's Specs
early macbook pro / even earlier ibook G4 / iphone 3gs-8gb / too many pc's
I was given a free powerbook g4, cool right? Problem is it won't boot either from the hard drive or the os x 10.4 install disk (retail disk not a restore set). It just gets as far as the apple screen with the continuous timer, that is until the timer stops and so does the optical drive and then nothing but the apple and the stopped timer. I tried holding the option key at start up and get two icons, one the hard drive and the other is the os x install disk, and they both have small x on them. All other times holding the "C" key results in the apple/timer 'til it stops.

Some advice was to remove and reinstall the memory each one at a time, but there was no change. Also was suggested that a loose airport card connection could be culprit, so I removed it and still the problem exists. Reinstalled airport card double checking the connections and still the same.

It was also suggested to "unmount" the hard drive with disk utilities and run repair but I can't get to that screen. I've tried removing the hard drive and hooking it up to an IDE to USB adapter and running disk utilities from another G4 (iBook G4) but the iBook doesn't even see the hard drive. I have double checked and the usb port(s) are working properly with other items.

Where do I go from here? What os was used in 2005 on G4's? would 10.4 be too old to install, that is if I can reformat the hard drive somehow? I have no history of this machine except this. The person who gave it was not the original owner. Its info is, a powerbook5,8 with 1.67 g4 processor, 1gb ram (ddr2 pc2 5300, 2 sticks of 512mb each), runs off the a/c adapter due to battery is toast I think (no lights on battery when button is pushed).

Any help appreciated.

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