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Help with a Mac iBook G4

Lord Diddy

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I have a lot of experience with Windows, but OSX I've recently been learning about.


Well my brother brought his old ibook G4 running Panther (10.3) to me hoping for an upgrade to a newer OSX. Im sure this can only handle Leopard, maybe SL. I'll post up complete specs later.


I have the CD for Leopard (10.5) but sadly the CD/Dvd rom is not working properly. I managed to get the .dmg image file from the CD using another Macbook Pro, but the bootable USB drive isnt recognized as a bootable disk. The USB is recognized in OSX (where I made the usb bootable) but when I bring up the boot options it only shows the HDD with Panther installed.


Is there any alternatives to installing an OS without CD, and without usb boot capability? I'm not sure if the limitation is from the currently installed Panther or the model itself.



Hardware Overview:


Machine Model: iBook G4

CPU Type: PowerPC G4 (1.1)

Number Of CPUs: 1

CPU Speed: 1.2 GHz

L2 Cache (per CPU): 512 KB

Memory: 768 MB

Bus Speed: 133 MHz

Boot ROM Version: 4.8.7f1


System Software Overview:


System Version: Mac OS X 10.3.9 (7W98)

Kernel Version: Darwin 7.9.0

Boot Volume: Macintosh HD

Computer Name: justin says’ Computer

User Name: Isaiah (justinsays)






Size: 256 MB

Type: Built-in

Speed: Built-in




Size: 512 MB


Speed: PC2700U-25330


PCI/AGP Cards:




Type: display

Bus: AGP

VRAM (Total): 32 MB

Vendor: ATI (0x1002)

Device ID: 0x5c63

Revision ID: 0x0001

ROM Revision: 113-xxxxx-142




Type: display

Display Type: LCD

VRAM (In Use): 32 MB

Resolution: 1024 x 768

Depth: 32-bit Color

Main Display: Yes

Mirror: Off

Online: Yes




ATA-3 Bus:




Manufacturer: MATSHITA


Revision: CA10

Serial Number:

Drive Type: CD-RW/DVD-ROM

Disc Burning: Apple Supported/Shipped

Removable Media: Yes

Detachable Drive: No

Protocol: ATAPI

Unit Number: 0

Socket Type: Internal


ATA-6 Bus:


Vendor ID: 0x106b

Device ID: 0x003b

Revision ID: 0x0000




Capacity: 27.94 GB


Revision: 819C

Serial Number: NN96T4B134R9

Removable Media: No

Detachable Drive: No

BSD Name: disk0

Protocol: ATA

Unit Number: 0

Socket Type: Internal

OS9 Drivers: No


Macintosh HD:


Capacity: 27.82 GB

Available: 3.66 GB

Writable: Yes

File System: Journaled HFS+

BSD Name: disk0s3

Mount Point: /

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Well, Here is what google says (Dont use Macs so I can't really say anything from personal experience): Instructions for setting up usb drive to install Mac OS X Leopard


Also, Leopard is the highest version of OS X that is supported by that model.


Thanks to DrCue at DeviantArt for the signature source

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Yeah I've been using a very comprehensive guide similar to the one posted. I've made the USB Bootable and have tried on a Macbook Pro (OSX 10.6) and is recognized. Sadly I feel that my model or OSX version simply cannot boot from USB.


Also to make clear, I've been making the USB OSX drives using the ibook with 10.3 (Panther). Would somehow I find it more successful to make one using the MacBook Pro because of its wider range of options?


Any help is appreciated.

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Well, your main issue is that Power PC based Macs don't actually support booting from USB, though you can force it to do so through some advanced option or something like that (Again, I am just using google, so I cannot say anything on what it actually does) : boot iBook G4 from USB


Thanks to DrCue at DeviantArt for the signature source

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I've tried that already, A main question I'd like to know is whether the limitation of booting from USB is from the model itself, or the OSX version that it is currently running. So that hypothetically if I did install Leopard on it, would it finally be USB bootable?


Hmm there must be something that I'm missing...

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The ComboDrive in your iBook is unable to read the dual layer disk that Leopard is written on. If this is the only reason why you think the drive is dead, you may be in luck. I am fairly confident that PowerPC Macs are not able to boot from USB. It is intrinsic to their firmware and does not matter what OS you're on. It is possible to modify the firmware to alter this.


If you want to boot from external drive, you'll probably want to boot from FireWire.

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