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Pismo won't boot from install disks

490 Views 7 Replies Latest reply: Jul 13, 2013 4:45 AM by James Weinrich1 RSS
James Weinrich1 Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jul 7, 2013 10:51 PM

Hi! I've looked to find the answer elsewhere, but no luck... apologies if this has already been answered.


  • I have a Powerbook G3 Pismo which I now need to use to run Hypercard. (Yes!)
  • It has been sitting unused for over a year.
  • It didn't start up.
    • I found an article that explained how to remove the PRAM battery. I did so. It starts up fine when connected to power.
    • I have ordered a new PRAM battery, but it hasn't arrived yet. I decided to go ahead and try to get it to boot.
  • When I powered up, I got the alternating icon saying it couldn't find an installed system.
  • I guessed that the hard drive had become corrupt, so I rebooted into Target Disk mode. It worked!
  • I connected it via FireWire to a MacBook Pro. The Pismo did show up as an external firewire hard drive. Good!
  • Using OS X Disk Utility, I erased the Pismo drive.
    • I couldn't decide whether to use OS X Extended, or OS X Extended (Journaled).
    • I didn't know about any options to install drivers for OS 9, so I probably did the wrong thing. (Pismo can boot into either OS 9 or OS X, I think.)
    • I tried to fix this later (see below).
  • I disconnected the Firewire and shut down.
  • I finally got the Pismo to boot up from a MacWarrior CD (a 3rd-party disk utility that fixes directory problems). I used it to fix the directory.
  • It still wouldn't boot from the original disks that came with the Pismo. The optical reader whirred away, I got a blank gray screen, it whirred again, I got another blank gray screen, but the cursor never showed up in the upper left corner. After half an hour, it had made no progress.
  • I reconnected the Pismo to the Macbook Pro using Firewire.
  • I tried to install Tiger on the Pismo using my officially purchased, large-box Tiger software. The Macbook Pro mounted the disk, but when I ran the installer, it told me I couldn't install Tiger on this machine (the Macbook Pro, duh!) and only gave me the option to quit.
    • I thought that I could use an all-model install disk to install OS X on ANY external hard drive! What gives???!???
  • I tried to boot from the AppleCare Protection Plan's TechTool Deluxe.
    • It seemed to be booting fine into 9.1. Yippee!
    • It halted with a System Error (address error) telling me to restart holding down the Shift key.
    • I do so. It seemed to be booting fine into 9.1 again, Extensions Off.
    • But it halted with the same System Error.
  • I read about OS 9 drivers and went back into Disk Utility using the Macbook Pro.
    • Using Firewire to access my Pismo hard drive, I re-erased everything and made the partition have an Apple Partition Map.
    • I did not see any option to check or uncheck that mentioned installing OS 9 drivers. Did I miss it? Was it not there because I'm using a recent version of Disk Utility?

  • Same problems. Can't boot from the original Pismo "Software Restore" or "Software Install" disks, nor the TechTool Deluxe...

VERY FRUSTRATING! Have I tried everything? Has the hard drive gone bad?


Any help would be appreciated.

  • Texas Mac Man Level 8 Level 8 (44,220 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 9, 2013 10:13 AM (in response to James Weinrich1)

    If the Pismo has never had OS X installed, it needs a firmware update to install/run OS X.


     Cheers, T^om

  • Texas Mac Man Level 8 Level 8 (44,220 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 9, 2013 1:10 PM (in response to James Weinrich1)

    Look at A flashing question mark appears when you start your Mac


    Troubleshooting portables that won't turn on or start up


    Does your Tiger install disc look like this?



     Cheers, Tom


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