9 Replies Latest reply: May 20, 2008 6:47 PM by Trekkie160
Trekkie160 Level 1 (15 points)
I've been trying to restore an old 233Mhz g3 (wallstreet, I believe), and I've been running into problems booting to the install cd. I'm successfully able to get into open firmware, but I don't know how it is refering to my CD drive. Can anyone help?
Also, I don't have an OS 9 or OSX cd, although I may be able to find one. But because of this, it would be best if any cd boot solutions did not involve any operating system (this computer also has a clean drive)


  • jpl Level 7 (28,285 points)

    The original Powerbook G3 Series (Wallstreet) install CD had a green label and was named so; the Wallstreets came with either a special MacOS 8.1 or a general-release MacOS 8.5.1. Any general-release, retail MacOS 8.5 > 9.2.2 is supported as is OSX up to 10.2.8. Press the 'c' key to boot to CD.

    A few questions and comments...

    -Do you hear the startup chime?

    -Does the Wallstreet automatically boot into Open Firmware or are you pressing the 'command-option-O-F' keys at startup? If the former, reset the PRAM and see if it will boot normally. Wait for two startup chimes before releasing key.

    -If you still boot into Open Firmware after resetting the PRAM, try resetting parameters in OF:

    Boot into Open Firmware by holding down the 'Command-Option-O-F' keys from a cold start while the chime is being played. You will see a command-line screen...enter these commands:

    1. At the Open Firmware prompt, type: reset-nvram
    2. Press Return.
    3. At the Open Firmware prompt, type: reset-all
    4. Press Return.
    0 > reset-nvram
    Press Return
    0 > reset-all
    Press Return

    The reset-all command should cause the computer to restart. If this occurs, you have successfully reset the Open Firmware settings.

    -If still having problems and you have two RAM modules installed (upper and lower slot), test each one individually. Bad memory may cause a boot into OF.

    -A working Wallstreet will start in this manner: power on > startup chime > depending on amount of RAM installed, 10 - 45 seconds of memory check > display lights up and HD spins up > OS starts to load.

    Let's see your results before making any other suggestions.
  • Trekkie160 Level 1 (15 points)
    I'm not actually attempting to reinstall osx/os 9/os 8, but rather putting on a lightweight unix system. However, I will make sure I can boot into the osx installer. I had changed the hard drive, so there is absolutel nothing (but an old windows xp install) on the drive. I hear the startup chime, then see the floppy with the blinking question mark. I can hear the hard drive spin up. I have been manually entering open firmware in an attempt to force it to boot from the CD. The C key has noot been booting to cd, nor has command-option-shift-delete. I do not believe the PRAM needs to be reset, because this booted to OS9.1 pretty easily (after 20 seconds of blank screen) before I replaced the drive.

    If you have any idea how to install another operating system that doesnt require me to have os9/osx on the drive, or could point me towards some good directions, it would be great. Also, if anyone knows how to netboot one of these, I'm entirely open to that too

  • Trekkie160 Level 1 (15 points)
    Much as I hat to double post, I should note that this machine sat in a closet for several years before I got it. And before that it was probably a secondary machine. Which is all a roundabout way of saying that there are probably many updates for it (including some open firmware, likely). I hope this helps.

    By the way, most posts I have seen on this type of thing use an open firmware satement like: boot cd:,(etc) to boot to the cd. I dont even have an alias that maps to CD - just fd and fd2 (which refer to my two bays). Should I put the other drive back in and see if there are firmware updates? Assuming a really old version of Open Firmware, what dev alias should I reference to boot to the CD?

  • Hardy Geer Level 4 (3,165 points)
    One of the problems with the wallstreet is that the rom disk drive software can address only 8GB. If our are using OS9 or earlier this makes no difference because the first thing the OS does is load the disk driver from the HD And there are versions of that driver which will handle any size drive. Any other OS you install must install a driver before accessing anything not in the first 8 GB. This may include determining the size of the drive. The way OSX handles that is to require that the first partition is totally in the first 8GB. How some other OS would handle it I don't know,
  • Trekkie160 Level 1 (15 points)
    The problem is not that the OS will not boot - the problem is that I cannot boot to the install CD. I am aware of the 8Gb limit (but I'm using a 6Gb internal HDD)
  • jpl Level 7 (28,285 points)

    The Wallstreet never had any firmware updates so that would not be an issue. I understand you are not trying to install a Mac OS but I thought I would mention the different OSes the Wallstreet supports just to see if you could get it to boot from the optical drive.

    Even though your Wallstreet booted to OS 9.1 before the HD swap, corrupted PRAM can prevent a boot to CD, thus the suggestion to reset the PRAM.

    If you cannot boot the original software install CD, you may have corrupted PRAM or a bad optical drive or a bad CD or possibly just a dirty lens in the optical drive.

    Your Wallstreet should boot to the original install CD even without an HD installed; in fact startup will proceed as usual sans HD and you will see the blinking '?' as it looks for a bootable volume. This might be one test to see if your replacement HD is causing a problem.

    There are a few HDs made specifically for a PC laptop that will not boot a Mac due to firmware; Toshiba made one such HD.

    Your other points regarding Open Firmware commands and netbooting are beyond my knowledge. All I can suggest at this point is take a stab at the Unix Forums at Apple and see if you can get any help.
  • Trekkie160 Level 1 (15 points)
    thanks very much for your help. I'll try reinstalling the original HDD, and see if it will boot with that. If it does, Ill go to the OS9/OSX install CD (not sure what I'll be able to dig up). Soon as I figure out how to boot with that, I'll go back to booting the operating system I want to use. I'm starting to suspect that the problem is in the CD rather than the computer. (I've read reports of having to use CD-RWs instead of CD-Rs, or of having to use 650mb CD-Rs instead of 700 mb CD-Rs.)

    Thanks very much everybody fo your help,
  • jpl Level 7 (28,285 points)

    The older optical drives such as the one in the Wallstreet can read and usually boot CD-Rs but not CD-RWs, plus your observation of using 650MB instead of 700MB is valid. I have burned bootable 9.x CD-Rs on my MBP and they will boot my Wallstreet.


    Correction: burned 9.x CD-Rs on my iBook, not MBP.

    Message was edited by: jpl
  • Trekkie160 Level 1 (15 points)
    Out of curiosity I popped in an old ubuntu disc that was laying next to the computer, and it was able to read the 700mb cd-r easily. It said it was ISO9660 formated, so I'm now rebuilding my install cds to be readable. I'm going to be writing this up to help other people who are doing the same thing, and I'll give a link. But basically, I believe this boils down to my CD being badly formatted.