13 Replies Latest reply: Aug 12, 2008 5:23 PM by Ronda Wilson
annexit Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
Hi, all, a friend has a G3 iBook, about 5 years old, had motherboard replaced about 3 years ago - she got a sad mac, zapped pram, started in safe mode and tried to boot from her install disc but nothing but a sad mac. I am going over tomorrow or the next day with DiscWarrior and my G4 iBook, but this does not sound good to me. The nearest Mac store is 70 miles away so I'd like to give her a small hand before the big gas bill. She does not remember any kernel panic messages, just sometimes has to zap the pram. She did hear a clicking noise the last time she tried to turn it on -when she got the sad mac for the first time -. That's all I know.

Quicksilver 733 MHz, iMac G3, iBook 1.2 GHz, iPod mini dead in the washing machine, Mac OS X (10.3.x), iBook G4, iMac G3, iPod mini (dead in washing machine), Canon S60
  • Ronda Wilson Level 8 Level 8 (41,060 points)
    What version of the OS is she using?

    How big is the hard drive and how much space remains available on it?

    Have her put the Install disc in and try to use _Startup Manager_ to boot from the Install disc. Does that work?
  • annexit Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Hi, Rhonda,

    thanks for the reply. Sprry forgot to mention she is using Panther 10.3.9. She doesno't know any of the other specs, but I seem to recall her processor is 500 Mhz and my assumption is that she has modest memory. When she tried to start from the install disk she still got the sad mac - though I did this with her over the phone - I know she held down the C key, assume she did it correctly. Best case scenario? worst case scenario?

    Annexit
  • Ronda Wilson Level 8 Level 8 (41,060 points)
    Sometimes Startup Manager will work to start up from the optical drive when holding down the c key doesn't.

    I wasn't asking about RAM specifically, but available space on the hard drive.
  • annexit Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Hi, Rhonda, she tried the option option and she only got the two arrows, no opportunity to select her hard drive or optical drive. So her computer cannot read her drives.She uses her computer for word processing, blogging, email and just a little basic digital photography using iPhoto. What would the next step be? Disc Warrior (could it read the drive???) Apple Store? She has had a new motherboard, her airport card quit working a year after the new motherboard (I reset it in it's little spot and checked the antenna a couple of times but I guess I could have missed somethig), so . . . RIP? some more trouble shooting? I'll see if she has the hardware test disk, but wait - will the computer read the drive to read the disK?? . . Thanks for your guidance

    Annexit
  • Ronda Wilson Level 8 Level 8 (41,060 points)
    She was able to boot into Safe Mode?

    I believe that it is normal for the optical drive not to be available in Safe Mode.

    Has she tried holding down the x key during startup? If it works, this forces a boot into OS X.

    It does sound like it could be a hard drive problem, especially with her hard drive's startup volume not showing up in Startup Manager. Maybe DiskWarrior could help if you can coax the optical drive into reading it. You could give it a try before the long drive to the Apple Store.

    Do you happen to have DiskWarrior installed on an external FireWire drive? I keep a troubleshooting partition with DiskWarrior on my external FireWire drive, allowing me to boot from that to do repairs on the internal drive.

    You may be able to use _FireWire Target Disk Mode_ with her iBook as the Target and your iBook as the Host and use Disk Utility on your iBook to try to repair her internal drive. While there, check to see how much space is available on the hard drive. A hard drive that is too cramped can cause this sort of thing to happen. It's wise to keep the larger of 15% of total capacity or 5 GB of free space on the drive.

    I would try Disk Utility via FireWire Target Disk Mode before DiskWarrior.

    Good luck.
  • annexit Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Hi Rhonda, thanks again for your help. No, she could not start up in safe mode, but it is at least good news to hear it might be a hard drive problem as that is fairly simple to fix relatively inexpensively (ironically, with gas prices, for LESS than a drive to the nearest Apple Store buying on line- yikes!) I have done the DW thing via targe disk mode when my G4's drive bit the dust so if her's cannot read DW I will give it a try. Thanks for the Target mode link since I have not done it enough to remember exactly the steps.

    Annexit
  • annexit Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Sorry Ronda, not Rhonda must have a few extra "h's" lying around ;-)- all the Rondas I know have h's.

    annexit
  • Ronda Wilson Level 8 Level 8 (41,060 points)
    You're welcome.

    The reason I suggested Disk Utility via Target Disk Mode as the first step is because I once had a hard drive that was so corrupt that DiskWarrior couldn't handle it. By using Disk Utility from my external FireWire drive, Disk Utility was able to accomplish enough repairs that DiskWarrior could finish the job. Neither application could manage the repair on its own, but the two together managed to do it.

    Also, if you access the other iBook's drive from your iBook, you could see how much space is available and delete (and/or copy to your drive) things if you find it necessary to do so. Even if her iBook can't read DiskWarrior, you can try to use it to repair her hard drive from your iBook's optical drive while the two are connected in FireWire Target Disk Mode.
  • annexit Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Thanks, Ronda. I appreciate your complete explanations, I will probably get up to see her tomorrow and give it a try. At least we can pull her files.
  • annexit Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Hi, all esp Ronda,

    Well, it wasn't a sad mac just a question mark and the Apple Logo (dare I say it? she thought it was sad looking, oh, well). could not boot in target mode - it powered up but then powered down imeediately. Starting in Safe only the arrows. She recalled that the hard drive had already been replaced (she still had it as a booken) the motherboard had been replaced and the Airport card quit working. Any ideas left?

    Annexit
  • Ronda Wilson Level 8 Level 8 (41,060 points)
    I think you're confusing Safe Mode (shift key during boot) with Startup Manager (option key during boot).

    Will it start up in Safe Mode?
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1455?viewlocale=en_US

    How about holding down the x key during boot (which, if it works, forces a startup into OS X)?

    Apple's suggestions for dealing with the flashing question mark can be found in this Apple Knowledge Base article:
    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1440?viewlocale=en_US
  • annexit Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Hi, Ronda, patient Ronda,

    We did all of the above and nothing worked - sadly - and the quote she got just to look at it, given all of the above, was enough for her to go out and get a new laptop - not the saddest fate, because the new ones are delicious, but . . . she did need it for her work. Angain, thanks, will mark this answered. I do think the steps you outlined were very very helpful - it is good to go to the "professional" at least knowing some of the simple fixes didn't do it.

    Annexit
  • Ronda Wilson Level 8 Level 8 (41,060 points)


    Sorry things didn't work out, but I'm sure she will enjoy the new computer.