2 Replies Latest reply: May 10, 2010 12:44 AM by Dave Clifford
Dave Clifford Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
I am trying to reinstall OS 10 on an old Powerbook G4

It is running 10.3.9 and when I try to reinstall 10.3 I am told that i cannot install an earlier version of 10.3. Apple's help pages tell me to reinstall OS10.2 and then reinstall 10.3

However whenever I try to reinstall 10.2 (both from a shop bought disc, and the Powerbook's software install disc) I just get constant messages to restart my computer.

When I use the Powerbook's software install disc, the screen goes grey and I get a "You need to restart your computer" message in four languages. When I restart I just get the same screen.

When I use the 10.2 disc (that I purchased for an old iMac) and restart the 'normal' desktop appears, with the 10.2 DVD folder open - when I click on "Install OSX" I get a message telling me the computer needs to restart. The same thing happens when I restart with "C" pressed.

Any suggestions as to how I can reinstall the OS would be gratefully received

(I have repaired disc permissions and turned airport off btw)

2.4 ghz Intel iMac, Mac OS X (10.5.4), Also use G4 Powerbook OS10.3.9, G3 iMac DVSE OS10.2.8
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (262,895 points)
    This is a bit of confusion in the how the installer works. If it finds an existing version of OS X later than that on the installer disc, then it gives the error. What you must do is to select the desired destination disc then click on the Options button. You'll see three installation options:

    1. Erase and Install
    2. Archive and Install
    3. Upgrade Install

    To reinstall 10.3 you must select one of the first two options. Obviously option one will erase the hard drive. If you plan to use this option be sure you've first made a backup.

    Option two will archive the existing system installation into a Previous System Folder (PSF) located at the root directory of the hard drive. It will then install a fresh copy of OS X from the booted installer disc. There are some caveats so read the following:

    How to Perform an Archive and Install

    An Archive and Install will NOT erase your hard drive, but you must have sufficient free space for a second OS X installation which could be from 3-9 GBs depending upon the version of OS X and selected installation options. The free space requirement is over and above normal free space requirements which should be at least 6-10 GBs. Read all the linked references carefully before proceeding.

    1. Be sure to use Disk Utility first to repair the disk before performing the Archive and Install.

    Repairing the Hard Drive and Permissions

    Boot from your OS X Installer disc. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button. When the menu bar appears select Disk Utility from the Installer menu (Utilities menu for Tiger.) After DU loads select your hard drive entry (mfgr.'s ID and drive size) from the the left side list. In the DU status area you will see an entry for the S.M.A.R.T. status of the hard drive. If it does not say "Verified" then the hard drive is failing or failed. (SMART status is not reported on external Firewire or USB drives.) If the drive is "Verified" then select your OS X volume from the list on the left (sub-entry below the drive entry,) click on the First Aid tab, then click on the Repair Disk button. If DU reports any errors that have been fixed, then re-run Repair Disk until no errors are reported. If no errors are reported, then quit DU and return to the installer.

    2. Do not proceed with an Archive and Install if DU reports errors it cannot fix. In that case use Disk Warrior and/or TechTool Pro to repair the hard drive. If neither can repair the drive, then you will have to erase the drive and reinstall from scratch.

    3. Boot from your OS X Installer disc. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button. When you reach the screen to select a destination drive click once on the destination drive then click on the Option button. Select the Archive and Install option. You have an option to preserve users and network preferences. Only select this option if you are sure you have no corrupted files in your user accounts. Otherwise leave this option unchecked. Click on the OK button and continue with the OS X Installation.

    4. Upon completion of the Archive and Install you will have a Previous System Folder in the root directory. You should retain the PSF until you are sure you do not need to manually transfer any items from the PSF to your newly installed system.

    5. After moving any items you want to keep from the PSF you should delete it. You can back it up if you prefer, but you must delete it from the hard drive.

    6. You can now download a Combo Updater directly from Apple's download site to update your new system to the desired version as well as install any security or other updates. You can also do this using Software Update.

    If you plan to install an earlier version such as Jaguar when you are currently running Panther or installing Panther when you are currently running Tiger, then you must use the Erase and Install option.

    The Upgrade Install option is as it sounds: to upgrade from an earlier version of OSX to a later version.
  • Dave Clifford Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    Thanks for the suggestions, but I was unable to get to this stage as I couldn't get past the constant instructions to restart my computer. 

    As s last resort I removed the airport card and found I could then reinstall 10.2 and then 10.3.9 with no issues.

    Thanks again for your advice, as I'm donating the laptop I did an erase and install.