9 Replies Latest reply: Oct 28, 2012 10:18 AM by dalstott
Bousque Level 1 (5 points)

Hello all.  My second hand Powerbook G4 starts, the bitten apple comes up, then there is no further boot up action.  The situation leading to this was as follows;

- firstly, starting but going to a blank/grey screen and staying there.  The new variant alluded to, which I have not been able to find referred to, was that at this stage, one could for a while, actually type letters (coming out in white).  After a while this stops.

- researching this problem here I followed the advice in the Grey Screen article - http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2570

one on resetting the PMU - http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1431#faq11

and on using Target Disk Mode - http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1661

None of this helped in the slightest with these symptons. 


Because I was away on holiday at the time I did not have access to system disks, or actually using Target Disk Mode.  On returning I used TDM to successfully connect to the PB, and it became evident that there is a drive problem.  I had taken quite a few edited videos with me and it was possible to copy some off, but not others.  Data that refused to copy always led to having to restart the machine because the 'copy' mode would refuse to cancel.  I also reinstalled the OS, and using another PB used TDM to allow Diskwarrior and Disk Utility to work on the poorly machine.  Both were able to do some work, but not complete all their tasks.  The SMART, so called, diagnostics always came up fine.


Now if I turn it on the grey screen stage is not reached, the apple symbol comes up and stays there, with no spinning wheels.


So, is there anything else I can do?


Is the grey screen with some typing possible relevant or interesting in any way?





Powerbook G4, iOS 4.1
  • Bousque Level 1 (5 points)

    I might have added, that whether coincidence or not, I had just connected the PB to an ethernet router when the problem started happening.  I don't recall whether or not I had turned everything off before attaching the cable.

  • Knucklesmac Level 4 (2,225 points)

    Hello Stephen

    Bousque wrote:



    Is the grey screen with some typing possible relevant or interesting in any way?



    When you say some typing possible, I think it might be loading up the open firmware.

    This is normally a screen with writing that allows you to type a command.

    If you can type, then try typing mac-boot.


    Do you have anything attached to your PowerBook, Via USB or Ethernet cable during boot up?

    If so unplug everything and try restarting it.


    Have there been any upgrades to this PowerBook, like memory? or a chnage in target disk?


    Have you tried resetting the PRAM/NVRAM by doing the following:


    1. Shut down your Mac.
    2. Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command (⌘), Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.
    3. Turn on the computer.
    4. Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys before the gray screen appears.
    5. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
    6. Release the keys.

  • Bousque Level 1 (5 points)

    Thanks for this... yes I had reset the PRAM as part of the set of things done initially.  Just did it again, the machine still stops at the bitten Mac with no spinning wheel - I will leave it for ages though to see what happens.


    When it was still getting to the blank screen I did try typing various things, don't remember what, it did occur to me that it was putting itself into some kind of firmware or whatever it is, state.


    Nothing is attached at all (except when in TDM).  As it was second hand I don't know if it had any memory upgrades, how would I know (bearing in mind I can't turn it on to find out!).  Not sure re change in target disk beyond what I have done in TDM, there was only one OS on the machine, there's now two, the reinstalled one and the old one.




  • Knucklesmac Level 4 (2,225 points)



    Have your tried holding down the option key when booting. This should bring up a drive selection and allow you to select the hard drive.


    When you say there is now two OS's on this PowerBook, has there been two installs of two different versions of the OS?

  • Bousque Level 1 (5 points)

    Yes tried that before and now again.  Same result, bitten symbol, stuck.


    There are two copies of OS because the last-ish resort was to try reinstalling and so that had to be the version that came with the machine, that installed successfully but restarting was little better, but the old version will be archived or whatever, automatically I'd have thought...?

  • Knucklesmac Level 4 (2,225 points)



    It's possible to have two Mac OS X's installed on one drive.


    Have you tried this:


    Restart whilst holding down Command-S

    The screen should turn black and load some text

    At the prompt type

    fsck -fy and press Return

    Hopefully some repairs will be performed.

    At the prompt type

    reboot and press Return


    If that doesn't provide any help then try starting in safe  mode.




    Once in safe mode, you can set the startup disk and reboot.


    If that don't help, then all I can suggest is a clean install of the OS.

    Using a Mac OS X install disk either retail or for a PowerBook G4, boot and upon selecting the destination drive, select option, then erase and reinstall.


    A fresh install should resolve this problem as a last resort.


    Best of luck, let us know how you get on.



  • Bousque Level 1 (5 points)

    I don't remember starting with Cmd S and haven't seen the letters  fsck -fy    before, well again it didn't get beyond the bitten symbol.  I think you are right that the last resort will be to erase-reinstall  (but not at this time of night!) and see what that does, any data left on here now is probably going to be abandoned anyway.



  • Bousque Level 1 (5 points)

    Well I thought it was time to try again, having established that everything of relevance has been taken off the machine, I did a total erase-install.  And it started up first time after all the installation was done, and then started going wobbly again, and on restart did exactly what it was doing before.  Ho hum.

  • dalstott Level 4 (2,625 points)