Previous 1 2 Next 23 Replies Latest reply: Dec 26, 2012 9:53 PM by Kenneth Nielsen
Kenneth Nielsen Level 2 (205 points)

I bought a used 12" G4 Powerbook online which has system 10.3.9 installed, and does not have the classic environment folder installed. This computer came without system disks or the original install disks.


The reason I bought this computer is to run an old OS 9 application that will 'unlock' images that are on 'Konica' image disks.


What is the right way to have the Classic OS 9 installed? Also, if I need to reinstall the system, would it be better to upgrade to Tiger? as I understand that Tigeris the latest system that will run on the G4 Powerbook that will also run the Classic environment.








  • dalstott Level 4 (2,625 points)

    It is correct that Tiger 10.4.11 is the last Mac OS X to allow Classic Environment. Some of the earlier G4 Powerbooks made in 2003 and before can have OS 9.1 or 9.2 installed on a separate bootable partition which is independant of the Mac OS X system version on the OS X partition. I had two Macs (G3 Pismo and G4 iMac flatpanel) set up this way. The downside is that you must reboot to change from OS X to OS 9.

    Screen Shot 2012-12-07 at 12.58.37 PM.jpg

  • Kenneth Nielsen Level 2 (205 points)

    dalstott, thank you so much. How much partiion space should I allow to install OS 9.2? I think that sounds like the best way to handle this, and I don't mind booting from the system I want to use. I think you use a certain key combination to get the choice of which drive you want to boot from at startup don't you? Which key combination is that also? Much appreciation for your help.



  • dalstott Level 4 (2,625 points)

    The good thing about this setup is that OS 9 is quite small compared to OSX. The Pismo had a 13Gb hard drive and I believe I allowed 3-4 Gb for the 9.2 partition. The applications also are small by modern standards so this should be adequate for most tasks.


    A beneficial side effect is that if using  OSX 10.4.11  the MacOS 9 partition can be selected from the System Preferences pane to be the OS 9 for classic mode if applicable to the computer. So if in this case Classic mode is adequate in speed for the chosen application then re-booting would not be necessary.


    I am not sure if pressing the option/alt key on startup to select the operating system works on the older Macs OSs but there is always the System Preferences Startup Disk pane to enable selection.

  • Kenneth Nielsen Level 2 (205 points)

    This is fascinating. I have bought, first, a 12" Powerbook that is 2003 vintage and around 870GHZ and USB 1.1, this is not the one that I want to set up as you mentioned because I don't believe it will run as well as the next one (I'm getting these off of ebay and they do not cost that much now) which is a 1.5GHZ newer 12" Powerbook with 2.0 USB ports, a faster machine that I will then partition as you recommend and then install Tiger 10.4.11 and OS 9.2.2. As I remember, the last version update of OS 9.2 ran really well and not many of us in our group wanted to switch to OSX, but the inevitable took over and we are happy of course.


    Thanks for your valuable insight based on your experience. This will help me set up my machine to be the ideal environment for running software like Freehand and also retrieving images that are locked away in a proprietary Konica encription that can only be accessed through the older OS 9 software.



  • dalstott Level 4 (2,625 points)



    I don't want to rain on your parade but I have done some more investigating on the G4 12' PB.  


    I found this statement at (  ) and presume it applies to all the 12' PB G4s.


    Like other Power Macintoshes released in 2003, the PowerBook G4 12-inch does not have the ability to boot into Mac OS 9.x. However, support exists for running Mac OS 9.x-based ("Classic") applications from within Mac OS X. Support providers should be aware of this limitation if they have any Mac OS 9.x-based applications that must run natively.



    The list shown below are the G4s that will boot from OS 9 but are all  Titanium Models  that were made before the 12' was introduced.

    Screen Shot 2012-12-08 at 12.23.13 PM.jpg


    Another similar report.

  • dalstott Level 4 (2,625 points)

    I recall reading about a program called SheepShaver which could let one run Classic Mac OS on just about any platform. if you are not familiar with it I have copied some links below. For more info just google sheepshaver Mac OS.





  • Kenneth Nielsen Level 2 (205 points)

    The 2003 G4 12" I figure is somthing I will set aside, here is the one I am getting and it should be fine with OS 9 partition and Tiger running as well.



    Let me know if you think this one will be adequate. I want the 12" size if possible because I have 'very' limited space where I am.



    I also ordered the Apple Macintosh Powerbook G4 Titanium OS9.1 Installation Install DVD Disk OS9.2 to install the system 9 on the newer machine.








  • dalstott Level 4 (2,625 points)

    The 1.5GHz G4 PB was one of those that could not boot from OS9 but could use classic environment if operating with 10.4.11.


    The two Macs that I had dual boot with OS X and OS 9 were made in 2000 and 2002. In 2003 Apple decided to abandon booting via  OS 9 on any Mac they made. They enabled Classic Mode up to OS X 10.5.8 and after that it was abandoned. With OS X10.6 they still had Rosetta which allowed PPC applications to run on the Intel Macs. When 10.7 was introduced Rosetta was abandoned and everything had to be pure Intel compatible from that point. A great number of Mac users refuse to upgrade to 10.7 or 10.8 because they still need to use the PPC software.


    The G4 12" you are looking at appears to be in good condition and can be a valuable addition. I have one of these 12" G4 powerbooks with 1.5GHZ, 1.25GB RAM, 80GB HDD. I use it almost daily and can highly recommend getting one at todays prices. I paid almost $600 4 years ago. You can use a firewire connection to an external HDD  which can be cloned to and will boot the Mac.


    Unfortunately you can't boot this G4 from OS9 and would need to go back to 10.4.11 in order to install classic

    environment. According to the SheepShaver info you could run 10.5 with classic support.

  • Kenneth Nielsen Level 2 (205 points)

    dalstott, I'm pretty much gathering that the new machine I want, the one that you saw the link to above, will be perfect for running Tiger 10.4.11 and using the 'classic environment.' I'm not sure if the machines you had from 2000 and 2002 had USB, and if they did, would have been 1.1 USB.


    If I do want to run 9.2 natively, which machine would you recommend, as the latest greatest 12" Powerbook that will do the job? I think the prices today are about as low as they will ever get for machines that still provide some usefulness.


    Thanks for following along with the right thinking and your experience that is such a help to me with this.



  • dalstott Level 4 (2,625 points)

    I looked it up and the USB on the earlier machines was 1.1.


    To run 9.2 natively on a PowerBook you need one of the 15" titanium models made between Jan 2001 and Nov 2002. See the listing in a couple of my previous posts above.


    Also if you need a handy reference to detailed Mac specifications MacTracker is free and of great value.



    I found several links that you may want to check out.


    This is a good chart of Macs that will run on Mac OS 9.x.x






    These are forum posts that have some of the same questions you have with other posters opinions.





  • Kenneth Nielsen Level 2 (205 points)

    Since I do not see any one of the 15" titanium models made between Jan 2001 and Nov 2002 for sale on ebay or anywhere else, I'm thinking that I should just use the newer Powerbook I am getting and install Tiger 10.4.11 and use the emulation mode to run OS9 applications. Does that work well? As I remember, it does, and kicks in when you want to start an OS9 app.


    Running native would be best, naturally, but I would like your thoughts on this. Should I go to the effort to try to find a 15" Titanium model or just be happy with the emulation mode running Tiger?


    Thanks for all of your patience and care in providing information and help to me.



  • dalstott Level 4 (2,625 points)

    Yes it does start automatically when you double click on an OS 9 application. It then goes through a startup mode which takes a brief time. As for speed you won't know till you try it. I have used it for old MacWrite, MacDraw, and Claris Works documents and it worked very well. With graphics the simpler the program, the better it should perform.  For 3D type games it will be slow just as it would be with any system emulator.

  • Kenneth Nielsen Level 2 (205 points)

    Grateful for all the help. I have the original Titanium install disks for OS9 coming, but won't ever use them in this case, I don't think, as I like the little 12" Macs and will keep the 1GHZ model for my 'classic environment' machine running 10.4.11.


    Very good. I'll check back after trying this all out in the next few days.


    :- )

  • Kenneth Nielsen Level 2 (205 points)

    Here's what I've collected off of eBay now:


    •  A fairly nice Apple Powerbook G4 12" 1.5 GHz Laptop with Super Drive and Airport Card. No disks came with this computer and it has a higher version of OSX on it which does not have OS9 emulation. I think now I am set to erase the hard drive on this computer and use one or more of these that I also accumulated on eBay:


    •  Apple Mac OS X ver. 10.4 PowerBook G4 install discs, this includes both disc 1 and disc 2.   2Z691-5517-A / 2Z691-5499-A includes Mac OS     9.2. These discs were from a 12 inch PowerBook G4.


    Apple Mac OS X 10.3 Panther Full Retail Installation CD Set


    Apple OS X 10.4 Tiger Install Disc Power Mac(Upgrade from 10.3) that needs Panther to upgrade from.


    I figured I would need to have the Tiger install disks to bring the system up to 10.4.11 (the last that has OS9 emulator.)


    I bought the Panther set to have the panther to upgrade from.


    and, last but not least, I saw the original install disk set for a 12" G4 which may be all I need, so I got that too.


    I'm checking back in because I have these materials ready and the computer and I wanted to ask if I should NOT partition my hard drive and just to a straight install of the original install set mentioned first which will give me OS X 10.4 and then I can get the upgrade to 10.4.11 online from Apple.


    What do you think? What is the best approach for me?

Previous 1 2 Next