9 Replies Latest reply: Jun 8, 2006 7:16 AM by The hatter
Skunch Level 1 (0 points)
I've been having serious issues with my hard drives and I've been wondering if there were commands to wipe your hard disk while in the Open Firmware interface. I've typed the command "Erase" and the response I've gotten was "STACK UNDERFLOW!" What the **** does that mean, and can anyone tell me if I'm barking up the wrong tree?

Blue and White G3, Mac OS 9.2.x
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 (55,290 points)
    You are barking up the wrong tree.

    The software you want is Drive Setup. Boot from a System/Install Cd and your Hard drive is available to be initialized, if that is what you want to do. Look in the utilities folder for Drive Setup.

    There is also a "Test Disk" function, which can help you understand what may be happening on your drive.

    If you have the Rev 1 Blue & White G3, and your drive has been replaced with a drive faster than the original 4, 6, or 8 GB drive that shipped in those Macs, you may be seeing creeping data corruption caused by an IDE controller that can not keep up. Some users have called this Mac the "HeartBreaker" because it gets flaky, but does not outright break.

    Feel free to post back for more information on any of these subjects -- lots of users can help!
  • Skunch Level 1 (0 points)
    Yeah, I thought so. But thanks. The deal is the G3 I have was shipped with a 12 gig HD, and I was trying to load OSX onto it. So mistakes happened, Norton disk doctor decided to fix some OSX files and it's all futzed up. Now, the computer won't start up, with or without a boot disk. All I need to do is find a way to wipe it and it should be fine.
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 (55,290 points)
    Open the door and press the tiny CUDA Reset button on the motherboard nearest the battery. That will set its parameters back to factory defaults. Then try again to boot from the Install CD by holding down C at startup.
  • Don Archibald Level 10 (101,295 points)
    Hi, Skunch -

    Norton's Disk Doctor should never be used on a drive containing OSX - NDD has been known to bollix up such a drive so badly that even DiskWarrior could not recover it.

    As far as I know there is no way to erase a drive using Open Firmware commands.

    The machine should be able to boot to any retail OS 9 or OSX Install CD, provided its firmware has been updated and that the hard drive has not become physically damaged such that it interferes with booting to anything (that last situation is very rare, but it can happen). Note that in this context, the machine's firmware and Open Firmware are two distinct and separate things.

    As a crosscheck, try disconnecting the hard drive and then boot to an OS Install CD - it should do so.

    One thing that can prevent booting for many Macs, G3s in particular, is a very weak or dead internal battery. You can get a replacement battery at places like Radio Shack for about US$15.

    Once you get the machine to boot to an OS Install CD, and the hard drive is okay mechanically, you can use the appropriate utility on the OS Install CD to re-initialize the drive. If you use an OSX Install CD and Disk Utility, be sure to select the option to install OS 9 drivers; when asked, select Mac OS Extended as the format.
  • Skunch Level 1 (0 points)
    Okay, I've just been given a very gentley used 20 gig HD, it's old-school IDE, just like the one my computer uses. Plugged it in, and held the C key and nothing happens. My computer does three things upon startup now, (with or without a hard drive plugged in).

    1: It starts up and shows the missing startup disk icon, but doesn't flash. It just sort of freezes on the question mark and nothing happens, with or without an HD plugged in.

    2(With a startup CD, i.e., Panther disk 1 or NDD):Without holding C, it starts up and shows the missing startup disk icon, but this time, it blinks ONCE and goes to the the OS9 finder finder face in the system folder icon.

    3(While holding C, with/without HD connected): When it starts up, it doesn't even get to the missing System folder icon. It just sits at a gray screen.


    That's it. I've tried with all combinations of my HDs, or just one HD at a time. But the fact remains the same: It will not start up! I'm going to swap batteries like Don Archibald said, but I'm skeptical.
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 (55,290 points)
    What are you calling the "missing startup disk Icon"?

    Is it a blank old-fashioned Folder or the outline of a diskette you are seeing? Usually alternating with a big question mark?

    Or do you mean a smiling Mac SE ? The smiling Mac SE is smiling because it found boot blocks on a drive that claims to be bootable. It loads the Boot Blocks into memory and executes them. Difficulties after seeing the smiling Mac SE mean the boot blocks or the Driver or the OS X startup routines on the drive are bad and crashed the computer.

    Do you still have Mac OS 9 installed somewhere? Holding down the Option key can sometimes get it to boot Mac OS 9, if available.
  • Skunch Level 1 (0 points)
    It's the missing disk Icon, only it's OS9 style. Also, there is no system software on any of the disks.
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 (55,290 points)
    >"It's the missing disk Icon, only it's OS9 style."

    I have fooled around with busses and Drives and done all sorts of rude things to various Macs that made it impossible for them to boot. But to the best of my knowledge, there is no Icon that by itself indicates, "Missing Disk".

    So that we are all talking about the same thing, could you please describe the Icon you see in detail?

    Thank you for humoring me.
  • The hatter Level 9 (60,925 points)
    If you know how to get to Open Firmware, then type this:


    Would be nice to have Tiger in the DVD drive probably. No need for a hard drive to do above.

    If you know Forth and Open Firmware, fine, otherwise, you can cripple a Mac.

    IBM: Open Firmware Interface

    Apple Dev Note: Boot Process
    Booting OS X
    NVRAM Structure
    OF User Interface
    Open Firmware - Quick Reference

    Finally, try this:

    unplug the machine, pull the clock battery, hit the power button to discharge. Then plug it in without the clock battery. The machine should boot perfectly. Shut down, reinstall the clock battery, and now the system is fully functional

    G4 MDD 1.25 1.75GB UL3D 15K/10K RAID   Mac OS X (10.4.6)   SoftRAID 3.5