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Broken Power Mac G4

by Natters02 / March 25, 2009 3:24 AM PDT

Hi,
I'm really hoping somebody could give me some advice. My friend's Power Mac G4 is broken, and I'm trying to figure how what's wrong/how to fix it. When he turns on the tower the computer sounds as if it's running but it goes to a grey screen with the grey apple logo in the center and the spinning (thinking) gear underneath. It looks as though it is attempting to boot up, but it never goes to the desktop screen. Ideally , we would like to figure out what is wrong and how it can be fixed (cheaply) but most importantly we'd like to know how to get the data from the "broken" computer to an external hard drive (I do have a Mac lap top and external hard drive if this helps). Thank you so much in advance for your help!
Take Care

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Broken Mac G4
by emilchen / March 25, 2009 5:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Broken Power Mac G4

I think it is a start-up problem.
Do you have the original Install disc?
If you have, insert the disc and restart the computer holding the C key. If it doesn't work do it again and hold the option key. It will come up with a Mac computer image in the center and a circled arrow on the left and straight arrow on the right. Click on the left one first and see what happens.
The software which can fix the problem is the DiskWarrior from Alsoft.com
(approx $100 I am not sure, mine was that price).
Emil Chendea

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Lucky you
by Jimmy Greystone / March 25, 2009 11:49 AM PDT
In reply to: Broken Power Mac G4

Lucky you... I have been studying for my Apple certification lately for my job.

Typically if you get to a gray screen with a spinning gear, that means that the system has passed the POST. So, it tends to point at either a bad hard drive, or some kind of a bad configuration.

Sometimes it can just be checking the file system at that point, and if you give it a few minutes (or even hours for a large drive) it will eventually move on.

If the system is running OS X, I'd boot up with the install disc, and run the disk utility program to see what happens. It will probably tell you if the drive is hosed or not. If it's running OS 8 or 9, not sure I'm going to be much help.

You can try starting the system up in target disk mode. I forget if it's D or T you hold down on the keyboard at boot (it's different between the PPC and Intel Macs), but if one doesn't work try the other. Then connect it to the other system via a FireWire cable and the broken system's drive will mount like an external drive. This is one of the great little hidden gems of Mac systems. If the drive doesn't mount, it's likely dead and needs to be replaced. Or if the broken system is running OS X 10.3 or older, and you're running 10.5, it won't mount either.

Personally, I'd give the system a little bit of time to process at that gray screen. It should eventually give you some kind of a status icon that will help direct troubleshooting efforts.

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