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My Powerbook G4 will not start up in target disk mode...

Good Evening All,

Here's my system info:

OSX 10.4.9
Machine Name:PowerBook G4
Machine Model:PowerBook3,4
CPU Type:PowerPC G4 (2.1)
Number Of CPUs: 1
CPU Speed:800 MHz
L2 Cache (per CPU):256 KB
L3 Cache (per CPU):1 MB
Memory: 512 MB
Bus Speed:133 MHz
Boot ROM Version:4.3.7f3

I've read that having the "Open Firmware Password" option enabled will prevent opening up in Target disk mode. Either I'm really tired or that's just over my head. I've replaced the CD drive with a combo drive on an ibook G3 and have installed Tiger 10.4, so I'd like to transfer as much as I can to the G3 ibook. Any ideas? Thanks very much!!

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Target Mode

In reply to: My Powerbook G4 will not start up in target disk mode...

You are correct about the "Open Firmware Password" but unless you have installed and configured the application, it is not on. It is off by default on all installations.
The OFP prevents anyone from starting up the machine from any disk that you have not set in the Startup Disk preference pane.
It blocks the use of the "C", "T","N", "S" & "D" keys at startup and prevents the PRAM from being zapped by using the Command-Option-P-R key combination.
It also requires a password to use the Startup Manager, Shift key during startup.
Unless you are in a high risk area where you leave you machine unattended for periods of time and where people are likely to be messing with your computer, this is all overkill.

If this is something that you have done, then undo it and boot into Target Mode. Step by step instructions for removal of the OFP can be found here

As a work around for the problem, and to enable you to move data from your G4 to the G3, boot the G3 into Target mode while connected to the G4.
It would then mount on the desktop of the G4 and allow you to operate it as an external HD. Just put the data where you want it to go and all should be well.

Just as an aside, 10.4.9 might be a little too much for that G3. I find that 10.3.9 is a more comfortable OS for the G3. JMO

Let us know how you get on


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Thanks very much! How would I go back to OS 10.3 from 10.4?

In reply to: Target Mode

I agree, the 10.4 is a bit slow on the G3 (I'm on it now and it seems to work fine) but I'd rather not overwhelm the little guy. I've never reverted back to a previous operating system. How would I go about that? Oh, and thanks for the Target disk mode info! I'll try it again when I get home this evening.~Anitra

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In reply to: Thanks very much! How would I go back to OS 10.3 from 10.4?

you may have to start from scratch on that one.
Format and Install from the Installation disk, 10.3, and you should be fine.


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I only have a 10.4 tiger disk...

In reply to: Reverting

My other apples are G4's. You think I could download 10.3 from somewhere?? Or would I need am actual, physical disk?

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If you only have 10.4

In reply to: I only have a 10.4 tiger disk...

then that will have to do.
10.3 is not a downloadable piece of software, you need the physical disk.

How is the Target mode going?


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Target mode is great! New Airport card... Not so much

In reply to: If you only have 10.4

Just for laughs... The night I tried just target mode worked great! Thanks! But I was doing too many things at one time- tripped over a cord and down goes the G4 Powerbook! Cracking a screen hinge. Awesome right? It still works though. Do you know anywhere I can send the G4 for a (not too painful on my wallet) repair? Now- If I may change topic a bit... The new Airport card "original 802.11b" I ordered for the G3 ibook arrived today. I installed it but it's not being recognized. Based on the info on the installation disk, it looks like I need Classic-9 to make it happen. I thought it worked with 10.9 "or later" but I guess I was mistaken. Should I just bite the bullet and buy an OS9 installation disk. Can I have them both and switch between the two? Or would that be too much for the G3?

Thanks again!!

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In reply to: Target mode is great! New Airport card... Not so much

The airport card needs no other software, other than OS X.

Make sure you have the card inserted up the right way and have the antenna plugged in.

Use the Airport Setup utility that is in the Utilities folder inside the application folder to connect to a wireless source

Watch where you are treading!

There are a number of places, none of the cheap.


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Coming at you wireless from the G3...

In reply to: Airport

Ha!! Watch where I'm treading indeed! I will from now on that's for sure. Everything's working fine- Thanks very much! You've saved me a ton of time, research... you've been invaluable to me! Luv Luv Luv the Mac Gurus here. Oh and by the way, my problem was that I didn't have the airport card plugged in on the left. Duh.

You think I can take the G4 to the Apple Store for repair? I got it on eBay. Would that be a problem?

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You can take it,

In reply to: Coming at you wireless from the G3...

they may well repair it for you. It's worth a try.

Thanks to you, our Street Cred just went up a notch.



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Where in the world are you? :-)

In reply to: Coming at you wireless from the G3...

You don't mention your location. I'm in the Los Angeles area.

Here's some suggestions/referrals:

First, a link to a web site that does low cost hinge repairs (low cost compared to Apple new parts and typical labor charges):


Secondly, you can call Fred Bass (owner) at Computer Graphics and Networking, an Apple Certified shop in West Los Angeles, CA: 310-441-4767 or 310-441-4771. I suggest you mention that Don Levy, the MacTherapist referred you. Mentioning that helps to insure that a referral source is aware I get feedback from those I refer (note: I don't take commissions or kick-backs from anyone when I make a referral, and my only condition to a referral target is that they take REALLY good care of the people referred or I will in future refer elsewhere). Fred buys/takes trade-ins, particularly specializing in laptops, and then, if they are not fully functional, will pull major good parts for use later in repairing others like it. The result is that his prices for major components can be nearly half or even less than most other sources.

The third option is to fix it yourself using the link below. That's the cheapest price: about $10-20 in parts, a bargain, for sure! You can get the aluminum plates mentioned in the How-To article from any place that sells (lithographic) supplies to print shops for offset printing. The plates are sheet aluminum, not so thick they're rigid, but thicker by quite a bit compared to ordinary heavy-duty aluminum foil. One chain of such stores is Kelly Paper (Kelly Paper has 48 Locations throughout California, Arizona, Las Vegas Nevada and Seattle Washington). Or, you could just stop by a local print shop and see if they'll sell you one or two unused offset plates for cutting up (with scissors) to do the repairs. If you're handy and don't mind the obviousness of the repair (see his photos of the process), the price is terrific. An important caveat, perhaps: this author presents it as a repair for the Titanium model of the PowerBook G4. He doesn't claim it as suitable for the later Aluminum models, although it may be.

The instructions on how to do the repairs yourself is at:


If you decide to go this last route, you should read the instructions thoroughly and perhaps even practice (except for the glue) a couple of times to be sure you have it down. If this type of thing isn't your bag, you might get a friend who's skillful with do-it-yourself repairs to do it for you.

One last thought:

You might want to take your computer by an Apple Store or independent Apple Authorized Service store first to get a quote using new parts. That could be useful in comparing the above less expensive alternatives.

Good luck!


Don Levy
The Mac Therapist
Los Angeles

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