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Travis
Travis, Mac-Trained Product Designer
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 759
Experience:  19+ Years of Mac Experience, BSA in Design and 6 Years of Mac Training from University of Cincinnati
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i have a powerbook g4 and my screen is completely black. almost

Customer Question

i have a powerbook g4 and my screen is completely black. almost like when a windows computer is first rebooting and you get that screen where you can type a command. Please let me know if this is fixable?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Travis replied 3 years ago.

Travis :

Are you seeing any activity on the monitor at all? A prompt or light or anything?

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

a flashing command symbol, only.

Travis :

Does it say local host or root or anything above the prompt or is it just a black screen and a blinking square prompt?

Travis :

Also, do you have your Mac OS X Install Disks?

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

do not have the Mac OsX disk

Travis :

Is it just a black screen and a flashing prompt?

Travis :

And at what point of startup does this screen appear?

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

yes

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

after turning the computer on

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

does not get to the logging screen.

Travis :

Do you know the serial number of your Powerbook?

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

let me get it

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

is it the one that starts with RM ?

Travis :

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1349

Travis :

copy and paste that link and it will help you locate it.

Travis :

Also, if you know your model (from that link) it will suffice for this purpose. I just need to know which exact model of PowerBook you have.

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

12 inch powerbook g4 silver laptop, i will try the website to see if I can't find the information you are requesting

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

RM628167R17 it says certified reconditioned

Travis :

Ok, I think we can try this. Turn off the Powerbook. We are going to reset the power management unit. While the Powerbook is off, press and then release shift-control-option-power all at the same time (make sure you do not touch the function "fn" key will doing this). After releasing the keys, wait 5 seconds and then power the Powerbook back on. Let me know if there are any changes.

Travis :

DO NOT touch the function key ('fn') while doing this. This is important.

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

k let me get the power supply to plug the computer back in

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

okay i pressed the shift-control-option-power buttons and waited as suggested. now what?

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

so far i see the apple screen as it is loading

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

its back to the same black screen

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

? :\

Travis :

So no changes? Or did the apple screen not appear before? Also, did you use the shift, control and option on the left side of the keyboard?

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

yes on the left. and didn't recall if the apple screen came up before.

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

I can shut it off and try it again

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

so i did the same thing again and the same thing happens. back to the black screen with the white square prompt.

Travis :

Ok, unfortunately at this point, you'll need your Mac OS X Install Disks in order to proceed. The next step will be booting up the mac from the Install Disk, running repair and reinstalling the Mac OS X if necessary. Do you have the discs and just can't find them? Or are they gone for good?

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

the person who gave me the computer never gave me a disk. It was from my old job. They let me have it after the business went bankrupt. Also the cd drive is messed up and it won't accept cd's any old way

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

say i was to manage to miraculously find a Mac OS x install disk and figure out a way to get the cd drive to work. What would be the normal steps to proceed.

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

I also recall before the computer started acting up that there was about 30mb of harddrive memory left. could this have happened because it was low on memory?

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

are you still there?

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

hello, did you have any more information for me?

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

please tell me something i am being very patient here

Travis :

Sorry, had to step away from my desk for a moment

Travis :

What you would have to do is locate a retail version of the Mac OS X (as compared to a native copy. Retail Install Disks would have been sold by apple to work on all macs where a native copy was shipped with a specific model of mac and will only work on the model it came with.).

Travis :

Then if you had to, locate an external DVD drive since you are having problems with the internal optical drive.

Travis :

Boot up the Mac with the Install disk in the drive while holding down the option key on the keyboard until the "startup Manager" appeared. This allows you to choose the startup volume. You'd choose the install disk.

Travis :

Once the mac boots up, you'd go to the top menu and click utilities, then Disk Repair instead of proceeding with the installer. From the Disk Utility program you'd be able to see if the hard drive in the Powerbook is showing up or not. If it is not showing up, then you'd first have to replace the hard drive. If it is showing up, then you'd have to try to reinstall the Mac OS X.

Travis :

I'd first suggest you run Disk Repair and attempt to repair any issues it found on the hard drive. If that doesn't resolve the issue, I'd restart using the Startup Manager, choose the install disk, then "Archive and Install" the Mac OS X per the instructions I'm about to post.

JACUSTOMER-6s4qiwg9- :

I will copy these instructions and keep it. I will try to locate my old boss to see if he doesn't happen to have the cd somewhere.

Travis :

1) After the Mac boots up to the Install Disk.... Select your language. The Welcome to the Mac OS X Installer window appears.

2) Click Continue. The Important Information window appears.

3) After reading or printing the information, click Continue. The Software License Agreement window appears.

4) After reading or printing the information, click Continue.

5) An agreement sheet appears. Click Agree. The Select a Destination window appears.

6) Click the volume that you wish to install to (this will be your hard drive).

7) Click Options. (This is the most important part of the "Archive and Install" process). The installation options sheet appears.

8) Select Archive and Install.

9) Select the volume (your hard drive) which already has Mac OS X installed.

10) You should also select Preserve Users and Network Settings, to preserve network and Home directory settings. This will keep all of your original files and your home directory. VERY IMPORTANT.

11) Click Ok.

12) Click Continue to begin the installation.

13) When complete, you'll need to restart the mac, then run Software Update (under the apple menu) to bring your mac and software up to date.

Travis :

Hope that helps. I do have one more suggestion... it's a long shot, but worth a try. Let's reset the PRAM on the computer.
1) Shut down the computer.
2) While the computer is shut down, locate these keys: command (has an apple on it), option (sometimes called alt), P, and R.
3) Turn the computer on, then press and hold Command-Option-P-R before the gray screen appears.
4) Hold these keys down until you hear the startup sound a total of 3 times.
5) Release the keys.

If that doesn't work....

Next, let's try a Safe Boot. This will perform several clean up procedures that may be affecting the machine's performance and startup as well as clear out any cache here as well.
1) Shut down your computer completely.
2) Start up the computer and immediately after the startup chime, press and hold the Shift key
3) Once the gray Apple and progress indicator appear, release the Shift key
4) Note: Startup will likely take substantially longer than normal (20 - 30 minutes is not unheard of)
5) In Mac OS 10.4 or later, you will have to login to your account, even if it normally does so automatically.
6) Shut down the computer.
7) Restart and cross your fingers... Good Luck!

Travis :

I'm about to head out for a late lunch. If you have any questions, please post them here and I'll post as soon as I return.

Customer :

managed to get my husband to buy a new macbook pro. now i would like to transfer things from my old powerbook g4 laptop over. i purchased a firewire cable. will I be able to use the firewire cable to transfer over items onto the macbook pro?









































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Travis
Travis
Mac Support Specialist
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19+ Years of Mac Experience, BSA in Design and 6 Years of Mac Training from University of Cincinnati