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Mike, Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 2186
Experience:  Apple trained Technician, A+ Certified, 20+ years of Mac support, repairs, training, and consulting
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I tried to install Leopard (family version bought from apple

Customer Question

I tried to install Leopard (family version bought from apple store today) onto my daughter's old G4 (was running 10.4.11), I used the archive off old stuff option, not a clean install. I crashed on 47% through and now when I start I hear chime, see apple, it goes blue then grey screen I can see the mouse. I can't reset the PRAM as when I try booting with 'command option OF' I don't get the prompt, just the same as before. Same with 'command+S'. I tried restarting from new DVD and old Tiger one, the latter won't now eject either. Any ideas?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.

What G4 is this? It sounds much older than Leopard was designed for. Leopard is only for G4s with 867MHz or better.

What exact model is this?

You may need to reset the hardware and start over clean. Did you backup before starting out?

Do you have access to another Mac with Firewire so maybe another method can be tried to do the install?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi Mike the model is Power Mac G4 (FW 800). No I didn't back up and my daughter has a lot of files that are dear to her, can I get them out?. I have a Mac Book Pro running 10.4.11:
Model Name:     MacBook Pro 15"
Model Identifier:     MacBookPro2,2
Processor Name:     Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed:     2.33 GHz
Number Of Processors:     1
Total Number Of Cores:     2
L2 Cache (per processor):     4 MB
Memory:     2 GB
Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.

That G4 is OK for Leopard, although I have one and would not use Leopard as it bogs it down too much.

There are a couple of things we can try before going to a clean install and possibly losing everything, so buckle up, it's gonna get bumpy, says the captain.

First, let's start from the beginning and reset the Mac and run some utilities on the hard drive. I know you did these, but I like to start from square one to be sure.

Turn off the Mac and remove its power cord.
Open the door and look for a small red/grey button in a small silver box. Its about 1/4" in size. Usually near the front of the machine. Its labeled reset. Press it once and only once.

Wait about 1 minute, then replace the power cord and start the Mac up, but keep these keys down:

Wait for the Mac to chime 3 times, then let them go. The Mac will fail again, so no worries. Let it go and then press the power button and hold it until the Mac turns off.

Now, do the same thing, but this time hold down the following keys:

Release them when you see text scrolling up the screen. It will stop and wait for something (you). Type the following exactly:
/sbin/fsck -fy (note the space between fsck and -fy)

Press return and the utility will run. Note any errors it reports and then run it again until NO errors come back.
When it finishes and no errors, type reboot and press return. The Mac will restart.

Let it go again until it fails and then turn it off again.
Turn on the Mac and this time keep pressing the eject button on the keyboard until the drawer opens. Insert the DVD and close it. Let it fail again and hit the restart button on the front this time.
Immediately hold down the OPTION key. Keep it down until the Startup Manager runs.
Choose the installer disk and then click continue.
Answer the language question and then go to the Menu Bar and choose Disk Utility.

A little redundant I know, but let's cover all bases to make sure we can get her stuff safe.

Run Disk Utiltity's First Aid and make sure no errors come back again.

Quit and then go on with the install. When you see the disk destination window, your disk may (should) have an exclamation mark over it. Click once on that disk icon and then click on the options button below it. Choose Archive and Install and also make sure to check Preserve settings.
Close the window and attempt the install.

Now, before doing all of this, if you have the room on your MacBook, get a firewire cable to connect the 2 Macs together and then startup the G4 with the T key held down. This is Target Disk Mode. Release the key when you see the Firewire icon floating around.
The hard drive will show up on the MacBook desktop as a Firewire drive and you can copy her home folder, any applications, and any other support files from the Library folders onto the MacBook and that will back them up.

That way if the install fails again, you can simply boot into the installer once more and this time go to Disk Utility in the Menu bar and choose Partition Disk and create a new partition and install Leopard clean. Then connect via Firewire again to the MacBook and copy the items back in to her new user.

Once done with the installer disk, do not do anything until you have run the Software Update utility until it tells you there are no updates available for your Mac. Then you can copy files back in and get back to setting it up and making sure all works.

A lot to do/think about. Please get back to me before doing anything you feel unsure about.

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The install crashed at around 15% done, so I'm going to get a firewire cable and try and get the files off and try a clean install
Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.
OK. That's a good idea for now.

Get those off and then clean install, update, then copy back into the new user.

If you make the new user the exact same name, permissions will be easier to manage as well.