HELP! I' m DESPERATE and in a pinch!

in Genius Bar edited January 2014
First of all... great board... I think this place is exactly what I need...

Ok.. I am a mac USER (how proficient...well I dunno.. but I manage) ... Not expert... i simply know what i need to do and can accomplish it on my mac.

I'm a independant filmmaker. I run a Youth Summer Film Project. We use Final Cut Pro 3 on my Mac G4 433 A/V machine. Things were going great, Mac running well, etc. until Monday. On Monday I went to turn the mac on (I usually leave all of the computers running, but we were away at a festival so I shut them all down.. but I digress) and nothing happened. Nada. So I try to figure out what is going on. I call the closest Mac shop (50 mintues away) and they ask a bunch of questions, have me do a few things... still nothing. So they tell me that in all likelyhood my hard drive has failed. (Good thing I back up my important files every Friday.) So I have this hard drive that I'd just purchased to place in an external box for storage of the Youth Summer Film Project's kids stuff. So I ask if I can just install this in the Mac. They told me yes, that its relatively simple to do. I think he lied...

So I switch the hard drives... but am unsure as to where to go from here. I have bootable OS 9.1 and bootable OSX (10.2.4). I know that in order for my A/V in/outputs to work correctly, I need to have OS 9. My former hard drive was partitioned.

Today, frustrated because I cannot get it to work, I call the Mac guy. He says he will be happy to do it for me, but he can't possibly get to it before next Friday. I simply can't wait that long, and he was unwilling to walk me through it on the phone (I understand... he doesn't wanna give free advice when he can charge me $99 for the first hour and $69 for each remaining hour). So here I sit... with a big ole paperweight on my desk... needing it by Wednesday so I don't have to cancel a week of the kids project.

Any help would be appreciated.




  • Reply 1 of 7
    neutrino23neutrino23 Posts: 1,562member
    Kind of a lot to take in one bite.

    I'm assuming that there is nothing on the old drive that you desperately need. You just need a working system.

    My first thought would be to start with the original condition then boot from a CD (either OS X or OS 9). If you can boot from the CD that is good news.

    While booted from the CD use one of the tools to check out the HD. In OS 9 you will have to find Disk First Aid. In OS X from the first screen look under the File Menu or Apple Menu (I forget which just now) and there should be a disk utility.

    First see if the disk utility can see the hard drive.

    If yes, just try to verify it. If it finds a bunch of problems and you don't need anything from the disk try to repair it.

    If you can't repair the disk or it can't be seen then we move on to HD number 2.

    HD number 2 sounds like a new hard drive. That means it cannot boot up the Mac as it is empty. Install the new HD then boot the Mac with the CD. Before installing either OS you may want to partition the HD. To do so run one of the disk utitilities (OS X or OS 9), partition the disk, then install OS 9 and OS X (if you need it).

    Here is one more option. You have room to mount two disks on this system. One option would be to install the new HD as the master and run the old one as the slave. You'll need to get some specifics about your HDs to figure out the jumpers to do that. A good source for that information if you don't have it already is

    Hope this helps.
  • Reply 2 of 7
    fzp-zoefzp-zoe Posts: 4member
    Thanks for the link...

    I guess what you described in the beginning was what the mac guy had me doing on the phone, using the disk tools and whatnot. It just didn't find the drive... that's when he said in all likelyhood the drive was dead.

    Ok.. so I followed your advice. Booted with my OS9 CD, partitioned the hard drive and installed OS9. I changed the startup disk to the partition with OS9 on it and then restarted. I get the error message "No bootable HFS Partition" repeating across the top quarter of the screen. After about 30 seconds, it goes to Mac OS 9.2 with the "Starting Up..." meter at the bottom. Then it just sits there... doing nothing... just a gray background with wavy lines. I am not sure where to go from here.

    Any additional help would be greatly appreciated... I am unsure as to even what to google for to get an answer... I am sure it isn't something too terribly difficult... I guess I am just not very Mac proficient... never had to be... until now...

    Thanks in advance,

  • Reply 3 of 7
    1337_5l4xx0r1337_5l4xx0r Posts: 1,558member
    With the computer OFF and UNPLUGGED, open the case and make sure oyu have correctly installed the new drive. The fact that it 'sort of' boots suggests that it is not.

    You old drive sounds like it is toast, but the new one _should_ work.

    Anyone in his neighborhood want to give him a hand?
  • Reply 4 of 7
    fzp-zoefzp-zoe Posts: 4member
    I double checked that hard drive was installed correctly. It looks fine (I've changed the hard drive in my PC several times and this doesn't seem any different.) It still goes past the "Starting OS9" part... so I rebooted... pressed and held down 'c' to boot from the CD. From the CD I have no problem accessing either of the partitions on the hard drive. I set it to boot from the OS 9 parition and restarted the mac. It still stops at the same point when booting from the drive, after the Starting OS9 screen it starts to put the apple bar across the top, then it goes to a gray background with wavy lines... like the desktop background... and just hangs there. Any more assistance would be appreciated.


  • Reply 5 of 7
    randycat99randycat99 Posts: 1,919member
    Would you consider scratching that new OS installation and reinstalling it?

    Boot off the CD, go to the partition with the OS installation, trash it, and then start a new installation.

    Also try disconnecting the old drive and try starting up (to see if it does something different).
  • Reply 6 of 7
    fzp-zoefzp-zoe Posts: 4member
    Ok... trashed the old version of OS9 on the partition... reinstalled... rebooted... and it still stalls at the same place after the message "No bootable HFS partition; Can't open"... (What does that mean???) then it goes to the little happy mac cursor... then to a screen with the gray wavy background with the box wit the faces and Mac OS 9.2 with the starting up meter bar. The bar goes all the way accross, like the OS is loading... and then stalls at the same place... background without any tool bars, apple bar, etc..... I am confused.

    So I went and borrowed an extra hard drive from a friend, did the install... the same thing happened, so it must not be the hard drive .. i must be doing something wrong with the installation... ::sighs::

    If anyone would be willing IM with me to walk me through this my IM's are: AOL franklyzoe; MSN [email protected]; and Yahoo is [email protected].

    Once again, any assistance would be appreciated.



    PS... took the old hard drive out before installing the new one....
  • Reply 7 of 7
    neutrino23neutrino23 Posts: 1,562member
    Try zapping the PRAM.

    Reboot and hold down the Command, Option, P and R keys. Listen for the startup chime. Keep holding the keys down till you hear the chimes three times. This may take a minute or so.

    This resets a number of parameters that are stored in nonvolatile memory on the motherboard. At least one of them has to do with the name of the start up drive.

    This is kind of typical behavior. Suppose you tell the system to boot off of an external HD. Then you remove that drive an boot up again. The system usually tries to find that drive, then it used to display a disk icon with a flashing question mark, then it would search for a bootable drive and if it found one it would boot that drive.

    It sounds like you are really close to a working system. Lets get it to recognize the drive immediately upon booting then see if there are more problems.

    Question: Is this a stock computer or have you upgraded the CPU?

    Do you think you set the jumpers properly on the new drive?
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