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iMac G4 Problems and What to Do
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: November 05, 2009 09:22PM
My wife's iMac G4 (700 mHz, 256 MB RAM, OS X 10.4.11) started having real problems a couple of days ago. It started freezing up completely and having kernel panics on a regular basis. I ran Onyx to do some maintenance and it reported that the hard drive failed. I used the OS X installer to run Disk Utility and repaired the drive. I then reran Onyx and cleared out caches, etc. The problems continued. My first thought was it was the hard drive going bad so I connected her iMac to the backup Firewire drive I use to clone her hard drive on. (Using SuperDuper.)

I restarted the computer using the external hard drive as the system. It didn't take long before the iMac started having issues again (about 10 minutes.) This time the display was all messed up like the video was going bad. I tried to restart several times and it kept coming up with a messed up display. At this point, I feel like it's either the video or the logic board going bad.

My son has a MacBook (2.0 gHz) and I thought I would make it easier for her to keep doing her work by having his MacBook launch off her external drive. Of course, it wouldn't recognize the external drive for startup because it was formatted by a PPC Mac.

So here are my questions. Does it sound like the iMac is a goner? That's what I'm thinking. If so, what's the easiest way to get my wife working on my son's MacBook but keeping her files and applications on the external drive. I'd like to be able to boot up from the external drive so everything will look the same to her. I'd like her to be able to connect that Firewire drive to any of our other MacBooks (we have three in the family) and have everything the same for her. (My wife doesn't like change much!)

It seems to me the only way to do this is to clone the external drive to another drive that was formatted on an Intel Mac, then format her external drive using the MacBook (so it is GUID) and the clone the data back to her drive. Is there an easier way?

Michael



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/05/2009 09:23PM by magicmikey.
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Re: iMac G4 Problems and What to Do
Posted by: Golfer
Date: November 05, 2009 09:31PM
Create an a new user account on the Macbook and use Migration Assistant bring your wife's user files/apps/settings from the external to the new user account.
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Re: iMac G4 Problems and What to Do
Posted by: Rolando
Date: November 05, 2009 09:51PM
[www.cultofmac.com]
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Re: iMac G4 Problems and What to Do
Posted by: Doc
Date: November 05, 2009 10:17PM
Onyx does a SMART check. It's bad if it detected a failure, but it points to the HD, not to other hardware.

Run the Disk Utility. Select the top hard drive icon in the left pane of the DU window. Look at the bottom of the DU window for the SMART status.

What does it say that the SMART status is?

...

If the files on the original drive were messed up then it's possible that some files on the backup are bad and that's responsible for all of the troubles when booted from the backup... but video glitches do usually point to something more serious.

...

> what's the easiest way to get my wife working on my son's MacBook
> but keeping her files and applications on the external drive.

Use the Migration Assistant on the MacBook to import her user account from the backup drive. Do not migrate network settings or applications.
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Re: iMac G4 Problems and What to Do
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: November 05, 2009 10:33PM
I've formatted the hard drive on the iMac. I'll go ahead and install a new OS on it and see if it runs stable that way. If not, I'll know it's a hardware issue.

I decided to go the long way on the external drive. I am cloning it to a GUID formatted external Firewire drive. When it's done, I'll format my wife's backup drive using the MacBook so it will be GUID and then I'll clone her system back to her external drive. That will allow her to use her drive on any of our MacBooks.

Thanks,
Michael
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Re: iMac G4 Problems and What to Do
Posted by: Doc
Date: November 05, 2009 10:48PM
Quote
magicmikey
I decided to go the long way on the external drive. I am cloning it to a GUID formatted external Firewire drive. When it's done, I'll format my wife's backup drive using the MacBook so it will be GUID and then I'll clone her system back to her external drive. That will allow her to use her drive on any of our MacBooks.

That won't work.

10.4 was not a "universal" OS. The PPC version of the OS from her Mac won't boot an Intel Mac. The GUID/APM issue isn't isn't relevant.

Erase and install the OS on the external from a MacBook. Then boot from that drive, run the Migration Assistant and import her user account(s), applications and network settings from a clone of the iMac's drive or from her iMac in target mode.
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Re: iMac G4 Problems and What to Do
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: November 05, 2009 11:06PM
I was going to update the OS on the backup using a Leopard install. Will that work?
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Re: iMac G4 Problems and What to Do
Posted by: Doc
Date: November 05, 2009 11:24PM
You just have the one "spare" drive and it's got a clone from the iMac on it?

Yeah. Leopard would work.

But you wouldn't need to erase the drive (and potentially jeopardize the backup of the wife's data if you can't copy from the iMac a second time).

You could just do the optional archive-and-install of Leopard on the backup drive.

...

Intel Macs don't need to boot from a drive with a GUID file system. They can boot from APM volumes.

The only problem that I've encountered with APM volumes on Intel Macs is that firmware updates might not work when booted from an APM volume.
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Re: iMac G4 Problems and What to Do
Posted by: magicmikey
Date: November 05, 2009 11:31PM
Quote
Doc


Intel Macs don't need to boot from a drive with a GUID file system. They can boot from APM volumes.

The only problem that I've encountered with APM volumes on Intel Macs is that firmware updates might not work when booted from an APM volume.

I thought I read the APM volumes would not boot an Intel Mac.

I am doing an Archive and Install of Leopard on the external drive, as I type.

Thanks for the assistance.

Michael
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Re: iMac G4 Problems and What to Do
Posted by: ajakeski
Date: November 06, 2009 04:27AM
My G4 800 iMac had a similar issue a while back. I changed drives, but it didn't help.
Had to replace the logic board.




I'm not a bad guy! I work hard, and I love my kids. So why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I'm going to Hell? -Homer.
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Re: iMac G4 Problems and What to Do
Posted by: Wailer
Date: November 06, 2009 09:04AM
If she doesn't appreciate the speed difference between the macbook and the g4 imac, I might look for a used powermac or g4 imac. I've that model of imac for $80 and I'm guessing a dual g4 power mac might run under $150.

If you get one with gigabit ethernet, you can turn it into file server that backups up everyones files and makes them available on any computer.
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A real iLamp!
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: November 06, 2009 11:26AM
Very cool!

This is a long shot, and I wouldn't have mentioned it except that you said there were video problems.

A buddy's G4 iMac was having a really bad video problem. It could be prevented or fixed temporarily be starting or rebooting while zapping the PRAM. And it did have *one* kernel panic, as well.

So I replaced the battery (1/2 AA lithium cell, 3.6V) for about $12 (online, with shipping) and the iMac is good as new.

I'm going to be swapping my G5 iMac for it, but I don't know that I'm doing him a favor.






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Re: A real iLamp!
Posted by: Wailer
Date: November 06, 2009 02:50PM
I'd prefer a 17" or 20" 1.25ghz g4 imac to any of the g5 imacs.
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