I have an old G5 PPC machine with no OS X installed. I have the installation disk. Unfortunateley there seems to be an issue with the G5 reading or accepting the data from the disk. I've tried Everything I can but the disk is not read. I've swapped drives etc. to no avail.

I know the G5 will not boot from USB, trust me, I've tried, then I tried again.

My current option is using Target Disk Mode and a Firewire cable (these G5's can boot from Firewire).

I have an Intel MacBook, an A1181 series.

I can boot into Target Disk Mode, the disks from the G5 are recognised. I cannot use the drive of the MacBook to install onto the hard drive of the G5 because of an error that appears along the lines of "10.3 cannot be installed on this machine", I assume it's because of the Intel/PPC difference.

So I then restored the disk to a partition of the HDD from the G5 thinking I could 'boot' from that partition and then install.

That also failed, the disk was recognised but when selected a "no entry"-like symbol displayed in the middle of screen and nothing happened until the fans went into tornado mode.

I have a PPC G5, an A1181 MacBook, Firewire cable and the OS X install disk.

EDIT: The MacBook is running Leopard. I just tried this: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4177625?start=0&tstart=0 And the same thing happened as before: I can see the disk but when selected the Apple logo turns into a "no entry" type sign

  • 1
    Which OSX is installed on your MacBook ? Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 14:31
  • 1
    the macbook has leopard
    – null
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 14:34
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    @MatthieuRiegler, sorry, I forgot to tage you in the above comment
    – null
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 14:53

2 Answers 2


There has to be a typo in the OPs question that can only be corrected by the OP: The error message "10.3 cannot be installed on this machine" is out of place there.

To install OS X (maxing out at OS X Leopard 10.5.8) you have several options regarding the DVD:

  • clean the DVD drive in the G5, the lens might just be dirty
  • clean the Installation DVD, the DVD might just be dirty, slightly scratched
  • get another Leopard Installation DVD that doesn't have these flaws

Using the Firewire and Target Disk Mode route should be possible too.

But then there is the problem with "PPC to Intel transition": PPC machines boot from drives with an Apple Partition Map and Intel machines from an GUID partition map drive.

That prevents booting the G5 form a MacBook in Target Disk Mode or if you just swap the drives out; although the contents of 10.5 installations would be the same on both machines. Using a GUID formatted drive in a PPC machine is the most likely reason for the "No-Entry"-sign: there is just no disk available the PPC machine deems bootable.

You can therefore

  • boot into Leopard on the MacBook,
  • mount the G5 in Target Disk Mode,
  • format the G5 drive with an Apple Partition Map
  • then install Leopard onto the G5 from the Macbook (this can be forced using Pacifist)

This describes the clean way.

Alternatively you could just clone the Leopard installation from the MacBook to the G5's drive.


Try this:

  1. Boot the MacBook into Target Disk Mode with the installation disk in it.
  2. Boot the G5, holding the option key.
  3. Look for the installer disk.
  4. Install!

I've done it this way on other machines that don't have usable optical drives.

An alternative is to use 10.6, rather than 10.5, because it is universal. 10.5 has two versions--one for PowerPC and one for Intel--but 10.6 only has one version that will work on BOTH architectures.

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    I did try that...I saw the disk appear and selected it but the apple logo then changed to the no entry one and it promptly died. I'll have a hunt for 10.6, is there a way of doing this without using the disk? use a dmg instead?
    – null
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 15:14
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    Can't find 10.6 anywhere. I've asked friedns etc and had a hunt online but nada/
    – null
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 15:24
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    This is clearly false information, despite the upvote: 10.6 is not universal. 10.6 Snow Leopard is the first OS to be Intel-only. Therefore this will surely not work! –– Leopard is "universal" because it contains two versions of each binary. Leopard 10.5.8 is the only way to go for a PPC G5. Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 20:07

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