My school IT guy tried helping me with an issue with my old PowerBook G4. I just got it from my friend because he had no use for it and he didn't know the password. I tried resetting the password and it wouldn't boot up and I have no idea why. The IT guy tried reinstalling every version of OS X. Every time he tried installing a new version. Starting from 10.5 to 10.2 everything failed and wouldn't work at all. There was some luck with 10.4 and it started installing but then crashed in the middle of installation about 4 times.

It could be a hardware issue, but is there anything that I could do without changing the hard drive? I tried clearing PRAM and going to Safe Mode/Verbose mode, and nothing worked.

  • Take the HDD out and put it in an external mount. You can now use another computer to run disk utility and check for errors. If there are errors, you should try to repair them. If that does not work, you'd have to replace the HDD.
    – Rob
    Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 8:11

1 Answer 1


Actually we need a little more info.

When you turn it on do you get the Mac startup "bong?"

Does the screen light up? What color is it (black, gray, etc?)

Does anything appear on the screen? EG an Apple logo, flashing question mark, drive icon with a slash through it, etc...

If it is asking for a password there is a utility on the install DVD that can reset the password. You can also reset the password by (if memory serves me...) by just removing one of the DIMMs, turning it on. Turn it back off and put the DIMM back in.

  • Yes, it always has the start up sound, right now it is only showing the hard rive icon.
    – Vlad
    Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 19:55
  • If you get an icon of a hard drive on the screen --AFTER the Apple logo right? --(with no slash thru it) you should try and select it with the arrow key and then press RETURN. If nothing happens, no errors, nothing. You MAY have a bad HD. Take it out, put in an external case and try it on another Mac. If the HD shows as OK on another Mac it may be time to make an appointment with an Apple Genius. Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 1:56
  • A Powerbook user - how neat. You might very well need to install, first, the OS it came with (9.x.) Try everymac.com or the google for that info.
    – Zo219
    Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 22:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .