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The SuperDrive on my G5 used to read disks without problems, but now it thinks all the disks I insert are empty. Now, I want to install different OS on it, and as I've read it can't be done with the USB. So I want to find an external CD/DVD-ROM and use it to install new OS.

My question is (I'm new to Apple stuff): will it recognize the external reader without issues, just plug and play?

  • I've run installs on G5 iMac over USB all the time, so perhaps you don't need a bootable external drive. In any case, adding the OS you have will allow people to explain what support is included without this turning into a shopping question. – bmike Aug 23 '13 at 15:03
  • Oh, why people write that it's not possible to boot from usb on G5? Thanks, @bmike, I've found the way to boot from usb drive. :) No need to get an external CD/DVD reader – Acute Aug 23 '13 at 16:56
  • Apple didn't support booting from USB since they knew the customer experience would be lousy. There were bus powered drives that literally couldn't work with the amount of power the G5 era USB were putting out. But, even though Apple didn't support it, it worked when the USB device was moderately well behaved and had sufficient power to run itself. – bmike Aug 23 '13 at 17:37
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You don;t say what OS version you are using on your G5, but if you use a standard non-fancy external USB attached DVD Rom drive, then I can't see any issues that would stop it from reading the drive an an OS level, but I'm not sure that this will be the case at the firmware level. So you need to factor in how you will perform the OS install, and is this just a newer version of OS X (in which case you are probably good to go) or another OS entirely, in which case I can't say...

  • Certain Macs long ago could not boot from USB but could from Firewire. I don't know if Acute's machine is one of these. – GEdgar Aug 23 '13 at 15:38
  • I recall some early G3 era Macs that literally couldn't boot from USB, but I believe anything moderately towards the end of G3 and certainly G4+ would boot from USB devices that had enough power and a decent chipset in them. – bmike Aug 23 '13 at 17:40

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