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I installed Ubuntu on a PowerBook G4 and it only works about 10% of the time. For this reason I decided to re-install OS X, but my machine won't boot from CD. It also won't boot Ubuntu the vast majority of the time, so I'm kind of screwed.

After a ton of tries, I finally got my machine to boot a Linux command line.

Is there anything I can do at this point to make my machine more runnable, just for the sake of installing OS X?

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migrated from Jan 15 '11 at 10:47

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

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If your machine won't boot from CD there's not anything you can do from within Linux to fix this...this issue is either with your hardware or firmware. You don't mention how you're trying to boot from CD; on my Apple laptops, you can hold down the 'C' key when the system boot to force booting from CD. Have you tried this?

You can also, as @Phil suggested, try booting from an external drive.

If you have access to another system running OS X, you may be able to attach your laptop with a firewire cable and start it up in target mode, which will make it appear as an external hard drive on the other system. At this point, you can try using the other system to install OS X, format the drive, and so forth.

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Yeah, I tried "C". I think I'll just take it to the Genius Bar and see if they can boot me up from one of their external drives. – Jason Swett Jan 17 '11 at 18:54

You can try to force it to boot from CD.

Command-Option-Shift-Delete : Forces your Mac to startup from its internal CD-ROM drive or an external hard drive. Very helpful if you have a 3rd party CD-ROM drive that is not an Apple ROM device.

You can check for any boot-time error messages

Command-V : Boots Mac OS X into "Verbose Mode", reporting every console message generated during startup. Really shows what’s going on behind the scenes with your machine on startup!

Random shot in the dark, you can clear the PRAM which can get rid of weird hardware funkyness

Command-Option-P-R : Erases PRAM if held down immediately after startup tone. Your machine will chime when it’s erased the PRAM

If none of that works try target disk mode that @larsks suggested.

These shortcuts are shamelessly cut and pasted from this blog via google

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Try connecting an external drive. You can get external usb hard drives pretty cheaply these days, you could set up OS X on it via another computer, and then use it to boot the dead mac.

Alternately, you could try a usb cdrom drive and see if either your ubuntu or mac os x install CDs work any better through that.

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