I can't read my book.
January 12, 2009 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Is my g4 iBook forked?

I've had this machine for awhile now. It's a g4 iBook, 1ghz processor, 1gig of ram, bluetooth, wifi. And today it started acting up.

I can power it on. It will go to the dark gray screen, then it will go to the light gray screen with the dark grey apple in the middle. Then the little processing wheel will come up beneath it, the little "Hang on I'm thinking" wheel that pulses in a circle. Then a different screen comes up that tells me my computer needs to be restarted.

I've powered off and back on at least twenty different times to no avail. The computer will never fully boot up because it always thinks it needs to be restarted. I've tried taking out the battery and re inserting it. I've also tried running without the battery solely on ac power. None of that worked. I've tried the aboce in combination with holding the 4 bottom left keys and that didn't work either.

Does anyone have idea how to fix this?
If my Laptop is forked is there anyway I can salvage the data on the hard drive?
posted by tylerfulltilt to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: try "safe booting" by holding down the shift key before it starts
posted by Oktober at 12:54 PM on January 12, 2009

Is there anything in the CD drive?

And I think you meant "fucked"; forked already has a separate meaning in the computer world.
posted by bizwank at 12:58 PM on January 12, 2009

If you have the CD that came with your machine (or the disk you used to install its most recent OS update, be it Tiger, Leopard, etc.) you may want to boot from it and run Disk Utility just in case. Repair permissions, too. Sometimes (rarely, but sometimes) permissions issues can prevent startups in this way. It's a long shot, but you never know. What you're getting is called a kernel panic, by the way. It leads me to think something you installed may have bunged the permissions on a system file, and it's making things hang.

If it all goes to hell, you *can* get your data off the old iBook as long as the drive itself isn't irreparably damaged. There are various methods for doing this, depending on how much data you want back. If you get a new Mac, Apple includes a utility for doing this very thing on the first startup. You could also mount the drive in an external USB case. Various outlets around the web have them super cheap. Good luck!
posted by littlerobothead at 1:04 PM on January 12, 2009

The screen that's telling you to restart is called a "kernel panic". A KP is usually the result of RAM that is failing, or a corrupted operating system. Sometimes it's a logic board, but that's more rare. Your best bet is to reinstall your OS (Archive & Install) from the DVD that came withy your iBook.

This will allow you to lay down a new OS without deleting the user account(s) and all the data associated with it.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 1:10 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There's stuff going on behind the scenes while you see that gray screen. Hit the power button, and hold down COMMAND-V. That will cause your machine to boot in verbose mode, which will provide more information. If you post some of that info here, we may be better able to help.
posted by paulg at 1:17 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Getting the Apple logo and the spinning progress circle is a really good sign that things are going to be fine. I would follow the advice to boot from your system CD/DVD and run some tests from there.

A great tool for command line troubleshooting in situations like these is AppleJack, which runs in "single-user mode," the somewhat off-putting all-text system you can often boot into even if the GUI won't kick in properly. Won't help you in this instance, since you haven't already installed it, but it might help somebody else, or save you the next time something like this happens! Best of luck.
posted by bcwinters at 1:36 PM on January 12, 2009

Best answer: Or try:

Command S ("single-user mode," as bcwinters says).

When you get to a prompt:

/sbin/fsck -fy

(you should see this typed out. I believe I got it right, but type is exactly as it appears on your screen.)

If it ways everything is fine type:


If it made no changes, then try something else. (Zap pram, Safe boot, pop battery out and leave it out for a while, etc.).
posted by cjorgensen at 2:44 PM on January 12, 2009

You can put your Macintosh in target disk mode by holding down the T key when powering on the mac, Then you can attach it to another Macintosh via Firewire to copy any data off your drive. If you can copy your entire /Users/shortname folder that will save all documents and preferences for your account.
posted by gog at 3:48 PM on January 12, 2009

Response by poster: ok, I tried what you told me to do cjorgensen, After it was done running the computer said that the file system WAS modified, so I rebooted and it still needed a restart during bootup. Did I do that right?

I can boot it in verbose mode, right before it asks for a restart it says

Kernel version:
Darwin Kernel Version 7.9.0:
Wed Mar 30 20:11:17 PST 2005; root:xnu/xnu-517.12.7.obj~1/RELEASE_PPC

No debugger configured - dumping debug information
Latest stack backtrace for cpu 0:
0x00083498 0x00083B48 0x0001EDA4 0x0009160C 0x000908F8 0x0009402C
Proceeding back via exception chain:
Exception state (sv=0x19772C80)
PC=0x00442cf4; MSR=0x00149030; DAR=0x27134FFC; DSISR=0x4000000; LR=0x00442CCC; R1=0x07A6BA00; XCP=00000008; (0x200 - Machine check)
0x00442CCC 0x004422AA8 0x0041FB6C 0x003FC4C0 0x003F88F0 0x002570E4 0x00256EBC 0x00257938 0x00257FAC 0x00248164 0x00248124
Kernel loadable modules in backtrace (with dependencies):
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOPCIFamily(1.4)@0x398000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.!ONetworkingFamily(1.4.0)@0x3da000
Exception state (sv-0x1E08CC80)
PC=0x00000000; MSR=0000D030; DAR=0x00000000; DSISR=0x00000000; LR=0x00000000; R1=0x00000000; XCP=0x00000000 (Unknown)

Kernel Version:
Darwin Kernel Version 7.9.0:
Wed Mar 30 20:11:17 PST 2005; root:xnu/xnu-517.12.7.obj~1/RELEASE_PPC

panic: we are hanging here
posted by tylerfulltilt at 6:20 PM on January 12, 2009

Response by poster: I booted it up in safe mode and ran disk utility and told it to repair permissions.

from there it shut down and rebooted just fine several times.

But I wouldn't have known to do that without everyone's advice. So thanks to everyone who answered.
posted by tylerfulltilt at 6:37 PM on January 12, 2009

Since it seems like it's been fixed and your question is answered, I think the word you were looking for is "borked". In computer lingo, "forked" describes the act of branching off a project or development.
posted by junesix at 6:53 PM on January 12, 2009

Response by poster: yeah I mean to say fucked, but I didn't want to be so crass in an askme thread
posted by tylerfulltilt at 9:10 PM on January 12, 2009

And you did do everthing right. You can rerun the fsck after it says modified. I usually do, but only about 1% of the time will it ever still report errors (and if it does you're onto higher level apps or migrating data).

Glad this worked.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:07 AM on January 17, 2009

« Older Fastest way to upload and share images?   |   They pay...but they never show up. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.