Need DVD drive for my G4 to install Tiger
May 14, 2005 7:15 AM   Subscribe

I have Tiger, but can't install it on my G4 because I don't have a DVD drive. I borrowed a friend's external drive, but I can't get the G4 to boot off of the installer disc. Is there anything I can do to resolve this? If there is no solution, I am considering replacing the CD-RW drive in my G4 with a SuperDrive. Who manufactures this drive, and what is the basic process involved in installing it. Please help me get Tiger on my Mac!

Just for the record I have a Mac with a PowerPC G4 (2.1) 800 mhz CPU, with 1.2 GB of RAM
posted by mudhouse to Computers & Internet (20 answers total)
Was the external drive firewire or USB? I'm suspecting USB, because Firewire should 'just work' on those older Macs. It takes a slightly newer Mac for USB to be perfect. You might also have tried booting into Open Firmware and then manually specifying where to boot from.

Also, Apple will provide CDs with Tiger on if you need them.
posted by wackybrit at 7:20 AM on May 14, 2005

Can you borrow a laptop with a DVD drive? You can boot your desktop as a target disk and then install the OS from that computer.
posted by lovejones at 7:23 AM on May 14, 2005

Response by poster: The dvd drive was USB. I did try selecting the disc as my Startup in System Preferences, but that didn't work.

How does getting the Tiger on CD work? I have already purchased it on DVD. I don't want two copies of it.
posted by mudhouse at 7:24 AM on May 14, 2005

Response by poster: My wife has PowerBook with a DVD drive. Can you give me more info on how to boot my desktop as a target disk? That is something I have not tried before.
posted by mudhouse at 7:26 AM on May 14, 2005

mudhouse, Apple will send you a CD of Tiger if you send them the DVD (and $10 I think). It's mentioned somewhere in the Tiger documentation.
posted by dobbs at 7:29 AM on May 14, 2005

Apple will send you a CD of Tiger if you send them the DVD (and $10 I think)

hate to piggyback on somebody else's question but I'm just too appalled -- isn't that plain larceny? why in the hell should a user be supposed to own a DVD drive already? and I say this as a happy Apple user.
posted by matteo at 7:34 AM on May 14, 2005

Response by poster: I just scanned through all of the documentation in and on the box... no mention of obtaining a CD of Tiger.

And for the record, I too think it sucks that they require a DVD drive, and that if it is available on CD, they just don't sell that version too. And who knows how long it will take for Apple to get to sending replacement discs. I want to get this installed as soon as possible.
posted by mudhouse at 7:41 AM on May 14, 2005

Here is the pdf of the form for the "media exchange" it does require $10 and you send in your DVD and proof of purchase.
posted by jeremias at 7:59 AM on May 14, 2005

Well, the box says right on the outside that it's DVD so it's not like they didn't tell people in advance. I'm sure there were the same problems when companies stopped shipping floppies as well.
posted by dobbs at 8:09 AM on May 14, 2005
Look for the media exchange program box on the right.
posted by dmo at 8:15 AM on May 14, 2005

Response by poster: thanks for the form, jeremias. I will probably go this route if I can't do it another way.

I am still interested in purchasing an internal DVD drive that would be the same or similar to the SuperDrive Apple installs. Any suggestions?
posted by mudhouse at 8:17 AM on May 14, 2005

You're looking for something like this
posted by doctor_negative at 8:23 AM on May 14, 2005

In my experience, installing OS X from any external optical drive (firewire or usb) probably won't work.
Superdrives are rebranded Pioneer units - I think the DVR-108 and DVR-109. Check out OWC to find one for your model.

Here are the instructions for doing the install to target disk, Mudhouse (Caveat- this should work, but I have never actually done it before...):
  1. First, make sure you have a backup of your data, AND your wife's data - you might need to go out and buy a firewire HD for this, but it REALLY REALLY should be done. seriously, just do it.
  2. Next, rename your hard drives (they're called "Macintosh HD" by default) so you don't accidentally screw up and erase/upgrade the wrong one - I'd use "Target" for the machine that you will be installing tiger on, and "donottouch" for the HD in your wife's powerbook.
  3. Next: with your computer off, push the power button and start it up while holding down the "t" key on the keyboard (T is for Target disk). Keep holding it down until your screen shows a moving red and yellow FireWire logo on a blue background.
  4. Now, plug your computer into your wife's powerbook with a standard firewire cable. If her computer is on, you should see your hard drive (the one you renamed "target" in an earlier step) show up on her desktop. That's good!
  5. Next, you'll have to boot up her powerbook using the 10.4 install DVD (with your machine still connected in target disk mode), and make sure that you select YOUR hard drive -not hers! - for upgrade/install/whatever when prompted.
Again, this should work - I've just never actually gone through an install like this.
posted by sluggo at 8:35 AM on May 14, 2005

In my experience, installing OS X from any external optical drive (firewire or usb) probably won't work.

You can install Tiger from a Pioneer DVR-109 drive embedded in a Firewire enclosure; I did this three days ago on a Quicksilver G4 with a CD-RW-only drive.

Either use the Startup Disk system preference applet, or hold down the Option key after rebooting. Select the Tiger disc and click OK.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:04 AM on May 14, 2005

Here's a HowTo from O'Reilly. It may cover your situation.
posted by TimothyMason at 9:07 AM on May 14, 2005

Aw, man. This happened to me. I didn't know about the CD exchange program. Back when I got my Quicksilver G4 I shaved off $50 for just a regular CD burner, figuring I'd never watch movies on my computer anyway (and I still don't have the urge). I wound up replacing the internal CD drive. Went to Fry's, got a Memorex DVD/CD-RW drive (couldn't find a Pioneer), swapped it in, and it works just fine. My rationalization is that more programs will be coming out on DVDs now and I won't be caught unprepared again. Heh, right. Now I can buy Knights of the Old Republic whenever I have spare time again! * makes twirly motion with finger *
posted by furiousthought at 9:51 AM on May 14, 2005

why in the hell should a user be supposed to own a DVD drive already?

Combo drives became a standard feature on most models during 2002, and the last Mac model that couldn't read DVDs was retired in October 2003, so it's not that unreasonable.
posted by cillit bang at 10:34 AM on May 14, 2005

I hear tell that you can just take the DVD into an Apple Store to exchange it.
posted by bitpart at 11:37 AM on May 14, 2005

I hear tell that you can just take the DVD into an Apple Store to exchange it.

Nope, sorry. Apple stores do not carry stock of Tiger CD's. The only way to swap 'em out is through the aforementioned media exchange program.
posted by toddshot at 12:20 PM on May 14, 2005

I've been meaning to get a DVD drive from OWC... Ah, target disk mode install, I can try that from my old iMac DV model. Thanks for the tip!
posted by raster at 1:38 PM on May 14, 2005

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