Panther Reinstall woes
June 9, 2004 6:28 PM   Subscribe

Desperate Mac question: My iBook won't let me erase & reinstall Panther because computer is now running 10.3.3. [mi]

The computer came loaded with 10.2.4. I once did an archive and reinstall with that and then upgraded to Panther (10.3) with the disks. I have the disks for those two OSes. I later upgraded to 10.3.3. The nice man at Tekserve told me my computer is horribly ill and that I have to erase and install. That's fine—everything is backed up and ready. Now, when I run the installer, it refuses to let me erase & install because I am "running a newer version." I fail to see why this matters, as I want to erase it anyway.

Basically, I've been trying to fix this problem for weeks (not installing, but the computer dementia). I have looked on the mac forums. I am losing it. So if anyone knows the way to fix this, I will be enternally grateful. Some day, I may even get my mind back.
posted by dame to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
just to be sure... are you booting off the panther disc? restart the computer with the disc in the drive and hold down the 'c' key.
posted by complex at 6:44 PM on June 9, 2004

Response by poster: Yep. If there's anything I've learned during my troubles, it's the glory of the c key.
posted by dame at 6:54 PM on June 9, 2004

see if you can install the older version...install that, then upgrade with the panther disks.
posted by amberglow at 6:57 PM on June 9, 2004

or...if it runs at all, mess stuff up and delete and/or rename things you shouldn't, then restart and try to install.
posted by amberglow at 6:59 PM on June 9, 2004

Here's something to try:

Boot off of the 10.3 CD. When the installer comes up, go to the menu and choose "Run Disk Utility" (or something similar to that). Use that to erase your hard drive, then quit Disk Utility to go back to the normal installer -- it should then let you install as usual.
posted by xil at 7:03 PM on June 9, 2004

xii has the same thought that I have. If you can start the machine in firewire target disk mode and link it to another machine, you should be able to erase everything. disconnect. the next time you start up, use the Panther CD to start the machine.

curious though, why do you need to go back to Panther in order to install Jag? or is it that you don't want Jag?
posted by grimley at 8:32 PM on June 9, 2004

grimley, read it again -- dame wants to reinstall 10.3 from the original disks, but the installer won't let her because the machine's been updated to 10.3.3, and it doesn't want to install over a newer version. (Which seems like a bug in the installer to me, if she really is telling it to erase the drive first, but...)
posted by xil at 8:38 PM on June 9, 2004

ah yes, i was confused by the reference to 10.2.4 at the beginning and thought that dame wanted to go back. I think that I have wiped drives and such with a newer version running, especially when starting from CDs and given the methodology that you describe xii. must read closer next time.
posted by grimley at 8:45 PM on June 9, 2004

Response by poster: Yay for AskMeFi: I used xil's suggestion to erase, which worked, but then 10.3 wouldn't install because there was no OS (huh?). So I went back to the older disks, and the install proceeds as I type.

Thanks to everyone. And you know, if you ever need something edited...
posted by dame at 8:57 PM on June 9, 2004

I think you must have a 10.2 -> 10.3 upgrade CD, and not the full 10.3 install CD -- that would explain why it won't let you install on an empty drive.
posted by xil at 9:19 PM on June 9, 2004

Using the CD for Disk Utility has a lot more finesse than I would have used. Open a shell window. Do the following:
cd /
rm -rf *

which will delete all files, folders and sub-folders with extreme prejudice. A full erase will give you a cleaner file system (no fragmentation, etc).
posted by plinth at 3:23 AM on June 10, 2004

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