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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives System
First off, I have tried and tried again over the years to boot various PowerPC Macs via a USB2 disk. Thankfully, somewhere about the time the iMac G5 with the ambient light sensor (ALS) was released, Apple tweaked their Open Firmware, which allowed us to boot PowerPC Macs from USB2 drives.

Machines that I have tested this hint on and made it work are:
  1. iMac G5 w/ ALS
  2. iMac G5 w/iSight (thanks to the eager user who emailed me)
  3. 12" PowerBook 1.3GHz
Without further delay, here's the process to follow.

Note: As with all hints that have to do with Open Firmware, proceed at your own risk! I have not experienced a problem and I don't see how this hint could render your Mac useless, since the default can always be recovered by resetting the SMU.

Here's what you need to do...
  1. You need a USB2 drive with an OS X system installed (I am using 10.4.3, though any I think will work as far as what the machine can boot). As you know, there are many different ways of getting a system on a USB drive; contact me if you have any questions on how to do that, or search macosxhints.com for that information.

  2. Connect the drive to your machine, and find out which partition the OS X system is installed on. I usually find this by going to Disk Utility and looking at the info for the partition on the USB disk with OS X. That is, disk2s3 is usually for a USB disk with no OS 9 drivers installed that is the second disk disk. disk3s9 might be a USB disk with OS 9 drivers that is considered the third disk. There are other ways of finding this out, but in my case, my disk is disk2s3 (the 3 on the end will come into play soon).

  3. Start up the machine in Open Firmware (this is the fun part). Hold Command-Option-F-F right after the machine is turned on.

  4. Here is the moment of truth. If this step does not work, I have had very limited success getting a machine to boot off USB2. In Open Firmware, type devalias, and you should get a list as output. In this list, look for ud, usually below where you see hd (ud is "USB Disk," I presume). If found, it will usually have beside it /pci@f2000000/usb@1/disk1, or something similar. Again, if you see this, I have not had this fail yet.

  5. Now type printenv boot-device, which will usually get you output of boot-device hd:,\\:tbxi. (See where this is going yet?)

  6. Type setenv boot-device ud:3,\\:tbxi where the number after the colon corresponds to that partition number we found in step two. You should get an ok back.

  7. Type printenv boot-device, and you should see the change displayed already. Something like:
    boot-device        ud:3,\\:tbxi        hd:,\\:tbxi"
  8. Type mac-boot and cross your fingers.
And now some more fun, there is a Unix script that can be written to enable this, because after all we are only changing a nvram variable. The command would be similar to this:
nvram boot-device ud:3,\\\\:tbxi
Now this looks a tad bit different then what we typed in Open Firmware, but that's because we have to escape the two backslashes, each with a backslash of its own.

If this fails, there is a remote possibility that you can still boot off of USB2, but you may need to substitute ud for /pci@f2000000/usb@1/disk1, or something similar. If the firmware cannot list the contents of the drive, it seems it cannot boot off of it.

As you should know (thanks to the owner of the iMac G5 w/iSight for letting me know I should mention this), USB2 booting is not supported, therefore you should remember OS X has no support for booting USB 2 and the firmware has no support. So in System Preferences, the USB disk will not be shown as a bootable drive. In the optional boot menu (reached by holding down the Option key during boot), it also will not show.

So the two ways that I know how to enable it are through terminal by using the nvram command, and directly in Open Firmware. Hope this hint helps someone out there. I figured my trick was shot as soon as the Duo Core machines came out, but I now realize there are quite a few people with PPC Macs that might be able to use this hint.
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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: CHerbold on Mar 07, '06 07:51:13AM

"Command-Option-o-f" to boot into Open Firmware.



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: kL on Mar 07, '06 01:24:18PM
Why set nvram variable? I've had open-firmware based Pegasos PPC and it simply had boot command, so instead of:

setenv boot-device ud:3,\:tbxi

should be enough to write:

boot ud:3,\:tbxi

[ Reply to This | # ]

Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: Skeeve on Aug 17, '08 08:15:34AM

Yes! That's sufficient. Except that I have to enter 2 instead of one backslash to get this to work.



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: juanfal on Mar 07, '06 02:43:10PM
I have the next list of magical boot key sequences:
  • Key Combination -- Effect
  • mouse down -- Eject removable media ( I think Boot ROMs prior to 2.4f1 excluded the CD drive )
  • opt -- Bring up OF system picker on New World machines
  • cmd-opt -- Hold down until 2nd chime, will boot into Mac OS 9 ?
  • cmd-x (or just x?) -- Will boot into Mac OS X if 9 and X are on the same partition and that's the partition you're booting from.
  • cmd-opt-shift-delete -- Bypass startup drive and boot from external (or CD). This actually forces the system to NOT load the driver for the default volume, which has the side effect mentioned above. For SCSI devices it searches from highest ID to lowest for a partition with a bootable system. Not sure about IDE drives.
  • cmd-opt-shift-delete-# -- Boot from a specific SCSI ID # (# = SCSI ID number)
  • cmd-opt-p-r -- Zap PRAM. Hold down until second chime.
  • cmd-opt-n-v -- Clear NV RAM. Similar to reset-all in Open Firmware.
  • cmd-opt-o-f -- Boot into open firmware
  • cmd-opt-t-v -- Force Quadra AV machines to use TV as a monitor
  • cmd-opt-x-o -- Boot from ROM (Mac Classic only)
  • cmd-opt-a-v -- Force an AV monitor to be recognized as one
  • c -- Boot from CD. If set to boot to X and no CD is present, may boot to 9.
  • d -- Force the internal hard disk to be the startup device
  • n -- Hold down until Mac logo, will attempt to boot from network server (using BOOTP or TFTP)
  • r -- Force PowerBooks to reset the screen
  • t -- Put FireWire machine into FireWire Target Disk mode
  • z -- Attempt to boot using the devalias zip from first bootable partition found
  • shift -- (Classic only) Disable Extensions
  • shift -- (OS X, 10.1.3 and later) Disables login items. Also disables non-essential kernel extensions (safe boot mode)
  • cmd -- (Classic only) Boot with Virtual Memory off
  • space -- (Classic only) Trigger extension manager at boot-up
  • cmd-v -- (OS X only) show console messages during boot
  • cmd-s -- (OS X only) boot into single user mode
Did not work simply 'z'?

[ Reply to This | # ]
Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: EvanE on Mar 07, '06 05:16:33PM

Congratulations - you also have the magical ability to make a useful hint unreadable. Wrap your text next time.



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: jacobolus on Mar 08, '06 02:17:08AM

Yeah, Rob, can you do something about this please!!??



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Option Key
Authored by: vandil on Mar 08, '06 05:57:57AM

How about just booting the Mac with the Option key held down and let OF (in GUI mode) discover all the bootable devices itself, them simply clicking on your USB2 drive (if it appears onscreen bootable) and clicking the mac-boot arrow?



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Option Key
Authored by: CHerbold on Mar 08, '06 10:18:15AM

Because booting to USB is not supported through OF it will not show up in the GUI boot screen.



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Option Key
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Mar 18, '07 01:06:52AM

Not true in all cases. Many USB drives will show up in Startup Manager (what you get when you hold down the Option key at startup), and you can boot from them as long as they're running OS 9 (for Macs that can boot into OS 9), or 10.4.x (at least 10.4.6--I haven't tried earlier versions). See more in my post below.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Option Key
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Apr 23, '08 01:58:37PM

That should be OS 10.4.3 and later.



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: Ebonweaver on May 16, '06 04:05:14PM

I can confirm that this works under a 1.8ghz iMac G5
It was actually pretty cool to boot a machine from a 2gb flash drive (I trimed a copy of 10.4.6 down to 700mb and cloned it)

It does NOT work under a dual 2ghz G5 tower, or 1.67ghz 15" Powerbook. They don't have the "ud" device in firmware and I couldn't force it to boot from a USB line using similar techniques. As the above author mentioned, nothing shows the drive on these units, it's just not being scanned for.

I suspect only the iBook and iMac line have the "ud" device available which makes this possible, so no Powerbook or G5 is USB bootable. As a side note, once you add the "ud" boot device any time the mac boots up there is a momentary lost folder icon before it fails over to the internal hard drive.

Interestingly, older macs that only have USB 1 ARE USB bootable with no real tricks involved. While you can't select the USB device in the Startup Disk preference pane, you can simply option boot and choose the drive. It's slow of course, but it works.

The very interesting tidbit here is that the "ud" device does not show up in firmware on these old macs that boot from USB. This implies to me that Apple had the function in the firmware on the old machines to look at USB for bootable devices, then removed it when they added USB 2. This of course makes no sense as that's when you would have wanted it as it became truly useable with the higher speeds. Why the iMac and iBook have a partial ability to look for but not use such a device is very odd.

At any rate, I feel like every Apple support person and techy out there needs to flood Apple with requests to patch their firmware to allow USB booting, because it seems it should be a simple firmware update to allow it based on the above information.



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: Woofb on Sep 05, '06 11:20:53PM
There may be reasons not to boot from flash often.

I'm a switcher, and I remember looking up how to boot from USB if the bios supports it, and e-mailing somebody to ask why their shareware program didn't support booting from a flash drive.

They said flash drives can't handle quite as many read/write cycles as a hard drive, so it's not recommended for them to go through the hammering a boot sequence gives the drive as it creates and deletes files all over the place. (I have no idea how this translates to the Mac, but it seems to be common-sense that large modern operating systems do A Lot Of Stuff before you see your login, so I'd expect many tiny files to be created and deleted in XP and Tiger).

This suggests that booting from a flash drive all the time (for security or portability reasons) would not be good, because after a matter of weeks or months it might give up the ghost.

It occurs to me that this might mean a flash drive is a really good choice for a minimal system 'rescue disk' in the way people used to keep a boot floppy somewhere. This is because a flash drive seems to be noticeably more robust than floppy, zip, cd-r or hard drive, as far as keeping it lying about and expecting it to work is concerned. I haven't actually tried this myself (I tend to clone the main disc to the firewire disc and hope it all works), but it's an idea.

(Sorry if everyone already knows all this, but it's probably worth pointing out in case anyone's just thinking about it and falls foul of this)

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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: junk on Jul 04, '06 12:29:00PM

Hi,

I'm a PowerBook 12" 1,5 Ghz user

I would like to know if this trick will work for another PB 12" 1,5 Ghz user ??

I try the trick but it doesn't work ...

I can't find "UD" when i type devalias ....

There is another way to do the trick ???

Thanx.



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: raymondlewisjone on Dec 15, '06 11:43:26AM
Hello,

Awesome Hint!!!!!
I use iMac 17" 1.8Ghz G5 (PPC), and this hint worked perfectly.

Interesting hint you should also try after duplicating your startup disk to restore those invisible items that have become visible:
http://www.macfixitforums.com/printthread.php?Cat=&Board=tiger&main=745867&type=thread

Also, for anyone who is trying, but cannot boot from USB2.0. Remember to uncheck OS9 Drivers when partitioning(erasing) your destination disk. I tried and tried with no success untill I did this. Stupid of me, It's a small detail.

THANKS FOR THE GREAT INFO!!!!!!!!!!

[ Reply to This | # ]
Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: Xris on Jan 15, '07 11:50:51AM

Hi! Great Hint, saved me some bucks too!

I read this hint a couple of months ago and could not get it to work on my eMac 1.42/512Mb. I first tried the boot menu, and got nowhere. I then went into OF and imediately saw I had no "ud" alias. I don't exactly recall what version of Tiger I was running at the time, 10.4.6 or 10.4.7 maybe.
Now, just this week, I tried it again... with success.
I still had to go into OF and type "boot ud:##,\\:tbxi", but no problems... well so I though.
First I tried a clone of my Tiger Install DVD, no luck. I got the grey Apple and then the "no entry" (circle with a diagonal line across.). The I tried a clone of a fresh install onto a local partition. No luck. A Panther install CD clone. Nope. An x-support bootable clone. Nope.
In fact, my first sucess was with an e-drive made with techtool(??) and then with a Tiger system that I had a backup from another system. I do not see the connection or why these particular partitions/drives worked.
Any ideas?
I tried looking at the "blessed" info from the successfull boot volumes but they didn't show up any differences fron the rest. I even tried to bless the volumes I wanted to get working, but got nowhere.
In my case, I definitely believe that updating to 10.4.8 (or maybe a security update) put the "ud" in my OF. Has anybody else had this happen?
Also, I have on occasion delved in to the OF for various reasons, and somewhere I read that you could write your own "alias" into OF that could be mapped to a startup key (ie: "u" for usb, like "c" for CD). I'll see if I can track it down again.



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: ShdwFlame on Feb 20, '07 08:34:02PM

I have Mac OS X 10.4.8 but I still don't have "ud" in my OF. However, I have a lot of "usb"s listed. Does anyone else have this problem?



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: Xris on Jan 16, '07 12:29:55PM

Just in case, had anyone seen this

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=58430



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Mar 18, '07 01:01:43AM
Best I can tell, from my experience and that of people posting to the similar hint at www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20061017084322177:

• USB 1.1 and 2.0 ports/drives have always booted OS 9, on any Mac that can boot into OS 9.

• Macs up through the Powerbook G4 1.33 GHz, and at least some desktops up to and including the same vintage, and maybe a few later pre-Intel PPC Macs (not sure why not all the pre-Intel PPC Macs), will boot SOME USB drives from USB 1.1 and 2.0 ports/drives into OS 10.4.x (at least 10.4.6 and above--I didn't try earlier versions)--NOT OS 10.3.9 or earlier. Older Macs may need their firmware updated to the last version available for that Mac model, and not all USB drives might boot. Some USB drives will appear in Startup Manager (what you get when you hold down the Option key at startup), and others won't; when they don't, reset the Mac's PRAM, NVRAM, and Open Firmware (see my steps in the other Macfixit post I cite above), and that may allow some of them to appear in Startup Manager.


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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Apr 16, '08 07:45:53PM

Further refinement I just came across in my notes, on the system requirements to boot from Macintosh USB ports: OS 8.6 through 9.2.2, and OS 10.4.3 and later. OS 8.6 - 9.2.2 might need the last of whichever versions of the USB extensions that each of these System versions supports (for OS 9.1 through 9.2.2, USB 1.5.6 is the preferred version; OS 9.1 and later don't need the extension "USB Mass Storage Support", especially since it sometimes freezes Macs running OS 9.1 - 9.2.2 that are trying to boot from USB), though other details as to the proper combination and versions of USB extensions under OS 8.6 - 9.2.2 is screwy, and too lengthy to post here, especially since we're dealing with OS X anyway.

The first Macs to support USB booting, are the first slot-loading iMacs (including the 350 MHz model with no Firewire ports), and the Firewire Powerbook G3. I've even booted OS 10.4.11, from a USB 2.0 flash drive, on a Mirrored Drive Doors G4, from a USB 2.0 PCI slot card, with no special tricks, Open Firmware modifications, etc.



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: dancriel on Feb 07, '08 11:08:28PM

Don't forget that to go back to booting from your internal drive, follow the same steps but type setenv boot-device hd:,\\:tbxi in step 6 instead.

This worked in 10.5.1 on my iMac G5 ALS using a USB 2.0 drive with a partition that holds a clone of my main startup drive (the internal drive) made using rsync and the magical "bless" command instead of SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: nashj4u on Jun 11, '08 09:00:08AM

CHerbold-ive got a 1.6 ghz imac G5,followed ur instructions several times and still no use.It just wont boot to install da leopard from my external 2.0 drive.Am i missing sumthing ? can u plzz help me out.thanx in advance



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: nakae on Jun 12, '08 09:40:16AM

I tried booting from an external hard drive using the suggestions from another post and superduper and had absoluetely no problems. I have a G3 Imac running os x 10.4.11. The only thing I did notice is that the upload was incredibly slow (like 11 hours for a full clone of my HD slow??)

Any suggestions? I think it might be running at a USB 1.1 speed not 2.0. Any patch or hint to change the speed so that my mac recognizes the cable as 2.0??



[ Reply to This | # ]
Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: s1223 on Jun 18, '08 11:26:30PM

I have an iBook G4 (the last model before it was discontinued) running Leopard 10.5.3 and I cloned my drive using SuperDuper to my usb drive and it works! And I don't find it as slow as some people say. It actually works quite well.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: gabester on Jun 19, '08 07:29:02AM

I think only the G4 PowerMacs with Firewire 800 built-in and Macs with Airport Extreme have chipsets that support USB 2. So a G3 iMac will only ever have USB 1.1 capable hardware, maxing out at 1.2MB/s speeds.



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: Kopachris on Nov 15, '08 08:55:36PM

Thank you! This is so awesome, since I can't non-destructively resize my partitions, I used CCC to make a backup so I can reformat my HD and restore my data. The restoration wouldn't quite be the same without this. I'm posting this reply from my 1.67GHz 17" PowerBook G4 booted to a 500GB Western Digital MyBook. Totally awesome!



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: like2race on Dec 16, '09 11:24:34PM

It works using " boot ud:3,\\:tbxi " instead of " setenv boot-device ud:3,\\:tbxi " on an iBook G4 PPC. I am very happy now. THANK YOU.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: livingsilver on Feb 27, '10 10:57:04PM

I just wanted to thank everyone here for their help!

I too was able to create a bootable volume on an 8 gig Lexar flash drive and use it to boot my iBook G4 PPC (according to the firmware, it was built in October of 2004).

"ud" did NOT show up in the device list after inputing the "devalias" command. I thought it would be hopeless, but using "boot usb1/disk:3,\\:tbxi" worked for me (I first tried it with "usb0", but that didn't work)! I am ecstatic now- I've been trying to do this all day.

For those curious, the steps I took:

1) I created a disk image from my installation DVD

2) I used Disk Utility to repartition the flash drive into a single partition, making sure to set the options to Apple Partition Map

3) Using a Terminal window, I enabled Owners on the flash drive.

4) I used Carbon Copy Cloner to copy the disk image to the flash drive, checking the option to delete content on the destination disk and to use block-level cloning.

5) Again using the Terminal, I blessed the system on the flash drive.

6) I booted into Open firmware and used the command above to set the flash drive as the boot device. "Mac-boot" and I was good to go!

This was a great learning project and a lot of fun to do. Thanks again everyone.



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: atonaldenim on Jan 13, '10 11:02:06AM
Sadly this doesn't work on a very late model Powerbook G4 15". The activity light on the USB drive never flashes, and the ud device doesn't show up in Open Firmware. I made sure the drive was partitioned APM and the System folder was blessed, I think there must just be a lack of support for USB booting in this particular hardware configuration.

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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: njaalare on Feb 23, '10 09:27:36AM

Use this - boot usb0/disk:3,\\:tbxi
Look also at my other post. Powerbook has to have Apple partition, not GUID or Master Boot Record.



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: psamyiad on Feb 03, '10 07:38:16PM

Outstanding tip.

Worked an absolute treat on late Powerbook G4; 1.67, 2gb ram, 148g HD.

Upgrading to 10.5 on that machine right now. Thanks ever so much for the advice.


(Atonaldenim, I'm assuming this is a similar model to yours as the 1.67's were the latest release... I guess you could try using different flash disk?) I'm no expert but I hope this will give you some hope that it is possible...



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: njaalare on Feb 23, '10 09:22:31AM

I have a Powerbook G4. When running devalias i do not get any ud, but usb0, usb1 and usb2, and some other usb. So i started to write boot
usb0/disk:3,\\:tbxi. I got a light on the USB, so usb0, was the right port. Got an message that the partion could not be read. I had formated the USB as Master Boot Record. I tried GUID partition, but the same problem. But with Apple partition it worked.



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: ajmc on Apr 06, '10 12:48:13AM
I couldn't get my PowerPC iMac G5 with 1.6Ghz CPU to boot from USB. There's no ud device either.
After an hour or two of digging around and experimenting I managed to boot my iMac from USB.
I've written down the steps to get the USB booting working here ( http://mediacaster.nl/usb_boot_imac_powerpc_g5.html )

[ Reply to This | # ]
Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: jcgats on Apr 28, '10 10:04:54PM

Hey guys!

I've Installed OS X 10.4 on a PowerBook G4 via USB hard drive using this steps since the optical drive is busted. I've been trying to install Tiger on PowerBook G4 for 4 days now with no luck until I found this site. I tried using my iPod via firewire but that didn't work.

So here's how I did it:

1. I've copied the OS X 10.4 image file i downloaded via torrent to my USB hard drive using disk utility on my Snow Leopard Hackintosh.
2. Connected the USB hard drive on PowerBook G4
3. Accesed Open Firmware by holding Command+Option+O+F at the same time
4. On Open Firmware screen type "devalias" (without the qoutes)
5. then type "printenv boot-device"
6. type "boot usb1/disk:3,\\:tbxi" press return, it will automatically boot the USB hard drive and installation will begin.

Thanks to "CHerbold" for posting this great idea and to "livingsilver" for making it work. I hope this will help other PowerBook G4 users out there.




[ Reply to This | # ]
Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: jcgats on Apr 28, '10 10:08:55PM

Hey guys!

I've Installed OS X 10.4 on a PowerBook G4 via USB hard drive using this steps since the optical drive is busted. I've been trying to install Tiger on PowerBook G4 for 4 days now with no luck until I found this site. I tried using my iPod via firewire but that didn't work.

So here's how I did it:

1. I've copied the OS X 10.4 image file i downloaded via torrent to my USB hard drive using disk utility on my Snow Leopard Hackintosh. Make sure to format your USB hard drive to be bootable for PowerPC.
2. Connected the USB hard drive on PowerBook G4
3. Accesed Open Firmware by holding Command+Option+O+F at the same time
4. On Open Firmware screen type "devalias" (without the qoutes)
5. then type "printenv boot-device"
6. type "boot usb1/disk:3,\\:tbxi" press return, it will automatically boot the USB hard drive and installation will begin.

Thanks to "CHerbold" for posting this great idea and to "livingsilver" for making it work. I hope this will help other PowerBook G4 users out there.




[ Reply to This | # ]
Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: jcgats on Apr 28, '10 10:16:11PM

Hey guys!

I've Installed OS X 10.4 on a PowerBook G4 via USB hard drive using this steps since the optical drive is busted. I've been trying to install Tiger on PowerBook G4 for 4 days now with no luck until I found this site. I tried using my iPod via firewire but that didn't work.

So here's how I did it:

1. I've copied the OS X 10.4 image file i downloaded via torrent to my USB hard drive using disk utility on my Snow Leopard Hackintosh. Make sure to format your USB hard drive to be bootable for PowerPC.
2. Connected the USB hard drive on PowerBook G4
3. Accesed Open Firmware by holding Command+Option+O+F at the same time
4. On Open Firmware screen type "devalias" (without the qoutes)
5. then type "printenv boot-device"
6. type "boot usb1/disk:3,\\:tbxi" press return, it will automatically boot the USB hard drive and installation will begin.

Thanks to "CHerbold" for posting this great idea and to "livingsilver" for making it work. I hope this will help other PowerBook G4 users out there.




[ Reply to This | # ]
Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: loonatic on Aug 09, '10 02:13:29AM

This worked for me on a PowerPC (PPC) iMac G5:
source: http://mediacaster.nl/usb_boot_imac_powerpc_g5.html

1. Be sure to partition the disk with an Apple Partition Map (i.e. not GUID or MBR)
2. Determine the partition where your bootable image it situated (e.g. an MacOSX DVD or DMG restored to a partion with Disk utility's restore). This might be disk1s3 in which case the partition number is 3
3. Restart your iMac while holding down Command-Option-O-F (Alt-Cmd-O-F). This will land you in Open Firmware.
4. Type:
dev / ls
to get the device tree/list.
Look for something in the output like:

/usb@b
/disk@1

As we're talking about a tree here, write down the complete path to this node. In my case it would be:

/ht/pci@2/usb@b/disk@1

5. Type:
devalias ud /ht/pci@2/usb@b/disk@1
In other words: make 'ud' equal to the path you found in step 4.
6. Now verify you got the right disk:
dir ud:3,\
(3 is the partition number you wrote down in step 2)
And look for a file with tbxi attribute, probably in:
\System\Library\CoreServices\BootX, e.g.:
dir ud:3,\System\Library\CoreServices
7. Then boot from it:
boot ud:3,\System\Library\CoreServices\BootX
8. Presto !
USB's your uncle.



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: kalincar on Feb 17, '11 05:35:25PM

i ve done everything u said but i got a message

DISK-LABEL : invalid pratition# usb-ms-class: open of DISK-Label failed

What to do or how can i see the right partition ,i ve tryed everything
TNX mate



[ Reply to This | # ]
Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: rtolido on Mar 31, '11 12:13:34AM

This may be an old tip, but it just saved my day. Many thanks!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: Captain_Dirk on Jul 02, '11 10:11:38PM

There are two simpler ways if - like me - all you need is to temporarily boot with an emergency USB flash drive (thumb stick) so you can repartition, repair, or reinstall on your regular drive(s)/volume(s). One of these two ways may very well work for you:

1.) Many users report that the Startup Manager works for them (holding down the Option key during startup). (see: http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=20061017084322177)

I was not so lucky on my iBook G4, but I found that a venerable trick from classic Mac days worked just fine for me:

2.) During start-up, hold down simultaneously Command-Option-Shift-Delete. This makes the Mac skip the default boot device setting and scan for an alternate boot device. Be prepared for an agonizingly slow boot through early version USB ports. Your vintage OS-X-Mac may seem hung for a while but is actually just watching paint dry and will eventually move on. ;-)

If neither of these works, read my P.S. below.

Enjoy. :-)


P.S.: BEWARE: Disk Utility, by default, sets up a flash drive with the Fdisk_partition_scheme (at least in my Tiger version). This makes booting from that flash drive on a Mac (or only PPC Mac?) impossible despite of the Mac OS Extended file system etc. which you may have put on that flash drive. So, when you prep the flash drive, select the drive itself (not its volume) in Disk Utility, click on partition, name the partition (Mac OS Extended should be the selected file system by default - journaled is probably best), and - VERY IMPORTANT - click on that inconspicuous "Options" button to switch the partition type to Apple_partition_scheme. Also, if you want to try your hand on the Open Firmware scripting described in the preceding discussion, "boot" just boots this one time, whereas the "setenv" stuff gets to stay in the firmware until you change it back or reset the firmware, even after shutting down.




[ Reply to This | # ]
Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: JMods on Jul 10, '11 04:17:00AM

Hi

Just like to say this works on a 15" Powerbook G4 1Ghz firewire 800 with a few tweaks.
My powerbook at least, didn't see a UD device, instead i had to replace that with "usb1/disk@1:3" and now it works perfectly.

Thanks for the guide

Julian



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I could use some help here
Authored by: rudy_heartless on Dec 07, '12 10:36:05AM

hello first let me say that i only got 1 usb port working on my powerbook g4 model # A1095 got from ebay said it was a 2002 model but google says 2004 so idk. ok my point my keyboard doesnt work on it so i use a usb hub to connect my usb drive 16gigs and my usb keyboard and i cant seem to get this whole thing to work ive been trying like crazy to get this to get a os on it at this point i dont care if i have to use windows or linux on it just to try to install os x on it but i cant get it to boot to the usb.. i only have a windows 7 pc to do my work on to get this to work so if anyone can help me email me or write back here
rudyheartless@gmail.com



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Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: russt on Jan 05, '14 09:34:36AM

I can confirm USB install on blueberry iMac (350MHZ slot CDROM) from tiger 10.4.3 on USB connected DVD drive using suggestion from Vandil to just hold down the option key.

step 1) install 4.1.9 firmware upgrade [1].
step 2) connect apple compatible superdrive to USB port [2]
step 3) load tiger 10.4.3 install dvd and reboot with option key down. wait for dvd to show up (takes a minute or two).
step 4) install tiger!

It is a slow process, since we are talking USB 1 speeds, but it works fine. After I installed 10.4.3, I updated it via software update to 10.4.11.

I upgraded this Blueberry years ago so it has 384MB RAM and a 26GB hard drive.

Originally, I intended only to erase the drive for recycling, but now I've grown fond of the machine... a small SSD drive might do it wonders... :)

[1] 4.1.9 firmware: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1283
[2] I used pioneer dvd drive in external case from OWC.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Boot PowerPC Macs via USB 2.0 drives
Authored by: russt on Jan 07, '14 10:48:34AM

I can confirm USB install on blueberry iMac (350MHZ slot CDROM) from tiger 10.4.3 on USB connected DVD drive using suggestion from Vandil to just hold down the option key.

step 1) install 4.1.9 firmware upgrade [1].
step 2) connect apple compatible superdrive to USB port [2]
step 3) load tiger 10.4.3 install dvd and reboot with option key down. wait for dvd to show up (takes a minute or two).
step 4) install tiger!

It is a slow process, since we are talking USB 1 speeds, but it works fine. After I installed 10.4.3, I updated it via software update to 10.4.11.

I upgraded this Blueberry years ago so it has 384MB RAM and a 26GB hard drive. I gave it to a relative who was too lazy to recycle it, and so gave it back to me.

Originally, I intended only to erase the drive for recycling, but now I've grown fond of the machine... a small SSD drive might do it wonders... :)

[1] 4.1.9 firmware: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1283
[2] I used pioneer dvd drive in external case from OWC.



[ Reply to This | # ]