View Full Version : Update to 10.3.7 failed

7th February 2005, 02:20 AM
Hi everyone...

This is my first post here and I sure hope someone can help!

I just tried to upgrade to OS X 10.3.7 via my cable modem. During the process the upgrade froze at 50% of the installation. Now I am dead in the water. Can't boot into safe mode. Can't boot from a cd.

I have a G3 B&W 450 with 256 mg ram, 60 gig hard drive. I have tried to boot many different ways by holding down various keys. I can't even boot from my original OS X 10.3.5 install cd.

The computer start up wouldn't go past the gray screen with the Apple logo... the spinning pizza goes round and round and never stops! Then I tried zapping the pram - and now I get the gray screen with the apple for a second then I get the "NO" symbol... the round circle with the slash through it. And everything stops there! I've switched my CDRW to an original Apple CD drive - just on the off chance that my CDRW was not a bootable drive - still can't boot from the CD drive. I have two external SCSI drives - with older operating systems - can't boot from them - OS too old for the G3.

I've also tried to boot up every which way with everything disconnected but the monitor, mouse and keyboard. Still nothing.

I don't know what to do next and would appreciate any suggestion.

Thanks for any help.


kim jong il
7th February 2005, 05:02 AM
Hi, and welcome.

That your computer will not boot at all points to something other than a corrupt software install; hardware I'm guessing. Likely failed during the install; no idea at all why. Had the machine just been powered up perchance? (I'd be happy for someone to say 'humbug' at this point). Sounds like you are now getting instant kernel panics which at this stage of booting usually, and I stress the 'usually' here, indicates RAM failure. As it occurs at startup try removing the slot 'A' or '0' RAM chip (they'll actually be numbered something like J21, J22, J23); the lowest numbered one anyhow and try rebooting. If you have 4x64MB or 2x128MB try swapping out each one and seeing what happens. (obviously do this with the power off and take all normal anti static precautions when messing around with RAM). You could also try booting off another hard drive but I would consider this a really long shot. Good luck.

cheers, kim

7th February 2005, 06:29 AM

Actually, the machine was powered up several times that day... it kept locking up and rebooting was the only option. When given the option to update the OS - I figured, sure, why not... it couldn't hurt, maybe it would help fix whatever was causing it to lock up all day.

I have only 1 - 256 mb Ram in the slots. I do have a new 256 piece of Ram that I bought but have not yet tried to install it. I guess I'll give it a shot now and see if that makes a difference since there isn't a way I can switch the ram to different slots or remove one altogether.

If I could take this one step further... if the Ram trick doesn't work... is there anything else I should consider - besides a sledge hammer?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!


7th February 2005, 07:41 AM
Changing ram around didn't do any good. I'm so frustrated!

I'm grateful for any suggestions.


kim jong il
7th February 2005, 06:08 PM
So you've tried it with the other 256 MB RAM DIMM only? If you only have one DIMM to try, its location is not, or should not be, remotely critical.
You don't have access to another PC100/133 SDRAM of any size at all do you? It would be really handy for troubleshooting. (2x64MB would be great for testing and you need this much for OS X if it were to boot anyway).
Before I was to pronounce your logic board and or CPU dead I would really like it tested with some RAM other than the two sticks you have tried. Do you have access to a PC that uses SDRAM to test the RAM this way possibly?

Temporarily out of ideas, I'll give it some thought tonight.


8th February 2005, 01:59 AM
Thanks for your suggestions.

OK - I removed a 64 mb PC 100 ram from a PC and put it in my G3 - my hard drive light flashes and acts like it wants to boot - and now I get the Mac folder icon with a flashing question mark. Any idea what I should try next?

Since I read your post last and tried the Ram switch - I have tried to boot into open firmware - to force it to boot from the CDRom drive - no go - every command I type at the open firmware promt gives me the message "unknown word" - can't seem to be able to do anything in there. I tried the commands...



none of them worked. However shut-down did work!

I've also pulled the battery - just for fun.

I even tried changing the ribbon cable to the drive - didn't help.

I've tried booting with only the hard drive plugged in - unplugged the other ide cable that goes out to the cd and zip - didn't help.

Are there other things on the logic board besides ram that I can check?

Thanks again,

8th February 2005, 08:11 AM
Hmmm, okay I want to try one thing, but if you get to this point don't do anything, just see if you can get there.

When you start your computer, hold down Apple S on start up and see if the unix terminal comes up... If it does don't do anything, but post back here.

8th February 2005, 09:21 AM
I tried the Apple S - it hangs on a gray screen with a folder and a black, blinking question mark.

What's the unix terminal? And why do I want it?!!!


8th February 2005, 06:12 PM
What's happened is, you've assumed because it locks up a few times a day, that a software upgrade will fix things. Likely the hard disk had serious data corruption or severe permissions errors, thus throwing in a great deal more system stuff has screwed things.

Basically, best option is to get all the data off the hard drive, wipe and start again. At the very least, you might be able to leave the data on there and do an archive install of Mac OS X after checking the HD for errors, but there is a slight chance you may lose all your data that way.

9th February 2005, 07:34 AM
Thanks, a new system install is about what I figured I would have to do - and I'm not worried about data - I have back ups of everything and all of my software cds to reinstall - so that is not a big concern.

What has me confused is that I can't seem to be able to get my OS X install cd to be recognized in the cd drive. I have been using a cdrw that needed patchburn to be recognized by the OS - so I changed the drive back to an Apple cd drive on the off chance that the cdrw wasn't bootable. The drive powers up and spins but doesn't do anything - I can't boot from the original retail install cd.

I really don't know what else to do to reformat the hard drive if the thing won't recognize the cd drive.

Any ideas?


9th February 2005, 02:28 PM
Is the CD scratched?

11th February 2005, 07:56 AM
No, it's brand new right out of the retail box - first time I've used it.

12th February 2005, 11:59 AM
OK - I'm making progress.

Was able to borrow a small (6 gig) dirve with OS 9.2 and 10.2.8 on it. Switched it with the drive that the OS update froze on and ....

IT WORKS!!! So all of my problems must be from a very corrupted hard drive caused by the OS X 10.3.7 update.

Then, I put in my new ram ... beautiful... the old ram and the new ram are playing nicely together - have 512 now.

So, now I just need to figure out how to get this 60 gig hard drive reformatted - remember...

- with the 60 gig in the G3 it will not boot from the cd drive or any other way, so I can't use my system 10.3.5 install cd to fix the drive.

- also the creep that sold me this G3 on ebay told me the G3 was Revision 2 - must be because the processor says 450 - don't they usually put those in Rev. 2 machines? So, since I have Rev. 1 (U2 - not 402 on the chip) I don't have multiple hard drive capability.

So... should I purchase an IDE controller card, plug in the two drives... boot from the 6 gig and then try to reformat the 60 gig???

Does that sound like it will work?

Or.... could I remove the Atapi Zip drive and put my second drive in that slot... and go from there. Just a thought ...

I am really not sure how to handle this next step.

Suggestions are welcomed!


kim jong il
12th February 2005, 03:27 PM
Do you live anywhere near melbourne eastern suburbs? If it were the case you coud chuck the dead drive in another machine (one of mine) and check, reformatt and install a new system the HD.

I have no further ideas at this stage


PS glad you made some pogress

12th February 2005, 07:47 PM
Try this:

Whilst running from the 6GB drive, insert the 10.3 install disc, go to the startup disk PrefPane and select the install CD as the startup disk. Then shutdown the computer, swap the HD's over and turn it on. It's a long-shot but worth a try.


13th February 2005, 03:29 AM
Thanks, Kim Jong il... I would take you up on your offer of help to reformat the 60 gig drive, however, I am in upstate New York! I appreciate your offer though!

Suryo - that sounded like a pretty good idea to me - however, I do have one question... If I start up on the 6 gig drive and then change the start up disk to the CD for the next time I boot... when I swap the hard drives, am I not removing the drive with the instructions to make the startup disk the cd drive? How would the computer continue to know to start from the cd drive if I remove the hard drive where the instructions are noted? Does that question make any sense?

I am so grateful for everyone's help.


13th February 2005, 06:42 AM
Yes, the queston does make sense. The startup disk information is stored in PRAM (parameter RAM). As long as you don't reset the computer's PRAM by pressing the button on the motherboard or removing the motherboard battery, the startup disk info *should* still be there after changing the HD.

It may work, it may not, but at this stage of the game it's worth a try is it not?


13th February 2005, 07:18 AM
Absolutely, I'll let you know how it works!


kim jong il
13th February 2005, 09:38 AM
Originally posted by krec@Feb 13 2005, 04:29 AM
Thanks, Kim Jong il... I would take you up on your offer of help to reformat the 60 gig drive, however, I am in upstate New York! I appreciate your offer though!

Yes, that would make it a tad difficult. I'm glad however that you feel confident to solicit help from us. Is it maybe that some of the US forums are so big that enquiries get buried?

cheers, kim

13th February 2005, 12:15 PM
You know, I never really gave it much thought, but now that you mention it, you probably have something there. I posted on a couple of US forums and got a few initial replies but in a short amount of time, my post ended up buried deep within the forum topics.

Seems that there is so much traffic on those sites that it is hard to keep a question in the top ten and follow a topic through to completion.

Again, I am so thankful that you offered assistance throughout my entire troubleshooting process. It really helped to sort things out and take advantage of your expertise!

To keep you up to date. I ended up swapping my internal zip drive for the 60 gig hard drive. I booted with the 6 gig drive and my 60 gig was recognized and everything seems to be there. I haven't done anything else yet. I'm debating whether to try to repair it or try to reformat it.

Thanks again,

13th February 2005, 07:52 PM
Glad it's all looking good. After problems like that you really should do an archive and install or a complete reformat.

13th February 2005, 09:00 PM
I would treat that drive as suspect from now on. Check its S.M.A.R.T status in Disk Utility often and keep regular backups.

kim jong il
14th February 2005, 12:31 PM
Originally posted by krec@Feb 13 2005, 01:15 PM

To keep you up to date. I ended up swapping my internal zip drive for the 60 gig hard drive. I booted with the 6 gig drive and my 60 gig was recognized and everything seems to be there. I haven't done anything else yet. I'm debating whether to try to repair it or try to reformat it.

Thanks again,
Before you do anything BACKUP ALL unique data (to CD/DVD or OTHER HD) I cannot stress this enough. Data loss can be heartbreaking and sometimes realising what you should have done in hindsight will only help you of it happens again. It'll never make you feel better now.

Follow the advice of suryo and squozen regarding testing the drive and such; just make sure you backup data FIRST (in the case of 'archive and install' this is an obvious process of course)

cheers, kim

PS Forgot to say I am glad your data is intact :)

14th February 2005, 01:13 PM
Thanks! I have everything backed up and am not worried about losing data. I have all of my software install disks - so I'm set to go.

Today I tried to reformat the 60 gig drive ... it never did complete an install without errors. I verified and repaired first - said everything was ok after the repair - then I tried to update the OS - didn't work ... I tried to Archive and Install - didn't work, I tried to erase and install - didn't work. I erased all to zeros then tried to install a new system on the disk - didn't work. Kept getting the error that the system needs to restart.

Then, I took it one step further and tried to update the OS on the 6 gig drive that I purchased with OS 9 and 10.2 on it. It wouldn't even complete that install. It gets over halfway then quits to the same error screen - the system needs to restart screen - I think it's a Kernal error screen.

Probably should have left the 6 gig drive alone - but I started getting the flashing question mark in the folder even on this drive when trying to boot up. So I went in to do repairs - that went ok. So I thought I would update the 10.2 to my 10.3 OS - I was too curious to know if it would update. The update stopped with a "system needs to restart" kernal error screen. Now I have two drives with nothing!

I'm starting to think that my problem is hardware related. Why else would system installs quit on two different drives? Could it be the IDE controller on the logic board?

It's not fun anymore and I'm just about ready to put it out for the trash!

Thanks for any ideas!


21st February 2005, 09:30 AM
I came across this thread while searching for my problem.
I hope you don't mind me asking?
I've just bought an ibook G4 of of ebay which will not boot
from a CD. I get the question mark also.
From Open Firmware I can see the hd with:
dir hd:\
this shows a small hierarchy with no system folder
I can also see the cd with
dir cd:\
this shows the full monty of a Unix Os (Mac OS X borrowed from a kiwi)
needless to say the ibook shipped without any media or power supply!!
Do you think I have the same problem as "krec" in that the hd is corrupt
enough to cause the cd not to boot. This seems really strange to me having
worked with Sun Solaris for many years and its open boot firmware.
Can I assume that a mac will not boot from a CD if the hard drive was removed?

Hope you can help