Halp! with G3 desktop - freezing

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trogdor
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Halp! with G3 desktop - freezing

Post by trogdor » July 25th, 2008, 6:39 am

Hi,

I've had a beige G3 for a while, since I picked it up for £15 on eBay. Unfortunately it's not been much use to me since it has only been able to use a ridiculously large Apple monitor that has seen better days (colours won't stay in alignment). To try and move things forward I bought a PCI Radeon 9200 (Mac Edition, since flashing cards gave nothing but corrupt displays). Installed that yesterday and it finally booted with a non-corrupt display on a reasonably-sized LCD flatscreen with no colour issues.

My next step was to install Tiger (to get XCode - the main reason I use Macs). Now, this required a DVD drive, so I currently have the case open and a transplanted drive from another machine attached. I installed XPostFacto without issues and the installation started just fine. However, it got to the stage of "Installing Base System" and got stuck - the mouse still moved and the progress bar was still animated, but it wasn't going anywhere or doing anything. I'd read in the release notes for XPF that Firewire cards could cause this, so I dutifully removed the USB/FW combo I had installed and tried again. The same problem (albeit with a different number of "minutes remaining"). I tried again, just to be sure, but without joy. I tried booting into OS 9, which got as far as the desktop (with menu and icons) and then hung.

As a last resort (having read posts claiming that such problems could be caused by disk errors that could only be cured by a reformat) I tried setting it to Erase and Install. Same problem, but that left me without a bootable installation (not that I had one anyway, since OS 9 wouldn't boot usably and OS X redirected to the CD drive). So I reinstalled OS 9, which worked, but the machine hung within 5 minutes of booting (movable mouse but "busy" pointer). On the second attempt, I managed to download XPostFacto, but it crashed again when I ran it. At that point, I gave up for the night.

This morning I tried again, and XPostFacto ran, and I told it to boot back into the Tiger DVD. I got to the same point in the installation (albeit once again with a different number of minutes remaining) and the same symptoms showed.

I'm presuming that the freezing in OS 9 and the freezing in Tiger Setup are related. The machine has a 120GB Hitachi drive in it (onto which I'm installing in a <8GB partition at the beginning of the drive). It has a 333MHz G3 (I think that was an upgrade by the previous owner from a G3 266 or so), and the RAM is maxed out at 768MB. It has the standard personality card, a ZIP drive and a floppy drive (both connected).

Can anyone offer any possible causes and/or solutions to the issue?

Thanks,

Ed
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Turboladdade
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Re: Halp! with G3 desktop - freezing

Post by Turboladdade » July 25th, 2008, 11:26 am

Is the computer stable while booted from the Mac OS 9 CD? As in, does it freeze or perform similarly while booted from that CD?
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trogdor
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Re: Halp! with G3 desktop - freezing

Post by trogdor » July 25th, 2008, 12:28 pm

Is there a way to force it to boot from CD without reformatting? I've tried holding Opt, holding C, and holding Cmd+Opt+Shift+Del whilst booting; the former two boot OS9 from the hard drive, and the latter boots into Darwin and segfaults.

Thanks!
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Re: Halp! with G3 desktop - freezing

Post by Turboladdade » July 25th, 2008, 12:32 pm

Mac OS install CDs should always boot just by holding down C a startup. If it doesn't then something else might be wrong, possibly relating to Darwin or any other non-standard stuff you may have installed.
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Re: Halp! with G3 desktop - freezing

Post by trogdor » July 25th, 2008, 12:58 pm

Would the installer CD load user profiles from the hard drive if it found them? I think that's what seems to be happening here, since when I run programs, the CD spins up, but I see things like XPostFacto on my desktop which (obviously) wouldn't be found on the CD.

The machine is currently stable in this configuration. I'm guessing this indicates a hard drive issue?
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Turboladdade
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Re: Halp! with G3 desktop - freezing

Post by Turboladdade » July 25th, 2008, 2:27 pm

No... on the classic Mac OS, every drive has a hidden "Desktop" folder - the contents of which will always appear on the desktop of any booted operating system upon which the drive is mounted. It is not analogous to user profiles in Windows.

If you connect an external drive, and drag something off it to the desktop, you are in fact moving it to the hidden Desktop folder on that drive - eject the drive will cause the file on the desktop to disappear, and plugging it back in will cause it to reappear. If you boot from your Mac OS install CD and eject the mounted hard drive (by dragging it to the trash) you'll see all the desktop files on that drive disappear.

If the computer is completely stable, then yes my best guess would be a hard drive issue. Try partitioning your drive into several smaller partitions and installing your OS on only one of those - this can help isolate bad sectors and give you a bootable, workable system.

EDIT:

Also note that Mac OS can NOT be installed on partitions over 7 GB on those beige G3s.
If you have a hard drive larger than 8 GB, you should partition is so that the first partition is under 8 GB in size (for simplicity, we suggest 7 GB). Failure to do this could eventually result in an unbootable computer, as all System files must be within the first 8 GB of drive space. These Macs can work successfully with larger drives for some time, but once a System files goes outside of the first 8 GB of space, you'll have nothing but problems.
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trogdor
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Re: Halp! with G3 desktop - freezing

Post by trogdor » July 25th, 2008, 2:33 pm

In spite of the constant spinning up/down of the CD, the machine will let me eject the CD but not the hard drive (since it contains the active system software).

This whole thing just keeps getting more and more confusing.


EDIT: Aha, telling XPF to boot to OS 9, and THEN holding C during boot allowed booting to the installation CD. However, since the system was stable on OS 9 booted from the hard drive, I'm almost back at square one.
Last edited by trogdor on July 25th, 2008, 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Turboladdade
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Re: Halp! with G3 desktop - freezing

Post by Turboladdade » July 25th, 2008, 2:42 pm

I edited my post - did you catch the new stuff at the bottom about 8 GB drives?
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trogdor
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Re: Halp! with G3 desktop - freezing

Post by trogdor » July 25th, 2008, 2:47 pm

Well, the partition I've been targeting is 7.71GB in size, and was able to run Jaguar just fine before I borked everything up, so I can't see how that could be the problem.

Is there any Mac OS equivalent to running chkdsk /r on a Windows machine - i.e. that will force a sector-by-sector scan to find and block bad sectors? I tried running fsck from the Tiger DVD but it didn't find any errors.
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Re: Halp! with G3 desktop - freezing

Post by Turboladdade » July 25th, 2008, 3:29 pm

The partition doesn't merely need to be 7 - 8 GB, it must be the first 7 - 8 GB... as in the first partition in the partition list.
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Re: Halp! with G3 desktop - freezing

Post by trogdor » July 25th, 2008, 3:35 pm

It is indeed at the start of the disk, hence the ability to boot Jaguar.
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Re: Halp! with G3 desktop - freezing

Post by trogdor » July 26th, 2008, 7:20 pm

I've tried again with a different disk (the Mac had an old 4GB disk in, untouched since '03); the install on this one seems to have stalled at the "Writing files - 4% complete" stage - further than it got with the previous hard drive. I'm not sure whether this is a symptom (the first drive had bad sectors in a different location to this one) or just a coincidence.

Perhaps third hard drive lucky? Or is it time to look for alternative causes?
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squiffy
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Re: Halp! with G3 desktop - freezing

Post by squiffy » July 26th, 2008, 11:20 pm

trogdor,

The only things I can think of off the top of my head are:

1. Remove some of the additional ram. Try only one stick at at time. There may be an issue with compatibility.
2. Remove the personality card and clean the contacts. Questionable connections have been an issue for many others.
3. Run "Software Update" from OS 9 and make sure all of your software is up to date. Actually, I'd try this first.

And good luck!
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trogdor
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Re: Halp! with G3 desktop - freezing

Post by trogdor » July 27th, 2008, 9:08 am

squiffy wrote:1. Remove some of the additional ram. Try only one stick at at time. There may be an issue with compatibility.
I'm trying this now. The first stick I tried showed the same problem, although it was slower in getting there. It would copy a few files (maybe 0.5% worth), then sit and wait for a while, and the wait got longer each time, until after 4% (with 42 minutes remaining) it stopped completely. I'm waiting for it to cool down before trying with a different stick.
squiffy wrote:2. Remove the personality card and clean the contacts. Questionable connections have been an issue for many others.
I ordered a new personality card on eBay; perhaps swapping that in will help (I'd already ordered it - I bought it to get a faster processor, the personality card was just a bonus item).
squiffy wrote:3. Run "Software Update" from OS 9 and make sure all of your software is up to date. Actually, I'd try this first.
Already tried that one. The only things I got were an update to the updating system and an update for Carbon support.

One thing that's occurred to me: the main logic board has got a stick of VRAM installed on it, from before I got the Radeon. Should I have removed that in order to use the Radeon?
trogdor
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Re: Halp! with G3 desktop - freezing

Post by trogdor » July 27th, 2008, 9:48 am

The second stick let the installation whizz through to 3% of writing files without interruption, where it stalled.
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