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Ask Max: G3 Mac Hardware or Software Failure?

Asked on 09/29/2008:

I have a beige G3 (sidecar) Mac that used a SCSI bus for the internal hard drives. The system will currently not boot, although the raster comes up on the display but no icons. I would like to access data on the hard drives. Do I need to try to get a replacement motherboard, or is there a way to connect the internal SCSI drives to my newer Macs, via USB or Firewire.


It’s not certain that you have a hardware failure that would require a new logic board. You could just as easily have a operating system issue that can be fixed. If you have a Mac OS install CD, then you can boot up off of that and see if the Disk First-aid can fix your boot drive. Also a reinstall of the OS could help resolve your issue. It is a safe bet that if you computer will not startup from a Mac OS X CD that it is a hardware failure. At that point you will need to find a new system that supports PCI cards so that you can move your drive over to the new system. You will need to determine what kind of interface your SCSI drive uses.This Adaptec SCSI card has both types of connectors but it may be more than what you need.I have never used this Startech SCSI card before but it could be an economical solution.Unfortunately I do not know of a good USB/FireWire SCSI drive adapter. Internal is probably your best option.

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