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Ask Max: Getting OS 9 running on a Mirrored-Door

Asked on 10/09/2006:

3 years ago I bought a spare Mac from you to use when my OS9 G4/400 Sawtooth died in the future. The future is here - the G4 died (ethernet on the motherboard) and I got out the dual boot G4 mirrored drive drawers Dual 1.25GHz Power Pc G4 and have been installing it and loading my software.I really need OS9 because all my records and software going back 20 years are on it. I have plenty of backups so that is not the problem. Also my wife only knows OS9 and she does newsletters on it in Pagemaker and is VERY reluctant to change to another program.I put in a second 120 GHz hard drive to be the home of the OS9 stuff and the other 120GHz drive is the home of Tiger which is up and running.Problem is the machine will not boot up into OS 9 from turn on even when I use the old Option key start into the boot links.I get the floppy disk image with blinking ? mark . I partitioned it using OSX Jaguar and installed OS9.2 on two partitions. They show up in Tiger (which I have just installed) and also when I do the option boot up but no luck to get them to boot the machine. I can actually boot up the machine into OS9 from a Firewire backup disk of the old operating system OS9.2.2 so I know it is a dual boot machine. Tiger did not like that a bit and I got a kernel panic until I unhooked the firewire disk!Any ideas that I can use to solve this would be appreciated.I want to keep Tiger as it does things the old system won't, like running movies taken with my digital point and shoot camera and making sense of some of the newer web sites...Also, can I get an AirPort card for this beast? (11 Mbps AirPort Card; IEEE 802.11b compliant) Do you have one for sale?Also I am thinking about squirreling away another G4 dual boot before they're all gone.Also is there any salvage value in the old G4? It has 3 - 256Mb memory chips, Pioneer Superdrive 106 and 120 GHz drive. Computer works except Ethernet is dead.


There are few things to keep in mind when working with this new Mirrored Drive Door G4. The first thing is that all hard drives installed into this G4 must be set for "Cable Select." It will take up to four hard drives, and all have to be "cable select" and the plug at the end of the PATA cable has to be used if only one drive is going to be on the cable. When you format drives for this computer you must make sure that they are formatted with OS 9 support. A good way to make sure a disk will support OS 9 is to format it from OS 9. So boot up from the backup and format the internal drive that you want to have OS 9 on. Then install 9.2.2 on it. Missing the OS 9 disk support is probably what's causing your booting problems. You can put the old drive that worked on the 400 MHz G4 into the new MDD G4 but it will have to have the latest version of OS 9 installed on it.PowerMax has a good stock of original Airport cards. You can find them here: ( and they will work in both versions of the Mac OS that you use.As for salvage, we tend not to have much use for those computers for parts. We would be happy to recycle it for you but you may find that you can donate it to someone who does not need an ethernet jack.

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