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Can anyone help my cousin Keith?

He installed Panther on his PowerBook, found it didn’t play nice with some of his applications (he makes films and videos) and so re-installed Jaguar, using the Archive option, rather than doing a clean install. Now, when he boots up, he sees the usual login screen, types his username and password, and is then faced with Darwin in all its texty glory.

So, how can he fix this? Is there a command he can type to into his terminal to, you know, er, sort of launch Jaguar the way you can launch applications? Or is he just totally buggered?




Posted at 1pm on 02/12/03 by Jack Mottram to the mac category.
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  1. You can’t do an archive and install when reverting to a lower OS, it would preserve settings exclusive to the higher version, which, as your friend has discovered, is a bad thing. Time for a clean install. But if he’s going to do a clean fresh install, he might as well go to Panther. What apps are causing problems? Almost all the major multimedia apps are either compatible with Panther, or updated since Panther shipped.

    Posted by Charles at 6am on 03.12.03

  2. I thought that might have been the problem - the problem now being he can’t do a clean install, as all his half-done projects are on the hard drive… and not backed up anywhere else.

    Posted by Jack Mottram at 12pm on 03.12.03

  3. here’s a possible step in the process that will allow him to save his data. if he can find a fellow mac user with free hard drive space or an external firewire drive this should work for him. upon restarting the keyboard he should hold the t key which normally will boot the computer into target disk mode. he can then plug his laptop into the other mac via a firewire cable as if it were a firewire drive… it’s hard drive will show up and the files can be backed up.

    of course, givin the state of the computer i’m not sure this will work… i’d say there is a good chance.

    not sure what kind of video apps he runs but i will say that final cut pro 4 on panther has been far more stable than final cut pro 3 was on jaguar.

    Posted by Denny Henke at 6pm on 03.12.03

  4. if the machine’s booting up, goes past the login, and then drops into the console, there’s a really good chance that he’s got networking. If he does (assuming a LAN/DSL/Wifi/something more than dialup) and he’s got some unix command line knowledge, or someone who does, there’s no reason he can’t copy the files across the network to shared drive, email them to himself, or even ftp them somewhere.

    Posted by arif at 7pm on 03.12.03

  5. The data is probably all still intact, it’s just the MacOS files that are hosed. You can replace the OS with a clean install easily once you back up the data. Denny has the right idea, use Firewire Target Disk Mode. This method has saved my ass on several occasions. Consider using Carbon Copy Cloner to make a complete backup of the PowerBook once it’s connected via Target Disk Mode. CCC is invaluable, it’s just what you need for tricky backup/restore situations in the middle of OS migrations.

    Posted by Charles at 10am on 04.12.03

  6. Thanks for your help and advice, everyone. Just in case anyone happens here from Google: in the end, Keith logged in as root, killed himself (so to speak) and trashed all five of his Previous System Folders (from a succession of Archive installations). Rebooting after that got everything working again…

    Posted by Jack Mottram at 6pm on 15.12.03

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