Forum Question: “Downgrade” a PowerBook?

I have a 1.5GHz PowerBook G4, built July 2004. It is currently running OS X 10.5.8. At some point it lost the ability to run OS 9, even in Classic Mode. I assume that’s because of a firmware upgrade at some point. (?)

I’m looking to replace it as my mobile mac, but I would like to use it to run some OS 9 Legacy programs that I have never found good replacements for. Is it possible to “Downgrade” it so that I can install OS 9 as its operating system? …and if so, how difficult and/or costly would that be?

BTW: MacMost has become one of my must-visit sites on the Mac Web. Thanks for all the useful information!
Kirk Edgar Aplin

Comments: 3 Responses to ““Downgrade” a PowerBook?”

    11/7/10 @ 4:35 pm

    Not a firmware upgrade issue. It is that you have 10.5.8 (Leopard) and the “Classic Environment” was phased out after Tiger (10.4.X). SO you would have to downgrade to Tiger to use Classic. Or, install OS 9 on it directly if that is all you want to do with it.
    As for difficultly and cost — if you have the original disks that came with your PowerBook, just use them to restore the original OS (Tiger, I assume). Or, if you bought a Tiger OS X disk (or even a Mac OS 9 disk) you can use that to set up the PowerBook fresh. If you have lost your original disks, then you will have to find some somewhere.
    But I can’t imaging what OS 9 programs you need to run. You said they were ones you haven’t found good replacements for. Which programs? I’d be surprised if your best option was really to boot an old PowerBook into OS 9 and run those old programs.

      Kirk Aplin
      11/7/10 @ 7:28 pm

      Okay. I’ll just wipe it and start from scratch when I can decide whether to replace it with an iPad or an Air.
      I want to run some games. For example Shanghai II and Lode Runner 2.

        11/7/10 @ 11:24 pm

        Those are both great classic games. But you can find plenty like them that are more recent. For instance, if you like Shanghai II, I think that is a tile matching game, right? Have you tried the free ?

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