Help with Powerbook 145b..


Hi, I recently received an old Powerbook 145b. It has a black and white screen, and only has a floppy disk drive. I don't know exactly what OS is installed on it, but I know it's somewhere from OS 7.1 to OS 7.6.1.

The problem is, when I turn it on, I get a picture of a floppy disk in the center of the screen with a question mark. The mouse works, but there's nothing I can do with it except move it around and click random locations. I tried downloading several disk tools from but the Mac just ejects the disk, and displays an "X" where the question mark is on the floppy disk on the screen.

I've read on that this may be due to a hard drive failure, and that I would need to purchase a new hard drive. Is this really the case? Or is there another solution?
If I remember correctly, this means your Mac wants a proper System, because it can't find any (the one on the harddisk might be damaged, or there's none).
You have to insert a Floppy with a System or a Systeminstallation Disk to Install a new System on the harddisk.
Welcome to the world of 68K Macs. :D I own a PowerBook Duo 230 which has a 68030 processor.

Anyways, that flashing question mark means that there's no operating system on the computer. Apple has a System 7.5.3 available for free download. Unfortunately, it's only available in diskette images which means you have to download and create diskettes.

Check out the following sites for more information:

By the way, take a look here for the specs on the PB145b:

Also, on those disks you downloaded, did you create them using another Mac through Disk Copy? That's about the only way I know you can properly create them.
Oh, I'm supposed to create the disks using another Mac? I run Windows Xp, so I just downloaded the .bin files and put them in the floppy. Is there a way to create the System Disk using a Windows-based computer?

Thanks mz and nixgeek for the support. Such speedy responses should be rewarded! :)
No problem. And yes, you have to use Disk Copy or something similar to be able to transfer the image to a diskette. Think of it like WinImage which allows you to create disk images of floppies. Same thing with Disk Copy but on a Mac.
Will Disk Copy be able to access the .smi file for OS 7.5.3? I couldn't access the OS files because of this format, so I've instead been trying various disk tools versions from the websites you gave me. Yet, none of them have been working. I've followed the directions and used Rawrite.exe, but the Mac just spits out the disk.

Is there a certain program that can read the .smi file (aka Self Mounting Image File)? I've seen that DropDMG from Apple can read and execute this file extension, but it's not compatible with Windows. Any suggestions?
Yes, Disk Copy will be able to access that file.

If you want, I can try and see about sending you an ISO image of the installs. I have the files already downloaded on my Quadra 650 so I'll see what I can do. PM me if anything.
Incidentally, you might want to download a boot diskette just in case the CD isn't bootable. ;)
Oh.. I found out that Disk Copy is not compatible with Windows.

Do you think you could send me the disk images of OS 7.5.3?
Oh, and the Powerbook 145b doesn't have a CD-Rom drive, only a floppy disk drive. Would that mean that I won't be able to install OS 7.5.3 on the Mac?
DuH me. :p I already got your PM about it. I sent some links there for you that might help. As for the System 7.5.3 images, just access them from the links on Gamba's site.
You probably have to find someone in your vicinity who can create the disks for you. Can't really do them on a PC. Once you have the 7.5.3 disk set, you can try to install System 7.5.3 on the harddrive (only then you'll know whether _that_ still works...).

Btw.: You might even have to download the .smi-files on a Mac in order not to break them...

And: Once you have 7.5.3 running on the PB, get the 7.5.5 update.
fryke said:
You probably have to find someone in your vicinity who can create the disks for you.
I've made the disks a few times for people in my area. And I don't charge for them.


Well, that is assuming that they provide the 20 floppies (19 for the installer and 1 for the tools disk) and that I'm not doing the actual installation (for which I would most likely charge for an hour of work).

I keep a 20 floppy set of 7.5.3 (and a CD version) handy for those types of systems. You'd be surprised how many people still work with older hardware and software.