Setting up a PowerBook G4 12 inch, 1.5Ghz in 2020

Some time ago, I received a PowerBook G4 12 inch from a friend. As is healthy, the drive had been wiped, but being one to not keep too much old stuff, I didn’t have install media for Leopard (10.5). It went on the backburner for a while, but I recently received (back) some old storage devices which had been on ice in the WA Wheatbelt for about 10 years, and felt I had the right stuff together to give it a go again.

  1. Downloaded 10.5.4 Leopard Installer from
  2. Attach 30GB PATA drive by PATA to USB2.0 dongle
  3. Using 10.15 Catalina, partition drive with Apple Partition Map to 10GB+20GB partition
  4. Mount Leopard Installer ISO previously download
  5. Use ASR to restore contents of ISO to 10GB partition
bash-3.2$ sudo asr restore --source /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\ DVD/ --target /Volumes/Emptied/ --erase
	Validating target...done
	Validating source...done
	Erase contents of /dev/disk3s3 (/Volumes/Emptied)? [ny]: y
	Validating sizes...done
	Restoring  ....10....20....30....40....50....60....70....80....90....100
	Verifying  ....10....20....30....40....50....60....70....80....90....100
	Restored target device is /dev/disk3s3.
	Remounting target volume...done
  1. Try to boot Powerbook using PATA drive on USB dongle, failed
  2. Move PATA drive from USB dongle to Sarotech Cutie FireWire caddy (originally purchased in Tokyo, 17 years ago), success
  3. Install Leopard
  4. Reboot, install 10.5.8 combo update
  5. Reboot
  6. All works! Yay

A bit of vmware fun for a change!

I’ve got a VMware VCP – Have done for about 8 years (passed the exam 4 times now..), but most of my day these days is dealing with storage – but I’ve had a family fixit to migrate a 17 year old laptop into a VM on a more recent mac.

Nice and easy I sez! Just use the converter! Nekt minit..

vmware error.PNG

For the keyword lulz of anyone searching for this problem: “Error 1920.Service VMware vCenter Convert Standalone Server (vmware-converter-server) failed to start. Verify that you have sufficient privileges to start system services”

First I tried the obvious – checking the local user was an Admin, running it as administrator, trying vmware’s fix of creating a group called “Domain Admins”.. all with no dice.

Then I found someone suggesting how to start the agent manually, and when I did that, it complained that the certificate could not be verified.. which lead me on another path, checking Properties in Windows, which lead me to this KB entry on how to install the code signing certificate root on Windows XP.. which lead to a KB entry on another site, which led to 404, which led to, saving the file as a PEM, adding the Certification MMC snapin, importing it, and finally, the service started up.

Nice and simple.. only took someone with 19 years of experience with VMware and as a professional infrastructure admin an hour to fix it..

Edit: Oh ho, but there’s more! VMware Converter then was unable to send the image to the Mac – under the hood it’s still the same old converter that has been around for years, which means that it saves the image over SMB to the Mac. Except, Windows XP can’t talk to Catalina by default. Some will suggest upgrading to SP3 (a good idea, but I want to make minimal changes to this system image..), but that isn’t necessary – as outlined at this post, all you need to do is set HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa\lmcompatibility level to 3, from the default of 1 on SP3 or 0 on SP2