How to Get to Boot Options Menu on Power Mac G4

By Avery Martin

A business lady is working on her Mac computer.
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Debuting in 1999, the Power Mac G4 was Apple's flagship desktop at the turn of the century. Manufacturing for these computers stopped in 2004. The operating system for these machines maxes out at Tiger 10.4.11, although you can use LeopardAssist to unofficially Support Leopard 10.5.8. The older operating system does limit some of the options available at boot, but it still provides a range of possibilities.

Startup Manager

Every Mac user should know how to access Startup Manager. Using a simple keystroke, you can access any operating systems available on your Mac. This can prove useful when your Mac can't find the operating system, has trouble booting or has more than one installation of Mac OS X installed. Boot into the Startup Manager by holding down the "Option" key as the operating system starts. Release the key when you see the Startup Manager screen.

Optical Drives

Mac OS X Tiger provides an option for booting to an optical drive. Using the installation media that came with your system, you can run Disk Utility, reinstall the operating system or perform an Apple Hardware Test using the Apple Tech Tools Deluxe CD that originally came with an AppleCare warranty. The tools on the CD allow you to diagnose hardware and software-related issues on your Mac. Insert a CD into the optical drive and hold down the "C" key to boot to a CD.

Safe Mode

Safe Mode provides a way to diagnose your computer to determine if a problem stems from a hardware- or software-related issue. When you boot into Safe Mode, all unnecessary kernel extensions get disabled. Any preferences you set in the Account Control panel also get ignored to diagnose any issues with software that might cause your Mac to behave unexpectedly. Boot into Safe Mode by holding down the "Shift" key as your computer boots. Release the key when the gray Apple logo displays.

Target Disk Mode

Target Disk Mode provides a way to boot as a hard drive for another Mac; this is a useful option when you want to access files on a corrupt operating system from another Mac. Connect your Mac running Tiger to another Mac with a FireWire cable. Hold down the "T" key while the target Mac boots; eventually, you should see a large FireWire symbol floating around a blue screen. You can then access the files on the target Mac using Finder. Browse through the file system as you would any other drive or partition on your computer.

Startup Shortcuts

Mac OS X Tiger uses several shortcuts to access various boot functions at startup. Eject a stuck CD by holding down the mouse button while the computer boots. Holding down "X" at startup forces a boot into Mac OS X if you have Mac OS 9 installed on your system and set as the default operating system. Press the "Command-S" key allows you to boot into single-user mode to troubleshoot your system. The "Command-V" key combination boots in verbose mode, showing you all startup messages; this can be helpful in troubleshooting.