Reviving a PowerBook 5300

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
Last seen: 14 years 1 month ago
Joined: Mar 19 2008 - 13:57
Posts: 38
Reviving a PowerBook 5300

So, I got an old PowerBook 5300 from my sister-in-law, and being an enthusiast of vintage apple computing, (although I'm not sure this is quite vintage) I'd like to bring it to working order. It boots, and everything, but it's got a lot of junk on it, and I'd like to re-install MacOS It had 7, but I'd like it to do 8. Can that be done? I'm really new to apple stuff (other than the apple II) so, where do I start? Buy OS8 Floppies? Do I need a key, like Micro$oft Windows?



cwsmith's picture
Last seen: 9 months 1 hour ago
Joined: Oct 13 2005 - 08:23
Posts: 698
Mac OS for PB 5300

The PowerBook 5300 will do up to Mac OS 9.1, but I'm not sure I'd go above 8.5 or 8.6, especially with just the stock 8MB or so of RAM.

The last Mac OS to ship on retail floppies was Mac OS 8.0, and those floppies are getting to be rare as hen's teeth. 8.0 was also available on a CD-ROM, but I'm not pulling up any 8.0 installers (floppy or CD) in an eBay search at the moment.

You can get a retail copy of Mac OS 8.5 at, or on eBay. Just make sure it's a retail copy, not one for an iMac, iBook, or other specific machine.

The 5300 had no CD-ROM drive, but a SCSI CD-ROM drive can be had on eBay as well. You'll need a special cable to connect a CD-ROM drive (probably DB-25 or Centronix 50 connector) to the PowerBook's HD-50 SCSI port. Again, eBay.

While you're poking around you might consider an ADB Apple mouse (or one by Macally or Kensington), or a ZIP drive for the expansion bay. Maybe a SCSI scanner, or an Apple QuickTake camera (the QuickTake 200 is a really nice model, the only QuickTake I don't have).

Don't sink a whole lot of money into this machine, though. You're not going to be able to do much productive work on a machine of this age. AppleWorks for Mac OS 8 and 9 is also hard to find, and Microsoft Office 98 is the last that will run reliably. iTunes 2 is pretty limited, especially without a CD-ROM drive. And best of luck to you in finding a reliable printer with compatible Apple printer port connectors and Mac OS 7/8/9 drivers.

If you recognize the machine for what it is: a geeky rebuild project and history lesson, you could have some genuine fun tinkering, as long as you don't let yourself get frustrated.

Last seen: 6 months 1 hour ago
Joined: Jan 19 2005 - 23:30
Posts: 700
i had one of these, was my fi

i had one of these, was my first powerbook. i managed to get a clean install of either os 8 or 7.6 by installing it on another machine, and then used an emergency boot disk to get the powerbook to boot the book, and copy that floppy to the hard drive. i then broke all the parts of the OS install from the other machine down to floppy size with a program i cant remember the name of, but im sure someone here has used it before or one like it. while booted from the hard drive which now has a bare emergency system on it, i copied all the floppies over to the disk and put them all back into one system folder and it worked. it is a very slow process but if you dont have an external cd rom then yea, do this or....

The OTHER way to get this to work is if you own a powermac with a SCSI port, find yourself the adapter that turns your 5300 into an external Hard drive and install the OS to that from the powermac.

gsmcten's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: Oct 4 2005 - 18:52
Posts: 2629

I have several. I replaced the hard drive on the one I use to a CFFA card with adapter and used a SCSI CD to load OS 9. It runs nice. The biggest problem I have found is trying to hook-up to the internet. I have a card for that now, but I haven't had time to play with it for a while.
The experimentation shall begin soon. Smile

Last seen: 12 years 5 months ago
Joined: Aug 22 2010 - 18:57
Posts: 10
Use System 7. With 8MB of RAM

Use System 7. With 8MB of RAM, I think anything after 8.1 would be like trying to drag a Supertanker with a Vespa.

Log in or register to post comments