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The PowerBook 170 was released by Apple Inc. in 1991 along with the PowerBook 100 and the PowerBook 140. Identical in form factor to the 140, it was the high end of the original PowerBook line featuring a faster 25 MHz Motorola 68030 processor with Floating point unit (FPU) and a more expensive and significantly better quality 10 in (250 mm) active matrix display. It was replaced by the PowerBook 180 in 1992.

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My PowerBook 170 turns on and shows a flashing question mark

I'm receiving a flashing question mark on top of a floppy disk icon when I boot up the PowerBook 170 I recently purchased. I bought this from someone off Facebook Marketplace who sold it for their grandpa after it sat in a closet for 25 years. I had to buy a new AC power adapter (7.5V@2A) for it in order to get it to boot as it was not included. I take it to mean that the operating system is either missing or corrupted but I'm not sure as I am new to the classic Mac hobby. I don't currently own any hardware for making floppy disks to re-install the OS either. Any thoughts or ideas are greatly appreciated!

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Does the system even have a hard drive? This series uses a SCSI HDD in addition to a 3.5” floppy drive.

The flashing question mark is telling you there is no bootable drive. You need a bootable drive either internally or externally.

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The system does have a hard disk inside. When I opened it up, it looks like it is the 40MB model. I can hear it running when I turn it on. It is noticeable but not super loud.


@noahlaroy - You will need to setup from a second Mac a bootable SCSI drive either externally or internally.

The highest OS this system can run is 7.5.5. Ideally you can find the System 7 disk set (If I remember correctly its a set of 8 disks) getting the CD is also an option by you'll need a SCSI CD player to connect to your PowerBook via the adapter block or the custom cable.

Here's a useful site Apple Wiki - OS 7.5.5

For reference here's the systems specs PowerBook 170


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