Will it Turn On? Powering on a Vintage Apple Powerbook 540c for the First Time!

Back in January 2015 I opened my MIB Powerbook 540C. Opening a 20+ year old “toy” is exciting. But you know what’s even more exciting? Turning it on for the first time:

If you don’t want to watch the video I’ll save you a bit of time. First we actually pull off the shrink wrap from the manuals. We plug everything in and press the power button. The familiar Mac startup noise lets us know that we have lift-off. Everything seems to work great (although there is a line running through part of the screen). It’s easy to forget how loud hard drives used to be!

So what’s next for the 540c? Admittedly it’s pretty hard to use two-plus decade old technology for anything more than a nostalgia-high. The whole 500-series experience is pretty substandard by modern day benchmarks. Any applications or games can be easily emulated on current computers (one of the big reasons I haven’t been able to bring myself to purchase an NES Classic). So, to answer the question… I guess it goes back into storage for another twenty years.

7 thoughts on “Will it Turn On? Powering on a Vintage Apple Powerbook 540c for the First Time!

  1. Nice! That was the first time it got turned on since it was made then? That’s kind of crazy to think about.
    You are right that there are not many things you can do with a computer that old.

  2. That’s the first time! It was still sealed when I bought it.
    I honestly can’t think of anything to do with it 🙁

  3. What a fun experience to share with kids!
    What did an unopened 540C cost, if you don’t mind?

  4. It was a lot of fun! I always get a kick out of watching people open mint in the box toys from when I was a kid (although it also horrifies me).
    I picked the computer up on eBay and I think it was about $650ish.

  5. That was fun to watch. I was an Apple employee and they used to give us a computer each year. I still have an Apple IIc that’s still in it’s original box. Perhaps I will find the courage to turn it on one day. Keep up the good work!

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