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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Mac Boot Experts Required: Help me save my firstborn Mac!


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speg

 
Member Since: Dec 13, 2010
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It's been nearly six years since that fateful day in January 2005, when Steve unveiled the $499 Mac Mini and I promptly bought my first Mac.

Flash forward to a few days ago, and the hard drive started making some awful noises hard drives should not be making. It was six years, my first real drive failure. It was time.

So I ordered a replacement drive and it arrived today, however I am having some difficulties.


The new drive is installed and there is a OS X 10.5 *retail* dvd in the optical drive, but I can't boot into the installer.
  • holding 'C' on boot does nothing - after a grey screen I eventually reach the flashing ? mark / Finder folder
  • holding 'T' on boot does nothing - a black screen and then the computer shuts off
  • holding mouse/buttons or F12 to eject disk does nothing
  • holding Option+Command+P+R DOES reboot the computer and (I assume) reset the PRAM
  • holding Option DOES get me to an (empty?) boot screen. All that is displayed is a refresh button and a right arrow button
  • Holding Option+Command+O+F gets me into open firmware where I have no clue what to do. I did reset-nvram reset-all in here and it said "ok" as if it worked. "eject cd" did NOT work from here.
  • Command V on boot does nothing.

So I'm running out of ideas on what to do next... I don't understand why some of my boot keys don't seem to be working. I thought maybe it was because of Open Firmware, but I can get into OF just fine.. and the boot screen when holding option on boot loads (empty) and does NOT have a lock/password field.

So am starting to suspect something might be up with optical drive too. Coincidence they both stop working at the same time? My backup plan was to boot into target disk mode, but that isn't working either

Any ideas?
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chscag

 
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As your Mini is 6 years old it may be time replace it if the hard drive is dead, and your optical drive is defective.

If you tried everything to eject the Leopard DVD and nothing seems to work, you may be forced to remove the optical drive. If you really want to continue spending money on the Mini, you might have to replace the optical drive also.
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dtravis7

 
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I don't remember the command but I seem to remember there is a way to eject the DVD in Open Firmware. Will see if I can find the command.

It really sounds like that Optical drive is dead. OWC is the best place to get a new one if you want too put more $$$ into your old Mini.

When you installed the hard drive, are you sure everything is plugged in? Is the cable to the optical drive still plugged in to the drive? It's very tight in that Mini. I own the same one and been in there a few times. You might want to check and be sure something did not come loose from the Optical drive.

Let us know what happens.
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I'm with dtravis on this. As a Mini tinkerer myself, I've had the cable connecting the drives to the multiple boards pop off during reassembly. I'd reassemble it again without the HDD and try to eject. If that works, try it with the HDD and optical drive. If only one or neither work, it's time for a new Mini.

"Those who don't understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly." Henry Spencer
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dtravis7

 
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It can all be fixed but an optical drive is probably $89 or more and then the hard drive cost. So probably $150 +. Do check the cable though and report back.
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speg

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
I don't remember the command but I seem to remember there is a way to eject the DVD in Open Firmware. Will see if I can find the command.

It really sounds like that Optical drive is dead. OWC is the best place to get a new one if you want too put more $$$ into your old Mini.

When you installed the hard drive, are you sure everything is plugged in? Is the cable to the optical drive still plugged in to the drive? It's very tight in that Mini. I own the same one and been in there a few times. You might want to check and be sure something did not come loose from the Optical drive.

Let us know what happens.
I've removed the optical drive and everything stays the same. It's as if the firmware is blocking the bootkeys (and yet there is no password set on OF) - is that possible?

Also, there are no 'cables' connecting the drives... they both plug into an interface board which sits directly into the logic board (there are two fans connected to the board, but they haven't been touched)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
It can all be fixed but an optical drive is probably $89 or more and then the hard drive cost. So probably $150 +. Do check the cable though and report back.
But shouldn't target disk mode allow us to circumvent a non-working optical drive?
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