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

Mac mini grey screen - odd results to testing


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jpinct

 
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I have an older Mac mini (2006?) running Leopard. It has the "grey screen of death" on startup. Apple logo and spinning wheel. I've run through all the steps suggested on Apple Support here: Mac OS X: Gray screen appears during startup

The results:
* Will not boot in safe mode
* Zapping PRAM didn't help
* Will boot from Install CD and I ran the Disk Utility. Disk Repair says disk is fine! No major errors. Permissions repair found a few things and successfully repaired. SMART status says "Verified".
* Will boot in target mode and I was able to successfully copy files via FireWire to another Mac.
* Attempted "Archive and Install" and it failed: "the installer could not install some files in /Volumes/MacMiniHD"
* I started up in "verbose safe mode" to see what was happening. I've attached photos of the screen (hope they are readable). The key things seem to be the "com.apple.driver.AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement isn't a valid mach-o" and the "disk0s3: I/O error"

So, I've backed up what I needed to. Should I try an Erase and Clean Install? Is it worth spending $100 on DiskWarrior? Any insight would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks!
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chscag

 
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If you were able to boot using target mode and could access the hard drive, chances are the drive hardware is OK. Also Disk Utility and the SMART status seem to verify that.

It's possible Disk Warrior could find something that DU didn't. If Disk Warrior has a trial version, you could always try using that first. Personally, I would attempt an erase and clean install before spending money on Disk Warrior. Especially since you were able to copy your files from the Mini.

Let us know.
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jpinct

 
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Thanks for your help. I am attempting a clean install now. It failed the first time after about an hour... I'm hoping second time is the charm. I'll report back with install logs if it fails again...

Jill
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Got Apple Hardware Test? Sounds like the hdd has gone to drive heaven.

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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jpinct

 
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The second software install attempt failed about halfway through. So I went into Disk Utility and erased the drive, ran disk repair again and it said things were fine. Then I tried installing the software again and the install failed again. I don't have logs because the darn thing hangs and won't let me get into the log section. I then tried running the Apple Hardware Test (thanks for reminding me) but it won't run -- I get a kernal panic message on startup while holding the "d" key down. Will it run with no software installed?

If my hard drive has failed, what are my options? Obviously I don't want to put too much money into a 5 year old computer but I'd like to keep it if I can....

Thanks!
Jill
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jpinct

 
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Nevermind, I'm an idiot. I had grabbed the install disk for my MacBook Pro by mistake. Now that I have the right disk, the hardware test is running. Will report back.
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MacMan886

 
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I got a similar kernel panic on my old Quicksilver 2002 tower, turned out to be a dead HD. Disk I/O error is almost always a dead/dying HD.

-William
Late 2012 Mini - 2.5GHz i5, 16GB RAM, 60GB OWC SSD, 500GB HD
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jpinct

 
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Finished running Apple Hardware Test and it doesn't look good. Under "Mass Storage" it gave the error of: 2STF/8/3:ATA- 100 ata-6 - Master
I tried repartitioning the hard drive and then doing an erase and "zeroing" the drive as recommended in another thread I found. Still won't pass the hardware test. Same error message. I think it's about time to give up.

Recommendations on a new hard drive please?
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MacMan886

 
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Found this on another forum -

Error description:

STF
The STF error is related to the hard drive.

ATA
Your error refers to the ATA 100 bus controller, which is a chip that connects the hard drive to the mother (logic) board.

Master
The last part of the error message is master, which is what position the drive occupies. When there are two drives, many computers use a master/slave setup, which the master drive is the boot drive and the secondary slave drive is the storage drive. When there is only one drive, it is still referred to as the Master drive by default.

To summarize..The hard drive most likely failed and needs replacing.

It could also be the ribbon cable that connects the hard drive to the logic board, or the logic board itself.

-William
Late 2012 Mini - 2.5GHz i5, 16GB RAM, 60GB OWC SSD, 500GB HD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpinct View Post
Finished running Apple Hardware Test and it doesn't look good. Under "Mass Storage" it gave the error of: 2STF/8/3:ATA- 100 ata-6 - Master
I tried repartitioning the hard drive and then doing an erase and "zeroing" the drive as recommended in another thread I found. Still won't pass the hardware test. Same error message. I think it's about time to give up.

Recommendations on a new hard drive please?
That drive is toast. A replacement drive for your Mini can be found most anywhere. It's a SATA drive so there's plenty available from multiple sources. I'm not sure whether your Mini uses a 2.5" or 3.5" drive, so be sure to check that when you remove the old drive.

Once you determine what you need, go to just about any reseller of computers (Best Buy, Fry's, Staples, Office Depot, etc.) and buy a replacement. You can also shop on line if you choose.
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jpinct

 
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I've never had to replace a hard drive before (so forgive me for simple questions). What are the pro/cons of an internal vs external drive? How hard is it to replace an internal drive? I'm fairly techy but don't usually take apart computers. Thanks.
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chscag

 
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Replacing an internal drive in a Mac Mini is not an easy task but also not that difficult. The hardest part is getting into the machine. What I suggest is go to iFixit: The free repair manual and look up your model, then find the step by step instructions for changing the hard drive. Their DIY guides are excellent.

As far as using an external drive instead, you don't want to do that because it would be too slow. Remember that data to and from an external drive moves at the speed of the external bus (USB or firewire).
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jpinct

 
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My Mac Mini is a 1.42 G4 with 512 MB of RAM and either a 4200 or 5400 RPM hard drive (not sure yet). It has a Firewire 400 port. See specs here:
Mac mini G4/1.42 Specs (Mac mini, M9687LL/A*, PowerMac10,1, A1103, 2026) @ EveryMac.com
This is the secondary computer in our house that we mainly just use for web browsing. So two questions:
1) Even if we bought a 7200 RPM external drive and connected it via FireWire, it would still be noticeably slower than the original internal drive?
2) Since we only use it for web browsing, is there any reason to replace the RAM as well if I do replace the internal drive? Looks like we could upgrade to 1GB.

Thanks.
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Quote:
1) Even if we bought a 7200 RPM external drive and connected it via FireWire, it would still be noticeably slower than the original internal drive?

2) Since we only use it for web browsing, is there any reason to replace the RAM as well if I do replace the internal drive? Looks like we could upgrade to 1GB.
1. Yes because data is traveling back and forth at the speed of the FW bus which is considerably slower than the internal bus. And don't forget that if you use an external drive, that means you have to boot from it also which again will be slow.

2. An upgrade of memory to 1 GB should be fine and may in fact improve your web browsing experience.
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jpinct

 
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Thanks so much, everyone, for taking the time to answer my questions. Much appreciated. I will attempt to install the internal drive next week.
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