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

Mac Mini will not boot from any device.


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Seventh

 
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Member Since: Oct 10, 2009
Location: Boston, MA
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Mac Specs: 27" iMac, 17" MBP, Mini x2

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Hi folks,
I have a 2009 Mac Mini (the first rev that had HDMI) and I'm having some issues with it. It won't boot to any device at all, I just get the Apple logo and the spinning grey wheel. If I bring up the boot manager, it does see the hard drive (both the primary and recovery partitions) and the DVD, but choosing any of them doesn't seem to do much - i still get the indefinite spinning wheel.

Here's what I've tried:
  • Reseated everything, checked all the connections, reconnected them all about 12 times (heh).
  • Swapped to a different hard drive (SSD vs regular SATA drive)
  • Reset the NVRAM/SMC
  • Tried booting to a USB drive, no luck there either (hangs)
  • Created a Mavericks SD Card installer, also no luck (hangs)
  • Tried booting to a DVD (hangs)

I'm at a bit of a loss. I don't care about the data (it's just an HTPC and I have a backup), but I can't get it to boot at all. I do get the startup chimes. I've tried booting into hardware test, but I believe that looks for utilities on either the hard drive or an external drive, neither of which are working for me.

I don't think it's the hardware controller, because if I bring up boot manager it DOES see the respective partitions on the hard drive and the flash drives. I ran an fsck in single user, and both disks I'm using came back clean.
ld be much appreciated. Thanks!

After letting it sit in verbose mode for about an hour, this is the last message that comes up: "considerRebuildOfPrelinkedKernel prebuild rebuild has expired"

I've done some Googling and a lot of the results just point to a fresh install, which I'd be more than happy to do if I could get the system to boot from any device at all. At this point I'm willing to give anything a shot. I can't run the AHT because it never gets anywhere when I try to boot from the DVD.

Any insight would be much appreciated. Thanks!
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chscag

 
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First.. I edited your title since it stated it was an iMac in the title when in fact the machine in question is a Mac Mini.

Also, you keep referring to a Boot Manager. Are you using a Boot Manager or do you mean Disk Utility from your Mavericks recovery partition?

It appears you tried everything that I would have normally suggested doing. It almost sounds like a hardware problem with the logic board itself. That would be unusual for a Mini but it could happen.
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Seventh

 
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Sorry - been a long, frustrating day. My iMac works just fine, heh, and it is indeed a Mini that's giving me heartburn.

When I say boot manager, I'm talking about holding the option key on boot, and seeing the available list of boot devices. I see both the Mac HD, the recovery partition, my SD card Mavericks install and the OEM DVD that came with the system.

I can't bring up Disk Utility, because I can't boot to the recovery partition, or from the DVD. I wish I could.
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OK, I understand now. It does appear there's a hardware problem with the Mini and like I said above, it could be the logic board. I don't think there is anything else you can try that you've already tried. I'm assuming from your first post that you've been inside the machine and inspected the SATA cable?
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Seventh

 
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I appreciate the replies all the same.

Yeah, I've had the logic board completely out. All the cables look good, the connections are fine, the memory is seated correctly - I even tried a different set of RAM that I had kicking around just in case.

It's driving me nuts, because single user can see the drives just fine. I can fsck 'em, browse my files, etc. I just can't get the thing to boot. I've been poking around and an Apple replacement would be around $400, plus the ~$100 bench fee (according to Google), So I'm at the point where I may as well just get a current gen model for $599 and call it a day.

...After I take this thing apart about 19 more times, of course. If I do sort it out I'll post back what the magic was, and if anyone else has any obscure suggestions I'll certainly give them a shot.
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dtravis7

 
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I would offer some more suggestions but it appears you have done everything I can think of to suggest! That is strange indeed. I would say try new Firmware but with your situation can't think of a way to update that. It very maybe something on the Logic board.

If you do run into the issue, do let us know. Yours is a real head scratcher!! Good luck!

And you say if you hold down Shift it boots into Single User mode to the prompt? Very strange.

What happens when you boot from say your Flash Drive with Mavericks? Just spins that wheel on the gray screen?
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Seventh

 
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Yep. I made a Mavericks installer on every medium I could think of, and it's the same for each. Just the gray apple screen with the wheel. (Thumbdrive, SD Card, external USB drive, etc).

I didn't say anything about shift for single user mode though.

What's more odd is that this machine is the most low-use Mac that I have. It doesn't move, it gets turned on maybe once a week, and for years has been bulletproof. I just fire it up, watch a movie here and there and then shut it off. It's driving me nuts!

I do appreciate the replies though - you know how this stuff goes. Sometimes just hearing back from someone can make you feel a bit better, haha.

Edit: Do you (or does anyone else) know what should normally come after this kernel message?

""considerRebuildOfPrelinkedKernel prebuild rebuild has expired""

That's where it dies in verbose mode.
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dtravis7

 
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Command+S or Command+V. I was thinking Safe mode, sorry!

Did you try booting with Shift held down? Just curious what would happen.
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Seventh

 
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Yeah, I get the little progress bar, and then not much else happens. Basically it sits there mocking me for not using it enough, apparently.

Are there any hardware diagnostics that I can run from single user?
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