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

mini - Start Up Problems w/ Mini


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brian00321

 
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Starting this morning, my Mini 's been giving me one BIG problem. It's a older Mac Mini Model m9686ll/b (1.25 Ghz; Tiger; bought 2 years ago; never modified; never opened). I've never had a problem with my Mac 'til now.

Well this morning when I turned on my mac everything seemed alright for a couple of minutes. I turned it on, logged in, and opened one of my foreign language mp3 files for listening, as part of daily reviewing. The file played fine. Then minutes after I was finished with that file I opened Finder. So I could find and continue on with the next mp3 file. So here is where the problem begins...

My mac was giving me a good 'ole PC syndrome. Nothing was responding. The rainbow cursor was spinning. I let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. To no avail it was still spinning. Nothing responding. I was left with no other option but to manual shut off (little button on the back), which I want avoid at all cost.

So I let it sit for about 20-30 minutes. My brain running around in circles hoping that my Mac was not screwed forever and more importantly the files in it. After some cool off time I turned it back on. Now it will not go anywhere. It stays stuck at the gray Apple start up screen when you turn it on. The wheel under the apple spinning relentlessly.

I left it there for about 15-20 minutes. Again. Nothing. So I was left, once more, with no alternative but to manual shut off. I have a feeling the manual shut off was no good for my mac, but I just wanted to get the thing working. Repeated the same cycle 5 times. Leaving the Mac to sit and make up it's mind about wanting to start up or not. Just hoping it'd get past the stupid screen. But nothing happened. I just sits at the gray Apple start up screen.

Anyone have ideas about what's wrong with my Mini? Anyone else ever encountered this problem. The thing has me all worked up and stressed out. I'm taking a random guess and I hope I'm right since it wouldn't be a major problem. But could it be a loose ram card? I'd take a loose ram card over a screwed hard drive any day.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Brian
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Wilcon

 
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Hard to say. Pop it open and take a look.

There are 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who don't.

There are two types of IT problems in the world. PEBKAC and ID 10 T's.
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brian00321

 
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It's a hard drive problem. If it was a RAM problem it'd beep when the Mac Mini is turned on. I just tried it. Everything is good ram wise. I ran Disk Utility through the CD. When I tried to "verify" the HD I got "Invalid node structure" "The volume on Macintosh HD needs to be repaired" "1 HFS volume checked; volume needs repair".

Then I clicked on repair and got "1 HFS volume checked; 1 volume could not bve repaired because of an error".

Would wiping the hard drive and reinstalling do any good? I tried reinstalling twice without wiping out old files and got an installation error both times.
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the8thark

 
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Completely erasing the hard drive might just do the trick.

And have you tried the Hardware test function. I think you press D when you restart your machine with your system cd in the drive. And it should give you a better idea of what's up with your hard drive.
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brian00321

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the8thark View Post
Completely erasing the hard drive might just do the trick.

And have you tried the Hardware test function. I think you press D when you restart your machine with your system cd in the drive. And it should give you a better idea of what's up with your hard drive.
You mean C? I tried D and nothing came up. Thanks for the help though. I'm reformatting the HD right now. Let you know how it turns out.
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the8thark

 
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Yeah I meant C. I just forgot what letter it was. Thanks.
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brian00321

 
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Problem solved. Thanks.
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Edit. Problem not solved. I shut down the Mac last night. Turned it on this morning and something similar happened again. Except on the gray screen there was no apple! Just a icon that looked like a folder and question that kept on blinking.

I tried reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling Tiger again. Except this time whenever I got to the step to select which path to install Tiger my hard drive was not there! I tried verify and repair same results as before. Nothing. And of course if the install disc can't recognize the hard drive it can't install.

So what options are left? My gut tells me I'll have to buy a new hard drive once and for all. Probably external. Too scared to take apart the Mini. Help anyone?
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Had you heard some clicking sounds coming from the hard drive prior to this?

Usually when a hard drive goes bad, you have warning sounds, it's never happened to me but for those that went through a hard drive failure, most of the users reported hearing weird noises coming from the hd before the final crash.
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brian00321

 
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Thanks for the quick reply. As to past hard drive clicking. Don't remember hearing anything similar to a clicking noise. I checked again just now and the hard drive "sounds" normal, quiet, and smooth; but it's just not working. Again thanks for the help everyone.
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Apart from having reinstalled Tiger, did you reinstall any third-party apps?

Also, when this started happening, had you added a new peripheral to your set up?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHeadCase View Post
Apart from having reinstalled Tiger, did you reinstall any third-party apps?
?
After I got everything up, running, and normal again, I reinstalled MSN Messenger, Acquisition, and let the Mac do it's updating (10.4.7, iWorks, iTunes, etc.).

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Also, when this started happening, had you added a new peripheral to your set up?
Apart from the mouse, keyboard, and monitor. No. Nothing.
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MacHeadCase
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Ok because I'm not sure at this point if the problem is software or hardware, that's the thing.

Aside from having run Disk Utility, did you try anything else in terms of troubleshooting like resetting the PRAM or anything else?

Oh and about your OS Tiger reinstalls, which method do you use? Is it the Archive and Install option? Because I'm thinking that if there is a big corruption in the system to begin with, with that method you reimport on each occasion this deep problem...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHeadCase View Post
Aside from having run Disk Utility, did you try anything else in terms of troubleshooting like resetting the PRAM or anything else?
Resetting PRAM? Never tried it. I don't remember seeing it on the Start Up Disc.

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Oh and about your OS Tiger reinstalls, which method do you use? Is it the Archive and Install option? Because I'm thinking that if there is a big corruption in the system to begin with, with that method you reimport on each occasion this deep problem...
The two times I tried it with the "Archive and Install option", and it failed both times to reinstall. So then I tried a third time and selected the last option to clean house and restart fresh again. It worked. The Mac installed all of it's updates, etc. and things were back to normal. Or so it seemed. Until I turned the Mac back on this morning.
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MacHeadCase
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Ok let's try this.

Pop in your Tiger install disk and start up just like you were going to reinstall again but before launching the installer, in the menubar at the top there should be something having to do with Disk Utility. Launch it and select your hard drive's icon and ask to delete but choose the option to zero all the data. A word of warning, this will be a bit longer than usual so be patient: what this does is goes through a very deep erase of all the data on the hard drive.

Once that process is finished (could take a couple of hours depending on how much stuff you have on the hard drive) you can then launch the OS installer.

Do nothing with your Mac when the install and updating is underway, just let the installation process go on its own merry way.

Install all the OS updates (best if you can install a Combo update - go here for the manual download: Apple Support Downloads) and let it do its thing. Once the update is installed, restart. Unless you have a major problem with this, get your OS Tiger version to 10.4.11.

Launch Software update for the rest of the Apple software updating on your hard drive.

Restart and test it for a while, see how it goes.

Re-install one by one the third-party software but leaving you, between installs, enough time to check out if all is working correctly (this might take a couple of days). This way you might be able to pinpoint the problematic and conflicting software along the way.

If ever the problem comes back, try to reset the PRAM and NVRAM. (If your Mini is PowerPC, you could also try from that page the Open Firmware trick)

If after all this there is still conflict, I would think it is safe to say it is a hardware problem. In that case, it would be best to get it in for repairs, have a tech look at it. It might not be the hard drive at all, who knows.
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