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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

Need to boot broken Mac-Mini using retail Snow Leopard 10.6 DVD


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zita_escobar

 
Member Since: Oct 26, 2011
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Hi,

In Summary:
==========
I have Mac Mini (late 2009) which does not boot anymore and I need to install Snow Leopard using retail DVD (version 10.6). The OS/installer from the DVD does not seem to boot either. I always very much appreciate the efforts of true geeks. So please, any casual beginner, please do not demoralize with something like "cannot be done" etc.


The complete story:
==================
The start of the problem:
------------------------
1. All of a sudden, one fine day, on start up, my Mac Mini strated to shut itself down without no apparent reason to me. When trying to boot, it would show a progress bar for about 5 minutes - I am assuming that was disk-consistency check being performed. My best guess is that right after the use of Carbon-Copy Cloner (but I am not 100% sure) it all strated to happen.

2. Performed Mac's Disk-Util check and [Verify Volume] used to display "invalid directory item count, should be 31 instead of 29". Surface scan said disk hardware is 100% fine. Volume Repair never worked, since OS X was installed on the primary disk. I lost the DVDs that came with this Mac Mini, so the option to boot from that DVD and launch Disk Util etc. was not possible.

TechTool Pro - No Help:
----------------------
3. Started googling and had to choose between [TechTool Pro] and [Disk Warrior], opted for TechTool Pro. Tried its bootable DVD only to learn that TechTool Pro cannot fix it. Again, it's surface scan suggested disk hardware is 100% fine. Sent the details to TechTool Pro support team, they couldn't help either after a couple of e-mails+data exchange. (How do I claim my lost money with TechTool Pro - suggestions appreciated as well).

Googling / Mac Forums:
---------------------
4. Started looking into forums, learnt that someone had successfully repaired this problem using Ubuntu 11.04 install DVD (i.e., without installing the Ubuntu, but just using its 'try from DVD' feature). I had that handy, but forgot to disable HFS+ journaling before attempting to fix the problem. Anyway, attempting volume repair that way couldn't fix the problem as well. However this step took away my ability to boot from Mac.

5. However using Ubuntu's bootable disk, I could access Mac-HDDs contents - and was able to successfully back-up *all* my important data.

6. Googled and learnt that just attempting to boot using Ubuntu DVD can take away ability to boot using Mac bootable media - possibly due to EFI internals. Suspecting EFI is now corrupt, I tried other 'hacks' like:

6.1 eEFIt Boot Disk - which does not work at all,
6.2 Empire EFI w/ Chameleon - not sure how to proceed with options presented - trying either does not work,
6.3 Super GRUB2 - boots fine, but attempting to boot from Mac-HDD fails after a couple of seconds,
6.4 Boot-132 - boots fine, prompt asks for input, but then I cannot eject/replace the DVD due to Mac-Mini (lack of) design,
6.5 Ubuntu 11.04 / 11.10 - still boots fine - just that I cannot go into Mac-OS-X from here,
6.6 TechTool Pro bootable DVD - which used to boot fine earlier stopped to boot.

As you can see, none worked successfully. So I didn't yet try other popular rescue media - as I suspect that is not the direction I need to go into.

>> Looks like most of my problems are due to the fact that I have Mac-Mini which does not allow eject/replace of DVD from command prompt / out side of Mac-OS-X.


7. Tried emptying EFI partition, playing with EFI/Mac-OS partitions boot flags, Zapping the PRAM, nothing still allows me to boot either from Mac-HDD or any Mac-Bootable-DVD.

Current State:
-------------
8. Now while boot time, Mac displays a gray screen for a few seconds, and then a blinking prompt on black background. That's it!

Snow Leopard 10.6 Retail Install DVD:
------------------------------------
9. Went to Mac store and bought this DVD only to witness that I can't boot from it as well. (This is a huge shocker, how is Apple able to sell these DVDs if these don't work on genuine MacMini itself. After all we are able to boot from and install Windows/Linux on a variety of Machines).


I am hoping for a very small step/fix that I am missing, since I can still see and access all Mac-HDD contents after booting from Ubuntu bootable DVD. However I am prepared for a good amount of exercise as well - assuming someone posts a valid/verified fix.


Things available right now:
==========================
A. Genuine Mac-Mini (Late 2009) who lost it's ability to boot either from its HDD or Mac-bootable DVDs (TechTools Pro, Mac OS X retail DVD)
B. Mac OS X 10.6 Retail DVD
C. NOT AVAILABLE - DVD that came with this Mac-Mini
D. Variety of rescue DVDs, listed in section 6 above
E. Another machine/PC with Ubuntu 11.04 - giving me ability to access internet


Thanks for reading.
Zita
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MacsWork

 
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For a first post you sound a little demanding. I'll try to be respectful.

Well,...It probably would have been a simple fix before you decided to start messing around. Please,....and this goes for everyone. Keep your linux out of the Mac.

Lets start at the bottom.

Remove the HD from the Mac Mini, put the OS X DVD in the drive and boot holding the option key. Does the DVD show in the list of bootable devices? Does it boot the machine if selected?

Yes? - Hooray
No?

Unplug all cables from the computer, including the power cord.
Wait 10 seconds.
Plug in the power cord while simultaneously pressing and holding the power button on the back of the computer.
Let go of the power button.
Press the power button once more to start up your Mac mini.

Repeat first suggestion.

You've clearly spent a lot of time on this. By my estimates you already bought another Mac Mini with all of the time spent. I understand your frustration.
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zita_escobar

 
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Thanks for your attempt to reply MacsWork. Please do not be a judge of whether I was messing around or not - based on the fact (100% fact) that a Mac OS X DVD that claims to be an OS installer does not even boot. Please do not try to defend Apple without being unbiased. A single person cannot be a global Mac-Cop for 'everyone'. Whether 'we' keep Linux out of 'our' Mac is totally up to us.

Option key while booting used to work when Mac OS X used to boot normally. Now that it doesn't boot, option key also stopped working. Also, as evident from step 7 mentioned in original post "Zapping the PRAM" was already attempted.

We all have our lessons learnt, another Mac Mini is out of question.

Any other genuine geeks please? Any accurate hackint0sh type suggestions are very much welcome.
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MacsWork

 
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hacint0shing got you into this mess. The mess of "from bad to worse". I'm not judging, just pointing out the 100% fact that you did mess around.

Lets just be civil.

About the Firmware Restoration CD (Intel-based Macs)
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zita_escobar

 
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Ok, thanks MacsWork - very useful again.

Any other genuine geeks please? Any accurate hackint0sh type suggestions are very much welcome.
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harryb2448

 
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At the risk of stirring up your biting sarcasm, you need a new optical drive. All laptops and computers using slot loaders have a high failure rate.

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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zita_escobar

 
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Not true - DVD drive works fine when booted with Linux or any other rescue DVD.
Again, it's not a hardware problem. If not sure, please refrain from posting.
Thanks.
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G4 ibookboy

 
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Why not erase the hard drive, reformat the hard drive and then reinstall snow leopard. Or you can always give me the mini since you seem to think you know more than apple and want to boot snow leopard with Linux and then act suprised when it doesn't work
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zita_escobar

 
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Never mind - this forum didn't help me.
For now I am settled with Ubuntu 11.10 on it - works perfectly fine.
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harryb2448

 
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Great!

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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dkns1

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zita_escobar View Post
Never mind - this forum didn't help me.
For now I am settled with Ubuntu 11.10 on it - works perfectly fine.
i have the same issue with my mini same specs also, did u ever find a solution?
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MacsWork

 
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About the Firmware Restoration CD (Intel-based Macs)
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zita_escobar

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkns1 View Post
i have the same issue with my mini same specs also, did u ever find a solution?
Hi dkns1 - sorry for noticing your post as I didn't login to this forum during all this time.

No - I never found any solution. The Mac-Mini has been keep unused all this time and I have been using a different computer with Ubuntu on it.

The reason being - I was able to find out that there is a hardware issue with my Mac-Mini - as some SMC-temperature monitoring application was reporting a very high temperature for (just vaguely remembering) Math co-processor. That was the primary reason why the Mac-Mini was shutting itself down after a few hours of use initially - then with day-by-day usage - after every few minutes. So, in my case, it was not the hard-disk failure issue; but over-heating (without any heavy use/processing at all). Probably this is something that TechTool Pro does not look for.

Hopefully over next few days, I'll try to revive this machine again - either with any Mac-OS-X or with Ubuntu. I am just able to open the Mac-Mini case - next steps will be identifying the over-heating component (or a slow/clogged fan). Hope is high - chances are low

Cheers.
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