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Mac Mini Hangs on Startup

Posted on 2006-11-12
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
Hello, I have to start by saying that I am a Mac novice, very experienced in Windows but know next to nothing about Macs.  Problem is: recently I was downloading updates to the OS as prompted by Apple and received an error during the download/install process. The system attempted to reboot and now hangs during the reboot process. I initially get a screen with the Mac apple symbol and a small circle at the bottom then after about 30 seconds the screen turns a solid shade of blue and the mouse icon shows up. I tried to restore from my original install disks and when I boot from the install disk, holding the Alt(option) key, I eventually get a screen that has three icons, on the left is a circular arrow, in the center is a hard disk symbol, and on the right is a right arrow. When I press the right arrow it goes to the frozen screen, when I press the other two icons, (disk and circular arrow) nothing happens. Help, any suggestions?
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Question by:TBousky
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Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 17927029
The first thing to do is to try resetting the PRAM (parameter RAM). From a cold boot, boot while holding down the command-Option-P-R key combination until you hear the startup chime for the third time. Then release and hold down the shift key to try to boot with extensions off. If this allows you to boot, then open Disk Utiltiy (found in Applications:Utilities) and run Repair Permissions. Then reboot.

If resetting the PRAM will not allow you to boot, then try booting from the OS X install disk by booting while holding down the C key. Once booted, instead of re-installing, pull down one of the menues to Disk Utility and this time instead of Repair Permission, select Repair Drive.

Let us know how you make out.
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Expert Comment

by:slyong
ID: 17927170
If you system is corrupted, you can restore your system by putting in the install DVD and hold down 'c' key.  Then just reinstall you system.
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Author Comment

by:TBousky
ID: 17930143
Hi, thanks for the suggestions, I was able to boot my system into safe mode by holding down SHIFT during the boot. Followed the suggestions in Apple knowledge base item http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=106464#symp1. Walked through the simple ones rebooted and same problem. Once I get booted in safe mode the system seems to function properly. I tried running the disk utility once the system booted and it hangs and says a required background process or utility is missing. Any other suggestions? I would rather not restore unless I have to, my experience says that takes me from bad to worse...... :-)

Welcome your ideas.
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Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 17930282
Try all of the suggestions in that Apple KB article.
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by:Lieven Embrechts
ID: 17971312
It's much more effective to run the disk utility from the installation CD/DVD.
Just boor the system from cd (holding down the c after power-up)
and select the disc utilities in the menu.
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Accepted Solution

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Kelmon earned 750 total points
ID: 17971438
One possible "Get out of jail free" options could be to re-install OS X using the system restore disks that came with the Mini but select the "Archive & Install" option.  Using this option will effectively mothball your existing OS X installation, install a clean version of OS X but maintain all your data and applications.  I believe (and wiser people can correct me on this one) that once you have installed OS X again that you can simply trash the old OS X installation (should be placed into a new folder called "Previous System") to reclaim your disk space and get on with life again.
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