Mac Mini failure - > 1/2 hour to startup

MARSPATH
MARSPATH used Ask the Experts™
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Experiencing a Mac Mini failure - > 1/2 hour to startup,

Booting MacMini from cold start with no attached peripherals with LAN (works OK)  after 45 minutes still no startup screen.

Seems I have a problem here which I propose to solve with another MacMini to which I will transfer contents from Time Machine (or Acronis True Image backup) and expect to start work again. I have a another networked MacMini which has most of the files from failed unit.

Can I reformat failed MacMini to see if software failure is the problem? If, so how?

Other ideas welcome!
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Your question screams that you have a failing hard disk drive; but, I have yet to find a mac utility that is as nice as HDTune for the mac.  do you have the ability to remove the drive and connect it to a Windows PC as a second drive for testing?
If you do, go to http://www.hdtune.com/download.html and download hdtunepro_570_trial.exe which is free for 15 days.  I'd suggest you save it before you install it; but, either way, you need to install it and run it.  Select the Mac Mini's drive from the drop down list at the top.
Look first on the Health tab.  The most important numbers are what is in the data (fourth) column for (05) Reallocated Sector Count and (C5)Current Pending Sector.  If either one of them is not zero, plain and simple, the drive is failing.  As long as it's there, you might want to look at (BF) G-sense Error Rate.  The number in the data (fourth) column is how many times the drive has detected excessive shocks.
Even if (05) and (C5) are zero, I would strongly suggest for you to go to the Error Scan tab and run it by clicking Start.  It may take hours if you have a one or two TeraByte drive; but, that is the surest test to verify the drive's operation.  If even one red box appears, you found the reason why your PC is freezing or running slow.
MARSPATHRetired EE/Computers/IT

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Commented:
Good help - thanks,  here is good, detailed video for replacing MacMini hard drive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ab3F4yI6G0o

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