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visiondr
01-20-2009, 04:33 PM
My Mac Mini is giving me a grey screen - no "spinning gears" on grey background - just grey and frozen there with the CPU (and the fan) ramping up to full speed. To make matters worse, I can't startup from my system disk or from any other CD/DVD because the computer won't accept the disk in the drive - it just nudges it out. I've tried all the usual startup keyboard sequences, to no effect. Fortunately I have religiously backed up my Mac via SuperDuper to an external Firewire drive. Unfortunately, this isn't a bootable backup, it is a disc image and there isn't room to restore back to that same drive on its other existing partition. Now, I will have a friend's Firewire drive to use to facilitate a swap of data via my wife's MacBook. Here's what I propose to do. Can you tell me if there's anything I'm missing?

1) physically connect the MacBook, Firewire drive A (with OSX disc image), and Firewire drive B (blank and formatted "Apple Partition Map") - I understand Firewire drives can be daisy chained together.

2) Restore from Firewire drive A to Firewire drive B

3) connect Firewire drive B to Mac Mini and attempt to start Mini via drive B (option key held down to force Mini to search for an alternative boot source)

4) run Disk Utility to determine physical and software health of Mini HD. Attempt to repair Mini HD system.

5) If Mini HD is physically sound (no damage), but System is not repairable, then reformat Mini HD.

6) if Mini starts up from Firewire drive B and operates normally, then use Super Duper to copy files from drive B to Mini. Restart Mini on its own.

7) If Mini operates normally on its own, run Disc Utility on Mini HD to test/repair.

8) Backup Mini to Firewire drive A - this time no nore disk images!

So, do you think this might work?

Thank you.

Ron

dnanian
01-20-2009, 05:28 PM
That sounds pretty reasonable, yes. Although why not repair the mini directly from the MacBook, rather than starting it up from the image? And, once done, you can restore directly from image -> mini from the Macbook, no?

visiondr
01-20-2009, 06:05 PM
That sounds pretty reasonable, yes. Although why not repair the mini directly from the MacBook, rather than starting it up from the image? And, once done, you can restore directly from image -> mini from the Macbook, no?

Good question. Unfortunately (again with the "unfortunately") the MacBook is Intel-based and the Mini is a G4 so. For that reason I don't think the Mini will be able to boot from the MacBook. Or will it? I fired up the MacBook in target disc mode and then tried to start the Mini using the MacBook as System. This didn't work. Does that make sense? Before I try anything else, though, I'll double check this by connecting the Mini and the MacBook and restart the Mini with "option" key held down. Though I doubt that will work for the same reason as I mentioned earlier.

Ron

dnanian
01-20-2009, 06:09 PM
I'm not saying the mini can boot from the MacBook. I'm suggesting that you connect the mini to the MacBook, with the mini in Target mode. You can then repair it.

visiondr
01-20-2009, 06:20 PM
So, you're suggesting I start up the mini in Target Disc Mode (hold down "T" at start up)? I may have tried that as well. I'll try it just in case. However, I suspect that'll fail just as all the other keyboard startup shortcuts failed.

dnanian
01-20-2009, 06:24 PM
Yes, that's what I'm suggesting. Target mode will start up from the ROM, so it should work.

visiondr
01-20-2009, 06:30 PM
Hmm, that makes sense. Start up the Mini in Target Disc Mode whilst connected to the MacBook. Then launch Disc Utility from the MacBook, repair (attempt to repair) the Mini. If that works, great. However, we still have the issue of the Mini not responding to keyboard startup commands (a wired USB keyboard). Oh wait, it did respond when I reset the PRAM, though no other startup keyboard shortcuts worked. Maybe this will work. I'll try it and get back to you.
Thanks.
Ron

visiondr
01-21-2009, 12:03 PM
Well, sad to say, nothing worked. I think the Mini is dead. I'm taking it into my local Mac store for a diagnostic/repair. Thanks again for your help. It's a good thing I have everything backed up.
Ron

dnanian
01-21-2009, 12:07 PM
Definitely good. Hope it all works out, Ron.

visiondr
02-03-2009, 09:57 PM
Dave,
I just thought I'd follow up with you on what happened.
It turned out that the Mini's optical drive was toast. Apparently, the optical drive shares a bus with the hard drive and thus it won't boot from the HD or the optical drive when the optical drive is out of commission. A simple swap of the optical drive and I'm back in business.
Thanks again for your help and your great product (which, as it turns out, I didn't even need this time).
Ron

dnanian
02-03-2009, 11:16 PM
Good to hear, Ron!