2012 mac mini hanging at white screen on boot

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Oujmik, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2012
    My newish 2012 mini is hanging for ages (possibly indefinitely, certainly several minutes) at the white screen when starting up. There is no apple symbol, it does not respond to keyboard input such as holding shift for safe mode etc. it doesn't even get as far as powering up my FW800 external drive (although there is power to the USB bus as lights come on on other peripherals). The only thing I can do is power down again by holding the button.

    I have heard this and similar issues referred to as 'the white screen of death' and the solution for some people seems to be PRAM resets or SMC resets. I managed to do a PRAM reset once, not sure how, I just got lucky and it responded to the keyboard. THis appeared to solve the problem, but now it's back and I can't reset the PRAM as it no longer responds to the keyboard. I'll try an SMC reset tonight.

    Is there any way I can diagnose this, any kind of log that is produced? I tried starting in verbose mode but again no response to the keyboard. It's very disappointing as I spent a lot on the mini and I've already had black screens to contend with, now I've got white ones! Could it be another HD4000 bug? Is there a handshake process over DVI which could be stalling the mini?
  2. macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2012
    You should disconnect all usb-peripherials and start again.
  3. macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    Can you boot to the Recovery Partition? If so, then reinstall the OS from there and see if that helps.

    However, if a brand new product doesn't work, then take it back to Apple. Assuming there isn't something odd about your setup, then it's likely to be a hardware fault.

    Get it to Apple, who will either sort it out via software; or repair the hardware; or replace it.
  4. macrumors 603


    If he can get into recovery mode which I doubt he can try to repair permissions and repair disk instead of reinstalling.

    To the OP, is the mouse and keyboard wireless or wired, use a wired keyboard, the wireless if you tried that one might not work because the driver for it could not be loaded yet.
  5. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2012
    Thanks for replies so far. I really don't want the hassle of returning to Apple if I can fix it myself, but obviously if it persists then that's the road I'll have to go down. My previous mac mini was far less issue-prone and I'm feeling pretty down on the whole purchase. If only Windows wasn't so awful I'd be very tempted to start speccing up a PC right now... (assuming I could get my money back from Apple!) and I've been Apple since Mac OS 7...

    I'm hopeful that I can get it started after an SMC reset (or just at random since the problem seemed to be sporadic at first) and then try disk utility etc. I think I ran disk utility after the first occurence and it found no issues. It's a fusion drive though, so I'm worried it could fail in new and unusual ways! I have a full time machine backup so no risk of losing anything, just very annoying.

    I'll unplug all USBs and replace my wireless mouse with a wired one to see if things improve.
  6. macrumors member

    Nov 8, 2012

    Happened to me yesterday and for the life of me I couldn't figure it out.

    Then i unplug my external HD and thumb drive, rebooted and voila! works like a champ again!
  7. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2012
    Well... it's fixed at least for now but not sure how and no closer to understanding it. After leaving the computer on white screen all day, I came home to find that it had booted. So I ran disk utility, it didn't find anything but to be safe I booted into recovery and ran it again. After this the startup time was noticeably shorter than it had been prior to the issue - back to the near instant boot that the mini had when brand new. I haven't actually shut the mini down for any length of time since the 'fix' so the true test will be whether it boots up fine tomorrow...
  8. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2012
    Ah! It's not fixed after all! This morning it's back to the white screen of death... it's been that way for an hour so I've left it in the hope that it will get there eventually as it did yesterday. It seems to only be an issue after a full shutdown (i.e. not a restart). Will have to investigate further.
  9. justperry, Dec 7, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012

    macrumors 603


    You should start up in verbose mode, this way you can see where it hangs and report here.

    what I meant by this is that you should have set it to boot verbose when it worked before, if it eventually starts do this before shutting down.
    I will tell you the command later, I am eating chicken, can't type much now.;)

    To turn on Verbose booting, at the Terminal type the following:
    sudo nvram boot-args=”-v”

    Disabling Verbose booting is just as easy:
    sudo nvram boot-args=

    Link: Always Start up in Verbose Mode
  10. Oujmik, Dec 7, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012

    thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2012
  11. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2012
    Thanks for the tips. I'll turn on verbose boot and hopefully then we'll start to get some useful data on the problem. I'm not looking forward to having to explain all this to an applecare rep over the phone (although perhaps the mention of verbose boot will get me put through to a techie) so hopefully I can solve this with your help...
  12. macrumors 65816

    Sir Ruben

    Jul 3, 2010
    This also happened to me, Mac would sit on a white screen for ages and then EVENTUALLY boot up, turned out to be me external Hdd which had stopped responding. Rebooted that and then the mac booted as normal.

    Here's a vid I made of what I was experiencing:

  13. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2012
    My only external HDD is my FW800 drive which I unplugged when the issue first occurred. I do have a few US devices which could be suspects... the mini has booted again now so time to start investigating.
  14. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2012
    So... after some testing, it appears to be some kind of USB related issue but I don't understand it. If I do a restart it's fine, if I do a shutdown then boot a minute later it's fine, if I leave it off for an hour then boot, it hangs. Even in verbose mode it doesn't get far enough to show anything. However, as soon as I unplugged my EyeTV USB it booted. Weird, but ultimately tolerable if it doesn't get worse. Will test further...
  15. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2012

    Okay, so it looks like the problem has been traced down to a faulty USB extension cable. This failed completely today so hopefully no more issues now it's gone.
  16. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2012
    Not resolved!

    Ahhh!! It's still not over! Yesterday I was convinced that the USB extension cable I use to connect my EyeTV tuner was to blame. Evidence for this was:

    Whenever I unplugged the cable and the device, the white screen instantly resolved. Plugging it back in later caused no problem.

    After a few days, another problem emerged: the tuner couldn't be seen at all, it was as if it wasn't plugged in. Unplugging and replugging made no difference but a different extension cable instantly resolved the issue.

    But this morning... white screen! Unplug USB, mini boots... replug USB... tuner vanished again!

    Maybe the device itself has gone faulty. Problem is this only happens when the mini has been off for a while, so it is very hard to test.
  17. macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2014
    Thank you tads. Unplugged usbs while comp was on and apple logo appeared immediately. Boot proceeded and I was good to go!
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
    interestingly, i was not able to get mine to boot in verbose mode after i used the command you suggested. I do have FV2 enabled on the SSD boot drive. any clues?
  19. macrumors regular


    Sep 28, 2014
    white screen

    Same thing happened to me last week. Had a repair man (authorized, but not Apple store) check it out. The machine responds in a random way to changed configurations (an old trick: swap the ram cards) but the white screen comes earlier and more frequently with each power up. What happened is at some point you overheated the logic board and you are now seeing progressive failures. Only real solution is to switch out the board. Overheating is a problem with macs. The pretty packages do not allow for large heat sinks and good air flow.

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