cant boot CD to install OSX

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by leftkidney, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. leftkidney macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2009
    I have a mac mini A1114 1.86 with 1gb ram (I plan on getting 2gb if i can get this working)

    I had to replace the HD it died and spinrite couldnt recover anything so I just bought a new one - I installed it with no problems except for I cant get it to boot to install OSX

    I bought the newest OSX for my macbook pro and I tried to install it on the mini and it wouldnt even boot from the CD or recognize it, I then tried the original install discs I got with the computer which is OSX 10.4.7 and it wont install or even recognize the disc

    then I put the Windows XP install disc I have and it installed just fine, so I have only windows installed - I didnt even install bootcamp it was a new HD that was not formatted at all and I installed windows xp with no problems which I thought was strange

    I need to install OSX and holding the "C" key down during boot dont do anything

    what can I do?

    remove the HD and format it in HFS and then put it back in? - thats a lot of work so I would rather have a different fix
  2. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    you need an external hdd with mac osx on it. now you have a macbook pro with lion on it from what I read. I you clone the macbook internal to an external hdd attach the hdd to the mac mini boot with your finger on the option key of the keyboard. you should get the choice of hdds to boot the internal of the mini with windows and the attached hdd with lion. pick the lion and boot.

    Of course this would have been really easy if you had an external hdd with a clone of the mac mini osx. so here is a free cloner link
  3. KScottMyers macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2009
    Orlando, FL

    A few things here.

    • The latest version of OS X (10.7) will not install on a mini Core Solo. You need a Core 2 Duo at the least for Lion.

    • When trying to boot from the 10.4.7 DVD, have you tried holding down the "option" key for the startup manager? This will show any available bootable media. Does the DVD show up as an option?


    Verify that the DVD drive is working properly after your HD install.

    • Zap the PRAM - Reboot your Mac and hold down "Command+Option+P+R" while its booting, when you hear the startup sound for the seond time the operation is complete, and you can release the key combination.

    • Now with the 10.4.7 DVD inserted, boot holding down the option key to see the DVD as a boot option.

    • If it still doesn't show up - try a different USB keyboard

    Once you can boot from the DVD - format the drive as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and do your OS X install.
  4. leftkidney thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2009
    I just noticed that about 10.7 on the mac mini - thats OK because I have bought every version before that and still have them - so I will use what 10.5? or 10.6? or does it even matter

    here are some things that I know for sure

    first I am using a apple wired keyboard, one of those flat ones with the number pad so this should not be a problem - also it works because I have used it in the past and it works in windows just fine - I will try another keyboard just in case

    cd drive works fine, I have installed windows xp with no problems - it reads discs in windows

    install disc works fine I have checked it in another computer, but I dont know if there is a check sum somewhere I can compare

    I can hold option during boot and it does nothing except boot into windows

    if I hold option command P R nothing happens - it sings and then boots into windows

    I can hold the mouse button and have it eject the disc that works

    I will try some things tonight when I get home - thanks for all your help I will report back with the results
  5. KScottMyers, Dec 4, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2011

    KScottMyers macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    I have experienced where the aluminum Apple keyboard has not worked on some older model Macs when using startup commands. Thats why I suggested using a different one for testing purposes.
    See thread:

    If you want a dual boot system, I suggest using Boot Camp since it provides more options for controlling both OS's - like for OS startup selection, partition resizing, specific Windows drives to your hardware, etc.

    Good luck.
  6. leftkidney thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2009
    nope I dont care mush about dual boot I only ended up with windows installed because I was out of options and wanted to see if anything happened when I put it in - and it installed, strange

    but they keyboard worked fine during the windows install and it is also the same keyboard that was used with the computer before with no problems, I could hold the option key and dual boot with boot camp no problem before the HD crash

    I dont understand why apple computers dont have normal things like a hole to put a paper clip into and eject a disc - a bios or a efi that I can do thing in and change something - a mouse with a physical right button! lol seriously the mighty mouse sucks big time

    but if I had a bios or if the efi was like newer pc boards I could maybe do something and make it boot from the CD without having to hold the "C" key down

    I am going to round up all my keyboards from my other house and try all of them, I have so many one of them has to work some are from early days and have nice clicky keys and some are apple keyboards that are the clear plastic type before the thin ones

    is there a way to put my HD into an external case with firewire and connect it to my macbook pro and then install a copy of OSX thats like a "universal" copy or whatever - a copy thats not for the macbook pro hardware so when I put it into the mac mini it will just act like a new computer and boot up like when you get a new computer? - with windows there are ways to put a copy on a HD and put that into any computer and it will detect the hardware and figure things out and install thats how dell and hp and others used to do it they put a copy on hundreds of HD at a time and then put them into many different computers and when you turned it on it would figure it out and ask you for your name and so on
  7. KScottMyers macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    I wouldn't get too frustrated. Apple does things a bit differently and normally theses things are not issues. You just need to trouble shoot the problem and get it resolved. Normally you would just boot off the DVD and away you go. You have a problem and you need to resolve it.

    Having holes for stuck DVDs and providing an editable Bios is not the Apple way of doing things. Ive been using a Macs for over 20 years and there really is no need for this anyways. The machines are designed to work a certain way and once you know what to look for - its easy. Just different.

    As for the install - I would try to track down the problem and resolve it, but yes you can always install the OS from another machine and swap the drive back.

    Options - Boot the mini in Target Disk Mode so it just shows up as a hard drive for your MacBook (using Firewire). Do the OS install on the mini drive. There are several OS DVD installs that are very specific to the Mac model - so not sure which one you have. This could be an issue and it may not allow it to run on the mini. You can possibly test this by trying to boot the MacBook drive using the MacBook in TDM and booting from the mini.

    Once again - I'd try to solve the issue first.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    "is there a way to put my HD into an external case with firewire and connect it to my macbook pro and then install a copy of OSX thats like a "universal" copy or whatever - a copy thats not for the macbook pro hardware so when I put it into the mac mini it will just act like a new computer and boot up like when you get a new computer?"

    Yes, there is.

    Can you afford to spend $20 ?

    If so, check these out:
    (many items shown, they all work the same, just pick one you like that's cheap)

    With a USB/SATA dock, just connect it to the Mac, slip a SATA drive into it, and it will behave "as if" it were a regular "external" drive.

    You can even boot from these, if necessary. You can install a system onto it, and then reboot from the dock to test things out.

    If you don't mind spending the $$$, it will become one of the most valued peripherals that you own.....
  9. leftkidney thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2009
    well I took the HD out and wiped it using dban a single pass to remove the partition table

    I put it back in and put the osx install disc in and it says something about inserting a install disc or something like that - but since the HD is blank and there is a OSX install disc in the drive which I know works because it installed windows xp just fine shouldnt it just boot up and start installing?

    I tried many other keyboards and nothing worked, I would assume that again if the HD is blank and there is a OSX install disc in the drive it should start installing anyways even if I didnt press the "C" key - I can here it spin up the disc and it sounds like its not getting up to speed and its slowing down but this cant be the case because if I put the windows xp install disc it spins up really fast and the install starts right away

    I know the install disc is good, I have tested it in another machine

    I know the CD drive is good because I can install windows xp with it

    I already have a usb to sata case I can use but I thought it has to be firewire for mac to install to it, or could I just clone a macbook HD and use that?

    so it looks like I am stuck with taking apart my macbook pro which I really dont want to do since its not that easy, its a 15" from 2007 when the newest ones came out in 2007 I got that one I cant remember the exact model number and its not by me now but its before the unibody ones

    taking these apart isnt that easy and if I still had a warranty I wouldnt even do this because for some reason if you take it apart even if you put it back together correctly and you did nothing wrong apple will still not cover anything, most companies are like that but most all laptop companies let you replace the HD without voiding your warranty
  10. KScottMyers macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    At this point i'm starting to question the OS X install CD. Are you sure its a CD that works in that model mini? If it was a CD that came with your MacBook it probably would not work in the mini? Do you have a retail copy of OS X to try?
  11. leftkidney thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2009
    I have the original mac mini install disc which should be good, I used it a few times in the past and it was kept in a safe place so it should work with no problems at all

    I also have a 10.6 and 10.7 retail install disc that also works because I can install it on my macbook pro 15" and macbook 13" so that should work in the mac mini

    and I have even downloaded a copy of 10.7 from the "internet" not a legal copy but I was just trying to see whats what and that wont work, although it did work in my older imac from 2007 with no problems so I know it does work, lol

    and then theres the windows xp install disc that does work in the mac mini so I know the drive in the mac mini works

    so, I have no idea what to do now - I am waiting on a friend with a mac mini to come into town for Christmas and I will take it apart, but its a newer one still the same style as mine but newer then the A1114 I have - maybe I can put my drive into it or take his cd drive out or whatever but I hope I will get it to work or I am stuck with windows, or maybe I can get linux installed that would be fine with me
  12. leftkidney thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2009
    well I have taken the HD out and put it into an external case and formatted it using my macbook into the default format hfs journaled I think it was - anyways I put it into the mac mini and nothing

    I could maybe take apart my macbook or macbook pro and put the HD inthere and install OSX but I dont want to take the time to do it and I could damage the working macbook's so I wont be doing that

    I can install everything I have tried except for OSX on the macmini

    I have tried 3 types of unix and 5 different distros of linux, they all install no problem

    windows xp and windows vista and windows 7 all install no problem

    I know the OSX install discs are good I just installed fresh on my macbook pro just to be sure and then put the same disc into the macmini and it keeps saying something like "no boot device found" or something like that but it will never boot OSX

    the CD drive works because I can install everything else and the install disc works because I can install it on another computer - also the macmini works because I can effing install everything except for OSX!

    this is just stupid I dont understand what the problem could be because the only thing thats changed is the HD was replaced and if that makes OSX not install then something is wrong

    I have tried 7 different discs of OSX - 1 was 10.5 retail, and 10.6 retail, and 10.7 retail even though it wont work with this model of macmini I figured why not try it - then a macmini install disc the one that came with the computer - then I tried 3 discs that I downloaded from the internet that were not legal copies all burned to a disc it was 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7 and none of them worked on the macmini, but did work fine on my macbook so I know they work

    I am not sticking with ubuntu linux as its close to osx and better then windows - this is just effing stupid that I have tried all these things and it did nothing, what is wrong that could cause this to happen if the computer apparently works fine?
  13. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2010
    You need at least Mac OS X 10.5 for BootCamp. When it was in beta there was an installer for Tiger, but that has long since expired.
  14. leftkidney thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2009

    yea, well, I know that but as I said I cant even get it to install so...
  15. Mac Husky, Dec 26, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2011

    Mac Husky macrumors regular

    Mar 28, 2009
    Bavaria, Germany
    Same(?) problem here (Mac Pro, Lion). Wanted to boot memtest86+ from CD but it did not work at all. I hold c, or option when it starts up. I am no longer given the option to startup from any other disk other than my main internal hard drives. Booting from CD was no problem before (using Snow Leopard).

    I am helpless. Do not know what to do.

    EDIT: My problem has been solved - push
  16. leftkidney thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2009
    I am having a different problem

    I can boot, I just cant install OSX - I can install windows and ubuntu but OSX it acts like the disc is bad or no disc in there or whatever - I know the disc is good, check my earlier posts

    I am still having this problem, I have tried all sorts of "hold while booting" things and the only thing I havent done is take the drive out and put it into another mac because thats not as easy as it should be to do

    but anyways I got to say that there has to be something wrong with this mac mini, or something wrong with the way that apple implements the install process and how it does whatever its not doing

    I dont understand how its possible to NOT install OSX on a mac, but be able to install other os's like windows - there is just something wrong with the way this was designed to even allow this to happen - I know the install disc is good and I know the drive is good

    so I am selling this mac mini online as used with a new HD no OS installed, old stock HD included - let someone else figure it out, I am done with macs for a desktop
  17. KScottMyers macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    No offense here - but I don't quite understand the logic. You've been wrestling with this issue for weeks and still haven't resolved it. So - have you taken it down to your local Apple Store or Mac friendly PC repair shop? There is obviously something wrong and this isn't normal Mac behavior or everyone else would be complaining about the same thing.

    Saying your done with Macs because you can't resolve the problem is a little extreme... don't you think?
  18. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    The problem is you DVD drive. The DVD read laser is no longer functioning or out of alignment.

    There are two different lasers used in the drive for CDs and DVDs. It installs Ubuntu and XP fine because those are CDs. OS X does not install because every version since 10.4 came on DVD. This is a fairly common problem. When these drives go it usually is just one of the lasers. Though more frequently it is the DVD reading laser since it is finer it is more sensitive.

    You have several solutions to your problem.

    1. Take the hard drive out of the Mini and pop it into the Macbook Pro, or attach it externally in an enclosure or through target disc mode. Then boot your Macbook Pro off the Snow Leopard DVD. Install Snow Leopard onto the Mini's HD. You may need a Firewire 400 to Firewire 800 cable for target disc mode.

    2. Clone the Macbook Pro's hard drive to the Mini's when it is attached externally by enclosure or target disk mode. Then remove System/Library/CoreServices/PlatformSupport.plist so the Core Duo/Solo will boot into Lion. If you do this you must run OS X updates manually by downloading the installer package so you can remove the file previously mentioned after each update completes before rebooting.

    3. Get an external DVD drive or replace your internal DVD drive and install Snow Leopard as you normally would.
  19. leftkidney, Jan 3, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012

    leftkidney thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2009
    well what I mean is I am about done with this mac - to be honest the only thing I like about apple is the hardware, the OS I would rather use linux or windows - apple seems to be geared towards simple people and not hackers like me (actually until a few months after sept 11th my job title was actually "hacker", now its "reverse engineering specialist" because hacker sounded bad I guess, lol)

    there is no way I am going to take it in to the apple store, all they are goint to do is tell me that it costs more money just to look at it, and then they might tell me that they cant do anything because I have opened it up voiding the warranty - I installed non-apple parts they would say, as if ram isnt ram and hard drives arent hard drives

    a total waste of money to take it in the store, not to mention time

    NOPE! I can watch a DVD and even transfer files off of a DVD+R that I have backed up

    I have tried normal commercial DVD's and various types of burnable DVD's as well as dual layer DVD+R DL - everything is showing up in the drive and I can read them

    so again, its not the drive - it must be the computer

    taking the drive out is not a problem, getting an enclosure that has firewire is a problem

    this is starting to piss me off, I spent over $120 getting a new HD and RAM for this computer and now I cant even install OSX?

    let me state this again in case people forgot

    1. Drive works.
    2. Install disc works.
    3. Computer works.
    4. I can install Windows and Ubuntu but not OSX!
  20. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    You don't need a Firewire enclosure. You can just pop the Mini's hard drive into a usb enclosure that has internal SATA connectors. You can get a 2.5" drive enclosure, a 3.5" drive enclosure and let it dangle or one of the SATA/IDE to USB multi-adapters like technicians use to test hard drives and transfer files.

    Then run the Snow Leopard installer on the MBP to install onto the Mini's hard drive attached externally. You can also try cloning Lion and attempt the trick I linked to for getting Lion running.

    It can still be the DVD drive. Sometimes when they are failing they will work on some DVD's and not others. I had one that worked on most of my DVD's except three or four DVDs. When I replaced the drive all DVDs worked again. I still have that drive sitting around here somewhere.
  21. leftkidney thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2009
    I have the sata usb one and will try it

    but the thing is I can put the install disc in the drive running windows or ubuntu and it shows up as the osx install disc or upgrade disc in the case of one of them - it reads the disc but wont boot it to install whats on the disc

    there is got to be something wrong with the design of the software/hardware to allow this to happen
  22. KScottMyers macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    Not likely - or everyone would have this issue.
  23. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    and there would be a fix.....

    Have you tried any other DVD's in the drive? I am not talking about CD's, but rather DVD's?
  24. leftkidney thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2009
    like I said, if I take the actual install disc which is the one that came with the computer and put it in while running Ubuntu it recognizes it as a OSX install disc, I can read the contents of it and everything

    the computer just wont boot from the same disc

    the only thing that is different from stock is the hard drive, the stock one died completely so I replaced it - now I cant install the stock OS, maybe because the stock hard drive isnt there but that makes no sense there isnt really any drm of sorts with apple installs like hp and other pc's have that check for a partition on the HD - or is there?
  25. jezzy macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2012
    Montreal, Quebec
    Well, maybe I can help. I had this happen to me a few times in the past month. I bought a used 1.66CD mini and wanted to re-install OSX SL.

    The difference that this mini already had a working OS but I didn't have the admin password. I was also unable to boot from the DVD with the "C", it wouldn't even show a boot selection at startup.

    The answer? I was able to use the "startup disk" option in the system preferences and it let me select the DVD and once rebooted, there ya go!

    SO.. what I think you can do, is in windows, install the bootcamp drivers, and in that program, I'm pretty sure there's the option" select boot up disk" and select your DVD.. might just work!

    Now, for my mini server (with no DVD drive), I used my wife's C2D macbook with 10.6.8 and selected the "remote install" to push the DVD to my mini. Funny, my MBP (lion) no longer has that app!

    Good luck

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