Designated a bad ext. drive (windows xp) as a startup disc for my Mini can't get back

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by mgdavison, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. mgdavison macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2013
    I am sure that I attempted something that I shouldn't have, but I am hoping that there is an easy (and easily understood) way back.

    <Note: Consider the problem which my ignorance has caused, and tender any any instructions with this profound handicap in mind.>

    I have a Refurbished Mac mini with OS X Server 2.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 <==notice how I have cleverly chosen to cut and paste (that is the level of my technical prowess) that description straight from the invoice that came with it. It has stuff on it, which I may or may not be able to recover from other locations. I also have an old and now completely dead (as in, "destroyed") Acer AspireOne netbook. The netbook ran Windows XP.

    Having removed the hard drive from the dead shell of a netbook, I plugged it into an adapter and attempted to see if I could use it as an external drive to maintain a few antiquated Windows-dependant programs, after I had already migrated most of the rest of it (i.e. pictures and iTunes) over to the mini.

    In the course of the afore-mentioned migration, I noticed that one could (if one was not me) choose to have the mini startup, booting from a different disc. "How simple," I told myself. ...and for just a moment it was. Having selected the (now external) drive with XP as my startup drive, all seemed to be going well.

    ...until I received a message to the effect that an error had been encountered, and Windows had been disabled in order to protect my computer. "Well, no problem," I thought. "After shutting down, I will simply unplug the external drive with XP, and restart my mini using OS X," I continued still unshaken.

    Unfortunately, the mini still seems to be looking for my unreliable copy of XP, as now I continue to receive a message to the affect that my mini lacks a bootable disc.

    I am now shaken.

    ...and humbled my ignorance...

    ...please, help.
  2. AshMan macrumors regular

    May 1, 2010
    try booting the mac mini and holding down the option key on startup. should see a menu with the internal hard drive listed. try booting off of it with the external disconnected.

    you could also boot to the recovery partition and run disk utility on the internal drive. then do a disk check and repair permissions.

    install wizard will also allow you to reselect your startup disk.
  3. mgdavison thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2013

    From here forward, just keep in mind two words: profound ignorance.

    I have a non-Apple, keyboard which was fine for use with the mini prior to my experimentation. My understanding is that the button with the Windows insignia corresponds to the Apple-emblazoned button on an Apple keyboard. Is this the same as the "option" button, and is there anything special about the timing of its selection. Should I be holding it down when I turn on the mini? Should I pause before pushing it? Should I wait until I see or hear something before pushing it? And should I hold it until either I meet obvious success or failure, or should I let go sooner? <Remember before? ..."profound ignorance">

    And on that most-recent note... If method #1 does not work, I am going to need to be walked through not just what to do, but (even more importantly) how to do it?

    In advance, I would like to thank you for your both your assistance and your patience.
  4. Lefty21 macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2012
    Lexington, KY
    With a non-Apple keyboard you can substitute the Alt key for Option. You will want to press the power button, then immediately press and hold Alt/Option until you see the screen that AshMan described. Good luck.
  5. AshMan macrumors regular

    May 1, 2010
    yes non windows keyboard should be alt-key.

    after pushing power, press and hold the alt key and a hard disk menu should come up.

    you should have the option of selecting your macintosh internal hard disk or a recovery partition (as long as it has lion or mountain lion on it). if you cannot boot the normal mac hard disk partition, select the recovery partition and boot it. once in get the the point where you see the menu bar and you will see several text items. I forget which, but one I think says utilities. and then choose disk utility. once it loads disk utility, choose the main hard disk partition, and select repair disk. after it finishes, try repair permissions.

    When done, there should be another option on one of those menus that says startup disk. make sure to select your internal main partition. and have it reboot.

    then see if it boots osx.

    If that is successful. I would suggest taking the disk with xp and converting and loading it into a virtual machine program such as parallels, vmware etc. then you can boot it from within mac os.
  6. mgdavison thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2013
    AshMan and Lefty21,

    Thank you both--I have access again. Upon looking (somewhat skeptically) for another post with the same circumstances, I had a increasingly-sinking feeling as I read about OS X getting overwritten while booting from something else. Thank you both for having simple directions to a much-appreciated and very simple fix.

    I will do my feeble best to stay out of trouble, but I know where I will turn first if ever I find myself in another jam, self-induced, or otherwise.
  7. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    clone your internal to an external use superduper it is free.

    use the free version

    get a spare external drive and clone the internal to it. do this at least 1 time a week.

    also consider a second external drive as a time machine. this is a different type of backup

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