G4 Mac Mini won't boot

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by aross99, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    OK, I've checked this out pretty throughly, and I am not sure where to go next...

    I came home for lunch today, and found my Mac Mini G4 with the fan running, and a blank screen. It was obviously locked up. System has 10.5.2 with all of the latest updates. This is not my primary system, I have an MBP for that.

    Here is what I did:

    Force a power off/on, and I get the normal gray screen with the Apple, and spinning gear, but it never stops spinning.

    Force another power off/on, and I get to the Apple screen but no gear.

    Force another power off/on and reset PRAM for three chimes. Still get to Apple and no gear.

    Force another power off/on and if I wait long enough I get a folder with a "?" indicating that it can't find the boot volume (Starting to look like a disk issue)

    Boot off my retail Leopard Disk and I get the same thing - Apple logo and no gear. I hear the DVD spinning, but no drive access noises. I didn't think about holding down the "C" key to force it to boot from the DVD...

    Thats all I had time for at lunch today...

    My next thought is to:

    Try Leopard DVD again, this time holding down the "C" key
    Try the hardware CD that came with the Mini...
    Try Firewire Target disk mode with my MBP...
    Try my retail Tiger DVD...

    I thought about opening it up and reseating the memory DIMM. I did upgrade to 1G back in September(?) when Leopard came out.

    If I can get in from an OS X DVD, I can run disk utility and see what is available. Maybe I have some disk corruption, or maybe I have it needs a new drive.

    Any other thoughts or suggestions?
  2. 4JNA macrumors 68000


    Feb 8, 2006
    looking for trash files
    agree with what you've done, and the 'next thought' list. sounds like a defective hard drive to me also. i've seen drives fail in such a way that it 'ties up' or 'locks' the bus, and causes the computer to sit and spin. if that is the case, you may be stuck opening to remove the hard drive so that you can get it to boot from the optical and then run the hardware test to check the rest.

    the re-seat the memory would be my last ditch effort after going through your list above or if you need to open it to remove the drive. best of luck, hope you work it out.
  3. aross99 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    Thanks for the input - I'll pickup on this tonight after work. I'm thinking holding down the "C" key will do the trick, but I guess it depends on how bad the hard drive is...
  4. fx61803 macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2008
    hello aros99,
    i have the same issue; although the machine is newer intel core 2 duo, running latest leopard, the behaviour is exactly the same
    can you notify us wheter holding down the 'C' key during the boot with leo dvd did the trick ? but i do not think so;

    my mini hangs at boot displaying something like waiting for boot-media when booting in verbose mode ( i don't recall exactly )
    and the machine won't boot from ANY (other) media
    i suppose that drive controller / interface / is somewhat working incorrectly and that prevents to boot it even from a different device than HDD
    i succesfully managed to connect the machine to another one via firewire target disk mode , normally accessed the HDD and checked it for error from another machine / found none /

    i suppose i send it back to retailer any time soon since it is, hopefully, still in warranty
    in my opinion the disc controller must have been overheated or what since it was rather warm day when i found it hung and it was doing a seti unit computation for some time /with boinc client set up to use only one core and some 10% cpu/
    so just simply opening it up and checking / re-seating any components probably won't help in my case

    anyway, give us some feedback if possible, i'm also rather curious about your results

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