[Help] Setup Headless Mac mini

Discussion in 'macOS' started by lilabila, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. lilabila macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2011
    Can you help me to get screen sharing activated on my headless mini?
    I have a mouse, a keyboard, a network cable, a firewire cable, direct acces to the HDD... but no monitor.

    Headless mini:
    CoreDuo 1.66 GHZ
    2006 model

    Target disk boot not working for me. probably hardware too new.
  2. desertman, Jul 3, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2013

    desertman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 14, 2008
    Arizona, USA
    I doubt that this is possible without a monitor. I have a Mac mini like that without monitor in my desk and control it via Apple Remote Desktop. However, I had to do the sharing setup directly on the Mac mini with a monitor connected to it.

    Go with the Mac mini so someone who has a monitor (and not just an iMac or so) and do the setup there. Or buy a monitor at Walmart, do the setup at home, and return the monitor. Or get a cheap monitor from Craigslist - where I live older LCD monitors are sometimes for just $15 for sale.

    By the way: If you activate not just Screen Sharing but also (or only) Remote Management on the Mac mini you can control it completely from your main Mac i. e. with the free VNC program "Chicken" (https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/36208/chicken) or, of course, Apple Remote Desktop.
  3. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    My first Mac mini was (almost entirely) headless. I accessed it from Windows in the days before I knew enough to rid my household of that particular scourge. I used a monitor to set it up initially, then ran it completely headless. If you boot up a Mac mini for the first time, there are a few screens you need to go through to set up the first (admin) user account, etc. Once that is done, you can enable screen sharing in System Preferences and I bet there is even a way to enable it via terminal (ssh from another computer). But I can't think of a way to do an initial setup on a Mac completely without a monitor.

    Before you run out and buy or borrow a monitor, do you have an LCD TV? Most of them have VGA inputs and you can get an appropriate cable from a local store or even from monoprice (if you don't mind waiting on mail order). Another option? Use HDMI. It's hard to believe you don't have an HDMI TV lying around somewhere. Unplug that useless cable or satellite converter box and plug your mini into that thing via HDMI to get it up and running for the first time.

    BTW, I prefer static IP address for headless machines. Google for static ip address OSX if you decide to go that way.
  4. lilabila thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2011
    You guys seem to be right on the money. thank you for your serious thoughts.

    I really don't have any TV just a Thunderbolt display and a 2012 mac mini...
    what a pity that booting from target disk doesn't work here..

    Unfortunately, I don't know if there's "the screens" or the machine is ready to login already. Afaik the guy I bought from set up an admin account with an empty pw.
    So after booting I blindly hit tab, then enter, then enter again. I waited a little time. cmd+space, 'terminal', enter.
    after that:
    'su', enter, enter,

    then I was typing some terminal commands I found in the interwebs which they say should activate screen sharing...

    I can see the computer in network radar, but what a pity, screen sharing doesn't run...

    Nevertheless, I'm looking now for a cheap used little display.

    Thanks desertman and r0k,
    you guys are great!

    Hey, you know what? This machine is in mint condition btw. It rested several years in its original packaging never been used. It even has this smell you get when you unbox a new mac. no dust at all. 100% totally clean. talking about time travel. What a wonderful experience that is.
  5. lilabila thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2011

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