Mac Mini Boot Issue

BongoJones

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 14, 2019
4
0
Hello!

Backstory: I purchased a late 2014 Mini about a year ago and attempted to bootcamp with Windows 10. Following numerous failed attempts I made an appointment with a genius bar. After several more attempts by three different geniuses over the span of 3-4 hours, they were finally able to get Windows installed.

Flash forward a couple of months and Windows pushes out one of its big cumulative updates. I try to install the big update and it errors out over, and over, and over. After scouring Google for days and trying a variety of suggestions I decided to throw in the towel and give up on bootcamp altogether. But, somehow during the process of removing the Windows partition, I also managed to destroy the macOS partition along with the recovery partition. (yes, I am an idiot). Feeling extremely frustrated, I stuck the mini on a shelf and moved on with life.

Flash forward to today. I removed the Mini hard drive, hooked it up to my iMac, and reinstalled macOS. Put the hard drive back into the Mini, fired it up, and......it won't boot. The LED comes on, I hear the startup chime, but my display remains black. Then, after 20-30 seconds the Mini powers itself off.

Any ideas of where I should start? What is the most likely thing I screwed up?

Thanks!
 

smarterbits

macrumors newbie
Mar 13, 2019
10
7
Montreal
Hi,

Which version of macOS were you installing on your Mac mini? Have you tried any troubleshooting on your own?

I'd start trying the steps outlined in this Apple support doc and seeing if you get any results.

If you still have the macOS installer, I'd suggest creating a USB install key (steps here) and try to see if you can boot in the the install key on your Mac mini. This would go a long way into isolating whether it's a software or hardware issue. If you can boot into the install key, there's a better chance there's a software issue; I'd try and reinstall macOS on your hard drive at that point using the USB installer.

Curious to see how it goes.
 

chabig

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
6,069
3,306
What you did should work. Moving on...your Mini can boot without a hard drive. Try booting from Internet Recovery, then reformat and reinstall the OS.

See https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201314

"Newer Mac computers and some older Mac computers automatically try to start up from macOS Recovery over the Internet when unable to start up from the built-in recovery system. When that happens, you see a spinning globe instead of an Apple logo during startup."

Your Mac is trying to start from the hard drive before it fails and shuts down. You might need to actually use the keyboard combination Option-⌘-R to force it to boot to Recovery.
 

BongoJones

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 14, 2019
4
0
Hi,

Which version of macOS were you installing on your Mac mini? Have you tried any troubleshooting on your own?

I'd start trying the steps outlined in this Apple support doc and seeing if you get any results.

If you still have the macOS installer, I'd suggest creating a USB install key (steps here) and try to see if you can boot in the the install key on your Mac mini. This would go a long way into isolating whether it's a software or hardware issue. If you can boot into the install key, there's a better chance there's a software issue; I'd try and reinstall macOS on your hard drive at that point using the USB installer.

Curious to see how it goes.
Thanks for the reply!

Yes, I have tried the steps suggested by Apple support. I do have the macOS installer (High Sierra), but part of the problem is that I can't get anything on my display. After powering on the mini I get the startup chime but the display remains black. So I'm unable to enter into recovery or choose the USB installer for the boot.

I have tested the display and cable with another machine successfully so I know the display is good.
 

BongoJones

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 14, 2019
4
0
What you did should work. Moving on...your Mini can boot without a hard drive. Try booting from Internet Recovery, then reformat and reinstall the OS.

See https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201314

"Newer Mac computers and some older Mac computers automatically try to start up from macOS Recovery over the Internet when unable to start up from the built-in recovery system. When that happens, you see a spinning globe instead of an Apple logo during startup."

Your Mac is trying to start from the hard drive before it fails and shuts down. You might need to actually use the keyboard combination Option-⌘-R to force it to boot to Recovery.
I have a wired Internet connection but I'm not able to enter the recovery even with the key combination. The display remains black after the startup chime.
 

smarterbits

macrumors newbie
Mar 13, 2019
10
7
Montreal
Thanks for the reply!

Yes, I have tried the steps suggested by Apple support. I do have the macOS installer (High Sierra), but part of the problem is that I can't get anything on my display. After powering on the mini I get the startup chime but the display remains black. So I'm unable to enter into recovery or choose the USB installer for the boot.

I have tested the display and cable with another machine successfully so I know the display is good.
You mentioned testing the display with another machine. Were you able to test both the HDMI and miniDP (from the Thunderbolt port) outputs of the mini to the same display or other display?

If you are getting the chime at startup then your GPU is active so it's strange the problem seems to be no video out. It might be worth opening up the mini again to make sure all your cables and the I/O board are properly connected and seated. Something might have been nudged when you removed the HD.
 

BongoJones

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 14, 2019
4
0
You mentioned testing the display with another machine. Were you able to test both the HDMI and miniDP (from the Thunderbolt port) outputs of the mini to the same display or other display?

If you are getting the chime at startup then your GPU is active so it's strange the problem seems to be no video out. It might be worth opening up the mini again to make sure all your cables and the I/O board are properly connected and seated. Something might have been nudged when you removed the HD.

I have tested both miniDP outputs using two different monitors. Unfortunately, I do not have a display available with HDMI capability so I can't test that.

I also tried tearing down the mini again and double checking as I reassembled using this guide. I'm still experiencing the same issue though. LED comes on, mini plays the startup chime, then nothing but a black screen for roughly 20-30 seconds before the mini powers itself off.