Mac mini boot time

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Z8beema, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. Z8beema macrumors 6502


    Sep 18, 2013
    Hi everyone,

    I have a base 2012 Mac mini and installed 8 gigs of ram. I've found that ever since I bought it almost two years ago the boot time was always slow. It takes about a minute from pushing the on button to sign in screen. How can I optimize this or find what the problem is for that matter?
  2. elev8d macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2008
    Generally start up time would be most impacted by your Hard Drive. One minute isn't out of the ordinary for a platter drive based startup. I'd recommend ordering yourself an SSD. It'll probably speed up your startup by 30% or more.
  3. Z8beema thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 18, 2013
    The thing is I have nothing on the hard drive other than what came on it already and maybe 5 - 10 apps I downloaded. All my music is on an external hard drive and all my docs are in a cloud. Maybe I just don't know enough about computer start up times but it just seemed slow to me
  4. MrGIS macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2010
    Ontario Canada
    What you have stored on your drive is not really a factor. If you want speed, install a SSD.
  5. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    Open System Preferences, then Startup Disk and reselect Macintosh HD in there. Sometimes that setting gets lost and then the computer will sit for some time before beginning startup.
  6. dudedude macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2014
    If you have a non-SSD why not just leave it on and let it sleep? The mini should only sip a little juice.

    I agree though if you want a quick boot time an SSD is the way to go. It sounds like with your setup the swap would be fairly painless.
  7. janitor3 macrumors regular

    Aug 11, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I have a non-ssd mac mini, I just leave it on all the time and let it sleep. Only when it needs to restart when an installing update does it switch off.
  8. Z8beema thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 18, 2013
    I honestly don't know why I shut down every night but I always have shut down all my computers. Is there any negative effects of leaving it on?
  9. MrGIS macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2010
    Ontario Canada
  10. EricandSuebee macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2014
    New Hampshire
    Any actually you will hear people say that turning a machine on and off is actually bad for it, your better off keeping it on and letting it sleep.
  11. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    The stock drives are very slow. I don't know what you use it for, but for generic use with decent storage requirements, swap the HD for a 7200rpm one like a Scorpio black. You get 750GB for 80 bucks or so, and my 2009 mini boots in 20 seconds from that. It is still a much better price/performance update than buying an SSD.
    If you are more into programs with tons of scratch-disk use like FinalCut or Photoshop, and storage is taken care off externaly, grab an SSD.
  12. Z8beema thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 18, 2013
    How would shutting down the machine be bad? Real question
  13. hnickm macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2013
    Re: Sleep
    I also put MM to sleep to help with backup.
    At 1:00 am while MM is asleep, via Energy Saver, I wake the MM. A few minutes later the BU app launches (via its schedule function), does BU, then exits. A few minutes after that, Energy Saver puts MM back to sleep.
  14. unplugme71 macrumors 68030

    May 20, 2011
    I did my own Fusion setup and boot times are much quicker. Even with FV2 enabled, its not bad at all.
  15. pianoman88 macrumors regular

    Aug 20, 2010
    POST - Power On Self test

    I'm guessing that Macs test hardware (before the OS boots) in much the same way as PCs do. Additional memory requires additional time to test.

    My boot drive is a 512 GB Samsung Pro SSD. My mini has 16 GB RAM and it takes a while to go through the hardware tests. Afterwards, it takes about 4 seconds for the OS to boot.
  16. Celerondon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 17, 2013
    Southern Cal
    All Switches Must Die

    One way that shutting down your machine causes harm is the wear starting puts on the power switch. PC power switches have always failed. Mac switches may be better or worse than others but either way they are still mechanical devices that can tolerate a limited number of cycles. Do (can) you turn it on without using the switch?

    How fast do our 2012s and other recent minis with 5400 rpm drives boot? If our OP had actual numbers to compare to that one minute boot time then Z8beema could make a sound decision.

    My 2012 2.3 4 gig Fusion drive mini booted to the Mountain Lion login screen in about 10 seconds. Now with Mavericks and 8 gig the same machine seems a little slower. It can take 12 or more seconds to boot but it never exceeds 20 seconds.

    By comparison 1 minute does not seem so slow to me for a 5400 rpm HD. I have seen plenty of non-SSD Windows machines take ages (2 to 3 minutes EZ) to boot with every os from XP through Windows 7. I don't know if 8 and 8.1 have slow boot issues.
  17. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    The best cure for slow booting is an SSD, installed either internally, or in an external enclosure or USB3/SATA dock serving as an "external booter".

    I could be mistaken, but doesn't a higher amount of installed RAM also slow down the boot process, as the Mac checks the RAM during startup?

    As for the question of sleeping vs. shutdown, there are good reasons to shut down -- or at least restart -- now and then.

    I've seen a number of posters here with problems that were cured with a simple reboot...
  18. Micky Do, Apr 23, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014

    Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    It is reckoned that the switching on and off cycles stress components.

    Think of an incandescent light bulb, for instance. Left turned on they last for a long time (many years). The heating and cooling cycle of switching them on and off reduces their lifespan. However, switching off is more economical because the cost of extra electricity used would far outweigh the cost of occasionally replacing a light bulb.

    However, I doubt that the analogy would carry through to computers, which tend to be left on for long periods. Light bulbs are often switched on and off several times a day.

    With the power switch being a little awkward to get at on Mac's, putting them to sleep seems favourite. A sleeping Mini uses little more than 1 watt of electricity.

    Even when switched off, a plugged in Mac mini still uses about 0.2 watt. At idle it kicks in at about 10 watts, and the monitor adds to that.

    Here is what Apple has to say in the 2009 Mini manual:

    Putting Your Mac mini to Sleep or Shutting It Down
    When you finish working with your Mac mini, you can put it to sleep or shut it down.

    Putting Your Mac mini to Sleep
    If you’ll be away from your Mac mini for less than a few days, put it to sleep. When your Mac mini is in sleep, the display’s screen is dark. You can quickly wake your Mac mini and bypass the startup process.

    To wake your Mac mini, press any key on the keyboard or any button on the optional Apple Remote. When your Mac mini wakes from sleep, your applications, documents, and computer settings are exactly as you left them.

    Shutting Down Your Mac mini
    If you won’t be using your Mac mini for more than a few days, shut it down. Choose Apple () > Shut Down. To turn your Mac mini on again, press the power (®) button.

    My own 2009 Mini has seldom been switched off in the five years I have owned it. Typically it is weeks or months between shut downs. Occasionally I take it to work; then it is shut down several times in a day. I have the display and computer set to sleep after 15 minutes of non use (System Preferences > Hardware > Energy Saver). It still has the original HDD, and has an additional 4GB of RAM (5 GB in all). Start up takes a minute or two, whereas wake up takes just a moment.
  19. El Hikaru macrumors regular

    Dec 3, 2013
    I shut my mini down everyday.
    Born that way.

    It took 17 seconds to show lock screen and another 15 seconds after entering password to boot up applications, email calender etc, set as "open at login".
    I have SSD.
  20. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Regardless of how well the Mac OS is supposed to handle RAM usage, now and then something can get out-of-whack if the computer is left up-and-running for long periods of time.

    This is how a shut down can come into play. When "booted fresh", it's like putting the RAM back as a "blank slate", completely clean.

    Even if one doesn't want to shut down/restart, just logging out and then logging back in will help to "refresh the works..."

    My opinion only...
  21. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    The system does check RAM on startup yes. How long time it takes I have no idea.
  22. nixiemaiden macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    With the stock drive, mine took about a minute to get to the login screen. I put an SSD in it and can't believe how fast it is. Literally I press the power button on the Mac, then the power button on the monitor, and by the time the monitor comes up, I am already at the login screen. It seems almost instant!

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