Mac Mini Resetting PRAM without keyboard

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by nerdeus, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. nerdeus macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2007
    Hi everyone,

    So I took the plunge and decided to change out my memory on my MacMini.
    I changed it out, and now i'm trying to start my computer again. I read that I had to reset the PRAM first. BUT, I only have a wireless keyboard!! I threw my old, decrepit PS/2 (yea.. not USB) keyboard away. So now, I can't do the P+R+Option+Apple keystroke thing. So I read that there's a little black button inside the mac mini... I found it... I pressed it.. but it's still giving me a flashing question mark folder icon!!

    PLEASE someone help me!! THANKS!
  2. Tsurisuto macrumors 6502

    Jun 13, 2007
    I can't comment on any earlier revisions of the Mini, but the last ones to come out allow you to reset the PRAM with a wireless keyboard.

    Is the flashing question mark constant, or does it only happen for a second before it boots to your desktop? If resetting the PRAM or holding down 'Alt' doesn't fix your problem, then you've either got a dead HD, or you probably have to re-seat the HD cable, as it might have come loose.
  3. nerdeus thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2007
    Thank you so much for replying, cuz it gives me some hope that I can fix this!
    The flashing question mark stays there for a while.. it doesn't boot up at all.
    I am using a Core SOLO Mac Mini. So I guess it won't work with wireless keyboard. So I don't think holding down alt will work.

    Do you know anything about the little black button? When am I supposed to press it? for how long? In what order? Black button-->Power Button?

    And which cable is the HD cable?

    I will look into all that.
    THANKS so much for your help. Hope it works!

    And anyone else with Mac wisdom, please help me! THANKS!

    btw, I thought I was careful not to shock my hard drive... I touched metal before handling. but do I have to feel a "shock" like normal static shock for there to be damage to my HD? Or do you usually not feel it?.. I'm so worried my HD is toast now!! ahh!
  4. nerdeus thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2007
    So I'm beginning to think more and more that my hard drive got fried while I was handling it! I really hope that this isn't the case. BUT if it is, how costly is it to get it recovered (if there is any recovery at all?) I'm bringing it to the Apple Store to let them run a diagnostics on it... Should I let Apple do it? Or should I go to an Apple Authorized Service Provider? Which would be cheaper? Blah I'm so worried! I didn't back up my files on my Mac Mini but there are so many songs and photos on there!
  5. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    See if you can boot off the factory system / Leopard DVD. Press C when you start up the computer, with the disk in it.

    What about holding the OPTION key when you start up?
  6. nerdeus thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2007
    I don't have a keyboard to connect to it right now... mine's a wireless keyboard..

    So... I'm hoping that something OTHER than the hard drive is messed up. Is there a way that I can get the hard drive out and try to see if there's still stuff in there? I actually don't care much about the Mac Mini itself. It's a Core Solo, and I got it for cheap when I bought it 3+ years ago. I stupidly didn't back up my hard drive on the mac mini tho so now i just want my files.
    What are my options?
  7. nerdeus thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2007
    So I went to Apple... and got turned away real quick cuz they saw my Mac Mini was opened up. so they gave me a card to an Apple Authorized Service Provider..

    There, they told me that they were really backed up and that even running the $60 diagnostics would take 2-4 days. And then it would be $90/hour for labor costs if anything needs getting fixed!!

    AHH! So much money! Does anyone have any expertise about how I can check if there's anything left in my hard drive?? Again, I don't care if the logic board or motherboard or whatever from the Mac Mini is fried... It's old and time for me to get a new comp anyway. But I really want my contents on the hard drive... PLEASE help!
  8. MacFanBoyIIe macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2008
    Unless you have a friend with an external enclosure (or just bare SATA cable and power supply), you will need to spend a little money on one. You can get them cheap from newegg or OWC. Just search for external FW/USB enclosure. You'll need that. Once you have that, you'll need another Mac (another friend? lol) to look at the drive.

    So, basically, if you don't want to pay someone to do this, you need some equipment and another Mac.
  9. nerdeus thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2007
    I was thinking of getting an enclosure anyway, because I am thinking of upgrading my MacBook's hard drive and putting hte old drive in an enclosure. (I got this advice also from Macrumors forums! I love you guys!) So, if I get the enclosure that has FW capabilities, then I can put the MacMini hard drive in there, then connect it to my MacBook?
    Other than the enclosure and FW cables, is there anything else that I need?
  10. MacFanBoyIIe macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2008
    Make sure it's the right size enclosure (2.5 vs. 3.5 inch). I don't have a mini and don't know what size they use. Sorry. The good ones come with a FW/USB cable. (and power supply, of course).

    You shouldn't need anything else since you already have a MacBook to plug it into.
  11. nerdeus thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2007
    Oh that's right... I almost forgot about the different size of HD. yeah, iI'm gonna check on that... initial searches on the net look good! I thought it wouldn't be a 2.5"! But I'm definitely gonna search more just to make sure! THANKS for the heads up!
  12. MacFanBoyIIe macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2008
    The current minis have 2.5" HDs. Since yours is older, it should follow suit. You might want to verify it is SATA as well.
  13. nerdeus thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2007
    So my brother who works a lot with PC hardware is helping me out tonight. He's looking at everything and notices that the hard drive/superdrive is REALLY quiet when we turn it on. So I tried sticking the Install CD in there, and it's not even keeping the CD .. it just bounces it back out. So we're wondering if there's even any power going to the drive right now. SOO maybe some power conenction is loose or something?

    Does anyone know where I can find pictures of the mac mini's hardware so I can compare and see what shoudl and shouldn't be connected, where it should be connected, how it should be connected.. you get the idea.. If you know where I can get these pics, I would greatly appreciate it!
  14. nerdeus thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2007
    So being pretty Mac hardware illiterate... I didn't realize that there was a port that needed too be snapped in when replacing the hard drive onto the motherboard.. haha. So now I snapped it back in and the hard drive is moving and all my files are still there and I'm so happy I didn't spend $90+ at a service center!! YAY!

    And I had my memory upgraded now on my Mac Mini so it's super fast (compared to what it was before) and I'm not installing Leopard on it! WEE!

    Thanks for everyone who helped!
  15. MacFanBoyIIe macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2008
    No prob. Glad it was something that simple!
    You could still get that enclosure for backup purposes...

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