Mac mini won't boot from Snow Leopard CD

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by numegil, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. numegil macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2009

    A few weeks ago I bought a slightly used Mac Mini on eBay. Everything was going well up until yesterday, when it froze up on me. I didn't think much of it, and tried starting it up again a few hours later, only to be greeted by the flashing question mark of death.

    I did some reading online, and know that the flashing question mark basically means that there's either a problem with the OS installation or the hard drive itself. I borrowed a friend's Snow Leopard installation CD (mine didn't come with the CD) to try to boot from it, but it refuses to boot from the CD.

    The only keyboard bootup control that does anything so far as I can tell is the alt key (using a windows keyboard), which results a long delay while booting, followed by a blank screen with a mouse cursor. Everything else just ends up with the flashing question mark. If I try to hold C to boot from the CD, it sits there for 3-4 minutes with the occassional CD whirring sound, then ejects the CD and goes to the flashing question mark.

    I desperately need this mac to work by next week for a class I'm taking on iPhone app development, so I was gonna try to go the Apple genius bar tomorrow. Unfortunately, its a 4 hour round trip for me via public transport, so I would really appreciate it if someone here could help me out and tell me any possible reasons why I can't seem to boot from the CD.

    Thanks a lot!
  2. dsl4c macrumors member

    Dec 26, 2007
    Portland, OR
    is it an Intel Mac Mini or a PowerPC Mac Mini? Snow Leopard does not support PowerPC
  3. numegil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2009
    It's an Intel Mac Mini. It had Snow Leopard working just fine on it for almost 3 weeks now, before it inexplicably crashed yesterday. I would say its a hard drive issue, except I can't seem to boot from the CD at all.
  4. numegil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2009
    Does anyone have any idea why this could be happening? I really need this mac to work soon!

  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Drive is corrupted most likely, and the Option key is showing nothing because the machine cannot find a bootable drive.

    Though the freeze yesterday added to the above most likely means a fully dead drive.
  6. numegil thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2009
    Are you saying that the hard drive is dead, or the CD drive? I'm assuming its the hard drive, but if that is the case, how come it ejects the CD when I try to boot from it? If it is the CD drive, how in the world do I fix that?
  7. torrealta macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2010
    Disconnect USB devices?

    I found I could boot from the install disk after disconnecting USB devices.
  8. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    When you say "Snow Leopard installation CD" do you mean a retail SL distribution disk, or one that came with another Mac?

    If it's one that came with another Mac, that could be the problem. The one you're trying to install on has to be the same model as the one the install disk was delivered with.

    But it it's a retail disk, then as everyone's been saying, something 's wrong.

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