Mac Mini won't display anything on my monitor

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by coop3422, May 8, 2015.

  1. coop3422 macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2011
    Hi All,

    I've had my Mac mini for about 3.5 years. It's an older model, probably 09/10ish. It's also running an older OS in 10.5.6 or something along those lines.

    Anyway, it worked fine up to this weekend (albeit slowing down). I went out and it went to sleep, I didn't turn it off. I came home, the power light was still on so I wiggled my mouse but it wouldn't wake. Hit the keyboard, nothing. I manually shut it down, turned it back on and nothing on my monitor, even though I can hear the mini turn on, beep and the HDD spin. I unplugged it multiple times, took a can of compressed air to it to clean it, but I still can't get a picture on my monitor. I know my monitor is fine (LG L192WS) because I'm using it right now hooked up to my PC. It is hooked up with a DVI to VGA adapter, which worked fine up to this weekend.

    I was about to take everything off, but it died just before I had a chance. All my docs, resume, pictures, music, everything is on there.

    Does anyone have any ideas how to try to get this working, short of taking it to Apple and paying to have them look at it?

    Thanks everyone, appreciate the help. I've been searching Google but everything I find seems to be around still being able to see something on the display.

  2. marclondon macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2009
    No backup...

    There's a big difference between the 09 and 10 Minis as the latter was when Apple switched to the thinner case. But both have two monitor ports so you could try using the other one.

    The 09 has a displayport and a mini displayport.
    The 2010 has HDMI and mini displayport

    I presume you are using a DVI adapter for one of these ports and then a DVI to VGA cable? You can try a DVI adapter for the port you are not using.

    i think the 09 came with a displayport to VGA adapter - I've got one on my 09 mini.

    Or get hold of another monitor with DVI or HDMI to test it.

  3. coop3422 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2011
    I know, no backup I did it to myself. Ironically that's what I was planning on doing when I discovered it died on me, go figure....

    Hmmm, I wonder if mine is older than. It's the larger casing, but only 1 video out. The ports on the back are power, LAN, Firewire (guessing), DVI, 4x USB and the headphone and mic holes.

    Yes, I've been using a DVI to VGA adapter.

    I was reading some other threads and noticed one person mentioning that he knew his was turned on because he could hit caps lock and the button on his keyboard would illuminate. I tried and mine didn't, so I'm wondering if it's even booting up properly. It's a PC keyboard and when I use it with my PC, the caps light works fine.

    I was going to take it in today but ran out of time so will have to next week if I can't find a solution.

  4. Doc C, May 8, 2015
    Last edited: May 8, 2015

    Doc C macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2013
    If you are at all handy with computers, one thing to consider is to open up the Mini and remove the drive. If you put the drive into an external enclosure, you should be able to image it, or at least read it and recover whatever you need.

    Once you have done that (and thus the data is secure), place the drive back in, and see if you can get the computer to boot up in single user mode (you will have to look up the key combination). If you can get there, then try to get the machine to do a disk repair. It's a longshot, but that's one thing to try.

    I don't recall if Apple had shifted to Net boot by that point, but I don't think so. If they hadn't, you may be able to get the machine to boot in recovery mode (again, key combination escapes me at the moment). If that works, then, again, the first thing to do is try to do a disk repair in disk utility. Once again, it's a long-shot, but worth a try.

    Having tried all that, the most likely thing is the video system. That is something that is worth taking to Apple for. Get an estimate, and then decide whether it's worth getting it repaired, or springing for a new/refurb model. As often as not, with Apple, the cost of repairs is stupidly high...

    The key is to get the data off the drive first before you lose it - iFixit or OtherWorldComputing have great kits to help you if you aren't familiar with doing things; if you are then you will likely have less expensive sources you can find locally.

    I'm sure there are details to be added/corrected in what I wrote, so I'm open to hearing from others, however I think I got the main points (having been through it myself, though it was a laptop...)

    EDIT: When using a keyboard and mouse for this, it's best to use wired, and ideally to use the Apple ones (at least by my experience, though I can't think of a good explanation why there should be any difference...)
  5. marclondon macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2009
    Well if it's an Intel Mini it's either a 06 or 07 model as it was 09 when the dual video ports came in (actually mini DVI and mini displayport). It could also be a 2005 PowerMac model - the max operating system on those is OSX 10.5.8 (Leopard).

    Either way it's pretty old now and a repair is likely to be not economical as if it's the video system that will mean replacing the main board I expect. It could though just be the port connector - have you tried wiggling it?

    But as Doc C says the good news is that you can get your data by taking the disk out.

    You can then put it in a cheap external enclosure and either read it with a replacement Mac or in fact you can read it on your Windows PC using various utilities.

  6. Fishrrman, May 9, 2015
    Last edited: May 9, 2015

    Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    As others have written, as a last resort you could take the drive out and use a USB3/SATA "dock" or a USB3/SATA adapter "dongle" to connect it to another Mac.

    If the problem was something inside the Mini (other than the drive), the contents of the drive should still be fine. Realize that you won't be able to BOOT from the drive on a newer Mac, the OS is too old.

    Do you perhaps have another Mac that is available to you, that has a firewire port on it?
    You might try connecting the Mini to the other Mac using firewire target disk mode, to see if the internal drive will show up and be accessible (on the other computer). If it is, you can attach an external drive, and use something like CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper to clone the contents of the Mini's drive to the external drive...
  7. coop3422 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2011
    Hi all,

    Sorry for the late reply, I was looking into this Friday before going away to visit my parents.

    Anyway, sounds like removing the drive and using an external enclosure will be the best option for a recovery. Honestly I wouldn't be willing to pay much to repair it. It was slowing down and I had no recovery discs for it as I bought it used. I had a solid newer PC that was hooked up to my TV for watching hockey, that will become the main computer now.

    I have some running around to do and there's a repaid shop that specializes in Mac's, going to stop there and get their take.

    Thanks everyone.

    And no, I don't have another Mac so I can't try accessing it that way. The enclosure idea would have to go through my PC.
  8. ickystay, May 12, 2015
    Last edited: May 12, 2015

    ickystay macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2006
    Nevermind. Having trouble deleting this… Carry on.
  9. coop3422 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2011
    So I stopped by the Mac repair shop but it's not a store front so there wasn't anyone to talk to.

    Since getting my data off is the most important thing, I stopped at Best Buy and picked up an enclosure, it was cheaper than I expected. Going to give it a go and if it works, I'll get my data off and sell the mini for parts.

    I'm going to start doing some research on how to get files off the mini using the enclosure and my PC. I saw someone mention you needed to go about this differently if using a PC. If anyone has some info/instructions they'd like to share, it would be much appreciated. Might be faster than me finding it and all the utilities.

    Thanks all!
  10. coop3422 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2011
    I did some reading and it looked like HFSExplorer was one of the more popular utilities. I've already picked up an enclosure, taken my mini apart and have the HD in the enclosure and connected to my PC.

    I can feel the HD spinning in the enclosure, so I'd think that's a good start. I'm trying to use the utility, but can't quite figure it out.

    The download page showed the following info:

    Harddisk0/Partition0 - The entire first hard drive
    Harddisk0/Partition1 - First partition on hard drive 1
    Harddisk0/Partition2 - Second partition of hard drive 1
    Harddisk1/Partition1 - First partition on hard drive 2

    When I launch the software and click File, I get the option to "Load file system from device". When I click that option, I get another window with an option to Autodetect (says no HSF+ file system found), Select a Device, or specify a device.

    Select a device has 4 drop down options, Harddisk1\Partition1, H2\P2, H3\P3, and CdRom0.

    Is the reason it's only showing Harddisk1 because Harddisk0 is my actual PC laptop hard drive? I also tried using the specific path with Harddisk1\Partition0 hoping that may look at the entire second drive. But when I click load for that, it just sits there.

    When I choose any of the pre-detected 4 drives about, I get an error:

    Invalid HFS type
    A list of supported file types
    Detected type is (UNKNOWN)

    Am I doing something wrong? Any other ideas?

    I appreciate any help/insight!

  11. coop3422 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2011
    Got it all figured out and my data recovered. Thanks for the help everyone.

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