Mac Recovery is Horrible!

Discussion in 'macOS' started by iamslr, Oct 8, 2007.

  1. iamslr macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2007
    #1
    Ok, I've worked in IT forever. I make a considerable amount of money developing applications on Windows based systems. I love technology. It makes sense. Well, it did until I encountered recovery for my mac mini!

    I've been punching in start up key sequences trying to get the mini to respond with something other than the bloody blinking "?" The only thing that is consistent is starting up in open firmware. Holding the "Option" key does bring up the blue screen with the refresh and arrow icons. But only twice (in the dozens of times I tried) has it actually displayed the available boot volumes. When I did click one it booted to what? The blinking "?".

    I've decided to reinstall the OS. I just wonder how may days it will take to finally get the blasted CD to actually boot. I'll have to keep at it until I get it because, I love my Mac. It's wonderful. But the PC has recovery ALL OVER the MAC. It's simple and predictable. Yes, yes I know it needs it more often. But when I have to do it I know that what I execute will happen every time. Not so with the Mac.

    Pathetic. :(
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #2
    Set your startup as your OS X partition in the Startup Disk Preference Pane.

    You're effectively in a LiveCD scenario when you're loading the OS X installer. It's going to take sometime.

    What about recovery? It took me 10 minutes to figure out OS X imaging. The Windows people here are only dreaming of it in my department.
     
  3. 4JNA macrumors 68000

    4JNA

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    #3
    put in the cd, hold down the 'C' key (as in boot from CD) and restore?! :confused:

    or did i miss something? best of luck.
     
  4. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #4
    They're complaining about the loading time of the GUI installer from the DVDs.
     
  5. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    #5
    Just to be sure I'm reading your post right ... are you saying every time you boot your Mini, no matter what key combinations you use, you're getting a "?" icon?

    If so, then no amount of key bashing will fix this. Your boot drive is most likely dead.

    Hmm, I'm parsing the OP as saying that he's going to reinstall because he's getting "?" on boot up. Maybe I'm wrong.
     
  6. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #6
    You've never had OS X forget its Startup Disk at random I take it?

    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=58042

    Most of the time it is harmless but it can be a sign of worse problems.
     
  7. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

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    Apr 8, 2004
    #7
    Edit:
    Ah ok, I've never had that happen. But over a year ago, my wife's MB did have a HD drive failure that I seem to remember manifested itself as a flashing ? (as well as a regular clicking from the HD).
     
  8. mustang_dvs macrumors 6502a

    mustang_dvs

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    Location:
    Durham, NC
    #8
    So, I take it that you've already attempted [Command]- (single-user/CLI mode), [Command]-[V] (verbose mode), [Command]-[Option]-[P]-[R] (PRAM reset), [T] (firewire target disk mode), [Command]-[Option]-[O]-[F] (open firmware) and [C] (force boot from CD/DVD)?

    If none of that has any effect (by effect, I mean, the computer is non-responsive; especially the PRAM combo not doing anything), you either have a bad keyboard, fried mobo, or some other hardware failure.
     
  9. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #9
    It wouldn't be the first time for me or on this message board. Maybe you need some more experience.
     
  10. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #10
    Well, once you do get the DVD to boot, doing an Archive and Install is a wonderful thing. This is coming from someone who's also worked in IT for a long time. :)
     
  11. iamslr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 8, 2007
    #11
    Oh no, I'm not complaining about the recovery time at all. I'm having trouble getting to recovery. Right now I've rebooted my mini about five or six times in an attempt to just get the CD (or anything) to boot!

    My OS X CD is in the drive and I'm holding down the 'C'. But it continues to boot to the blinking "?" Do I press the 'C' before the bong? After the bong? Before I press the power key?

    I shouldn't have to do it again and again. It should work the first time. It should work every time. It doesn't.

    And, thanks for the reply.
     
  12. chris200x9 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 3, 2006
    #12

    happens to me all the time ever since I installed/uninstalled linux....but it eventually finds it on its own.
     
  13. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

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    Apr 8, 2004
    #13
    You need to press C when you power up (I normally press C and then the power button) and keep it pressed until it boots to the DVD. It shouldn't take long

    I've never had a problem booting to the install DVD. It makes me think there's something else wrong with your Mac.

    Can you tell us exactly what's happened: eg. my interpretation is, your Mini wouldn't boot into anything but a ?. You tried booting with Option pressed to select the boot drive, but kept getting ?. You then tried the install DVD and it won't boot to the install application. Is that right?
     
  14. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #14
    I had the problem where I'd only tap the Option or 'C' until I figured out you needed to hold it down after the boot tone.
     
  15. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

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    Apr 8, 2004
    #15
    I believe you it does happen, but I have 18 months experience with three different Macs and I've never had this issue. Do you have to have had a Mac for longer to see this?
     
  16. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #16
    I administer a department of Macs. I'm bound to encounter a lot more issues then with 3 Macs.
     
  17. iamslr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 8, 2007
    #17
    Thanks for the tip. I'll look that up. I do love my Mac. This is just really frustrating. Since early AM I've gotten it to boot once. I was backing up files. I clicked on a picture and it crashed again.
     
  18. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #18
    If you frag the startup drive on a PPC, and corrupt it.

    It'll be hell to bypass the flashing ? mark.

    Sometimes it is easier to remove the drive, boot from the CD/DVD, set that as the startup drive, then reinstall the drive for recovery (though using a external case and doing it on another machine is usually easier).

    Open firmware looks for the boot rom image on the startup drive, before checking the keyboard for action -- so you mess up/corrunpt the startup drive, it is very hard to get around to fix.

    Found this out when one of Apple's firmware updates, and OS updates killed the older OS but didn't block it -- saw it crash in verbose mode hard, and search for the MacOSROM image under OS 9 (bootx under OS X i think.)

    ---

    Haven't experience the same hell on the Intel machines, so I don't know how they react to the same situation.
     
  19. iamslr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 8, 2007
    #19
    Let's see, I've tried many of the key sequences. I've even changed the boot-device in the open firmware to the CD. That did work once, but I have not been able to get it to work again - yet (20th times a charm -hehe).

    There may be some problems, I don't know. When it did boot it was just fine. All the files were there. I was backing up files to the external drive (which I disconnect while attempting to recover) before this last crash. I peeked a picture and boom! I was dumped onto a blue screen (light blue ;)) with a progress wheel. That's it.

    I ran the disk utility and all was ok. It's like Eidorian said, OS X seems to have forgotten its Startup Disk.

    mustang_dvs: I've tried all of those sequences. One time I was dropped into the Apple Hardware Test (?) I don't know how it happened. Maybe the mini had pity on me. The tests all reported everything ok.

    plinden: The trouble started yesterday. Had the kids over and they were watching a movie through iTunes (I don't have a TV). After they left my system froze. I tried to reboot and it went to the "?".

    I've been working on it since then. I've been able to boot it only once since yesterday. I found a key sequence which forces the system to boot to OS X and that one worked. I even rebooted successfully. Once I get it up I'm going to do an erase and restore.

    Thanks for all of the tips. I'll keep at it. The input really helps (the mini flying out window was starting to look too good).

    All the best!
     
  20. apfhex macrumors 68030

    apfhex

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    Aug 8, 2006
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    Northern California
    #20
    That would be "x". :) If you're having problems booting from an OS X install disc by holding down "c" (assuming you're doing it right)... is it definitely the right disc? The restore discs that came with the Mac or a newer retail release should work (if it's an Intel Mini though you'd have to use the Restore discs since retail Tiger is still PPC only AFAIK). But from the sound of it you may have a bit of a hardware problem, possibly a failing HDD.
     
  21. mustang_dvs macrumors 6502a

    mustang_dvs

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    #21
    If the 'hardware test' was a graphical program, then you pressed [D] with the system DVD in the drive. If it was a bunch of white text on a black screen, you pressed [V] and booted in verbose mode. (If it was the former, what did the tests reveal?)

    I'm inclined to think that you've got a hardware issue, since it won't boot via the DVD, even with the [C] key down, or OF set to the optical drive. (BTW, generally, you can start holding the [C] key down once the startup chime sounds -- obviously, you need to do it before the :apple: appears on screen, since that signifies that it's found a bootable disk.)
     
  22. Angrist macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Location:
    MI or NJ
    #22
    I'd have to agree. You've probably got an intermittently working HDD thats ready to kick it. OR You have intermittently bad / loose RAM OR a loose cable somewhere (think IDE bus).

    I'd pop the mini open, reseat/swap the RAM, and make sure that everything is connected tightly.
     
  23. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Indianapolis
    #23
    I wouldn't open the mini if they're under warranty.
     
  24. iamslr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 8, 2007
    #24
    Well, my mini is back up again. I did an erase and install.

    All through the day yesterday I continued to try different key sequences. Finally early this morning before getting ready for work I tried again. I used Option-Apple-Shift-Delete.

    With the power off I held down all but the delete key. I pressed the power and then immediately pressed the delete key. I continued to hold it even after the chime. The blinking "?" came up yet again, but when I released the keys it jumped into the HD boot! Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy! :D

    Everything seemed ok after the boot The only change was that the icons were jumbled all over the desktop as if it had been shaken up. Other than that everything was ok. I was able to download a few more things and start the restore. Lucy was back up before I left for work.

    I think I'll buy a small external drive and try loading the OS onto it. I'm going to also investigate creating an image.

    Thanks for all of the input. Great forum. All the best! :D
     
  25. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #25
    I put food on the table knowing how to use NetRestore. :rolleyes:

    Among other OS X applications and skills. :D
     

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