mini (2011) won't boot

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by politico73, May 8, 2016.

  1. politico73 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2016
    #1
    This is my first post and I know nothing about Macs except what I've read from you guys on this forum. I would appreciate any help you wish to offer. It's my daughter's mini that she bought new in 2011. Says she rarely ever used it, but still it went out over a year ago and she just hasn't wanted to spend the $100 minimum she was quoted from Apple in Houston to repair it.

    Symptoms:
    On power up the screen lights up. After a 3-4 second delay the logo appears. After another similar delay the spinning circle appears, but goes away after about 35 seconds. The screen stays lit and the unit itself stays powered up (with fan running) until I hold the power in for about 5 seconds. I have never left it running like that for over 3-5 minutes, so I don't know what would happen if I left it on.

    I tried booting it up in the safe mode and there was a slightly different outcome, described as follows: Similar to above, but a longer delay for the spinning circle to appear (probably 12-15 seconds. But soon after, the progress bar appeared. It moved up to about 30-35% (this took about 40-45 seconds), then it went away. From there it behaved just like above.

    Some observations and speculation, but bear in mind that I have no experience with Mac whatsoever and therefore may be of little or no value: Why was I able to get the progress bar and significantly less heat generated in the safe mode? I almost forgot to mention that I eliminated the ram as the problem by switching from the original 2 x1g with 2 x 4g that I got from Newegg knowing that an upgrade would be necessary in today's world. I'm pretty sure the HD is good as I checked it with a disk management program on my PC and it showed to be a healthy unit. It would appear to me, again as a complete Mac novice, that it probably has bad logic board. I've tried the "baking" procedure I read about, but it made no difference.

    Thanks to anyone that had the patience to read this.
     
  2. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Delaware
    #2
    Boot to the recovery system: Restart, while holding Command-R
    Run Disk Utility, then try the choice to Repair Disk (or First Aid, depending on the OS X version)
    If that passes, then it may be a good plan to reinstall OS X.
    Easy to do that, just quit Disk Utility, then click on Reinstall OS X.
    You won't lose any photos or music or other personal stuff. That reinstall is similar to a Windows repair install.

    If that doesn't help - or doesn't work - you could try booting to single-user mode:
    Restart, holding Command-S.
    Release the keys when you see text scrolling down.
    Type /sbin/fsck -fy
    Then press enter. That runs a quick test of the hard drive and the file system.
    If it passes with no problems found, type /sbin/mount -uw /
    notice the space between mount and -uw, and the second space between the -uw and the last /
    Press enter. You should get a prompt again within a few seconds.
    Then type exit, and press enter.
    That may let you boot the rest of the way.
    If it STILL does not finish booting, wait longer. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes.

    No good results?
    Boot to diagnostics by restarting while holding the D. (no other keys, just the letter D.)
    You should see it boot to the hardware test. Run both the standard and extended tests. The extended test can take quite a long time if you have a lot of RAM installed - sometimes more than an hour, so be patient with this one, too.

    Let us know how it goes.
     
  3. politico73 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 15, 2016
    #3
    Thanks for your help, DeltaMac! I had tried Command-R numerous time before and got no results whatsoever. Same this time, so I moved on to the single user command. Was thrilled to see data flooding onto the screen. Followed your instruction with the command entries, and all seemed to be going well. Lots of data to interpret, but bottom line seemed to be that some corrections were made and it was ready to exit. But it did not complete the boot up. So then I tried the Command-R, and low and behold it went into to the Disk Utility. Repair was completed and given a thumbs up. However, when I attempted to Reinstall OS X, I got the Mountain Lion logo, clicked on continue and got the notice that my computer's eligibility would have to be verified and the blinking continue button. That click brought up a notice saying that "installation information could not be written to the disk" and gave me a "contact Apple Care" button.

    It's as though Apple is saying my mini isn't eligible...what does that mean or suggest?
     
  4. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    Delaware
    #4
    Are you using a wireless/Wifi connection?
    Are there any restrictions on that network, such as proxy servers (common on business or educational environments)?
    The OS X reinstall usually won't work through a wifi connection such as that.
    A home network usually won't have those kind of restrictions, so you may want to try it on a different network, or, even better, use a wired ethernet connection, if possible.

    You can also try using an OS X installer from a bootable flash drive, if you have that available. It's also fairly simple to create a bootable OS X installer, if you have access to a working Mac.
     
  5. politico73 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 15, 2016
    #5
    I had it connected to my home network which is both wireless and ethernet. I run my HTPC from an ethernet port and everything else WiFi. I had decided when I gave up for the night, that I would connect via ethernet sometime today. I'll let you know what happens. Thanks again!
     
  6. politico73 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 15, 2016
    #6

    I'm not quite sure how that duplicated reply got in there...something I did wrong I suppose...sorry! Oh well, back to my issue. Straight wired ethernet gives me the same result. Apple appears to not recognize this mini and therefore won't download the Mountain Lion reinstall program. I don't have a functioning Mac to build a bootable flash drive or anything ekse, for that matter. If this was a PC, I'd just change the boot device in BIOS and reload the operating system from the Windows disc. But, I think I read a thread on here about a guy trying to reload his OS on a wiped HD and it wouldn't work. I can't remember why though.

    Is it possible that Apple just doesn't recognize this computer because it hasn't be operational in so long. I talked to my daughter just now and she confirmed that it hasn't worked in 2, maybe 2 1/2 years. She also agreed that her boyfriend might have done something (against her wishes and unknown to her) that could have resulted in Apple's ignorance of this mini's legitimacy. Crazy???
     
  7. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    Location:
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    #7
    Have you tried booting to Internet Recovery?
    Restart, holding Option-Command-R.
    You will see a spinning world, not an Apple icon, indicating that you are booting to Apple's remote servers.
    It can take several minutes but will get to a screen similar to the Command-R recovery system.
    You can erase the hard drive using Disk Utiity, and do a clean install of OS X, all through your internet connection.
     
  8. politico73 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 15, 2016
    #8
    Instead of a spinning world, it's stationery with a large exclamation point in the middle. Slightly below it is: apple.com/support in bold font. Then below that is: -1001F (2048/1024) in slightly smaller, non bold font.
    I'm guessing that the last part in parentheses is the ram configuration. I left it in that configuration for 20 minutes, but it never did anything. I would guess that this screen image is saying about what the command-R was: no serial number recognition.
     
  9. TinHead88 macrumors regular

    TinHead88

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    #9
    1. Did you purchase Mac specific ram?
    2. How did you manage to check the HDD with a PC program? This is definitely something you don't want to do.
    3. Most importantly, what kind of baking have you been doing?
     
  10. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #10
    I think that your internet connection may not be suitable for internet recovery.
    Check the support article for internet recovery, You will see that the supported connections have some restrictions.
    If you are using wireless, try a wired (ethernet) connection direct to your router.
    If you don't have ethernet available, try turning your wifi security off, then test the connection to see if it works then.

    You can also boot to the hardware test, and actually test your RAM.
    Restart while holding D. No other keys, just the letter D. You should boot to the hardware test. Run both the standard and extended tests.
     
  11. politico73 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 15, 2016
    #11
    First to TH88--#1 Yes, I'm certain the Crucial 8gb package was specifically for Mac. #2 I have my main PC set up with the ability to provide power and eSata externally and an Ease US disc program. So in this case it was used just to read, not perform any functions. #3 The logic board was placed in an oven at 200 degrees for about 7 minutes. I can't remember which forum or article where I read about this procedure.

    Back to DeltaMac--Have read the support article through and through. I had it hooked up directly to the modem (separate from router). I feel fairly confident that my network meets the necessary criteria for Internet Recovery, but I'm still looking for and open to any suggestions in that area. As for the hardware test, it passes all them (including the extended) that you suggested.

    Another thought: My daughter remembers that it came with Lion, but sometime within the year after purchase, she got a email from Apple saying they would (at no charge) install Mountain Lion and (she thinks) they provided a link to accomplish that. Is it possible that for some unknown reason, the mini serial number did not get associated with that update, thus their records show no authorized purchase and installation of Mountain Lion?
     
  12. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #12
    The baking trick doesn't fix anything, if there is no associated hardware problem, and was just a "red herring", I think.
    The software update to upgrade to Mountain Lion is associated with the AppleID that was used originally to purchase/download Mountain Lion
    Apple keeps track of purchases through the AppleID, not the hardware itself. The purchases are tracked by AppleID.
    The hardware is associated with that AppleID.
    (note - even if the update is free, Apple would still consider it a "purchase" as related to your AppleID account)
    You can view all purchases (including free) made with that AppleID by viewing the account in iTunes.
    You can use iTunes on any computer to sign in to any AppleID account, to view those purchases. You have to use your daughter's AppleID sign-in, if she originally made the purchases/upgrades.

    If the mini originally came with Lion (which is very likely), then you would expect that Internet Recovery will offer Lion, too - not Mountain Lion
    I'm not convinced that connecting directly to the modem will work, unless you know from experience that directly connecting to the modem (bypassing the router) will provide an internet connection to another computer.
    Be sure to try it connected to your router, too. You may have a router built-in to your modem, and that's fine, too.
     
  13. politico73 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 15, 2016
    #13
    When I decided to upgrade to 40mbps, I bought the stand alone modem on eBay, so I am not certain that it is in the default (HDCP enabled) mode. I am about to check that and will also update the firmware if it's needed while I'm connected. I am so hoping this is the issue that solves the download problem. Thanks!
     
  14. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #14
    Does your modem have a multi-port ethernet hub? (More than a single ethernet port)
     
  15. politico73 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 15, 2016
    #15
    It's a ZyXEL Q100 with no wifi or routing capabilities. I normally have it connect to a dual link TP Link wifi router where it's then ethernet distributed to an HTPC and a Roku. For test purposes, I disconnected the router and connected the mini directly. And while I was able to upgrade the firmware on the modem, it was in the default HTPC mode.
    --- Post Merged, May 10, 2016 ---
    While connected directly to the modem with a laptop to check HDCP mode and upgrade firmware, I made it a point after completing that to go to several different websites to insure its internet functionality. I didn't try to download anything, but am certain it would have.

    I just got my daughter's Apple ID info and will see what has transpired...I hope!
     
  16. politico73 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 15, 2016
    #16
    Well I found the entry for the zero cost purchase of Mountain Lion through iTunes and the date corresponds with being just under a year from purchase. I guess I'll see about contacting Customer Service at the App Store and see what they can tell me. I don't know what else to do regarding my internet connection, but I will continue to keeping looking in that area. Connection speed is obviously not the issue as it tests at just under 50mbps and uploads at just over 3mbps.
     
  17. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #17
    1. Connect to your router, with ethernet
    2. If you only have a wireless choice for connecting, try turning security off on your wireless network.
    3. (and probably most relevant) An internet connection that works on other computers, or generally works so you can browse without problems - is not necessarily a connection that you can use to directly connect to Apple's servers. There are some listed limitations for the kinds of networks that will work, and some that won't work. It's mostly in the configuration of the network that you use.

    You can try moving your mini to a different location (friend, neighbor, library, computer shop, Apple store, etc) so you can try a completely different network.
    But, I suspect that (by your original symptoms) you may have a hard drive on the edge of failing - passes test, but doesn't do its real-life job, which is to allow erase, reinstall, and boot of an operating system.
     
  18. politico73 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 15, 2016
    #18
    I've had it ethernet connected through the router for the last last 8 or 10 times I've tried to the recovery process and I still get the error-try again message. You can see that it starts to issue another message than quickly pulls it back up and issues the error message. I would guess that it's probably the same one that says something like "can't write to this disk" message that I got about 2 or 3 times a couple of days ago. This, in my view, fits your last comments about an HD that will pass these tests, but not be "well" enough to do the things this download requires.

    With that theory in mind, I have an unused 60gb SSD I could easily install to confirm (I have the unit laid out and connected now). What would be the procedure to use to get it properly formatted and downloaded with Mountain Lion?
     
  19. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #19
    The steps that I would follow:
    SSD installed. You COULD try the small SSD in an external case, but you REALLY need to disconnect the internal SSD, just in case it interferes with the external drive (I have seen that happen), so you might as well just swap it out.
    Boot to Internet Recovery (Option-Command-R)
    Disk Utility - format (erase) the SSD.
    next step is how "I" proceed: shut down. Restart, again to Internet Recovery.
    Install OS X, which will likely be Lion.
    If THAT works (the format and the OS X install), then use that. If you need more space than 60GB (probably), then get a new SSD of the size that suits your needs.
     
  20. politico73 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 15, 2016
    #20
    Well the SSD did not work, but I'm fairly sure it has little, if any, bearing on the problem. I'm still researching the problem which now seems to be centered around the mini refusing to go into the Internet Recovery mode. Found several forum posts (Apple) that deal with this particular, and apparently not just the mini, problem and the error 1001F. Will post again when I find out more...IF I find more!
     
  21. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #21
    The various error codes when there is a problem booting to internet recovery are, in my experience, not easy to track down.
    But, after you rule out network challenges, such as unsupported security settings on the router, or other network issues, such as school or business setups - often works after an NVRAM and SMC reset.

    In my experience, I often give up if the internet recovery does not work within a couple of attempts, and simply boot to an OS X installer, and get it set up that way.
    And, that will also get your OS X system installed more quickly, as you don't have to wait for the OS X system files to download (and the internet connection has no chance to interfere with the install until it's all done :D )

    Maybe you have another Mac, or access to another Mac, where you could download the OS X installer app, then use that to make a bootable flash drive. Then you will have a good tool to have if you have other issues in the future!
     
  22. politico73 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 15, 2016
    #22
    Very well said, DeltaMac! I am now convinced, despite my tendency to be a glutton for punishment, to abandon my pursuance of internet recovery and move on to the bootable flash drive plan. I do have a relative I'm sure I can borrow use of his Mac long enough to enable execution of the plan. Thank you for all your help. I should also like to say that it has been such a pleasure as you are very patient, polite, and extremely articulate.
     

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