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I'm looking for some troubleshooting ideas on my mac mini failing to boot. The machine had been working fine until 3 days ago. I purchased the mini second hand from a friend ~ 4 months ago.

The machine: Mac mini 1.83/2x512/80/SD/AP/BT OSX - Snow Leopard The attached peripherals to the mini are: USB mouse, USB non-Apple keyboard, ethernet, and display.

Here are the symptoms:

  • Power on
  • Boot Chime continuously repeats ~ every second or so
  • The indicator LED is continuously lit
  • The keyboard indicator LED is NOT lit
  • Monitor is a blank gray screen

I am not finding info on this set of symptoms in searches. What should I be considering with this set of symptoms?

Thank you.

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Did you ever get a fix for this? My MacMini is doing the same thing. The other suggestions here won't work because it doesn't get far enough to boot off a CD or external drive. –  Craig Jul 6 '12 at 10:33
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2 Answers

Sounds like a hardware issue. Insert your OS X CD and follow the instructions below from the Apple support pages to test your hardware

  1. Locate your 'Applications Install Disk 2' disk which came with your computer
  2. Insert the disk into the computer
  3. Boot/reboot the computer, holding the D down on your keyboard. You should get an image like this once the test software has started to inspect your computer
    Apple Hardware Test Icon
  4. When the process is complete, select your language and click the right arrow. If you aren't using a mouse, you can use the up and down arrows to select a language and then press the Return key.

The Apple Hardware Test console appears. You can choose which sort of test or tests to perform:

  • To perform all of the basic tests, click the Test button or press the "T" key or the Return key.
  • To perform a more thorough diagnostic test, select the "Perform extended testing" checkbox under the Test button before you click the Test button. Your test results will appear in the window in the bottom-right of the console.

The Hardware Profile tab of AHT provides specific information about your computer. To see this information, click the tab, then select a subject area on the left.

To exit AHT, click Restart or Shut Down at the bottom of the window. Remember that clicking Shut Down will not automatically eject the disc.


Normally these are caused by hard disk failure, or at least a failure to boot from the hard disk. If it turns out that it is the hard disk, you will need a new one. But you may still be able to salvage data from the old one after you've replaced it. If you get a USB hard drive caddy you can plug the old disk into your Mac after you've reinstalled the OS and if it is readable, you might be able to recover your data. You may even be able to use migration assistant to recover everything if it turns out that it's just your boot sector that's corrupted.

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This sounds to me like your HD is dead (it cannot find any drive to boot from). As @Griffo says, try inserting the OS X CD. First of all, if you are able to boot from that, this means it's probably only a HD-failure, now open disk-utility and check whether it can find your HD. If it can't, you should consider bringing your Mac to a APR or Apple Store.

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