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Don't hate on me too much for this one...

I put Win8 on my Mac Mini using Bootcamp, and all was well. I switched back and forth a couple times between the two with no problems. The problem started when I was trying to update drivers for my touchscreen monitor on the Win8 side. I think somehow the Bootcamp drivers 'went away' I can't get back into Mac.

Is there a way to "manually" boot into a partition? I have tried using the "hold down the option key," but that's what I believe got messed up by the driver stuff.

Thank you in advance for any help.


  • Mac Mini running 10.7
  • No Optical Drive
  • Windows Style Wireless Keyboard/Mouse
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Does my answer to this question about bootcamp help? Basically, as well as holding down option on startup, you can select default startup volume from the Boot Camp control panel (in Windows). – binarybob Mar 20 '12 at 19:33
Right, so that is what I'm saying. My messing around with the drivers has "removed" the Bootcamp control panel in Windows and (it seems) the ability to use the "hold down the option key on startup" method. It has thoroughly convinced my mac to believe it is windows. cold chills – JT703 Mar 21 '12 at 13:32

I'm not sure how likely it is that drivers tampered with the EFI. That said, you have a few options.

You could try installing reFIT. This should bring up a boot menu regardless of your holding the Option key. You can find it here.

You could try resetting the System Management Controller. I don't know so much about it to veritably say that this is causing your issue, but it's worth a shot.

My first course of action, however, would be to get a FireWire cable and boot to FireWire Target Disk Mode by holding "T" during bootup on the stunted computer and hook it up to a working Mac. You can then try running disk integrity checks on it using Disk Utility as normal. You can even try selecting the boot disk on that computer and restarting to see if there's an actual file-level issue with the your operating system.

If your disk does not appear on the Mac you attach it to, you can't boot to FireWire Target Disk Mode, or you can't boot to the OS on the attached Mac (assuming the OS is compatible), you've got additional issues which you should come back and tell us about.

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Turn off the mac, then when it is starting up again, hold the option key. This will bring up a menu that will allow to easily select which operating system to boot into.

After booting into OSX, you can go to Apple Menu -> System Preferences -> Startup Disk (Under System section) and change which OS to boot into by default.

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Right, so that is what I'm saying. My messing around with the drivers has "removed" the Bootcamp control panel in Windows and (it seems) the ability to use the "hold down the option key on startup" method. It has thoroughly convinced my mac to believe it is windows. cold chills – JT703 Mar 21 '12 at 13:33
Do any other starup key combinations work? Try any of these: Especially try inserting the OSX CD and holding C to boot from it. Have you installed Lion? Are you using a wireless or a wired keyboard? – Daniel James Mar 21 '12 at 16:24
I will be trying more things tonight, especially the other key combos. I just updated my question with the environment details. – JT703 Mar 21 '12 at 17:02
Definitely try different key combinations. Since you're running Lion, you can press Command-R during startup to boot into Lion's recovery, and from there you should be able change your boot volume. Also, just to double check, you are pressing and holding the Option key, which on a Window's keyboard, would be the Alt key, correct? – Daniel James Mar 21 '12 at 22:54
It's working now. It turns out there was a problem with the wireless keyboard being "awake" on startup. I pressed a couple keys before hand, then started the mac, and it started right up. Thanks for all you help. – JT703 Mar 23 '12 at 2:58
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The "correct answer" to this turn out to be not so deep. The wireless keyboard was not waking up fast enough on startup to get the key press to initiate any of the startup key combos.

Hitting a couple keys before hitting the power button on the mac mini allowed the keyboard to wake up first. All key combos work.

I believe the fact that the Bootcamp control panel does not show up on the Windows side, is because it is Windows 8 and Bootcamp and it's Windows support drivers are meant for Windows 7.

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I had a similar issue and the below trick solved it.

Resetting NVRAM

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command (⌘), Option, P, and R.
  3. Turn on your Mac.
  4. Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys immediately after you hear the startup sound.
  5. Hold these keys until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for a second time.
  6. Release the keys.


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