My Mac Mini crashed. I restarted and after a long time the screen remained gray.

I then started in single user mode, did a disk check (fsck reported no problems) and rebooted again.

The Mac is now booting since an hour. I can log in via ssh and every command takes ages.

  • CPU usage is almost 0%
  • Memory is also OK (more than 3GB free)
  • Load is perfect ( less than 0.2 )
  • /var/log/kernel and secure do not show anything strange
  • fan is around 2000 rpm
  • temperatures: HD 53, CPU 66, .. everything else around 60 or lower
  • disk is not full (> 30 GB free)

What am I missing? Where should I look for the cause of this sudden slowness?

After 1h 15' I managed to get the finder. Apps are starting (slowly) and system seems OK but for the fact that every action takes almost one minute to have any visible effect. (Command line via SSH is a little bit more responsive but not much)

  • 1
    That's utterly bizarre. Try zapping the PRAM. Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 19:46
  • @ChrisAnderson Didn't think about it (it is since my first Power Mac that I don't do it :-). In any case there are no changes. Still slowly (very slowly booting)
    – Matteo
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 20:12
  • 1
    When booting, on what stage does it take so long? Grey screen, grey screen with Apple log, blue screen, loading of desktop? Is it just one, or all of the above? Might help to figure out where the slowdown is happening. Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 20:18
  • Everything is slow. Every message in verbose mode comes every 2-3 minutes. From the beginning. Even after an hour when the Finder appears, everything works but every click takes ages. From the command line the same.
    – Matteo
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 20:20
  • 4
    Try booting off of a Mac install disc. Your problem just has to be hardware related. If you can boot off the disc without the slowness maybe that pinpoints your HD as the issue. Either way, I'd give Apple support a call, it's highly likely you'll need a hardware repair. Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 20:30

3 Answers 3


Take it to the Apple store nearest and talk to one of the Geniuses. They will most likely boot your make in safe mode which displays a bunch of system messages on the screen. They will help you for free.

  • I already tried to boot in safe mode: no changes. Everything seems normal but for the speed. No errors no warnings.
    – Matteo
    Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 19:07

If the issues are this widespread, there may be an issue with your hard drive. Make sure that you have a backup of any important data that you can't afford to lose.

You can try to boot from your OS X installation disc or recovery partition and run a check on your hard drive using the Disk Utility.

  • I tried even to remove the HD and boot from CD: same result, works but takes > 5 hours to boot. HD is surely not the problem.
    – Matteo
    Commented Jan 15, 2012 at 8:55
  • Well, that wouldn't be the hard drive then. Have you checked the RAM? Try taking out one chip at a time, then booting with the other, or swap with some other mobile computer if you can. Commented Jan 15, 2012 at 14:22
  • Had only one chip but it's work a try borrowing one to test ...
    – Matteo
    Commented Jan 15, 2012 at 16:08

Sounds like you have defective sectors (or bad blocks) on your hard-drive. If you happen to have a copy of TechTool Pro/Deluxe you can run a surface scan of the drive to verify the integrity of the blocks.

If you don't have a copy of TechTool Pro, I'd recommend taking your Mac mini to an Apple Authorised Service Provider (AASP) or to the "Genius" bar at Apple. I'd suggest an AASP because their prices are generally cheaper than Apple.

Good Luck!

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