After a fail in the HDD, I am trying to reinstall Mountain Lion from USB (or Lion or whatever other without any particular choice) on a Mac Mini 2011 in an empty HDD.
Guessing because the disk is empty, most startup key, mainly Option (Boot Options), Command+R (Recovery), D (Hardware Diagnostics), do not work, hence I do not know how to finish these tutorials, since the OSX USB Boot do not appear.
From the hardware: I hear the Startup Sound, the keyboard is working but not the Num|Caps|Hold lights, I have disconnected the mouse or other peripherals, and the monitor and basic electronics apparently works, by sending a failure messages while booting from a Windows 8 USB Bootable media ("The Boot Configuration Data file doesn't contain valid information for an operating system").
I have tested some tricks on making some tricky formatting on the hard disk, plugging in pre-made bootable disks, but up to this moment, no choices made the Mac Mini to get loaded.
Neither Apple Stores accepts me to have the machine reinstalled for free (they don't do "maintenance service").
Question is which tutorial should I follow in this case.