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A few days ago I bought a Mac Mini A1176 2006 1.5 512/60.

This is my first Apple computer. So maybe this is a common problem. But I can't find any solution to this problem.

When I turned it on for the first time, I saw a folder with a question mark. I only have a Windows keyboard. So I tried the Win+R or Alt+R hotkeys, but nothing changed. When I try to boot with Alt pressed, I get a white screen with a cursor.

I checked the hard drive on my computer. It is in excellent condition. Also the Disk Drill finds files.

Tried resetting NVRAM, Alt+Win+R+P. After this operation, my new Mac Mini cannot boot.

Now only black screen for 3 seconds and shutdown. Every 20 times I turn on my Mac it freezes in this state. I think I wiped the bios (UEFI) or something like that. Now the CD-ROM and keyboard does not turn on. Only black screen.

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    folder with a question mark means no operating software found
    – Ruskes
    Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 1:05
  • did it ever work ?
    – Ruskes
    Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 3:04
  • Your Mac has a single 32 bit processor. What operating system do you intend to install? The last OS provided by Apple is Snow Leopard, which is fairly outdated. Current Windows 10 and Linux releases would require a memory upgrade. Your Mac can be upgraded to a maximum of 2 GB. Installing a BIOS booting operating system (such as Windows) may require firmware updates, which would require first installing OS X. Once firmware is updated, OS X can be erased. Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 13:04
  • I currently have 2 Gb of RAM. I plan to change the processor to a more powerful one. I want to install Linux on kernel 5.4
    – Egor
    Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 13:28
  • now the problem with the startup. if there is a magic button to install linux from a flash drive, tell me which one))
    – Egor
    Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 13:29

2 Answers 2

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A folder with a question mark means that a valid operating system cannot be found. unless you have appropriate reader software on your PC, such as Paragon HFS for Windows, Windows cannot natively read Mac disks, so be careful of what you try on there. Disk Drill can read Mac drives, but that facility may not be presented to the rest of the OS.

That Mac is too old to have Recovery or Internet Recovery.

It is also quite likely it won't boot from USB [2006 was the cusp for this, some Macs from this time will, some won't, I don't have a precise list of which is which.] Also, Apple does not provide official downloads for Snow Leopard, which is the last OS the 2006 Mini can use. There is a workaround method you may be able to use - How to create a bootable OS X Snow Leopard USB drive?

If it won't boot from USB, that leaves CD/DVD. You will need to find a retail copy of Snow Leopard 10.6 & boot from that. That will allow you to attempt repair/reinstall.

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  • thanks for the reply. But now when I turn on the LED lights up, there is no image on the monitor and no response to the keyboard (backlight does not turn on, CAPS does not work. What should I try?
    – Egor
    Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 12:25
  • I'd go for a new PRAM battery first. If that's flat it can cause all kinds of weirdness. A bit fiddly to get to, but only cost about $£€ 0.50 - ifixit.com/Guide/Mac+mini+Model+A1176+PRAM+Battery+Replacement/…
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 12:28
  • btw, i'm not certain exactly what the battery is. It looks like a CR2032, which you can buy almost anywhere, local supermarket etc, but it may be a BR2032. You'll be able to see when you get the old one out - make sure to get the exact same type, letters and numbers, though manufacturer doesn't matter.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 12:35
  • ah, comments underneath say CR2032 - they're the cheapest & easiest to get hold of.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 12:36
  • Addendum: it starts randomly. The screen went white and I even managed to press different combinations. Bootloader menu and downloading via internet. After about 10 different power-ups with and without a wire it started to go to black screen again and would not start. Now I took out the battery - 3.05V. I only had 3.1V, but I replaced the previous one anyway. The interesting fact is that the battery before me was installed incorrectly
    – Egor
    Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 13:24
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Mac Os Lion introduced standard Recovery Mode it changed Mac firmware . Lion was 2 years(2011) after Snow Leopard.

Before standard recovery mode(Lion changes) repair procedures were Mac specific.

You need check if Lion can run on your Mac

To start recovery mode on Intel Mini you need USB cabled keyboard and lots of patience . My 2010 took 5-6 attempts to get it just right.

Old MacOs are no longer on App Store even High Sierra is iffy.

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