I tried to restart while keep pressing Command-R

However, my keyboard is not mac keyboard. There is windows-R. It works exactly like Command-R in all circumstances.

Well, I keep failing to get into recovery HD. I need that because I want to repair the main disk.

Error: This disk needs to be repaired using the Recovery HD. Restart your computer, holding down the Command key and the R key until you see the Apple logo. When the OS X Utilities window appears, choose Disk Utility.

What should I do?

I have a flash disk. Can I turn that into recovery HD?

9 Answers 9


Try this alternative way (explained at macworld.com):

  1. Start you Mac while pressing the Option key (in your Windows keyboard press the Alt key) until the Startup Manager appears:

    enter image description here

    One of the volumes will be called Recovery HD.

  2. Select Recovery HD and then click the upward-pointing arrow below it to boot from Recovery HD.

  3. After a brief delay, you’ll see the Mac OS X Utilities screen. Select Disk Utility to repair your disk:

enter image description here

  • 2
    The asker uses a Windows keyboard -> shouldn't he use the ALT key there?
    – nohillside
    Mar 11, 2013 at 9:22
  • 1
    @patrix Yes, added reference to Alt.
    – jaume
    Mar 11, 2013 at 9:25
  • There is a windows key too that function like command key but that one doesn't work.
    – user4951
    Mar 12, 2013 at 10:03
  • 1
    I did. And it still doesn't work.
    – user4951
    Mar 14, 2013 at 7:36
  • 1
    It's USB. Also I changed keyboard again. It still doesn't work.
    – user4951
    Mar 21, 2013 at 10:27

Note for other who come across this thread. To get into Internet Recovery Mode I used WINDOWS + ALT + R on my 2011 Mac Mini while powering back on. CONTROL + ALT + R did not work for me with a Windows Keyboard (USB).

  • This helped me. Also on another thread, waiting 2-3 seconds after the chime before you press the buttons. Then it works like a charm.
    – Matt
    Feb 5, 2023 at 16:57

I tried this with a bluetooth windows keyboard and the ALT key on the left side of the space bar worked for me. I did not press any other key.

One more thing: it did not work when I did a soft restart; I had to power down, hold the ALT key, then power up the mini.

  • This was a life saver!
    – SevenDays
    Jul 30, 2020 at 15:27
  • Tried this a bunch of times, on multiple keyboards. What helped was plugging a specific keyboard into the other USB port. Weird?... Both ports worked; I just switched mouse and keyboard and finally Alt+R did what it's supposed to.
    – RomanSt
    Jul 29, 2022 at 21:17

For a mid 2011 Mac Mini using a bluetooth keyboard, what finally worked for me was the Windows-R key combo.


I had to power off and unplug the Mac Mini then hold down the Alt key and start the Mini up that way and then it works.

Every time I install Sierra I can't log in and have to do this first.


Nothing worked for me until I tried this:

  1. Plug USB keyboard in on far right USB port.
  2. Shut down Mac Mini.
  3. Power on mac mini and wait 3 seconds
  4. Hold left ALT down.

I've got an arduino so I'm making it into a fake usb keyboard that outputs the alt button. Really all I can do in lockdown with no shops open!



I was having similar problems. I have both an old MacBook Pro (2010) and a 2014 Mac Mini. With the MBP and a built-in keyboard, I can get to the Recovery without difficulty, using any of the specified methods.

The Mini has been entirely different, where the best I can do is a login screen that offers to reset the login password. For this, I am using not only a Windows keyboard, but also where the keyboard is connected to a KVM switch (i.e., USB connection from the Mini to the switch, and then keyboard attached to the switch).

After a bunch floundering, I found that at least with the Mini, timing is an issue. I had been pressing the specified keys as soon as I could after a restart during the startup chime. However, if I wait 3 seconds until the chime is done, and then press keys, I can get the recovery console.

I don't know if it's that the Mini is a little different than an MBP, my use of external keyboard through a KVM or a combination, but with the Mini, timing is significant, and it's necessary to wait until after the chime to press keys


If all the above answers don't work for you. Maybe try to hold the windows+r a little bit later when you press the power button. Some keyboards would not be recognized immediately when you press the power on button.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .