Man Mini Newbie question
May 11, 2012 5:35 PM   Subscribe

2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB, 320 GB. Hi I won a Mac Mini at a local auction. I only got the unit and the power supply. I purchased a Mini-DVI to VGA Female Monitor Cable Adapter to use with my existing monitor. I have a keyboard as well. I hooked up everything but all I get is blank screen. One time I got a message insert bootable dvd, I think. Please help an apple newbie. Thanks
posted by Noodles to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Where the power cord from the wall goes into the giant brick, did you press that cord allll the way into the brick?
posted by zippy at 5:44 PM on May 11, 2012

The screen turns a light grey? Sounds like it doesn't have an operating system on it (previous owner erased the HDD). If it didn't come with the system disk(s), you'll need to get a copy of Mac OS X. The last version sold on physical media is 10.6 Snow Leopard which you can buy for $30 from the Apple Store or online.
posted by birdherder at 5:46 PM on May 11, 2012

Hi, congratulations!

So if I'm understanding you: when you push the power button on the Mini, the screen does light up, indicating you're getting power, but then no Apple logo or anything appears on the screen? And this light turns on?

It sounds like the auctioneers probably erased the hard drive before auctioning it, so the previous owner's data would be gone, but never put the Operating System back on the hard drive afterward. If this is the case, you will need to re-install the Operating System (Mac OS X) so the computer knows what the hell to do when you turn it on.

You will be able to install OS 10.5 ("Leopard"), OS 10.6 ("Snow Leopard") or 10.7 ("Lion") with your specs, but you will need a disc or other media to install it from. The easiest path would be to buy Snow Leopard from the Apple Store, insert the disc in the disc drive, turn on the computer while holding "C" on the keyboard, and then going through the setup instructions on the screen. If you need help you can find a local Apple-Authorized Service Provider who should be able to help you, ideally for free or less than $50 labor.

Good luck!
posted by churl at 5:52 PM on May 11, 2012

If you bring it to an Apple store they will put the shipping image back on it for you for free.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:57 PM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

>The last version sold on physical media is 10.6 Snow Leopard which you can buy for $30 from the Apple Store or online.

not so. You can get the lion update on a usb stick. Talk to your apple store.
posted by w.fugawe at 1:10 AM on May 12, 2012

FYI, the Lion install on a USB stick is $69 (they're really trying to get away from physical media).
posted by blueberry at 11:36 AM on May 12, 2012

A blank light gray screen indicates that the computer has successfully powered on and loaded firmware, but has not been able to find a file called boot.efi on the drive it's trying to boot from, most likely, as has been previously speculated, because the sellers erased the drive before selling it.

Most likely, you're going to have to take it to an Apple store, where they'll install the OS the unit shipped with for you. But there are one or two things you can try first:

1. Reset PRAM/NVRAM. Boot the computer while pressing and holding down the option, command, P and R keys. You should hear the boot chime twice w/in a couple seconds of each other. After the second chime, you can release the keys. The NVRAM is where the computer stores information about various boot settings, and a corruption of the data can cause the boot process to hang before the computer gets around to finding the boot.efi file.

If that doesn't work,

1. Press and hold down "option" (or alt, if it's a PC keyboard) as soon as you hear the boot chime. There could be a valid boot device on the hard drive that is not set as the computer's boot disk. Some mac users like to keep a bootable image of their OS installation disk on their HDDs. Also, if the original owners had installed Lion on the computer, the "restore partition" could still be present.

If the option key doesn't show you any bootable partitions, than the disk is most likely completely reformatted, and needs a new copy of the OS installed.
posted by patnasty at 3:43 PM on May 12, 2012

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