Boot prompt access in a Hackintosh
January 2, 2013 9:27 AM   Subscribe

I need to access the boot prompt on a Mac (this is a Hackintosh using a Dell body) and the recommended approaches aren't working.

What I have:
- a known-working Hackintosh, running Mac OS 10.6. Body is a Dell Inspiron Mini 10v. It's not dual-boot (only Mac OS is installed, no Windows), so normally it needs no input from me during boot -- it just shows a few seconds of Dell logo, then the grey boot screen for Mac OS.

What I don't have:
- any of the three existing users' passwords (i.e., I have no way to get beyond the login screen if I boot into the standard GUI);
- any way to use a CD or DVD with this machine; or
- the thumb drive I made and used for the Mac OS install.

What I want to do:
- get to a boot prompt and enter single user mode so I can change one user's password and log in. (All existing users are Administrators.) Since we don't care about preserving any user's data, it would be equally good if there's any other solution that will let me create a new user, even if it wipes all current accounts and their data.

- Googling hasn't shown me a way to access the boot prompt that's worked yet. In this thread, the answer reported as good doesn't work for me. For me, pressing and holding F8 (starting at any point in the boot sequence, including before I press power button) just results in the same extremely loud steady beeping noise that poster describes.

(I've also tried holding Ctrl-S or Alt+S or Alt just as the grey Apple sequence begins. Depending on my exact timing, result is either the superloud beeping or no effect and a normal boot into the GUI.)

Am I missing anything about when to start holding down F8 (or the other keys)? Do you have any other idea for me?

(If there's definitely no other solution, I can re-make a thumb drive like the one I used for the Mac OS install, but I'm asking this question to see if I can avoid that.)
posted by kalapierson to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ive had to deal with something like this in the past. Are you using a standard mac keyboard? In the past Ive seen that if your not using a mac keyboard the command and control keys sometimes will not replace the "apple" key for boot up shortcuts, like 'apple'-s for single user mode.
posted by KeSetAffinityThread at 10:05 AM on January 2, 2013

I'm using the Dell's keyboard, so a standard Windows keyboard. I've tried all four possibilities for the [key]+S (Ctrl, Fn, Windows, and Alt).
posted by kalapierson at 10:23 AM on January 2, 2013

Solved! Out of curiosity, I put in earplugs and tested again -- discovered that if you hold F8 and just let the superloud beeping continue long enough, you get an alternate graphical menu (not the command-line prompt I was looking for, but one of its options is single-user mode).

It's not a bug, it's a feature! For the hard of hearing! (Or those who want to be. :))
posted by kalapierson at 10:33 AM on January 2, 2013

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