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Problem with a Mac Mini

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:02 pm
by Maryann
I have a MacMini and it either gets a box in the center of the screen saying you must restart your computer or the screen just goes black and will not come back up. Also it will not restart immediately I have to let it sit quite awhile before it will restart. I thought that it might be getting too hot so I added an external fan that runs when ever it is on and I have run the Hardware test that shows no problems. I have also ran the First Aid started from the set up disk and it says there is no problem.

Thanks any help is appreciated.
Maryann

Re: Problem with a Mac Mini

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:22 pm
by Stephen Hart
Maryann wrote:I have a MacMini and it either gets a box in the center of the screen saying you must restart your computer or the screen just goes black and will not come back up. Also it will not restart immediately I have to let it sit quite awhile before it will restart. I thought that it might be getting too hot so I added an external fan that runs when ever it is on and I have run the Hardware test that shows no problems. I have also ran the First Aid started from the set up disk and it says there is no problem.

Thanks any help is appreciated.
Maryann
That box with the grayed-out background is what you see when the Mac has a kernel panic. That just means the operating system encountered an error it can't cope with.

It's unlikely this has anything to do with heat. But it might be a hardware problem.

Let us know what your level of Mac expertise is and we can make a recommendation. (For example, do you have everything backed up to another drive? How new is the mini? Do you hear any strange noises?)
Alternatively, contact David Hannon, who can help in person.

Re: Problem with a Mac Mini

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:57 pm
by Maryann Proctor
Hi,
I have been a Mac User for about 16 years. This is my second Mac Mini and David has done work for me before but cannot afford him just now. This is my 6th. desktop model, I also have a Mac Book Pro and 1st model Ipad.

I have considered running the Erase and Restore but didn't want to do anything that drastic without some feedback. I have everything backed up on a hard drive but it is not connected just now or since I started running the First Aid disks, hardware tests etc on it, the directions said to disconnect everything before using the hardware test so they are all disconnected. The only things on it now are the fan, keyboard, mouse and Monitor.

The only noises are when the mini will not start and that doesn't happen every time. It makes a noise like a stuck record during the non start up events.

It has a large amount of photos on it since I am a photographer. I was wondering if it is just running low on space and that is where the panic comes in. It has never given me any messages other than the restart message. This mini is updated to 10.5.8, I believe, I have also installed Zerobits Mac Keeper on it with no problems showing. I purchased this Mini in August of 2008 and do not have Snow Leopard on my laptop or Mini. So the OS is what ever was before that.

I considered buying the Disk Warrior that I saw David us on my last one but didn't know what version I needed and didn't have the money anyway.

Thanks for taking the time to help me. I do so appreciate it.

Maryann Proctor

Re: Problem with a Mac Mini

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:03 pm
by Richard Serkes
Unfortunately, your Mini is out of warranty. Before doing anything drastic I'd try running Disk Warrior or TechTool Pro. If you can get online you'll be able to go to the publishers' websites and determine which version you need for OS 10.5. Even if it doesn't fix your problem then you'll still have what I consider a necessary tool to maintain any Mac.

If one of these programs doesn't fix things then I'd give it a go with a complete reformat and reloading of the OS. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You said you had a backup so you won't lose your personal data. You'll just have to reload your applications and personal files.

But before doing that if you can make the Mini boot check to see how much free disk space you have. You should have about 10% to 15% of your hard drive free. If not, you may be able to fix the problem just by removing some files from your hard drive.

And for the future, download SuperDuper and make a bootable clone of your hard drive. That will let you run your Mac from and external drive so you can do diagnostics on the problem drive.

Re: Problem with a Mac Mini

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:59 am
by JerryFreilich
You might also try seeing if you can boot up in "Safe Mode" as a trouble-shooting step. See this web page: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1564

Re: Problem with a Mac Mini

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:13 am
by Stephen Hart
Maryann Proctor wrote:
The only noises are when the mini will not start and that doesn't happen every time. It makes a noise like a stuck record during the non start up events.
I'd borrow or buy an external hard drive (don't use your latest backup) and use Carbon Copy Cloner to make an exact copy of the drive in the mini, assuming you can get it to start up.

That clicking noise is not a good sign. It's the sound a drive makes when it can't start up. This might indicate a failing drive or a failing power supply.

Once you have that clone made, you can then test the mini by starting up from the external drive. If the mini works consistently when started up from the external, you can assume the internal drive needs to be replaced.

What size is the internal drive in the mini?

Re: Problem with a Mac Mini

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:33 am
by Jay Cline
Mac minis have 2.5" laptop size drives. You use a small metal bladed putty knife to open them or a screwdriver if you don't mind a few dings.

When did the issue of Kernel panics first start? Was it after you installed MacKeeper? Some report MacKeeper to be a scam and others report problems with their computer after installing it.

Re: Problem with a Mac Mini

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:00 am
by Maryann Proctor
Well I did get it to start up in Safe Mode so I thought I would do Disk Permissions, It went black just doing disk permission reading it didn't even get into checking them. I tried it last night in regular mode and it froze doing permissions. Got beyond reading and was checking them and just froze but the screen didn't go black.

I am ready to just erase it and try again, but just not sure that is the problem and that I would not have more trouble with some thing else as the cause.

I just am at the end of what I can do. Still open to trying things but I am afraid it is beyond me. I know I put too much on them, but I use them a lot, my husband Jim says "I just wear them out".

You guys are great, thanks for all your ideas they are appreciated very much.

Maryann

Re: Problem with a Mac Mini

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:27 am
by Jay Cline
Does the computer shut off when you say it went black?

Re: Problem with a Mac Mini

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:30 am
by Maryann Proctor
No I have to press the button to shut it off and when it just froze last night the same.

I checked the availability last night and It says it is a 111.8 Gigabit hard drive and I had 26.? open 80..something was used but I didn't write the numbers down.

I verified the disk, I did that first last night before trying to do permissions, it comes up as Okay.

Which is better Tech Tool Pro or Disk Warrior? and remember I am not as up there as you guys are it has to be for a novice to use?

This computer is only 3 years old.

Thanks,
Maryann