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Mac Mini - Flashing Folder Icon / No boot / Loud fans

1856 Views 10 Replies Latest reply: Mar 14, 2012 4:05 AM by tsch93 RSS
tsch93 Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 7, 2012 5:54 PM

I recently got my Mac Mini back after 8 months of it being 'elsewhere' (someone had it, tried to gain access, failed because I have filevault).

When I first got it back yesterday I turned it on, booted and then logged in, noticed no sound, and system was saying there was no sound card. The computer wasn't lagging or freezing whatsoever, so I reset it and still no sound.

I open it up and what do you know, someones opened it (I assume to get to the HDD) and had unclipped the sound card ribbon. Reseated that and put it back together, turn it on and finally a chime, but then nothing, White screen, and fans turn on full blast. I reset it, same thing. Reset it about 10 times, only thing I noticed was half the time my mouse cursor would show and let me move the cursor around.

So I take it apart again, check all connections, restart, same symptoms.

Pull it apart again and try installing 1 RAM chip at a time, same symptoms.

I tried booting it with resetting PRAM, NVRAM, I tried starting holding option, pressing c, everything, and nothing happens! Same symptoms. I tried holding down power for 10 seconds, hear a long beep, then chime, same symptoms!

So I take it apart again, take out hard drive, check connections (all ok), put it back in, same symptoms.

Anyway I got angry so i turned it on and left it doing it's White screen business. Come back 45 minutes later, flashing folder icon with '?'

I reboot, wait 15 again, same folder icon, loud fan, nothing else.


This doesn't make sense, HDD was fine 5 minutes before, no noises at all, no lag, no errors. I didn't touch the hard drive previously to the problem, and now nothing is helping. I've had the hard drive replaced 2 years ago due to near failure, but saved all data by cloning the disk, the HDD isn't old!


I just bought an external HDD enclosure, should arrive soon, and a new HDD, issue is this disk is filevaulted, I'm scared my data is going to be lost for good.


What can I do? I've lost my OS X disc, but judging by the computer being unresponsive to other commands at boot I doubt it would boot a CD anyway.


Please help.


Mac mini, Mac OS X (10.5.6), 2.5GB RAM 320GB HDD
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,670 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 8, 2012 11:19 AM (in response to tsch93)

    Whew, what a bad ride.


    Does it also have Firmware password protection in Mac OS X ...



    It would block usage of all the startup keys, like C, N, T, D, CMD+s, CMD+Option+p+r, CMD +v, Option, and Shift, as well as booting from anything but the Hard Drive.


    Force Removing Password Protection


    1) Add or remove DIMMs to change the total amount of RAM in the computer.


    2) Then, the PRAM must be reset 3 times. (Command + Option + P + R).



    Does it boot to Single User Mode, CMD+s keys at bootup, if so try...


    /sbin/fsck -fy


    Repeat until it shows no errors fixed.


    (Space between fsck AND -fy important).


    Resolve startup issues and perform disk maintenance with Disk Utility and fsck...



  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,670 points)

    Let's hope it's the Mini & not the HDD!


    Keep us posted please.

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,670 points)

    It's doubtful the new Mac will boot 10.5.8, so that may be a problem, but you may still be able to unlock & Mount that FileVaulted Home folder with the Password.


    Normally, to import/migrate everything you just have that drive connected on first boot o the new Mac, after putting your info in you'll have a choice of using Setup Assistant or Migration Assistant to Migrate everything over.

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,670 points)

    Well, why couldn't you connect the drive to the iMac & then use MA on that drive after mounting the home folder?

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,670 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 9, 2012 12:00 PM (in response to tsch93)

    I'm not 100% positive about the Mounting part, but yes MA can use connected drives.


    I Think much of it may be in folders other than the Home folder, but I think to get everything you might need the Home folder also.


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