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Option key not working to choose OS on startup

15282 Views 40 Replies Latest reply: Jun 17, 2008 9:19 AM by Bob Greenspan RSS
  • John Lockwood Level 5 Level 5 (5,075 points)
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    Apr 29, 2008 9:43 AM (in response to jayctravis)
    Disclaimer: I don't have one of the new Aluminium keyboards but I do have a theory as to why holding down the option key etc. does not work.

    The Aluminium keyboard is new (duh!) and has a new chip and new firmware compared to the old keyboard. My theory is that until after Mac OS X (or Windows) has completed at least part of the boot process and loaded drivers (Kernel Extensions in the case of Mac OS X) the computer does not 'know' how to properly speak to this new keyboard. Older keyboards would be covered by the older driver built-in to the Mac's firmware.

    If this theory is correct then I cannot understand why (it appears) Apple have still not rolled in to the firmware of the very latest Macs support for it. Also I would have thought it should have been possible for them to issue a firmware update for (medium age) Macs to address this. Alternatively Apple could have issued new firmware for the new keyboard to make it look more like the old one during booting (they have already issued new firmware for this keyboard so it can unlike some keyboards be upgraded). See http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/apple/firmware_hardware/keyboardsoftwareup date12.html

    I have seen something similar on an old XServe with certain keyboard/mice before the Xserve has booted which is what leads me to suspect this.

    Note: Either the firmware has support for the Apple remote, which is why holding down the menu button works, or the remote looks like a keyboard at that stage of the boot process. (Many presentation remotes do indeed emulate keyboard commands.)
    PowerBook G4, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • Jason Davis Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
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    May 25, 2008 5:13 PM (in response to John Lockwood)
    Sorry to add another "problem" post and not a solution, but I've got something a little different. This is a post for my sister-in-law who's got a core-solo mini. She's had no problems since installing Boot Camp and Windows a few months ago and been using a wireless white keyboard along with a wired alum. keyboard. Here's where things are a little different than most of the other problems in this thread...she is still running Tiger and made no changes to the hardware or software when the computer suddenly stopped giving her the boot menu/OS choice screen. At the beginning, the white keyboard alt-key worked (aluminum wired never worked for selecting OS but worked once OS was booted) then it just quit working. At face value, it does sound like it could be a keyboard problem, but what are the odds of both a new wired and "original" wireless keyboard suddenly not working?

    I understand the remote works for getting the OS choice at least, but it would be nice to find an actual solution to this. Any ideas?
    15" Macbook Pro, Mac Mini Core Duo, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • melonspirit Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 1, 2008 11:02 AM (in response to jayctravis)
    I had an issue with it but apparently my issue is pushing and holding in the key at the right moment. What one needs to do is push and hold it right at the time you hear the chimes.

    BTW-I'm using an aluminum keyboard for the Mac specs listed below.
    17" iMac 2.16 GHZ Intel Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.5.3), 160GB SATA, SuperDrive, 1 GB RAM
  • John Lockwood Level 5 Level 5 (5,075 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 2, 2008 3:12 AM (in response to melonspirit)
    melonspirit wrote:
    I had an issue with it but apparently my issue is pushing and holding in the key at the right moment. What one needs to do is push and hold it right at the time you hear the chimes.

    BTW-I'm using an aluminum keyboard for the Mac specs listed below.


    That is interesting. I have several XServe servers running off a Belkin OmniView KVM switch (to share the keyboard, monitor and mouse) and find that in order to get the server(s) to recognise startup keys like C to boot from CD/DVD or Option, or Command-Option-S I have to wait for a certain point in the servers startup process before holding the key down or it is not recognised. Using a directly attached keyboard does not have this problem.
    PowerBook G4, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • Bob Greenspan Calculating status...
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    Jun 15, 2008 10:47 AM (in response to John Lockwood)
    I think the problem is strictly related to the Mac Mini. At least that is what I have been told by Apple Care and the Genius Bar people at the Apple Store. But read on.

    I have MacMini with Wired Aluminum Keyboard. I have all the current Firmware and Software updates. The computer will not startup with the install disc using the "C" key nor will it start up with my second attached hard drive using the "Option" key. Now if I use my old Black Apple Keyboard both of these functions work beautifully.

    I wasted 2 hours with Applecare, including the wait time. They had me do the usual things such as resetting the Pram, disconnecting all cables and resetting the startup manager. You name it they just follow the book and waste your time and theirs.

    Their final conclusion was that my keyboard was defective so they made an appointment for me to bring it into the Apple Store. The Genius in the Apple Store hooks my keyboard up to another computer. I don't remember which model it was but I know it was not a Mac Mini. Anyhow he comes back and tells me my keyboard is fine. He says the RAM in my Mini has gone bad. So I replace the RAM. Still have the same problem.

    The real problem is the lack of knowledge about this on the part of Applecare and the Geniuses at the Apple Store. They don't seem to know about these discussions on the Apple Site nor any other internet site that is discussing or has discussed this issue. I told them that I have read these discussions and they acted like this was new to them and said they were going to go online and check for themselves.

    So for now, until a solution is posted by Apple I will just have to do the option startup or DVD startup by connecting my old keyboard.
    Mac Mini, Mac OS X (10.5.3), Apple 23 Inch Cinema Display
  • Bob Greenspan Level 1 Level 1 (75 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 15, 2008 11:41 AM (in response to fornoone)
    I tried your solution on my Mac Mini and it worked great. On Startup I slipped the DVD Startup Disk into the Mac Mini and as soon as I heard the startup chimes I held the Menu Button on the Remote Control and then within a few seconds I had 3 choices of which startup disc I wanted to use. The Mac Mini itself, my Second Hard Drive with the System on it or My DVD Install Disk. Thanks Fornoone. I hope the Apple Care people are reading this.
    Mac Mini, Mac OS X (10.5.3), Apple 23 Inch Cinema Display
  • vegaz Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 15, 2008 2:39 PM (in response to Bob Greenspan)
    Bob Greenspan wrote:
    I think the problem is strictly related to the Mac Mini.


    I can confirm that. What a s**t!
    MBP 15" - Macmini CoreDuo, Mac OS X (10.5.3)
  • Bob Greenspan Level 1 Level 1 (75 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 15, 2008 4:01 PM (in response to vegaz)
    Do you have the Mac Mini Remote Control? It worked just fine for me as the other poster suggested.
    Mac Mini, Mac OS X (10.5.3), Apple 23 Inch Cinema Display
  • vegaz Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 16, 2008 2:35 AM (in response to Bob Greenspan)
    Bob Greenspan wrote:
    Do you have the Mac Mini Remote Control? It worked just fine for me as the other poster suggested.


    yes, it works fine to replace the option key. But I don't know if I can use it, for example, to zap the pram... (OK, it's a little OT here).
    Anyway, as nice as this workaround can be, I think Apple should do something, and at the very least clearly acknowledge the issue.

    Message was edited by: vegaz
    MBP 15" - Macmini CoreDuo, Mac OS X (10.5.3)
  • Thanoscy Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 17, 2008 5:39 AM (in response to jayctravis)
    Nothing is defective. Option key of wireless keyboard doesn't work while you boot you mac.
    Macbook Pro 17" 2.4 Ghz, Mac OS X (10.5.2), Bootcamp with XP SP2
  • Bob Greenspan Level 1 Level 1 (75 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 17, 2008 9:19 AM (in response to Thanoscy)
    I have WIRED Aluminum Keyboard and WIRED Mighty Mouse and Both the Manual, All Apple Publications, Applecare and The Geniuses at the Apple Store say that Option Key Startup is supposed to work with this setup and the Mac Mini. If you read my prior post you will see that it DOES work with my older Non Aluminum Apple Keyboard. All seem to agree it is supposed to work but Apple as another poster has noted, has not chosen to address this problem.
    Mac Mini, Mac OS X (10.5.3), Apple 23 Inch Cinema Display
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