5 Replies Latest reply: Jun 2, 2008 11:57 AM by AndyO
Tim Baker Level 2 (280 points)
My CD drive won't work on my Mini and I need to boot up from my restore DVD. How can I get it to boot up into the restore disc with an External USB DVD drive?

MacBook Pro, MacBook, Mac mini, iPhone, Mac OS X (10.5.3)
  • Boece Level 5 (6,245 points)
    Do you have an Intel Mini or an older G4 PPC Mini?

    I suspect you will have to mount the Mini's HD using Target Disk Mode onto one of your other Mac's and load the OS from the DVD in it -- though I don't know if this is actually possible.
  • Tim Baker Level 2 (280 points)
    It's a PPC Mini G4
  • AndyO Level 6 (17,050 points)
    In part, the reason your mini won't boot from the external DVD drive is that it's USB, while PPC systems can't boot from USB devices. Technically some can, but not conventionally, and often only after a lot of tweaking. If your USB drive with a valid MacOS installer for that system (the original install disk or a subsequent full retail installer) doesn't show up in the startup manager screen when you boot the system with the Option key (Alt if it's a Windows keyboard) then the drive isn't bootable.

    Additionally, some external optical drives seem problematic or simply impossible to boot from, even when they are connected by firewire.

    While Boece's advice re using firewire target disk mode and one of your other Macs is a good way to access the drive in the mini and thence recover data if you needed to, or to erase the drive, sadly it's not really possible to use that method to reinstall MacOS on the mini's internal drive unless you have another G4 mini from which to do it. Since FW target disk mode simply treats the target drive as an external drive on the host system, installing MacOS places a version of MacOS on the drive which is compatible with the host, not the target system. It can work with retail MacOS installers and near-compatible systems, but certainly wouldn't between Intel and PPC platforms.
  • Tim Baker Level 2 (280 points)
    What if I connected a Firewire External DVD drive? Would that be bootable?
  • AndyO Level 6 (17,050 points)
    Some are, yes, but unfortunately others aren't. While there's never been much documentation to explain why this is so, I think in some part it depends on the chipset the drive uses.

    The only way to tell is to connect the drive, insert a known valid installer, and then boot to the startup manager screen with the Option/Alt key. If the drive is bootable, it will show there after a pause of as much as 2 or 3 minutes. If not, the startup manager screen will not show the drive at all.