2074 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Jan 15, 2009 11:59 AM by AndyO
You cannot use a copy of MacOS 10.2 to boot a Mac mini. The earliest version of MacOS which the mini can use is 10.3.4, and even then, only for the first generation of G4 models. Intel models would require at least MacOS 10.4
To remove the 10.2 installer, switch the mini on, and hold the (left) mouse button down on a wired, USB, mouse as soon as you hear the chime, and keep it held down until the disk comes out.
The flashing question-mark indicates the system can't locate a valid MacOS copy to boot from, which in turns would indicate there is likely to be a problem with the hard drive. It may be that the drive itself has failed or is failing, but it could also be that there is some data corruption or a problem with the drive's directory or data structure which prevents the system finding the MacOS install on it, or from reading it.
In this situation, booting the system with a valid install disk, and then using the Disk utility copy on the installer to check the drive and attempt to make any necessary repairs is the right place to start. If that doesn't work because there are problems which Disk utility can't fix, then either a good commercial utility such as Disk Warrior is needed, or the drive can simply be wiped and MacOS installed again in an 'erase and install' to get the system back into service.
However, the first step is to get the 10.2 disk out and a valid installer in, and to check the internal drive for errors.
If the system can't boot from valid boot disks, a possible cause is a faulty hard drive that needs to be replaced. However, before you consider that, insert the MacOS 10.5 installer and restart the system, this time holding the Option key down (it's usually mapped to Alt if you're using a PC keyboard) from when you hear the chime. This should take you to the boot loader screen where after a few minutes, the install disk should appear as an available boot source if the system can read it.
You will need a wired USB keyboard that is not an Apple aluminium model for this.
If the system still doesn't recognize the installer, and you know it is a valid disk for that system (ie, the disk the system came with, or a retail installer that was issues after the system was bought) then at the very least it is likely to need a new hard drive, though there is potential to be a more serious problem than that.