Skip navigation

Command-R not working on Start-up

63070 Views 19 Replies Latest reply: Dec 15, 2013 8:53 AM by mbrook21 RSS
1 2 Previous Next
Spongeman1022 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Aug 20, 2011 10:49 PM

I need to do a clean install of Lion on my iMac and I'm using the Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard. But on Start-up using the Command-R function, it still takes me to the Login screen. I've tried it with another bluetooth keyboard, but still no solution. Is there any way to fix this? Or do I need to go out and purchase a Wired Keyboard?

Mid 2010 iMac 21.5 in. 3.2 Ghz i3, Mac OS X (10.6.5), iPhone 8GB, iPhone 4 32GB, iPod touch 2G 8GB
  • quicksilver8 Level 2 Level 2 (310 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 20, 2011 10:52 PM (in response to Spongeman1022)

    Starting process is very long, I can tell this that I've tried... keep Mac starting up, finally you'll see it loading...

  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (22,150 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 20, 2011 11:14 PM (in response to Spongeman1022)

    Working with a bluetooth keyboard, you have to look at the keyboard during startup - as soon as you see the small green light come on and off, press the keys you need (in this case Command + R). The keyboard needs to turn on first before it will recognize a keyboard command; the green light is the indicator and it usually flashes on/off towards the end of the startup sound. In any case, holding down any key before it turns on or before the startup sound is not at all useful - it does nothing. So, try it - be ready to hit the keys as soon as the light comes on.

  • frenchy108 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 22, 2011 5:10 AM (in response to babowa)

    I have the same problem with trying to use Command-R at startup with a wireless keyboard.  I tried waiting for the green light on the keyboard and then press Command and r keys but still comes to the login screen without entering the Lion Recovery mode.  It seems that the keyboard becomes available too late in the startup proces to trigger the recovery mode. Has anyone had any success using a wireless keyboard ?

  • MichelX Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 22, 2011 7:38 AM (in response to Spongeman1022)

    Hello all,


    this solution has worked for me:


    1. Switch off your Mac

    2. Press the switch on the wireless keyboard

    3. immediately switch on your Mac

    4. press and hold the option key or the desired key-combination

    5. wait (in my case it took maybe 30-40 secs until the Boot-menu appeared)


    Hope this will work for others too!

  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (22,150 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 22, 2011 8:00 AM (in response to frenchy108)

    Yes, I have - it works for me. I follow the instructions in this article as well as waiting until the keyboard is actually recognized by the computer (after the green light flashes on/off):



    It is also sometimes easier to achieve this when booting up rather than restarting.


    @MichelX - not sure why your method works for you; I've tried that many times (before following Apple's instructions) and it never worked. Powering/pairing up a wireless keyboard before it can be recognized because the computer is powered off seems to be to no avail, but as long as it works for you, that's great.

  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (22,150 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 22, 2011 1:43 PM (in response to Spongeman1022)

    Glad you got that figured out and thanks for the feedback!

  • MichelX Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 23, 2011 12:12 AM (in response to babowa)

    @ babowa: on my system, I noticed the light on the keyboard goes on very late during the startup process, seemingly too late for any key presses to take effect. In fact, the LED comes on only short before the login-screen in my case. So Apple's solution won't work, at least for me. (I tried it several times to no avail)


    My idea was to force the keyboard to be on and pair with the computer early enough to take the desired keypresses.


    I assume as soon as the keyboard is on, it takes the keypresses and passes them on as soon as the pairing took place.


    At least it works and I am glad.

  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (22,150 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 23, 2011 7:54 AM (in response to MichelX)

    I realize it's tricky at best - frankly, I'm surprised it works at all (when it does): how can you send a keyboard command when the computer hasn't even recognized the keyboard and when the keyboard only wakes up when it gets a command from the computer - sounds like a vicious circle to me. I've noticed it works most reliably when booting up rather than restarting (why I don't know). And I also have a USB keyboard nearby just in case........

  • MichelX Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 23, 2011 10:30 AM (in response to babowa)

    I can only guess what happens.

    When booting normally, the Mac tells the keyboard to wake up and pair at a certain point.

    But the time the Mac tells my keyboard to wake up seems to be too late for any keypresses to take effect.


    Switching on the keyboard before the Mac somehow forces the pairing to take place earlier and the key combinations work.

    Of course, as you point out, pressing keys as long as the computer is still off doesn't work.


    Maybe someone else has more knowledge about this matter...

  • markinaz Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 14, 2011 11:10 PM (in response to MichelX)

    Thanks, I struggled with this for an hour thinking something was wrong with my recovery partition.  Your solution worked right away.   I am relatively new to Mac and am finding things like this make it a difficult transition from Windows...

  • Lovin It Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2012 10:58 PM (in response to Spongeman1022)

    HI, I totally agree with MicheleX and Babowa:


    Go to


    Do your commands as it states in the article. I have an iMac i7 purchased after July 2011 and it WORKS. Finally. Sheesh. You'd think Apple would have come up with a MUCH smoother way since the iMac ships with wireless...


    Anyway, hope this helped.



  • softwater Level 5 Level 5 (5,370 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2012 11:18 PM (in response to Lovin It)

    That wasn't the problem. The problem was the lack of recovery disk. For reference should others stumble on this thread, you can determine if the recovery disk is installed by using this command in


    diskutil list


    You should see something like this


    diskutil list.png

1 2 Previous Next


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (3)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.