The Mac Mini family was first introduced in January of 2005.

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(SOLVED!)Mac Mini doesn't recognize aluminum keyboard startup strokes?

I have a Mac Mini 2006 model with SL installed on it, updated to the latest version. I recently decided to try booting a Linux live CD on the Mac, so I inserted the disc, and restarted the machine.

Interestingly enough, the Mac wouldn't recognize my startup keystrokes. I tried the "C" "Option" and other key combinations, but the Mac continued to boot as normal, straight to my desktop.

I have the new USB wired Apple aluminum keyboard with the two USB 2.0 ports on it, and the Mini simply won't recognize it at startup. The keyboard works fine once I get to the login screen.

To ensure that nothing else was wrong, I plugged in a generic Acer PC keyboard, and rebooted again.

The Mini recognized the keystrokes! I was able to use "C" "Option" and the other keystrokes without fail, and the disc booted properly. But when I used the Apple keyboard, there was no such luck. I ensured that both keyboards were plugged into the same USB port when I tried them both, just to be sure it wasn't a faulty USB port problem.

Could it be that the aluminum keyboard, due to its USB hub, draws too much power from the Mini's power supply, so that it isn't loaded until after the boot sequence is finished? I do have other evidence which may support this theory.

I attached an external USB-powered hard drive to one of the keyboard's ports, and I received the "Device is drawing too much power" error message from the Mini. However, when I plugged the exact same keyboard and external into a Macbook Pro, there was no issue, and the drive was recognized normally.

It could be that the Mini's PSU isn't powerful enough to supply the necessary current to the keyboard's hub, and hence it is ignored at bootup. Is this true, or is there something else I am missing entirely?

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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8 Answers

Chosen Solution

Thanks all for your continued interest in this thread! I actually have found a solution to the startup keystroke problem, but it did involve some hacking. Dan got it right; the answer is all about the EFI firmware.

Basically, the 06' and '07 Minis are nearly identical, which the exception that the '07 has the newer, Core 2 processor. As a result of this, it is possible to download a copy of the '07 firmware and flash it onto the '06 model.

The download of the '07 is not available from Apple's official EFI download site, as they lump the '06 and '07 firmware together. Instead, I found a forum which was instrumental in providing the firmware update, and provided instructions for how to do it.

It's just like flashing your Mac firmware manually, the only difference is, once you've downloaded the appropriate firmware files, you have to navigate to the appropriate file location on your system and move them there. Once in place, the machine is ready for flashing!

Understand that this is not for the faint of heart. While it isn't a terribly difficult operation, there is a chance that - if something goes wrong - the machine will become "bricked." In which case, you would need to restore the firmware using the appropriate firmware restore disc created from Apple's EFI download page. Naturally, I would recommend that anyone attempting this should first create such a disc, as it will be the only way to recover the machine if the firmware upgrade goes haywire.

Once the firmware has been updated, the Mac will reboot normally, and it will now believe it is a 2,1 Mini rather than a 1,1.

This upgrade has its advantages:

First, it fixes the aluminum keyboard error that was the point of this thread, and the Mini now responds to any startup keystrokes that I use.

Second, the Mini can now take the '07's maximum amount of RAM, which is 3GB, as opposed to the current 1,1 2GB limitation.

I believe there may be other, lesser known perks, but the points I mentioned above are the main reasons for flashing the firmware. Supposedly, if one flashes the firmware on the 1,1 to 2,1 and upgrades the CPU from a Core Duo to a Core 2 Duo, then it may be possible to hack-install Lion on it, but don't quote me on that; I've never tried it, and I may be completely mistaken.

For the full treatment of how to flash a '06 Mini to '07 firmware status, please see my thread at: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.p...

Thanks again for everyone's suggestions!

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Diogones - Can you please score & mark this as solved Thanks!

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the aluminium Keyboard isn't recognised by mini 1,1. I have the same problem. You must used a with keyboard or a older apple keyboard..

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there is a software download available from apple for the aluminum keyboard. Once installed, it should work fine. I'm using a wired aluminum keyboard on a MacPro "cube" running tiger.

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Replace AirPort/Bluetooth Combo Card.

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The problem is with a USB key board not a Bluetooth unit so this won't help.

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Check your SMC firmware Mac Mini SMC firmware

as well as your EFI firmware Mac Mini EFI Firmware

I don't know of any Apple USB keyboard updates by Apple but there maybe one needed for Linux.

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Hi Diogones,

your firmware link isn't more active now but I have searching by Tech Spec Apple and I have found other Mac with C2D:

http://support.apple.com/kb/SP28

so I think to upload into my macmini1.1 these update

http://support.apple.com/kb/DL205

I have ONLY a dubt about the different code version firmware that is for iMAC (MM) and not for MacMini (MM)....

Can you help me? ;-)

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Hey m2box2002,

Don't use the firmware from Apple's website; it isn't going to help you get the appropriate version on your Mac Mini.

The iMac is a completely different machine, and it is not the model and firmware you want.

I'm sorry my link doesn't work anymore, so I'm going to repost it here:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.p... at post #24. That will give you the link to the zip file which contains the firmware files, as well as providing instructions on how to install it and update it.

Good luck!

Dio

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Update: Fixed the link in my original post about the Macrumors thread.

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Diogones will be eternally grateful.
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