Mac OS X Troubleshooting: Startup Command Key

2006 Intel iMac Startup Command Key

2006 iMac Intel

Recently I repaired a 20-inch 2006 iMac and was reminded of how much things have changed since the arrival of the Intel-based iMacs. Repairing or upgrading an iMac got a little more complicated. Apple used to make it possible for you to upgrade the RAM and hard drive of your iMac with relative ease, even with the 2002 “Snowball” iMac. It might have been somewhat of a jigsaw puzzle but it was doable, even for someone working on their first iMac. Taking apart an iMac (2006) model now requires quite a bit of nerve and careful skill to get at the hard drive, now mounted behind the screen and surrounded by flimsy heat shields. RAM is something you can still do yourself, except you need strong fingers. What hasn’t changed are the number of Startup key combinations you need to remember when working on your Mac regardless of the model or operating system.

Startup Key Combinations

I have listed startup key combinations that you can use to at startup on all Intel-based Macs. These are the basis of most repairs and troubleshooting paths and it is good to know them.

Press/Hold During Startup Description
C Start up a bootable CD or DVD such as a Mac OS X Install disk or repair utility.
D Start up in Apple Hardware Test (AHT) with the Install Disk 1 is in computer
Option+Command+P+R Reset Nonvolatile Memory (NVRAM).
Option Start up into System Manager. You can select and start up from any Mac OS X volume or CD/DVD disk.
Eject, F12, or mouse/click or Trackpad Button Eject any removable media, such as a optical disk.
N Start up from a compatible Network Server (NetBoot)
T Start up in FireWire Target Disk Mode.
Shift Start up in Safe Boot mode and temporarily disable login items.
Command+V Start up in Verbose Mode
Command+S Start up in Single-User Mode. You can run disk utility from here by typing “/sbin/fsck -fy”
Option+N Start up from a Network Server (NetBoot) using the default boot image.

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1 Response » to “Mac OS X Troubleshooting: Startup Command Key”

  1. quakerninja says:

    Gray screen hangup again on my imac 24in

    How long should I hold down the keys?
    I have tried everything, but go to an apple store and have it fixed by friendly professionals.

    None of the above keys are working for me, but I would rather put my fingers in my ears and make la la sounds, or search the interwebs for halp then drive to the nearest apple store.

    Do I need to just get off my bum and go, or can you help please.
    Also any inside info on the next os, this leopard thing is not that great.

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