Procedure for Checking on Apple Computers

There are 3 major procedures to check on the health of Apple computers (iMacs, Mac minis, MacBooks)

  • power
  • network
  • accounts


Currently on Apple lab equipment (running Mac OS X 8 and higher) it is necessary to awaken the display by pressing any key on the keyboard - usually the shift key. If nothing is displayed on the screen after a few seconds then check the periphery - namely:

  • display - is it powered on (for Mac minis). If not press power button on monitor (bottom right side) - should be blue if actively obtaining a signal. Also check if the power cord is connected to an outlet and to the back of the monitor. If nothing is displayed on the screen then check if the video cables are connected (Mac mini). The iMacs are an integral unit, just press the power button on the back of the monitor (bottom left side - feel for indentation). If after these attempts nothing appears then it is a more serious problem and should be reported. Also note if the machine is beeping. This would usually mean a problem with RAM memory or PCM (power command module). The number and duration of the beeps is important - check the beeping codes below.

  • mouse - lift up the mouse and check if the light is on. If not, check to see if the end of the USB cable is damaged and/or is plugged into the iMac or Mac mini.

  • keyboard - check to see if it is plugged into the iMac or Mac mini

  • beeping codes - the beep codes were revised in 1999 and have been the same since. In addition, on some models, the power LED would flash in cadence.
    * 1 beep = no RAM installed
    * 2 beeps = incompatible RAM types
    * 3 beeps = no good banks
    * 4 beeps = no good boot images in the boot ROM (and/or bad sys config block)
    * 5 beeps = processor is not usable

  • diagnostics - restart the system and press the "D" key


There are only two ways of obtaining network connectivity on campus. Either wirelessly or via an ethernet cable.

  • Wireless - usually only for MacBooks and only after credentials are entered and an attempt to connect to Eduroam is made.

  • Ethernet cable - check if both ends of the cable are securely connected. Make sure the correct cable is attached as the ethernet ports are MAC locked meaning the machine on the desk MAC address is associated with the port on the switch. Any other computer attached to the ethernet port will not get connectivity. If there is a red dot next to the userid on the login screen it means that the machine is still not connected to the ethernet. At this point it could be the cable end connectors, the ethernet cable itself, the cable in the wall, or the port on the switch. It could also mean that the machine is not bound to Active Directory and is covered under the Accounts section below.


If attempted logins with ones credentials is not successful it means that authentication with Active Directory is not possible (first check if there is a red light). Login must proceed with an administrative account and further connectivity issues pursued.

-- EdwardChrzanowski - 2014-10-17

Topic revision: r3 - 2015-03-06 - EdwardChrzanowski
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