10 Must-Know Startup Commands for Older Macs

Jan 12, 2007 - 3 Comments

Startup commands for older Macs A variety of keyboard shortcuts and commands can be used during a Mac system startup to access various features, systems administration utilities, and troubleshooting tricks. Some of these startup keys may be slightly different on PPC and Intel Macs, but many of the features remain the same, whether it’s accessing safe-boot mode, hardware tests, single-user mode, boot from a DVD, or more.

Check the list below for ten absolute essential startup commands that every Mac user should know, particularly for that older hardware!

Action/Explanation Keystroke
Eject CD on boot Hold Mouse button down immediately after powering on
OS X Safe boot Press Shift during startup
Start up in FireWire Target Disk mode Press T during startup
Startup from a CD Press C during startup
Bypass primary startup volume and seek a different startup volume (CD, etc.) Press Cmd-Opt-Shift-Delete during startup
Choose Startup disk before booting Press Option during startup
Start up in Verbose mode Press Cmd-V during startup
Start up in Single-User mode (command line) Press Cmd-S during startup
Force screen reset Press R during startup
Force OS X startup Press X during startup

Finder logo These boot commands come directly from Apple, and they’re sure to work on any older Mac model. There are some universal commands, like the Option boot loader menu, which will change out the startup disk on system boot.Again, keep in mind there is some difference between a Power PC Macintosh and an Intel based Macintosh, and of course, the Mac hardware will matter for these as well. If a Mac does not have Firewire, booting from that would not work, that’s perhaps obvious but for some users who are not familiar with the port terminology, it can be a real confusion as they try to boot from a drive with the wrong key, thus, be sure you attempt to boot from the proper drive and proper protocol!


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Imran says:

    Thanks for sharing these command i was looking for this list from last two hours.

  2. jbradley says:

    Thanks for the key commands! I recently switched to a mac and I appreciate any tips that assist in a smoother transition. By the way, I have no intentions of going back to my pc, I should have switched years ago! Keep up the great work here!

  3. Brajeshwar says:

    Thanks for the reminder.

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