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Daniel, Mac Genius
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 4770
Experience:  Apple certified on desktop and portable, help desk qualified. Have owned and used Macs since 1989.
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Mouse only responds when I press C key with OS disc inserted

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Mouse only responds when I press C key with OS disc inserted in DVD drive.

Hello Peter, my name is Dan.
I will do my best to help you, the only stupid question is the unasked one.

From what you decribe your Mac will not boot up?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The iMac will boot, but I cannot move the mouse cursor once the boot process is complete.

Is this a wireless or cabled keyboard? Reason is a cabled keyboard is easier to use for boot key combos.

Try this.

To do a PRAM reset, you need to restart your machine and hold down these 4 keys all together at the same time.
‘Option’, ‘Command (Cloverleaf or Apple)’, ‘R’ and 'P' all together at the same time.
Keep them down until you hear 4 startup chimes, this is the sound that your computer makes when it starts up, it is like a boonngg. The screen should also cycle from white to black and then back to white along with the chimes.
The sound should also get louder.
If you have a wireless keyboard then the procedure is a little bit different.
Use the very same keys but wait until the first chime and immediately press and hold those keys. I recommend getting your fingers ready because timing is critical.
It can take many trys to get it, any USB keyboard is preferable.
Substitute the Control key for the Command key and Alt for Option, all others stay the same.

This resets all of the system buses on your computer, USB, FireWire, display, ethernet and your keyboard/mouse/trackpad.
This will correct many faults but not necessarily yours.

Try that and let me know if it helps please.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have a cabled keyboard and mouse. Have just tried the procedure you indicated and it chimed four times then I released the keys and it booted, but cursor will not move. The light on the optical mouse will light but afterwards turns off.

Ok, repair permissions.

However, if that fails then I suggest reinstalling the OS X. If you are running 10.7 or better then reboot while holding the Option key, this will open the startup manager, looks like this.

If 10.6 or earlier have the install DVD inserted.

Chose the DVD and follow the prompts, it will not erase any data or apps. It will only install a new OS. That will put the drivers back.

Try that and let me know. I am signing off for tonight and will be back in the AM.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Good morning Daniel! I don't know what OS is installed in this iMac, the machine is my sisters and she doesn't know which one is installed. Is there any way of finding out under the situation that there is no cursor movement in the desktop screen to select the about info? She gave me an install disc with OS X Server version 10.6. that a friend of hers gave her, will this work for the install procedure you mentioned?

Is it a gray disk or a retail copy? Do you have a firewire cable that will connect the two Macs together?
I am thinking outside the box with tricks I have used to get around roadblocks.
If you have a firewire 400 to 800 (assuming that the Mac you are using now is FW 800).
Power off the working Mac, connect the two with the cable, start the working Mac in Target mode.
Do this by holding the T down when starting. You will see a radiation symbol floting around.
Now start the Mac Pro while holding the Option key.
Select the target drive and see if it will boot and the keyboard/mouse works.

This will tell us a few things. Also repair the permissions on the bad Mac while it is running off the target drive.

That may be clearer.
Let me know.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The disc has a white background with the Mac OS X Server Install Disc lettering on the left and the Snow Leopard picture on the right side and the Apple Icon on top.

That sounds like a retail version and it will work fine.
It has no hardware test on it though.
If it will boot from that disk then use Disk Utility to repair the drive and permissions.

Once it reaches the Welcome splash screen you will see a menu bar.
In that menu select Utilities.
Then repair both permissions and the hard drive.

After that reboot and see what happens.

I am trying to fix it without installing a new OS because of version differences.

I have a wedding to go to this PM and will be gone from about 1 to ?.
If you wish I can hand you to another expert but I have had good success with these kind of problems.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I appreciate your help and will continue using your services. Please indicate how I should load the disc (for example with power off and then turn iMac on, also what key if any to hold, etc.) I hope you enjoy the wedding and I will wait for your reply either today or tommorow, no problem on my waiting. Thank you.

The 'host' Mac has to be powered up to accept the DVD. Once it is in then restart it while holding the T down.
It will look something like that.

Once you have that connect the two with the cable and power up the Mac Pro while holding the Option key for the startup manager.
Boot from the target 'host' and go from there.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I only have one Mac computer here and it is the one that has the problem, it is the aluminum version of iMAC with the 20" Display. No other Mac computer is available, I am communicating with you via a Windows based computer. Please indicate if I can continue to use the OS X Server Install DVD version 10.6 and how to do the procedure on the iMAC if applicable.


Also, if it is of any help; I found a MacBook OS X version 10.6.1 Disc Version 1.0 -Install DVD which was used in a MacBook at one time, the MacBook was dropped and badly damaged and wasn't worth repairing. If this is a usable alternative, please let me know and how to procede.

That MacBook is proprietary, it will balk if tried.
Use the Server DVD, it will work without problems.
This PDF will help with how.

This is the maintenance PDF.

Basic Maintenance

Windows won't work piggy backed.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Good morning Daniel. Hope you enjoyed the wedding. I have good and bad news. Good news is that the mouse is responding upon inserting the DVD and reaching the language selection. Bad news is that after selecting the language, I get the following message "Mac OS X can't be installed on this computer. If you want to restore your system from a Time Machine backup, click "Restore from Backup".

Don't have a restore backup, what next step should I take?

Thank you Peter, it was a very nice wedding, I love weddings.

It is telling you that it will require wiping the drive including all data. Then you can install the OS X you have. Not a desired outcome.
By holding the Option key on startup it should give you a Restore disk option.
Using that a new OS X 10.7 can be installed. If a recovery disk is not there it will reach out to Apple and do it over the net.
The next choice is taking it to an Apple store where they can reinstall OS X, they have resourses not available this way.

Those are your options at this point.
Hope that helps.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Daniel. I'm not sure I understand the first restore disc option you mention since the disc I have is version 10.6 followed by 0Z691-6575A. Are you saying I can use the OS X DVD and do a restore from this and that it will not erase the disc nor data or is it a normal restore option that requires a back up previously done.


Also as an option in case my sister can't find the DVD with the original OS that came with the computer, what is the OS and version level that I would need to obtain by purchasing, where I can do the system repair and at the same time keep the data and files.

The recovery disk is what should be available when booting with the Option key providing OS X 10.7 is installed.

The 10.6 disk is older than what is on it and that means that it requires an erase and install thus wiping out all data.
Even with the original DVD that is true.
Have we tried Safe Boot?
Restart and hold the Shift key, it will boot up much the same with Safe Boot in red on the login screen.


Mac OS X: What is Safe Boot, Safe Mode?

  • Last Modified: March 25, 2009
  • Article: HT1564
  • Old Article: 107392


Safe Boot is a special way to start up in Mac OS X 10.2 or later when troubleshooting. Safe Mode is the state Mac OS X is in after a Safe Boot. To perform a Safe Boot, hold the Shift key as your Mac starts up.

Products Affected

Mac OS X Server 10.4, Mac OS X Server 10.3, Mac OS X Server 10.2, Mac OS X Server 10.5, Mac OS X 10.5, Mac OS X 10.2, Mac OS X 10.3, Mac OS X 10.4

Starting up into Safe Mode does several things:

  • It forces a directory check of the startup volume.
  • It loads only required kernel extensions (some of the items in /System/Library/Extensions).
  • In Mac OS X 10.3.9 or earlier, Safe Mode runs only Apple-installed startup items (such items may be installed either in /Library/StartupItems or in /System/Library/StartupItems; these are different than user-selected account login items).
  • It disables all fonts other than those in /System/Library/Fonts (Mac OS X 10.4 or later).
  • It moves to the Trash all font caches normally stored in /Library/Caches/ , where (uid) is a user ID number such as 501 (Mac OS X 10.4 or later).
  • It disables all startup items and login items (Mac OS X 10.4 or later).
  • Mac OS X 10.5.6 or later: A Safe Boot deletes the dynamic loader shared cache at (/var/db/dyld/). A cache with issues may cause a blue screen on startup, particularly after a Software Update. Restarting normally recreates this cache.

Taken together, these changes can help resolve software or directory issues that may exist on the startup volume.

Some features don't work in Safe Mode

Safe Mode can be useful for troubleshooting. However, certain Mac OS X features do not work in Safe Mode. For example, you can't use DVD Player, capture video in iMovie, use audio input or output devices, or use an internal or external USB modem. The behavior of some devices such as an AirPort card may vary depending on computer and Mac OS X version.

Safe Mode in Mac OS X 10.5 or later also disables Quartz Extreme (hardware accelerated graphics). Applications that depend on Quartz Extreme will not open, and the Mac OS X menu bar will appear solid even if "Translucent Menu Bar" is enabled in Desktop & Screen Saver preferences.


I overlooked that, give it a try and let me know.
Also this will show you how to use the keyboard to navigate.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Daniel. Tried Safe Mode, but mouse cursor and keyboard won't move.


If I order the 10.7 OS X, will this allow me to recover the system and not loose the data or applications? If so what part number DVD should I order?

Lion 10.7 is not on DVD, not from Apple. It does come on a USB drive on Amazon.

Without being able to use the mouse makes it difficult. If you cannot find or use the recovery disk then the above is what I can offer.

Daniel and other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Daniel. I still have my sister looking for the disc that came with the iMac, if not your solution will have to be the one to be used. Thanks for beign patient with me and giving me the info to try to remedy this problem. Excellent service!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Forgot to ask if by using the Lion 10.7 USB, will I be able to install that OS without erasing the disc or data files?

Yes, even if it is 10.6.8 that is what it will do.

It defaults to that since 10.5. Now you have to actually tell it to do an erase and install for it to do so.
Your data annd stuff are safe.
That help?
Thanks for the rating, I appreciate it.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Daniel, you earned the rating! I feel much more at ease for my sister, since she has a lot of docs and no backup. At least it will be easier to do this repair by default and the data will be safe. Once again thank you for your help, I have learned many things about Mac that I didn't know with the specific tutorials you included during our communications. Have a great evening, I will get in touch with you in the future if I need your help with another Mac problem, you certainly know your stuff!


Peter - San Juan, Puerto Rico

There is another way to save the data, Peter.
Take the hard drive out of the Mac Pro, use an interface to make it into an external hard drive.
Then it can be browsed or cloned thus creating a backup in case of Murphy.
That will show you how to remove the drive.
This is an interface that is inexpensive and works well, I have and use one myself.

Just something to think about.