Startup and Shutdown Keys

For most users, starting and shutting down your Mac is fairly routine: press the Power-On button to start, and go to Startup and Shutdown Keys Shut Down to turn off the machine at night. But there are times when you need to do more, for whatever reason. Table 1-1 lists some of the additional keys you can use when starting, restarting, logging out, and shutting down your system.

Some of the keyboard shortcuts listed in Table 1-1 work only on newer hardware. If you are using an older Mac, these keyboard shortcuts might not work.

Table 1-1. Keyboard shortcuts to start, restart, log out, and shut down

Key command

Description

C

Holding down the C key at startup boots from a CD (useful when installing or upgrading the system software).

N

Attempts to start up from a NetBoot server.

R

Resets the display for a PowerBook.

T

Holding down the T key at startup places your Mac into Target Mode as a mountable FireWire drive. After starting up, your screen will have a blue background with a floating yellow FireWire symbol. Target mode makes the hard drive(s) of your Mac appear as mounted FireWire drives when connected to another system.

To exit Target mode, press the Power-On button to turn off your Mac. After your Mac has shut down completely, press the Power-on button again to restart normally.

X

Holding down the X key at startup forces the machine to boot into Mac OS X, even if Mac OS 9 is specified as the default startup disk.

Keyboard shortcuts to start, restart, log out, and shut down-S

Boots into single-user mode.

Keyboard shortcuts to start, restart, log out, and shut down-V

Boots into verbose mode, displaying all the startup messages onscreen. (Linux users will be familiar with this.)

Shift

Holding down the Shift key at startup invokes Safe Boot mode, turning off any unnecessary kernel extensions (kexts) and ignoring anything you’ve set in the AccountsLogin Options preferences pane.

Option

Holding down the Option key at startup opens the Startup Manager, which allows you to select which OS to boot into.

Mouse button

Holding down the mouse button at startup ejects any disk (CD, DVD, or other removable media) that might still be in the drive.

Shift-Option-Keyboard shortcuts to start, restart, log out, and shut down-Q

Option + Keyboard shortcuts to start, restart, log out, and shut down Log Out

Logs you off without prompting you first.

Option-Power-On

Option + Keyboard shortcuts to start, restart, log out, and shut down Shut Down

Shuts down your system without prompting you first.

Option + Keyboard shortcuts to start, restart, log out, and shut down Restart

Restarts your machine without prompting you first.

Control-Keyboard shortcuts to start, restart, log out, and shut down-Power-On button

Forces an automatic shutdown of your system; this should be used only as a last resort, because it could mess up your filesystem.[a]

Control-Eject (F12)

Opens a dialog box that contains options for Restart, Sleep, and Shutdown.

[a] Mostly, you’ll just wait forever at the gray Apple startup screen while an fsck happens in the background, unless you have journaling turned on (see Chapter 7).

Once you’ve successfully logged in to your user account, you are presented with the famed Macintosh Desktop. It’s here where your Mac experience begins.

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