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Archive for November 3rd, 2016

by Tom Nelson

Starting up your Mac is usually just a matter of pressing the power button and waiting for the login screen or the desktop to appear. But once in a while, you might want something different to happen when you start your Mac.

Startup Keyboard Shortcuts

Using startup keyboard shortcuts allows you to change the default behavior of your Mac when starting up. You can enter special modes, such as Safe mode or Single-User mode, both of which are special troubleshooting environments.

Or you can use startup shortcuts to select a boot device other than the default startup drive you usually use. Of course, there are many other startup shortcuts, and we’ve gathered them all here.

Using a Wired Keyboard

If you’re using a wired keyboard, you should use the keyboard shortcut combinations immediately after pressing the Mac’s power switch, or, if you used the Restart command, after the Mac’s power light goes out or the display goes black.

If you’re having problems with your Mac and are using the startup keyboard shortcuts to assist in troubleshooting, I strongly recommend using a wired keyboard to eliminate any Bluetooth problems that may prevent the Mac from recognizing the use of keyboard shortcuts. Any USB keyboard will work in this role; it doesn’t need to be an Apple keyboard. If you’re using a Windows keyboard, the article Windows Keyboard Equivalents for the Mac’s Special Keys can be helpful in figuring out the proper keys to use.

applewirelesskeyboard

Image courtesy of Apple

Using a Wireless Keyboard

If you’re using a wireless keyboard, wait until you hear the startup sound, then immediately use the keyboard shortcut. If you hold down a key on your wireless keyboard before you hear the startup chimes, your Mac won’t correctly register the key you’re holding down, and will likely boot up normally.

Having trouble hearing the startup sound? You can adjust the volume using the tips in Adjust the Volume of Your Mac’s Startup Chime.

These startup shortcuts come in handy if you need to troubleshoot your Mac, or you just want to boot from a different volume than usual.

Read more on Lifewire: Macs.

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