Setting Up a Headless Mac Mini without a Monitor

Last week I bought a refurbished Mac Mini to set up as the headless brain of my network. It’s main use is for shared disks and iTunes.

I only have laptops and no external monitors, so I needed a way to setup the Mini without a monitor. It was really easy, following these steps (this relies on Screen Sharing, so you need Leopard, but you could set up VNC or Apple Remote Desktop on and earlier version of Mac OS to do the same thing):

  • connect a keyboard to the Mini
  • start the Mini in FireWire Disk Mode
  • connect the MacBook Pro to the Mini with FireWire cable
  • restart the MBP using the Mini as the boot disk
  • setup the Mini with network access and remote management (Sharing)
  • reboot the MBP with its own disk
  • disconnect the Mini and reboot

Voila! Now you should be able to use Screen Sharing over your network to remotely control your Mini-no keyboard or mouse required. However, If you want to turn off Blue Tooth, then you need to connect a mouse while turning it off.

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2 Responses to “Setting Up a Headless Mac Mini without a Monitor”


  1. 1 bishopland April 11, 2010 at 8:29 am

    This is exactly what I needed to know. I just ordered a mini to be a server for my home network and got rid of my extra screens, keyboards, etc. a while back (I think I can borrow a keyboard from my daughter). I was wondering how I was going to set it all up.

    Anyway – thanks for posting.


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