OK, here's another data point suggesting that there may be something wrong with my Mini 9. I tried to boot into single user mode so I could run fsck. I booted the machine with the -s flag, and it started booting into single user mode, but the scrolling text stopped at a line that read
PIIXPATA: setting power state
There was no more scrolling text and no prompt even after waiting a couple of minutes. Keyboard activity did nothing. I had to do a hard reset. Fortunately it came back up. Does this sound like a hardware problem maybe? Does the fact that it stopped at a line that has "PATA" in it maybe indicate a bad Parallel ATA SSD
? (It's the stock drive that came in the machine.) Is there software for OS X to test this?
I'm still waiting for a 16 GB flash drive to be delivered so I can image the SSD
before attempting further experimentation. Will report back.
Edit: Oh, yes, and if it gets into the mode where it won't boot at all, I'll boot it in verbose mode and report back as to where it hangs.