Mac mini crashing when booting up

Hi, does anyone know why the mac mini crashes at bootup. it gets teh strart up ping, then the loading screen, then the harddrive turns off. any ideas why this is happening

I had a similar problem recently, my mini froze during a backup, held the power button down left it for a few mins and rebooted, only got the grey screen with apple logo and the spinning gear and that was it, could not get past that so I installed OS X on an external drive, the internal HDD took upto 10 mins to mount then vanished copletely a day or so later, in the mean time the optical drive stopped working as well!!, took it to the Apple store who thought it ws a dodgy interconnect board, but they called yesterday to say that both the hard drive and optical have conked out, and that the machine was packed full of dust, and possibly caused everything to overheat!! (am allergic to dust so keep my flat quite clean!!), to replace both costs about the same as a new machine so not worth it!. So off to collect it today and buy a new one. Have had the machine barely 2 years! and thought it would outlive my Dell PC!

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