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Configuring new 2012 Mac Mini

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I am setting up a new Mac Mini that I put a SSD and a 7,200 RPM HDD in before ever starting it. 

 

I attached the factory HDD to a PPC Mac and made a disk image of it as a backup of the OEM install. (It came out at 8.66 GB so it will have to go on a flash drive.)

 

My question is what you may think is the best way to get the OEM install onto the SSD? (At least at the present time, my intention is to store digital photos, iTunes files & etc on the spinning drive.)

 

One possibility I though of was to attach the factory HDD to the Mini and do an option start to the (external) factory drive, go through the initial setup and then clone it over to the SSD. 

 

Another possibility is to clone the factory install to a flash drive and attach it to the Mini and go through the setup the same as with the factory HDD option. I don't know which would be quicker...probably a tossup.

 

Once I get the Mini up and running I will probably use the factory HDD as a backup though I have a number of 3.5" HDDs to use as a Time Machine and additional backups once I transfer what I want off of the old Mac. 

 

I would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions

post #2 of 10

Well you could just boot from the recovery partition and then do a reinstall of OS X. I always do this with new Macs anyways. It will take a little bit to download Mountain Lion from the Mac App store but after that the install will go fairly quickly. It will download and install the most recent version of OS X so you won't have to run as many updates as the OS that came in the box. Once you register your Mac with the Mac App Store you can redownload iLife as well if you choose to do so. 

 

Its easiest if you have the original HD installed somewhere to get the recovery partition to appear as an option on startup. (Hold option before the Mac chime after pressing the power button) If not, there are other ways to get the recovery partition. I would google something about recovery partition and hard drive dying. 

Mac Mini (Mid 2011) 2.5 GHz Core i5
120 GB SSD/500 GB HD/8 GB RAM
AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256 MB

Reply

Mac Mini (Mid 2011) 2.5 GHz Core i5
120 GB SSD/500 GB HD/8 GB RAM
AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256 MB

Reply
post #3 of 10
So:

- when you got the Mini, you took out the bundled HDD with OS
- you installed both an SSD and separate 7200 rpm HDD
- you connected the original drive to a PPC machine to back it up to a disk image

To get the OS onto the SSD, connect the original drive to the Mini, boot using option/alt and clone directly. Cloning onto another Flash drive would just be an extra step.

Using the original drive as a backup is a good idea. You can't have too many backups.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks, macxpress and Marvin,

 

I will need to clone the OS over from the factory drive. I don't have an App Store purchase of Mountain Lion as this is the first Intel Mac I have acquired. I will be using it to purchase Mountain Lion to go on a 2008 (unibody) MBP I picked up and am going to do the same SSD plus rotating drive bit installation on.

 

One more question though. I had been told that the recovery software was a part of the OS rather than a separate partition as is the case with (cough!) some other OSes. I don't recall seeing a second partition on the factory HDD when I made a disk image of the OS, but then it could have been an invisible partition I suppose. Can either of you confirm this one way or the other?

 

Thanks again!
 

[Edit] I booted to the factory HDD as an external drive and was presented with two drives. One was as expected and the other is recovery. The reason I am wondering if the Recovery is a part of the OS or is an actual partition is that I may need to put the Recovery on the SSD differently depending upon which it is. I guess I will see after the first effort at cloning the drive over with SuperDuper!


Edited by RBR - 11/28/12 at 9:22am
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by RBR 
I don't recall seeing a second partition on the factory HDD when I made a disk image of the OS, but then it could have been an invisible partition I suppose. Can either of you confirm this one way or the other?

It's an invisible partition. If you type:

diskutil list

into the terminal, you can see the partitions and sizes.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RBR 
I booted to the factory HDD as an external drive and was presented with two drives. One was as expected and the other is recovery. The reason I am wondering if the Recovery is a part of the OS or is an actual partition is that I may need to put the Recovery on the SSD differently depending upon which it is. I guess I will see after the first effort at cloning the drive over with SuperDuper!

Carbon Copy Cloner has a feature to recreate it:

http://www.bombich.com/software/docs/CCC/en.lproj/advanced-strategies/the-disk-center.html#recovery_hd

You don't really need the recovery partition if you have a cloned backup but it might come in handy.

Although you don't have an App Store purchase, the above method of downloading the OS from the App Store should still work and the installer will create a recovery partition.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Marvin,

 

This is getting "curiouser and curiouser".

 

I booted to the factory HDD, set up and admin account and connected to my WiFi network. I then got the expected "doesn't recognize" disk message for the two internal drives that had not been initialized. I clicked on "initialize" on the top window which I expected to bring up Disk Utility and, unfortunately, without thinking about it, I think I clicked on the "initialize" button on the window for the second drive just to close it. Disk Utility came up as expected. It showed the factory HDD and the two internal drives. I clicked on the SSD and proceeded to initialize/format it. This was taking a bit so I left the area and went to work on something else.

 

When I returned, the screen was black and the cursor was visible and moved with the mouse. Tapping the space bar, moving the mouse and such had not effect on the system. I powered the Mini down and came back up showing recovery mode, but not anything else. It could not find a disk as a recovery target. I turned everything off, including the external factory HDD and waited a bit. When I powered up with the option key depressed I was presented with the factory boot partition and the Recovery partition. I logged in on the boot partition and took a look at things in Disk Utility.

I should mention here that I had written down something I did not understand at the time when I was initializing the drive(s). Disk Utility had "New Logical Volume Group" and a string of numbers when I left the area. System Profiler shows the individual drives, but Disk Utility shows only a single drive "Internal Drive". It appears that I have created a Fusion Drive without intending to do so as Disk Utility now shows a capacity of the two drives combined down at the bottom where it says that it is a Logical Volume Group and lists its status as online. (You've probably figured out by now that I have not dealt with Logical Volume Groups before. As I understand it, it is mostly a technology used in server arrays.)

 

Well, here's the rub. The new "Internal HD" does not appear as a target drive in Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) although it does appear in Disk Utility. When I click on the partition tab in Disk Utility it says "This partition contains a locked disk and can not be resized until it is unlocked." So far, I have not found a way to unlock it and so I am at a bit of an impasse. I have googled this expression and get some references under Lion to an option under File to unlock it, but that does not appear to be the case with Mountain Lion (ML). Right now I am trying to figure out why none of the drives appear on the desktop. That's probably some new "feature".

 

Need I say I haven't encountered this before?

 

Thanks

 

[Edit] I changed the finder preferences to show drives on the desktop. Evidently Apple changed the default to not show drives. The "Internal HD" does not show there either.


Edited by RBR - 11/28/12 at 12:30pm
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Marvin,

 

Well, I got an answer. "You can't get there from here." It's not the answer I wanted, but at least it's an answer.

 

It seems that the version of Disk Utility shipping with OS 10.8.2 AUTOMATICALLY creates a Fusion Drive when it senses a SSD and a rotating drive. It does so whether you want it to or not and there is no way to "break" the Fusion Drive with Disk Utility. I still have not figured out why the Logical Volume Group (drive) is not usable, but that is another matter.

 

The apparent solution is to disassemble the Mini, reinstall the factory HDD, and then proceed to format the two drives individually (as external drives). I can then clone the factory install (which now has an Admin User Account)  to the SSD, shut everything down and proceed to reinstall the two drives in the MIni.

 

I am not sure that the disk image I made on the PPC Mac using (Leopard)  Disk Utility will include the (invisible) Recovery Partition or not. Probably not, if I had to guess.

 

If I did an internet restore, I am not real sure whether the recovery partition would be there or not. I may try it just to see what happens. I've spent enough time on this little project that I may as well try to find out.

 

Thanks for your help.
 

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by RBR 
It seems that the version of Disk Utility shipping with OS 10.8.2 AUTOMATICALLY creates a Fusion Drive when it senses a SSD and a rotating drive. It does so whether you want it to or not and there is no way to "break" the Fusion Drive with Disk Utility.

In some ways that's quite good as it means you don't have to use any hacks to get a Fusion drive but not if you don't want one. There is an article here about splitting them up:

http://www.macworld.com/article/2015664/how-to-split-up-a-fusion-drive.html

That would save taking the drives out. I'm not sure why CCC doesn't allow it to be used as a target drive when merged.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RBR 
I am not sure that the disk image I made on the PPC Mac using (Leopard)  Disk Utility will include the (invisible) Recovery Partition or not. Probably not, if I had to guess.

No, it would only image the disk.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RBR 
If I did an internet restore, I am not real sure whether the recovery partition would be there or not.

The installer would recreate it. The partition is created dynamically (doesn't need to reformat) like the Bootcamp partition.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Marvin,

 

Thanks for the link to the MacWorld article. I had only found one reference to "breaking" the Fusion Drive via a convoluted process in Terminal that I was not entirely comfortable with, especially as it was a site of unknown reliability.

 

I can see where it would be useful to have an "automatic" Fusion process, but it would be even better if you were given the option in Disk Utility. I suppose someone ought to send that in to Apple. At this stage I am not fully convinced of the stability of the Fusion drive. One of its risks, as I am certain you are aware, is that, if anything goes wrong, all is lost on both physical drives...better have a current backup. The fly in the ointment though was the inability to use the drive. It was there, but I was unable to access it for any purpose. I am wondering if it thought that it was an Apple drive at first and then there was some odd thing that was different that resulted in it being unusable. Had I been able to access it, I probably would have given it a try as the path of least resistance. My original intention had been to use a 240 GB OWC SSD as the boot drive (leaving the home folder on it) and use the rotating drive for digital image files, iTunes and other such things. (I need to read up on Lightroom and Photoshop to see if I should be loading the files on the SSD initially and archiving them to the rotating drive from within those applications or just what, but that is something for tomorrow or the next day.

 

I went ahead and pulled the drives out and am in the process of formatting them as individual external drives at the moment. When that is done I intend to try a net restore to the SSD as an external drive and then see if I can make a disk image of that with CCC to be able to duplicate a clean "as shipped" install if needed. It would have been nice to have had a restore disk/flash drive, but anyway.

 

I appreciate your kind assistance. I'll check back in a bit.
 

 

[Edit] Update: Whatever Disk Utility did to the drives was really nasty. The Mini did not recognize them at all when attached as individual external drives (one at a time). I hooked them up to another Mac which did recognize them and formatted them with Disk Utility. After that I attached them to the Mini (one at a time) and formatted them again with Disk Utility just to be sure that everything was copasetic with Mountain Lion.

 

I then restarted the Mini with the option key and selected Restore. It recognized the external drive I had formatted. I selected the external drive as the target for a new install. The download is taking quite a while, even on my cable connection, although I am only connected to a FW800 interface.

 

When it eventually finishes I guess the best bet is to create a disk image with CCC which, I hope, will include the (hidden/invisible) Recovery Partition.


Edited by RBR - 11/28/12 at 7:18pm
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Marvin,

 

This will wrap up the status of things.

 

The net install finally finished and I shut things down when it restarted and booted to the factory drive to make a disk image of the net install. I thought I could create a disk image with CCC, but I was not able to find the way. Anyway, I created a disk image of the install with Disk Utility and saved it. After reinstalling the drives in the Mini I went through the initial setup and so on. The net install did create the hidden Recovery Partition. Things are running just fine, but the Disk Utility in OS 10.8.2 is rather a mess.... I am reminded of the TV sequences that warn you "not to try this at home".

 

Thanks again!

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