2011 Mac Mini problems grab-bag

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by falterego, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. falterego macrumors 6502

    falterego

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    #1
    I bit the bullet and forked out for the new 2011 Mini Server to setup as a media server at home. I figured I would use an external drive to store the media, and a redundant OS drive would be more reasonable that way if the primary drive goes, the media server still works for the wife until I can replace the drive.

    I found instructions for configuring a RAID1 on the system and started the process. I burned a Lion DVD from my 2010 MBP and used an external DVD drive to try to boot the system. Alas, it gave me a circle with a slash. I made a USB drive version that booted fine on the MBP but the Mini still gave the circle of fail.

    Then I read about the Mini and MBA having special versions of Lion that somehow prevented booting from an external device. I figured I could boot off the MBP in target disk mode and....SUCCESS! I went through the steps and setup the RAID1 using diskutil commands and waited until the RAID rebuilt. I checked the status several hours later and the RAID was all good. I powered off both systems, removed the Firewire cable and powered up the Mini and watched in horror as it gave me the dreaded circle of fail.

    Try as I might, I couldn't get it to boot from the internal drives. I even went so far as to say screw it and start fresh. I booted into the network recovery option, entered my WiFi settings and watched in even MORE horror as I got the -2100F error. I tried several times and even went so far as to plug in an ethernet cable to my Airport.

    At this point, I was about to box it up and ship it back and go buy an Apple TV to load up XMBC. I decided to go crazy and try booting off the MBP in TD mode again. I went into disk utility and broke the mirror between the two drives, then simply shut down and restarted. The Mini booted just fine and I was back in business with my two individual drives.

    Now that that story is over.... Who else has gotten this -2100F error? No matter what I did I couldn't restore the system, and I'm nervous that if I need to restore in the future I'll be screwed. Also, is there any reliable way to create a mirror using the two internal drives? I went with the server option mostly for this ability, and it looks like it's a no-go. Last, if I were to make an image of my server's primary drive using Carbon Copy Cloner, would I be able to boot off the image and recover my computer without having to attempt the network recovery mode?

    What I want to try is making the CCC image and booting from the external. I suspect the existing RAID1 configuration was the -2100F problem, basically a 'no disk found' kind of error. Now that there isn't a RAID in place I want to see if the network recovery works for my own piece of mind. However, I don't want to lose the hours of time I spent configuring software and settings to make the system run exactly how I want.

    I know it was a rambling post, but I spent a good 20 hours between the configuration, RAID-ing, fixing and testing and I don't want to have to go through it again.
     
  2. indg macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    #2
    if you see the circle with slash, just hold the option key during boot to select the boot drive. i've seen this happen after doing a fresh install of lion on an external drive. it's just getting confused after the install because it doesn't know which is the primary boot drive. after it boots into lion, go to startup disk in system preferences and make sure the primary boot partition is selected.

    also be aware that RAID 1 is not a proper backup solution. it's redundancy for minimal downtime, but an external backup is still recommended. since the drives in the mini are somewhat difficult to remove/install (compared to just sliding in and out of trays), you're going to experience downtime regardless to replace the faulty drive, so RAID 1 in the mini doesn't offer much value.

    you may be better off raid striping (RAID 0) your internal drives for performance and using an external drive for time machine or periodic backups. just my two cents.
     
  3. falterego thread starter macrumors 6502

    falterego

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    #3
    The option key boot did not show my internal drive(s) as boot options. The only option was the network recovery. I'm kind of over the idea of the RAID1 and thinking I'll replace the primary drive with a SSD and use the original as a CCC backup.

    As for the RAID1 choice, I do have a Time Machine backup. The RAID1 is purely for short term fault tolerance. If the HDD dies, I'd rather let a RAID rebuild over night than have to rely on a TM backup that might not restore properly. (Yes, I've had this happen on my OG MacBook.) If it was performance I was after, I'd just upgrade to a couple SSDs and call it a day. They're so inexpensive right now that I'm almost considering doing the upgrade anyway. IMO, 2 disc RAID1 and 3 disc RAID5 are equally fault tolerant. Single disk failure is survivable. Any more and wave good bye. The only difference for me being that I can do the RAID1 in the Mini. I also have my WD MyBook Studio 2 running as a mirror so my media doesn't suffer any down time either. The TM backup is done to a 6 disc RAID50 system...I like my data to be preserved.
     

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