2011 Mini SSD upgrade was easy. Getting Lion installed was less intuitive.

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ozoneraider, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. ozoneraider macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2011
    Since the Apple SSD upgrade was quite a bit more money, I picked up a Samsung 830 256GB SSD from Amazon when they were still $407. Unpacked it and the new Mini today and went to work swapping it out for the stock HD. Thanks to the wealth of information online, the process went smoothly.

    Installing Lion was a little more work due to all the different methods available. Knowing about Lion internet recovery, I made sure I had the Mini hooked up to ethernet. I had my new Apple wireless keyboard handy as well as my existing trackpad.

    I was naive enough to think that was all I needed until I booted up and got the folder with the question mark. No internet recovery there. After a little research, I downloaded Lion Recovery disc assistant to my laptop and installed it to a 2GB USB drive I had attached and plugged it into the Mini.

    The Mini booted from the USB drive but failed to recognize my keyboard or trackpad. When I pulled out an Apple mouse, it was recognized immediately.

    In haste, I selected 'install Lion' and completely overlooked 'disc utility'. My new drive was not listed and it took me awhile to figure out that the disc utility to format the SSD was already on the Lion Recovery software, right there on the first page's menu below 'install Lion'. I selected one partition and options/partition scheme/GUID partition scheme. The keyboard wasn't recognized so I wasn't able to change the name of the volume at that time.

    The new keyboard and trackpad were both recognized later during the Lion setup process.

    That's really it. I should have known from my experience with PC's that the HD would have to be formatted but thought internet recovery would 'just work'. It will certainly be easier the next time!
  2. djc6 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2007
    Cleveland, OH
    I've yet to unbox my mini, but I thought this is what Internet Recovery was all about - when you had to replace your HD. Check out:


    "If your Mac problem is a little less common — your hard drive has failed or you’ve installed a hard drive without OS X, for example — Internet Recovery takes over automatically"
  3. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2011
    The SSD was likely formatted for Windows ie NTFS. To install OSX on drives meant for Windows, you typically have to format them with Disk Utilities before starting the installation. You can use Disk Utilities within OSX before installing with an external enclosure. Otherwise, you have to use the utilities on the recovery partition or USB key. Once it's formatted Internet Recovery will work as described. Unfortunately there are very few Mac OSX formatted drives right out of the box. Fortunately, formatting with Disk Utilities is easy.
  4. ozoneraider thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2011
    It was very easy! Afterwards, I found a USB cable in the Samsung SSD box under the the cardboard tray holding the drive that I should have used to format it before installation. Doh!

  5. CrAkD macrumors 68040


    Feb 15, 2010
    Boston, MA
    Did you add the ssd as a 2nd drive or replace the stock drive?
  6. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    You can do either option. Just set the boot drive in System Preferences. If you want quicker boot times, format the other boot drive so it doesn't contain a bootable OS.
  7. LeandrodaFL macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2011
    Is it possible to save the Snow Leopard intall disc on a external HDD, and then install it on the 2011 MacMini from the external HDD, after replacing it with SSDs?
  8. ozoneraider thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2011
    I replaced it with the SSD since I didn't need the extra storage, at least for now. The SSD is 256GB. I'm keeping the original HDD so that when I replace the mini in the future I can put the stock drive back in and move the SSD to the new mini.

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