Adding SSD as boot disk

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by strat58, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. strat58 macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2013
    Hello, 1st post and question. Sorry if this has been answered.

    I just picked up a new Mac mini 2.3GHz quad-core i7, 1TB disk and 4GB ram.
    I have a Toshiba 512GB SSD I would like to add to my mini. I know I can add
    the drive, but I would like to use the 1TB as a data drive and the SSD as the OS disk.

    Currently the 1TB has the OS, Mountain Lion 10.8.

    My question is, how can I get the SSD loaded with Mountain Lion and be the boot device?
  2. jbarley macrumors 68040


    Jul 1, 2006
    Vancouver Island
    Once you add the drive and have it partitioned and formatted,
    download a copy of Carbon Copy and use it to clone your system to the new drive, then in System Preferences select the new drive as your boot drive.
  3. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
    alternatively, do a clean install of the os. I personally prefer to do that. though using CCC will be quicker... :D
  4. TopKatz macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2010
    I much prefer the clean install, and it wont be that much quicker as the install on ssd will be faster then a legacy drive.

    Also, I dont know what your plan is for data layout, but I personally dont store my docs, downloads, itunes and iphoto on my ssd. I have all that stuff on my traditional disk. This all requires some setting changes to be made.

    I guess what Im saying is depending on what your plan is (and you should have one) you wont save much time by a copy.
  5. haravikk macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2005
    If you're doing a clean install you might also consider creating your own Fusion Drive setup; saves you having to manage the distribution of files yourself and with a full third of your capacity on the SSD it should be very fast as well. It may require you to create a temporary bootable drive, which you can do on any external drive or even a USB stick (though the latter will be very slow), you just need it to make setting up the drive easier.

    You can find instructions here (just ignore mention of 10.8.3, just grab the latest Mountain Lion or Mavericks and you'll be fine).
  6. strat58 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2013
    Thanks for the quick replies..

    I would also like to do a new install as opposed to a clone.

    How can I do a fresh install of Mountain Lion without an OS disk?
    I have Mountain Lion on my 1TB drive, can I some how install a new OS
    from that drive to my SSD?

    Sorry, I'm a Windows guy.
  7. keema macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2011
    Sorry to ask in here...

    I just like to know which kit you guys chose when you placed the 2nd hdd in your mac mini, the one from OWC or from ifix it?
  8. Nermal, Nov 28, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013

    Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    Two options:

    1. Hold Cmd-R at the boot chime to get into recovery. This will let you download and install the OS. The installation speed will therefore depend on your Internet connection.

    2. My preference: Download the installer from the App Store and create a USB stick. You can still use the computer while the download is in progress. This option will also let you upgrade to Mavericks if you wish (the upgrade is free).

    To create a USB installer from the Mavericks download, open Terminal and run /Applications/Install OS X You'll need to specify the source and destination but the help text provides an example.
  9. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    last I looked owc had a better price. I used owc.
  10. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
  11. niteflyr macrumors 6502a

    Nov 29, 2011
    Southern Cal
  12. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    IF the Mini is brand-new, there's no need to do "a clean install of the OS".

    The OS on the Mini is ALREADY "clean".

    Just use CarbonCopyCloner to clone the contents of the HDD to the SSD.
    CCC can clone the "recovery partition", as well (you'll see that option when you use it).

    Since you're "coming from the PC" I suggest you do it the easiest way possible, and the procedure above -IS- "the easiest way possible".

    You can download CCC from this page:
    ... and use it free for 30 days.
  13. strat58 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2013
    Thanks everyone, CCC worked as advertised. I cloned my freshly installed boot drive to my SSD and booted off of the SSD. I'm now using the 1TB drive for my audio files in Pro Tools. I also created an additional cloned external drive, just in case something goes wrong, it's quick insurance.

    I purchased the OWC disk kit to add the SSD.

    Thanks again.
  14. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    Just one question was the old hard drive in the top bay or the lower bay? According to the OWC instructional videos had to add an addendum video.
  15. strat58 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2013
    I had the common "lower" bay drive location. According to OWC, Apple had a small number shipped with the "upper" bay populated instead of the the more common "lower" bay.

    The only difference would be the disk flex cable. The upper bay cable would be a bit longer to make up the difference to reach the motherboard connector.

    Just make sure you order the kit for the configuration you have. You can check the location by either opening the case or with the "Disk Utility".
  16. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
    The cables are the same length, they are just folded differently. the only difference in the kit is the inclusion of wrench :D

    i have to anomaly;) configuration and bout the simplest owc kit as i have all the tools i need, and it works just fine :D
  17. keema macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2011
    so it doesn't matter where the mac mini's hdd is located? the cable that is supplied from the owc kit will reach the socket/port where you will plug in the hdd? even it is on the lower or upper location of the hardisk?
  18. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
    that is correct. you only need to fold the cable the other way around. one folds up the other folds down. this way both cables are located between the two drives. the distance between is the same.
  19. kingdLo macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2009
    Does it matter what bay the SSD is located when setting it as boot, as far as speed or anything goes? Some remove both discs and reinstall in either spot
  20. barkmonster, Dec 1, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013

    barkmonster macrumors 68020


    Dec 3, 2001
    I had an absolute nightmare using Carbon Copy Cloner to create a dual boot system with my current 10.6.8 on one disk and Mavericks on the other. It cloned fine, then kernel panicked on restarting off the cloned disk back to the original partition.

    My Mac didn't know what drive was set to the boot drive because it had somehow selected the boot partition of disk 0 while booting the OS off disk 1 and kept throwing up errors about no boot record!

    In the end, after A LOT of UNIX commands to regain permissions on the Mavericks drive from the original 10.6.8 OS and cloning my system back from a backup using the recovery partion (because it messed up my whole system drive), I managed to get the Snow Leopard partition booting again. I only did it to try and save time and test some of my existing software for compatibility and as it turns out, I have lot of software that works perfectly with both 10.6.8 and 10.8.5 but doesn't with Mavericks.

    Your best bet is to install the SSD, boot from the recovery partition and install a fresh OS from there onto the SSD before using migration assistant to move your user data off the original drive. It was an absolute nightmare and if you do run into any problems with permissions or access to your existing drive from the SSD once you've got it installed, here's how to get access to your drive:

    In Terminal type the following sequence (obviously replace “Volumename with the name of your volume):

    sudo chflags 0 /Volumes/Volumename
    sudo chown 0:80 /Volumes/Volumename
    sudo chmod 775 /Volumes/Volumename
    sudo chmod -N /Volumes/Volumename

    but if your hard drives name includes a [space] like this: “My HD”, then you must write the command like this:

    sudo chflags 0 /Volumes/firstname\ secondname
    sudo chown 0:80 /Volumes/firstname\ secondname
    sudo chmod 775 /Volumes/firstname\ secondname
    sudo chmod -N /Volumes/firstname\ secondname
  21. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
    it does not matter, from what i know.
  22. patent10021, Dec 1, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  23. strat58 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2013
    The cables are different, not just in length but also orientation. Make sure you
    order the correct cable by checking where you disk is currently located.


    Doesn't matter. I've left my 1TB in the "lower" and put in my SSD in the "upper". Performace won't decline/improve in either location.
  24. keema macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2011
    Ive check my mac mini "about" and it says the 1tb hdd is in the "lower" location. So where is that if i turned it upsidedown? Near the lid? If so what cable do i need if i will get the one from owc?

  25. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
    can you please show where it says that the cables are different in length? lets say show the owc or ifixit kits that say that the cables are different in length?

    EDIT: the different orientation is easily resolved by bending the cable the other way....

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