Hard Disk Mini swap

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by UKenGB, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. UKenGB macrumors member

    UKenGB

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    #1
    I have 2 Mac Minis, a 4,1 and a 5,3. I want to use the HD from the 5,3 in the 4,1. Since it will be doing the exact same job, it would be easier if I didn't have to copy, wipe, install anything, but before I actually get to trying this myself, can anyone suggest whether or not the OS install on a 5,3 will run on the 4,1 (assuming that version of MacOS is actually compatible with the 4,1)?

    I guess it mostly depends on whether a MacOS install contains all the possible drivers etc and just uses whichever is appropriate for the hardware it's running on, or, the installation is tailored to suit the exact hardware on which it is first installed and contains only the exact drivers it needs. If it's the former, HD swapping should work, but if the latter, probably not.

    I seem to recall back in the old days with MacOS (i.e. pre OSX) an installation was specific to the hardware, but now I have no firm idea. I will find out for myself in due course, but in the meantime it would be good to hear from others about this.

    Anyone done this and/or can confirm either way?
     
  2. Boyd01 Moderator

    Boyd01

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #2
    I don't know what a 4,1 or a 5,3 Mini is (why not just post the year instead?), but I used Carbon Copy to clone the SSD on my 2013 Macbook Air running Mountain Lion and was surprised to find that my 2012 Mini booted directly from it with no problems. It was identical to the MacBook Air after doing this. The same thing also worked with Sierra from the Macbook Air to the 2012 Mini.

    I don't think this would have worked in the past, but at some point (evidently) Apple started including everything needed to run the OS on different model Macs. Of course, this isn't going to work if the target machine just isn't compatible with the version of MacOS you want to install.
     
  3. gdbleb macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #3
    This sounds like a Target Disk Mode use case.
     
  4. UKenGB thread starter macrumors member

    UKenGB

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    #4
    Well target disk mode and/or cloning is definitely NOT what this is about. As I said, I want to use the HD from one Mini in another slightly different Mini. I.e. I am physically swapping the Hard Disk out of one Mini and installing it into the other one and I'm wondering if the recipient Mini will then simply boot and run from that HD. I will find out, but hoped to pre-empt that by knowing beforehand whether it would work or not.

    I used the actual model codes of the 2 Minis as that totally defines what they are. Dates can be rather more vague, but if you want Apple's dating of those models, the Mini 4,1 is Mid 2010 and the 5,3 is Mid 2011.

    I will in case report back here once I've done the swap. I will also be trying the SSD from a cMP 4,1 (that's an Early 2009 Mac Pro) into a Mini 6,2 (Late 2012). I'll say how that pans out too.
     
  5. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #5
    Try it via target disk mode first then swap it
    --- Post Merged, Dec 15, 2018 ---
    But generally it works. I used the same external SSD system drive across many mac devices
     
  6. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68040

    Mr_Brightside_@

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #6
    Provided they both support the same OS, you should be fine. I just swapped an SSD from an Air to the Pro and it worked fine.
     
  7. UKenGB thread starter macrumors member

    UKenGB

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    #7
    Well I had to strip the Mini 6,2 (Late 2012) in any case to clean and inserted the SSD that had been running in a cMP 4,1 (now 5,1). Works perfectly in the Mini. :)

    So if that works, I'm hopeful that moving a Hard Disk from Mini 4,1 to a Mini 5,3 should then work. Probably do that next week and report back here.
     

Share This Page

6 December 14, 2018