How to install OS X onto mac mini

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by TeaX, Aug 31, 2015.

  1. TeaX macrumors newbie


    Aug 31, 2015
    I picked up a mac mini (server mid-2011, took out both HDDs and replaced it with a 250GB Samsung EVO 840 SSD) from a friend but all he is running on it is Windows Server 2008 and i do not know how to install OS X onto it.

    I have tried to create a bootable OS X usb using my macbook pro, but when i hold control on bootup i only get a windows option (in theory there should be a mac os x install usb drive).

    I'd appreciate some help.
  2. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    Make sure you created the USB installer correctly. You can test this on your MacBook Pro.

    Also, you should be holding the Option key during power up to see the boot options.
  3. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    Just hold Command-option-R as the computer starts up, and this will boot into internet recovery which will get a version of OS X on the computer.
    You'll first need to partition and format the SSD using Disk Utility but this document will help you find your way:
  4. CoastalOR macrumors 68000


    Jan 19, 2015
    Oregon, USA
    The Recovery may not be available with only an SSD that has never had a Mac OS on it. I believe the recovery drive is installed (650 Mb) when the full Mac OS is installed.

    Your easiest option is to use your USB installer. As pastrychef said, use the option key at start up. Let us know if that does not work.

    Don't forget format (erase) your new SSD (set it up for - Mac journaled, GUID partition) using Disk Utility on your USB installer.
  5. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Internet Recovery exists for those instances when there is not a bootable Mac partition (such as total HDD failure/erasure). It does not rely on the hidden Recovery partition. In most cases, if you try to boot to Recovery and the firmware can't find a bootable partition, it initiates Internet Recovery. It runs from firmware, for those Macs equipped with it. explains both Recovery and Internet Recovery.

    Internet Recovery will install whatever version of OS X originally came on the Mac. You'll have to upgrade to the current OS afterwards.
  6. rigormortis, Aug 31, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015

    rigormortis macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2009
    there are official apple ways to make usb keys.

    there are two ways to make keys. one way is to install a recovery partition , once you boot that, it will download the copy of os x you got when you bought the computer.

    the other way is to write the entire 8 gb os x instller to a usb key, that way you install whatever version you want.

    if you do it the recovery way on an empty hard disk, your going to get a 2011 version of mac os.
    if you do it the other way, you will get a clean install of the most recent os x you can get your hands on.

    recovery way

    install the entire os x onto a key way ( better )

    before that, the old way was to take the dmg and open it, and find the disk file, and then write that to a usb key, but that is the worst thing you can do, because it will start downloading missing pieces. i did that, and it must of downloaded 4 gigs of stuff . thank god no one does that anymore

    recovery way pros : 200 megs, small usb key needed
    recovery way cons : 4 to 8 gig download, downloads the version of os x for your machine

    entire os x way pros , can keep usb key to install os x on any mac that supports it, faster because its always ready.

    cons : 4 to 8 gig download, larger usb key needed.

    oh I'm sorry i just thought of a 3rd way. some macs came with internet recovery. even if you replace the hard disk, you could still do a command option R and it would download os x over the internet. i think it first downloaded 300 megabites to write to the hard disk, then it rebooted and then it downloaded the 4 gig installer.

    here are a list of macs that support this third option

    internet recovery is the same as first option , it will download the version that the mac originally came with
  7. CoastalOR, Aug 31, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015

    CoastalOR macrumors 68000


    Jan 19, 2015
    Oregon, USA
    You're right. I missed the internet part of recovery. I should have read more carefully. Apologies to chrfr.

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