Just bought a Mac Mini and need to upgrade hard drive

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by HE15MAN, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. HE15MAN macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2009
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    and I have a new 500gb hard drive coming in the mail as well as more memory for it. What is the best way to get the new hard drive up and running? I bought a family pack of Snow Leopard, so should I just install a copy of that? I assume my new Mac Mini has Snow Leopard on it since I bought it from an Apple store?

    Or, should I take both the hard drives, put them in a PC I have, and use Ghost to do a disk to disk copy? I say Ghost because I have a copy of it and am very familiar with it.

  2. evillageprowler macrumors regular


    Nov 5, 2007
    NJ, USA
    Your new Mini, if you bought it from Apple or a reputable reseller, should come with SL. If you want to upgrade the internal HDD or RAM, go to ifixit.com for instructions on how to open up the chassis. This should void much (or all) of your warranty.

    Before doing any of this, make a backup via Time Machine.

  3. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    My $0.02---this is what I did at the recommendation of others and it worked perfectly.

    I purchased a fairly cheap 2.5" external hdd enclosure when I bought my 320 GB 7200 RPM drive. After my mini arrived and I had upgraded to SL, tested it out a bit to make sure everything was working properly, I cloned a copy of my existing HDD using Carbon Copy Cloner to the new formatted hdd mounted in the external enclosure via USB. Upon completion, I changed the startup disk in System Preferences and booted the mini from the external to verify it functioned properly.

    At that point, I cracked open (no pun intended) the mini, upgraded to 4 GB RAM and installed the new HDD, closed her back up, fired her up and voila--my base refurb mini had successfully undergone surgery and had some nice enhancements under the hood.

    Can't remember how long the clone took but wasn't very long (15-30 minutes maybe, really not sure as it's been a while), especially since the mini had barely been used. Actual hardware upgrade took about 30-45 minutes---really pretty simple, just need to make sure not to rush it.

    Also, OWC has nice videos for both upgrades, saved me from making a few mistakes.
  4. BigSean macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2009
    I suggest using SuperDuper and an external USB bare drive stand (one that accepts 2.5" and 3.5" drives) to clone your drive. It's cheap, simple, and pretty fast. The RAM upgrade is really easy.

    The antennas are spring mounted, so they're pretty easy to disconnect. You'll need to do more surgery than you would with a notebook.

    Pop your 7200rpm drive into the external stand, clone your boot drive with SuperDuper, then install your new drive.

    I suggest going to Lowe's or somewhere and getting a thin putty knife to pop open the Mac Mini case. You'll also want a very long Phillips screwdriver that's magnetic to get to the screws that hold the case together. One's particularly deep.

    Check out the videos that tbayrgs suggested.
  5. blehargh macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2009
    ah skip ghost.

    - boot the mini before you open it, to make sure it works.
    - open the case, swap the hd, add the memory
    - before closing it up, boot it up with the DVD to make it work. (or the entire OS if you want
    - close the case.

  6. marclondon macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2009
    If you haven't done much on it yet just take the existing drive out and install the operating system on the new drive when you've put it in. No need to mess around with copying or cloning. This is what I did a few weeks ago.

    And see this i posted:


  7. TXbug macrumors member


    Aug 24, 2009
    Austin, Texas
    I recommend using SuperDuper!, the free version. Back it up and make it bootable. SuperDuper! does that for you. Look up how to change the HDD. Swap the drives. That is what I did to upgrade my 80Gb drive to a 320Gb drive.
    It works.

    No need to use a license from your family pack for this.
  8. HE15MAN thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2009
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    I got the hard drive in, but unfortunately, the memory has not came in yet. Hopefully it does today as I do not want to leave it all opened it for to long
  9. rgarjr macrumors 603


    Apr 2, 2009
    Southern California
    Sounds like the surgery will be in session real soon then. Make sure you snap some pics of it.
  10. newfoundglory macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
    Replacing the hard drive in my PowerPC Mac Mini is one of the scariest things I have done hardware wise. And i've taken apart a lot of hardware. Its was quite tricky in places. Maybe the newer SATA drives are easier than the 44-pin IDE drives? Definitely not something I want to do again in a hurry!
  11. three macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2008
    Washington State
    I have an Intel Mac mini and I am going to replace the original 60GB HD with a 500GB HD fairly soon. If you would like, I can document the process and what I used to replace the HD.
  12. HE15MAN thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2009
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    All is up and running. Just got done reinstalling Snow Leopard and am downloading Plex as we speak. :) Any other good HTPC programs I need to make sure I include?
  13. cleric macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    Actually the new VLC is quite good 1.2 64bit.

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