Mac Mini Server -- Replace only One drive with SSD and Boot issues

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by DanEp, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. DanEp macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2012
    The Mac Mini Server comes with two 500GB 7200RPM drives preinstalled.

    I want to replace the easier drive to access with an SSD (drive closest to the bottom of the Mini Server).

    My question: is the boot drive the drive more difficult to access? If so, since I am NOT replacing this one, i need to tell the Mac to not boot from the 500 GB drive and to reinstall Lion Server and boot from the SSD drive.

    How can I do this?
  2. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
    I believe the boot drive is the most accessible drive.
  3. Supra Mac macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2012
    Its best to FIRST connect your SSD externally to a usb adapter, reformat for Mac and clone with something like superduper before installing. So when you replace the drive your set with no lion reinstall.
  4. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    I have two servers . I would;

    a ) boot the mini. set it up.

    then b) go to shirt pocket

    down load super duper right to the oem boot drive.

    c) then clone the oem boot drive to the other internal hdd.

    d) then power down.

    e) boot with my finger on the options key of my usb keyboard

    f) 3 choices of boot drives will show up the recovery drive the oem osx and the cloned oxs pick the clone and boot

    g) turn the machine off

    h) pull the top hdd and put the ssd in

    i) boot with my finger on the option key of my keyboard.

    J) pick the no recovery option to boot. since You have a blank ssd. and one oem hdd the oem may have the clone or it may have the recovery boot and the original boot osx. it really does not matter what the drive has just don't pick the recovery option. once it boots partition the ssd and clone the hdd to it. you have the job done.
  5. Riverrun macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2007
    The only thing is that SuperDuper clones only the Boot Drive and one loses the restoration partition. Make sure that you clone that as well.
  6. DanEp thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2012
    This seems excessively complex. Why not simply replace the top hdd with the SSD before even booting the new Mac Mini and use Lion Internet Recovery? Won't that install a full, fresh OS Lion Server including Recovery Partition?

    See: "If you happen to encounter a situation in which you cannot start from the Recovery HD, such as your hard drive stopped responding or you installed a new hard drive without Mac OS X installed, new Mac models introduced after public availability of OS X Lion automatically use the Lion Internet Recovery feature if the Recovery HD (Command-R method above) doesn't work. Lion Internet Recovery lets you start your Mac directly from Apple's Servers. The system runs a quick test of your memory and hard drive to ensure there are no hardware issues. full:

    What would the advantage of your method be? If I had been using the Mac Mini I understand that I don't want to loose my personal data or if I have a slow connection, cloning would be much faster than internet recovery, but neither of these apply in my case.

    I ordered the SSD with an external case to put the 500GB removed disk in, so I could hook up and format the SSD if there is any advantage to this over internet recovery to a raw drive.

    Thanks for you suggestions!
  7. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey

    you can do it your way. I do dozens of machines each month. if I do it your way and something is wrong I will never know if my machine worked. Since I do so many machines I know I get 1 in 20 or 1 in 30 bad machines. Since my first act is to boot if the machines does not work I know I did not break it. I return 5 to 10 machines a year out of 100> I prefer knowing that the error was apples not mine.
    If I do the install my way and then run a days worth of tests my return rate from ebay is under 5 a year. Also internet recovery is too slow for my business. Takes me 2 hours on a good download day as much as 6 on a slow day.

    The way you mention will work, in fact you can pull the top drive put it in a usb drive put the ssd in the mini and use option boot. no matter where the good hdd is the usb case or the bottom of the mini you will grab the recovery partition. use it to recover to the ssd and you are good to go.

    Since i have done a lot of servers I can tell you that the osx is not always on the same hdd.
  8. DanEp thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2012
    Thanks! Your suggested approach, as well as ensuring the system is functioning before adding memory and the SSD is what I'll do.

    Do you know which startup key combination will find os x and recovery partition (in enclosure or in either internal bay)? And is an unformatted SSD OK to start with? Again, thanks for your advise and suggestions.
  9. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    have an apple keyboard with usb plugged in to the mac press the option key bottom row on the right. don't take your finger off the key and press the power on the mac. wait with finger pressed and the drives will come up.

    pick the recovery partition and boot. follow prompts I have never recovered to a external drive that was not partitioned. I would try to use the recovery partition to the second internal hdd. once it recovered I would boot test it.

    At this point I know the machine has two working oem hdds that can boot. I would add my ram and then put the ssd inside.
  10. DanEp thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2012
    I ended up using a variant of philipma1957's suggested method to add ram and a replace a stock drive with an SSD. I had some challenges but all works now.

    This is what I did:

    a ) boot the new mini server. set it up using USB mouse and kbd. Make sure it works out of the box.

    b) shut it down, add 8 GB memory. boot, make sure it works.

    c) download ccc (or super duper; I used ccc). Clone boot drive to 2nd stock HD

    d) boot while holding down options key on USB keyboard, verify both drives are bootable

    e) shut down, swap drive easiest to access with my unformatted SSD.

    This was a bit of a challenge since the toolkit I bought with the SSD from OWC did not come with a narrow spudger (absolutely needed to detach the IR cable from the MoBo; although all documentation I found on disk replacement requires this step, I don't know if it was necessary in my case, maybe due to my being unable to detach MoBo fro chassis). OWC toolkit was also missing a hex wrench and two thin screwdrivers necessary to separate the MoBo from the chassis. OWC absolutely should NOT recommend this toolkit in its install video without these tools. I will contact them about such. (There is a tiny footnote in the video stating that the 2mm allen wrench is not included--but why not?).

    I also was unable to pull the MoBo out of the chassis 1/2 " as is recommended and possibly necessary in many cases. The right side (side with memory) just wouldn't separate. However, I was able to slip in the OWC SSD without doing so by turning the whole chassis upside down in one hand as I slipped the drive into position.

    f) boot while holding down options key on USB keyboard, format SSD. Run CCC to clone boot drive to SSD

    g) reboot and select SSD to verify it works.

    h) select SSD as primary boot drive. Found this in Preferences (forget where). Method of selecting primary boot drive in the menu presented when one boots with the options key held down did not work for me.

    I still have yet to add the recovery partition to my primary boot SSD drive. superduper doc was quite unclear on this and I think the conclusion is that if you can't see the partition, superduper can not transfer it for you.

    ccc claims they have a way to transfer the recovery partition but one needs to do a block by block clone of a drive and i could not determine whether that is what I wanted to do so I used the default CCC clone to the SSD and between stock drives. I think i came across somewhere info on how ccc can, with a specific option, create a small partition and install the recovery partition into it. Don't know where, though.

    As long as I have a drive connected to the mini with a recovery partition on it, I think that is sufficient and I'm running the original stock boot drive in an external enclosure, attached.

    Thanks for everyone's help. I must have read a thousand threads during this process of investigate, purchase, upgrade.

  11. jamesryanbell macrumors 68020


    Mar 17, 2009
    Probably worst question ever, but...

    What happens if I'm using one drive (like on my 11" MBA) WITHOUT a recovery partition, and the drive fails? As long as I have a time machine backup, does it even matter? ...or is the recovery partition what allows the computer to ask me if I want to restore from backup?

    If I don't have recovery partition and it fails, how do I get my info back?

    Again, sorry for the dumb question. Just asking because I used CCC to clone my original 128GB SSD to my newer OWC 240GB SSD, and I don't think there's a recovery partition.

    Lastly, if you're feeling generous, how I put the recovery partition on it?
  12. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    yeah once a week clone the internal ssd to a cheap external usb. if you crash plug the usb then in boot with your finger pressed on the option key. the air will allow you to pick the external clone to boot pick it and boot. the external boot drive is slow but will let you repair the internal ssd. (unless it is fully dead)

    I am a big believer in this method. due to lack of a fast internet it can take me hours to do internet recovery. cloned backups are fast to do recovery. they are not the same as time machine which also has a place in your backup plan.
  13. hleewell macrumors 6502a

    Oct 22, 2009
    Thanks for your suggestion. It worked for my case and my system has been running smoothly :)
  14. Lynnsr macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2014
    I have everything in place to do the above procedure.
    With one possible exception my keypad is wireless. Do I need to get a USB keypad to install and the clone my new SSD successfully.

  15. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    this is a bit old info. not sure it will work this way anymore. my original info was posted in 2012. I have not done one in a while.
  16. panzer06 macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2006
    I have always needed a USB keyboard to select the Option key. Doing so on the Apple wireless BT keyboards has never worked for me.

  17. HoosierInFL macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2007
    I have a 2012 Mac Mini server. I have OSX on the boot drive, and Windows 8 on the second drive via Bootcamp. I want to replace the second drive with an SSD. How can I tell which drive is the Windows drive when I open up the case?
  18. Cdub1185 macrumors newbie


    Nov 30, 2015
    Have you been able to confirm that ?
  19. Celerondon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 17, 2013
    Southern Cal
    No, that is voodoo. You can tell before you open the mini! Drive position is listed in your system parameters. I would post a screenshot but I am on my iPhone right now. :oops:
  20. Celerondon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 17, 2013
    Southern Cal
    Use System Information to determine which drive is which before you open the case. In this example, "Bay Name" describes the location of the HDD component of my Fusion Drive. :apple:

    System Information.png
  21. bplein macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2007
    Austin, TX USA
    holy 18-month-old-thread-resurrected-from-the-dead, batman.
  22. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    Heck, that's nothing. Some noob dredged up a 10-year-old thread earlier this week with nothing to offer. I was a n00b once not too long ago, but at least I read the "rules" first...

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