Mac mini setup advice

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by rehmanbayer, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. rehmanbayer, Sep 18, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017

    rehmanbayer macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2017
    Hello all,

    I am a first time Mac buyer and I have recently purchased a Mac mini late 2012 model with a 1TB Fusion drive.

    Whilst I have thought about keeping this Fusion setup my intention is to swap the internal drives so that I have a 1TB SSD and 2TB normal hard drive.

    Ideally I would like to install Sierra and Windows 10 on to the SSD (500GB partitions each) and have the 2TB drive for storage. I would like for both Sierra and Windows to be able to read/write to/from the 2TB drive (would they be able to read/write to the other OS's partition as well?).

    Is this setup at all possible as I understand that different file systems are in play and I obviously want good performance but not to keep the Fusions setup? Are instructions available or can someone guide me as I understand that this may not be straight forward (i.e. breaking the Fusion drive setup and then needing third party drivers).

    Many thanks!

  2. doceggman macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2017
    First you have to make sure you have all the tools to do the swap, namely the right bits, grommets and most importantly the flex cable:

    Then you need to make your installation media for MacOS and Windows. Here's some instructions on how to make a USB installer for Sierra: And some instructions to make a Windows 10 installer via Boot Camp:

    After making the installers, back up all the stuff you want to save from the Fusion Drive to an external drive (you can use Time Machine to do this). Then install the new drives. Boot to your Sierra USB installer to reinstall MacOS on your new SSD. During the install, if you used Time Machine to do your back up, you can restore your files during the setup process.

    After MacOS installs, you can then use Boot Camp to partition and install Windows on the SSD. Also use Disk Utility to format the 2TB drive as exFAT since you need read/write access on both installs without the file size limitations of FAT32.

    Anyway, this is how I'd do it. I might be missing some steps or there may be other, better ways to do this, but just my 2 cents.
  3. mbosse macrumors 6502

    Apr 29, 2015
    Vienna, Austria
    The OP bought the Mini with FusionDrive, i.e he/she has already all the cables and screws needed... Other than that, good advice. Magnus
  4. doceggman macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2017
    Well yeah, I figured I'd throw that in there because I have screwed myself (no pun intended) many times assuming all the hardware was already there.
  5. rehmanbayer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2017
    Many thanks!

    A few questions:

    - Would I have to break the Fusion Drive (in Sierra) before I uninstalled everything?

    - Would I be able to read the Windows partition through Sierra and vice-versa (would the Windows partition be formatted as NTFS?)?

    - Also, I read about a program called Paragon that would allow Sierra to read/write to an NTFS drive. Would this be a better option than exFAT for the 2TB drive?
  6. doceggman macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2017
    You shouldn't have to break the Fusion Drive. Just backup all the files you need via Time Machine and restore it on the new installation of Sierra on the SSD.

    You will be able to read the other OS partitions within each operating system, but not write to them.

    Paragon has products that will allow you to write to either HFS+ or NTFS drives from Windows and Mac OS respectively. I personally wouldn't use these as an OS update could presumably break the software at any time. And since you already have a 2TB drive for sharing, you shouldn't need it. ExFAT has native support on both MacOS and Windows and should be the easiest, most stable option.

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5 September 18, 2017