Mac noob - reusing hard drive from windows PC

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ncostes, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. ncostes macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2012
    I'm new to Macs, been using PCs forever.

    I got a mac mini with no hard drive. I bought OSX 10.6.3 DVDs from the apple store. I took a 2.5" drive that had been in one of my Windows laptops and put it in the mini.

    I boot off the OSX 10.6.3 DVDs and get the EULA etc but then there are no drives to install the OS to. I ran Disk Utility, it doesn't see anything other than the optical drive.

    I ran the system profiler, under ATA it hs the optical drive, but the HD doesn't show up under the SATA section (or anywhere else).

    I tried a 2nd hard drive from a nother windows laptop, same deal.

    I verified the drives are working fine on windows PCs. Is there a trick to get the Mac OS to install to a drive that was used as a windows drive (NTFS)? I want it to blow the current drive contents away, not trying to preserve anything.

  2. Cmd-the-World macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2010
    It would help to tell us what Mac Mini model you have. Here is a helpful link

    Normally you should be able to see the hard drive in disk utility and from there you need to repartition the drive with a GUID table and format it to HFS+ in order to be able to install the OS.
  3. ncostes, Apr 28, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012

    ncostes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2012
    It's this mac mini

    I started a windows install on it and it also did not find any HD to install to.

    On a PC I'd go into the BIOS and make sure the SATA controllers are enabled and that they are detecting the HD. Is there any equivalent on the Mac?

    If not, then given the fact that I've tried 2 known good hard drives, I guess the Mac is defective?

    Thanks for your help.

    PS: I am able to start the install if I just hook up a USB hard drive (which also was NTFS formatted) - the installer then directs me to reformat the drive, so either the internal SATA controller is turned off (if that's possible on a mac) or its broken. Anyone know how to tell if the SATA controller is turned on/off?
  4. Cmd-the-World macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2010
    On a Mac there isn't a BIOS and everything is enabled. It could be you have a defective cable or a defective Mac.
  5. ncostes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2012
    I know Macs use UEFI, I have gotten into the UEFI shell on PCs that use it before. That would be my only guess as to where things like that may be turned on/off.

    Since it's installing on a USB drive that was NTFS formatted, clearly something is wrong witht he SATA controller.

    I'm good now, just interested in the mac to do some iOS coding. Not been an apple fan for a long time, but the new iPad has me hooked, and unlike my android phone for which I can code on any PC, Apple makes you use OSX so here i go...

    Thanks again for your help.
  6. philipma1957, Apr 29, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    try putting the drive in an external usb or firewire case. boot with the cd/dvd drive and you should be able to partition and install the drive on the external connected drive.

    the machine you are using is old so you may have a bad sata connection inside of it.

    if the drive installs on the external drive run the machine for a day or so.

    If it works fine try putting the external back in the internal sata jack.

    then run the machine with no top if it runs for a day try putting the top on.

    I missed that the usb trick works. since it does. go to the upper left corner of your screen and click the apple.

    then click about this mac. then click more info then click system report then click sata. this will let you know if the sata jack works or at least if it should work

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