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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 18, 2013
I'm about to get a used Mini after using an iMac. It will come with a single Apple 256GB SSD, formatted with Mavericks. I want to remove the SSD and replace it with 2 x Samsung 840EVOs (500GB for the Boot drive and applications and a 1TB for user files).

I thought I'd transfer some user files in advance by USB from the iMac now but I've taken a look at the Samsung Installation CD and it appears only to be for Windows.

I'd appreciate guidance on the correct steps to install the 2 x new drives and transfer the application and user files from my iMac. Will I do anything wrong by connecting a new SSD to my iMac and transferring some files before I install it on the Mini? :confused:


macrumors 6502
Dec 9, 2012
Personally, I would do it in the following order:

- plug new SSD's into a windows computer to ensure the firmware is up to date (optional)

- Install both SSD's into mini

- Boot into internet recovery - format the SSD's - install a clean version of OSX

- Use ethernet cable and migration assistant to transfer files.


Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
Thanks - no access to Windows PC so I'll miss that.

Please explain Boot into Internet recovery

Newer Macs can boot from firmware and download then install the OS even to a new, blank drive. You can read about it here. The only issue is it install the version of the OS that came from the factory. So if your Mini shipped with Mountain Lion, then someone added Mavs later, Internet recovery will give you Mountain Lion. Given you bought this used, I highly doubt it is new enough to have come from the factory with Mavs.

Just to make sure don't get stuck without access to Mavericks, I would start the new machine and launch the App Store app and "purchase" (free) Mavericks under your AppleID. If you command-r boot off the Mini now it will allow you to reinstall Mavericks since it has a Mavericks recovery partition on the drive, but it would ask you for an AppleID to do that. Once you have made the purchase with your Apple ID, you can use that to install Mavs.

Here is what I would do.

Start the new Mini as is and purchase Mavs in the App Store.

Command-r boot the Mini to recovery then start Disk Utility and erase only Macintosh HD. Quit Disk Utility then click reinstall OS. This will ask you for your AppleID then DL and install Mavs.

Once that is done and the system reboots, create a temp dummy account for yourself and login to it. DL and install the free 30 day trial of the app Carbon Copy Cloner.

Now install the new SSDs. Put you old 256GB SSD in a USB enclosure and option key boot to it. Start Disk Utility and format the new SSDs in Mac OS Extended format. Then start Carbon Copy Cloner and clone the OS from the external 256GB to one of the new internals.

Shutdown then disconnect the external. Once the machine starts go to System Prefs and select the new SSD as the startup drive.

Now launch Migration Assistant and use that to import your data from the iMac. Give this a read first.

If you have too much data on the iMac to migrate it all to the Mini, in Migration Assistant you can uncheck what you don't want to move (like maybe Music) then manually move it later to the second SSD.

This migration will import your existing account from the iMac. After the migration logout of the temp account and login to your existing account that came over. Poke around to make sure everything looks okay then you can delete the temp account.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 18, 2013
Thank you both, especially Weaselboy for such a detailed reply. I got a 1TB 840EVO for the second drive and brought 330GB of music files across form my LaCie Quadra via the iMac using USB2 - took 5 hours but was a simple copy job- the iMac recognised the Samsung as soon as I plugged it in. I formatted it using Disk Utility.

I bought Carbon Copy Cloner last week. Please explain how I "option key boot" - "Put your old 256GB SSD in a USB enclosure and option key boot to it".

I've now got the Mini but the 500GB drive I bought to replace the 256GB boot drive never arrived and I've had to claim a refund - so things are held-up.


macrumors G5
Jul 30, 2003
... Please explain how I "option key boot" - "Put your old 256GB SSD in a USB enclosure and option key boot to it".

"Option key boot" just means that you restart your Mac, while holding the Option key. That's assuming that you have an Apple keyboard. If a Windows keyboard, hold the alt key.

Anyway, that option boot will bring up the boot picker screen. Choose your original drive (should be in the external case, and connected to your mini), then press enter.
Boots to your old drive, then.
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