Question about upgrading 2012 Mac Mini to SSD, keeping stock HD as 2nd internal

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by brasskey, Dec 15, 2014.

  1. brasskey, Dec 15, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014

    brasskey macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2008
    I've spent quite a bit of time reading through tutorials, but I'm a little confused. I just want to make sure I am thinking correctly.

    I want to upgrade my current Mac Mini hard drive to an SSD and keep the stock drive as a backup/internal for extra storage. My current Mac Mini (Late 2012) specs are:

    • 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5

    • 500GB (5400-rpm) hard drive

    • 4GB (two 2GB) of 1600MHz DDR3 memory

    • OSX Yosemite

    I've ordered the following for my upgrade:
    Crucial M550 512GB SATA 2.5"
    Crucial 16GB Kit (8GBx2)
    Mac Mini Dual Drive Kit

    My first question is in regards to cloning the drive. Since the dual drive kit comes with a new SATA cable, won't the Mac Mini recognize the SSD once installed? If so, can't I just fire computer back up as normal and find SSD in Disk Utility, format and then clone the stock HD to the SSD? I've seen tutorials where it's hooked up externally, cloned, then installed. But, do I need to do that with the dual drive kit?

    Once the cloning is done, do I need to swap the drive locations inside the machine in order for it to boot from the SSD (in other words, how do I tell the mac to boot from the SSD)?

    After that is figured out, can I then just reformat/erase the stock HD and use it as an external drive?
  2. eutexian macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2012
    Mapperley, Nottingham UK
    If you're removing the stock HDD to use as an external. and replacing it with an SSD. then you don't need the dual drive kit. because you'll be using the same connection for the new drive that held the old.

    I didn't clone the the SSD. I just used time machine.
  3. brasskey, Dec 15, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014

    brasskey thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2008
    Thanks. I back up to Time Machine, but how to you point the clean SSD to the backup since it won't be running an OS? I thought the dual drive kit gave an extra cable and bracket so one could fit the drives together in the machine. You're saying I can just plug both in the Mini without the kit? I don't have an enclosure. I just want to use it as an additional drive in the unit (another internal).
  4. jbarley macrumors 68040


    Jul 1, 2006
    Vancouver Island
    the previous poster (eutexian) offered good advice based on your thread title,
    "Question about upgrading Mac Mini (Late 2012) w/ SSD and keeping stock HD as external".
    But installing the SSD as a second internal drive is a whole different ball game.
    There are several threads on MacRumors dealing with this procedure and the problems that can arise such as, Yosemite being fussy as to the location of the SSD (upper-lower) never mind the damaged hardware, broken connections etc.
    Do your research and above all take your time and be very careful.
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I agree with what jbarley wrote above, and would like to add my own thoughts.

    Most important:
    Do your "prep work" on the SSD BEFORE you attempt to install it into the Mini.

    By that, I mean:
    - initialize it
    - either clone the contents of your internal onto it, or
    - build a new system on it, and then use Migration Assistant or Time Machine to "move your stuff over.
    - Do a few TEST BOOTs on the new SSD while it is still mounted up externally.

    This way you KNOW you have a "working drive" before you "do the Mini surgery".

    For prepping the drive, you could use either an external 2.5" enclosure or perhaps a USB3/SATA docking station.

    I've found that some platter-based HDDs seem to require a little more power than many "bus-powered" 2.5" enclosures supply. Be aware that you might need an enclosure that has a small external power supply along with it.
  6. brasskey, Dec 16, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014

    brasskey thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2008
    Thank you, I will research this more. I meant to say internal in my first post, sorry for the confusion. I have corrected it now.
  7. brasskey, Dec 16, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014

    brasskey thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2008
    Okay, so I cloned my old HD to the new SSD via CCC. I found an enclosure and it was hooked up to the Mac Mini via USB. Prior to using CCC, I formatted the SSD to Mac OS Extended Journaled. I was also able to boot successfully via the external SSD drive by holding 'Option' (see attached screenshots). The computer worked just fine through the external SSD. But, when I placed the SSD drive into the Mac Mini, I get the flashing folder with question mark and the computer won't start up. Any ideas as to what the problem could be?



  8. iosuser macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2012
    Some second drive cables have problem booting the SSD. No one seems to really know why. I've done 3 dual drive installs on Mac Minis. I always move the SSD to the original hard drive's position (lower bay) using the original cable, and move the original hard drive to the previously empty upper bay, and connect it using the new cable from your dual drive cable kit.

    If you're able to boot your cloned SSD using USB, this cable issue sounds like your problem. Move the SSD to the original Apple cable and see if it solves your problem.
  9. brasskey thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2008
    Thanks for the idea, but I am just installing the SSD. I am not using the dual drive kit now. I am just replacing the stock HD with the SSD, so the cable doesn't seem to be the issue because it boots the old HD up fine.
  10. brasskey thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2008
    I figured it out. I didn't point to the new startup disk in:

    System Preferences --> Startup Disk

    Thanks for all the help. Mini is much faster now!

Share This Page