Snow leopard on the 2011 Mac mini now possible and working 100%!

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by hardax, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. hardax macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #1
    Hats off to John Fair on the Apple support communities. Got SL installed on my shiny new mini last night!

    The key is to have 2 macs available. Connect the mini to your other Mac using a firewire cable and start the mini in target disc mode. Install the retail (NOT a restore disc) Snow Leopard os onto the mini (now showing as a connected hard drive). When the host Mac reboots it may hang. At that point reboot it again and hold the option key to choose your boot device. You now have to insert the restore disc that came with the host Mac (it hangs because of a OS version incompatibility probably). The install will continue and when it finished, you immediately need to do a software update to get to 10.6.8 - this will give you all the drivers etc. for the new hardware.

    Disconnect and reboot and your done!

    Here is the discussion thread in case you need more details:

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3209335?start=0&tstart=0
     
  2. Fastcast macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #2
    Been hearing many folks having lots of trouble with Lion......It has been running pretty good on our 2.3 except iPhoto has unexpectedly quit twice now.

    Otherwise no problems besides can't get screen zooming to work at all. :rolleyes:
     
  3. Tulpa macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    #3
    Careful, according to that thread the other Mac needs to have a similar hardware configuration (i-core, similar GPU, Thunderbolt) in order for this procedure to work. The guy who found the solution used a 2011 MBP.
     
  4. hardax thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #4
    I was worried about that too as I only have a C2D iMac. No i series CPU, no Thunxderbolt.

    Worked fine.

    The install thinks it's setting up the source computer but it's copying the files onto the new mini's HD. What you are trying to do is get OSX onto the mini. Your source computer is pretty irrelevant ( to a point I would imagine. Obviously you couldnt use a G5 ior anying but any Mac that would accept Snow Leopard should work).
     
  5. MisterDisney macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    #5
    Good to know it's an option, but Lion is working fine for me.
     
  6. Mac SE/30 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    #6
    I just did it using 2006 MBP

    I installed Snow Leopard on the new MacMini Server Core i7. I booted the MacMini in target disk mode, hooked it up to my 2006 MBP Core 2 Duo, which I had already booted from a retail Snow Leopard disc. I then configured the drives in the MacMini Server as RAID 1 and installed Snow Leopard 10.6.0 on to the resulting drive. I then rebooted the MBP, booting from the MacMini drive and ran Software Update and installed 10.6.8, after that the MacMini Server started up with a fresh Snow Leopard without any problems.
     
  7. FSMBP macrumors 68020

    FSMBP

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    #7
    I'm curious how they got drivers to work for it if the Mac Mini 2011 never had Snow Leopard to begin with?

    Would this work for 2011 MacBook Airs?
     
  8. throttlemeister macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #8
    Because it uses the same hardware as the Macbook Pro's that have had SL? ;)
     
  9. hardax thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #9
    Exactly. Since there were computers out there that had the same hardware setup as the new mini, 10.6.8 snow leopard needed to have drivers etc. available for that hardware. When we do the install using target disk mode, it installs the full compliment of drivers. When you reboot your mini all buy itself, it now has everything it needs to run the new hardware. It's the 10.6.8 combo update that is loading the new hardware drivers.
     
  10. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #10
    I wonder why previous attempts using 10.6.8 images failed.
     
  11. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    www.emiliana.cl/en
    #11
    You can check the validity of your assumptions in Apples System Profiler. It should show all built in hardware (interfaces and so on).
     
  12. hardax thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #12
    The person on the Apple support forums that figured this out theorizes that in target disk mode the install cannot determine exactly what hardware is available so it installs a full set of drivers. He confirms this by comparing the size of a "normal" SL install and our forced mini install. The mini install is almost twice as big.

    The key was target disk mode. Not sure if previous attempts did it this way?
     
  13. Wicked1 macrumors 68040

    Wicked1

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #13
    All the reason why I am stickign with my 2010 Mini because it just works and I have no compelling reason to switch to a 2011.
     
  14. FSMBP macrumors 68020

    FSMBP

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    #14
    Would this work on 2011 MacBook Airs?
     
  15. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #15
    That is somewhat odd but understandable. Though the original Sandy Bridge/Intel HD 3000 + Thunderbolt hardware shipped with 10.6.6. Updates beyond that would support all hardware instead of model specific builds. The Mac minis are not all that different from a Macbook Pro in terms of hardware. I can understand some issues with the different Thunderbolt controller on the new Macbook Air.
     
  16. hardax thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #16
    Worth a shot but I read somewhere that the new Airs come with a slightly modified version of Lion, maybe because of the different Thunderbolt port? Since that particular hardware setup never shipped with Snow Leopard there's a good change you will encounter problems. Particularly the Thunderbolt drivers (if my theory is correct).
     
  17. FSMBP macrumors 68020

    FSMBP

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    #17
    Good point

    :(
     
  18. hardax thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #18
    Guess I spoke too soon

    It seems after living with the Snow Leopard install on my new 2011 mini all is not as "100%" as we initially thought.

    The install went fine and System Profiler say everything is working but Geekbench scores are 1/3 what they should be and people are experiencing Thunderbolt issues. Looks like Apple is sneakier than we thought? I have since had to revert to Lion as the performance hit kind of negated getting a new mini in the first place.
     
  19. Fozziebear40 macrumors regular

    Fozziebear40

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Location:
    Newton-le-Willows, England
    #19
    Oh dear! That doesn't sound good. I want a new Mini but want it to run Snow Leopard. I have an application that I rely on and is NEVER going to be updated. I have tried running it in VMware fusion but it is not the same.
     
  20. Minicube macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    #20
    I was afraid of that. I've read elsewhere about the very reduced Geekbench scores. I'm sure Apple had their reasons, but it's a shame that they dropped Rosetta and then made it impossible for people who require it to buy new hardware. On the other hand, I will buy other new hardware, a 13" MBP, and downgrade it to SL and run it with an external monitor. So I guess Apple wins in the end...
     
  21. newfoundglory macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #21
    Are people still trying to do this? I managed to fix the performance problems with the 2011 mini under 10.6.8:
     

    Attached Files:

  22. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #22
    so fill us in on how.
     
  23. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    #24
  24. andymodem macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    #25

Share This Page