The 2011 mac Mini EFI Firmware probably needs some polish...

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by MrReed, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. MrReed macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2011
    First post and it's a rant... xD

    I was wondering why apple is sending USB sticks with recovery partitions for 2011 Mini and 2011 MBA owners, now I think I know...

    I've bought a 2.5GHz Mini a few days ago and wanted to replace the stock HDD with one of the SSDs I have (all of the same model : Intel X25-M G2 160Gb).

    Thanks to various tutorials here and there, the replacement was easy, setting up anything on it however was another story.

    The SSD in question was blank, so I assumed the internet recovery would work without much hassle. Nada ! It invariably errored out with the dreaded -1006F code. I did the whole shebang, PRAM resets, everything, I even tried pre-formatting the SSD (GUID scheme, journaled HFS+) on another mac. Njet!

    Would a Lion Recovery USB Stick made on a MBP running Lion work? Nope, Apple does not allow it, just like you can't install a regular Lion build.

    The only way to install Lion on the SSD was to boot on the stock HDD, download the Lion Recovery Assistant and boot on the specific USB stick it formatted. ONLY from there could I start the Internet recovery and set up Lion on the SSD.

    Three hours later, Lion works. The only minor annoyance is a strange delay when the Firmware tries to boot the OS, the apple logo (meaning the boot partition has been located) takes 10 seconds to show up, from the 2 it takes with the stock HDD.

    A faulty SSD? nope, tried another X25-M G2, I even pulled a X25-E form my workstation, same results (yes I have a lot of time to kill), I even tried on the stock HDD (made a .dmg of it before wiping it to see if the recovery fails as well)

    Did I mention I also tried installing Windows 7?
    That was fun... not.

    No matter how I tried to install it (bootcamp assisted installation while keeping OS X, bare metal installation, boot from an external DVD, boot from a bootcamp-prepared USB stick, on a SSD, on the stock HDD), as soon as the 1st phase of the installation finished and asked for a reboot, I was presented with the infamous Grey Screen of Death and Folder with a Question Mark, meaning the EFI firmware could not locate the windows boot elements. (The windows 7 installation sources came from an original Win7 SP1 x64 Pro ISO from MSDN)
    At the end of the day, besides in Parallels, there's no way to have Win7 run on my Mini...

    All these woes point to EFI issues, at least that's my educated guess.

    It's a good thing Lion works fine once installed, I was about to go back to the Apple Store with a pitchfork xD

    Has anyone else experienced this?
  2. Vermifuge macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2009
    Lion recovery is a partition on the stock hard drive. The mini (or any mac) will boot into an ultra small partition that downloads lion from the internet. By removing the stock hard drive you removed the recovery partition. This is not Apple's fault as the stock hard drive is not meant to be a user serviceable part.

    I had no problem creating a windows 7 partition on my Stock 2011 mini. Works great save for a few driver issues.
  3. MrReed, Aug 18, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2011

    MrReed thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2011
    Lion Recovery is the partition, yup, however newer MacBook Airs and Mac Minis also have a basic recovery function built in the Firmware which allows reinstalling directly from Apple's servers even if your drive has been completely wiped, which is what I was referring to.

    Weird... I guess I'll spend another day troubleshooting all that then xD
  4. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    The recovery partition needs the stock drive yes, however the new 2011 Mac minis and MacBook Airs support Lion Internet Recovery which allows for the same features as the recovery partition but works over the net from Apple's servers. You can use Internet Recovery to install Lion on a blank disk or perform checks on a drive that has failed.
  5. technologylive macrumors member


    Jun 8, 2011
    You're sure you selected the default boot drive in the system preferences?
  6. MrReed thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2011
  7. vert18 macrumors member

    Oct 4, 2010
    yeah, ive totally wiped out my HDs tryn to install linux on a 11mac mini and have used the wifi install to reinstall OSX lion from the internet

    so it is built in the 11mac mini firmware or such

Share This Page