Upgrading to Bootable SSD and Storage HDD

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by NinjaGaiden, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. NinjaGaiden macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2013
    What is the best way to setup a SSD as the bootable drive, and leave the stock Apple HDD as storage?

    The main things I need to accomplish are:
    1. Only the OS and new applications on the SSD
    2. Everything else on the HDD, including the cache from the apps, temporary files, internet cache, media libraries, etc...

    What are the steps involved in this?
    So far, this is what I understand to be necessary:
    1. Insert the SSD into second drive bay in the Mac Mini
    2. Power up and open disk-utility or LionDiskMaker
    After these two steps it gets hazy.

    I greatly appreciate any help on this! Thank you in advance!
  2. michelg1970 macrumors regular


    Jul 26, 2011
    Gouda - The Netherlands
    I did the same two years ago.

    I used Carbon Copy Cloner to copy my HDD to a USB HDD so I had a bootable volume including all my files.

    Next I closed down the system, installed the SSD and rebooted my Mac from the USB drive. I could then test if everything was working properly and subsequently opened disk utility.

    Then I (re)partioned the SSD and internal HDD to the desired partitions and sizes.

    That done I made a folder on the internal HDD for users files and copied my complete Home folder (and in my case also the user folders of other users) including the Library (make sure you make it visible first!) to the folder I made on the internal HDD.

    Next I rebooted my Mac Mini into recovery mode and installed OS X clean on the SSD. When asked to set up my Mac I made an admin account.

    Then I reinstalled the Apps that I use.

    Last step was to open system preferences and make a new user account for myself and in additional options I selected the user folder on the internal HDD as the home folder.

    Rebooted again and logged in under my normal account and everything worked.

    I know this is the long way but I wanted everything "Clean".

    The alternative would be to boot from USB HDD, copy the Home folder to the internal HDD and then use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone the USB HDD to the SSD, then reboot and start up from SSD under your account.

    Then go to Sys Prefs and redirect your home folder to the internal HDD folder where you copied everything. Reboot again and delete your old home folder on the SSD.

    Hope this helps a bit.
  3. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    If you're going to all that trouble, you should just initialize the two disks as a single Fusion volume.
  4. NinjaGaiden thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2013
    Thank You!!

    Thank you michelg1970 and Cave Man for the advice!
  5. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    I use the SSD for all the apps/temp/prefs/os
    I use the HD for all my files. I don't put files in the user folder structure.
    The HD is synced with 2 other HD's with Synkron, all are kept in sync. One is at the office, one on another mac/PC. I can work on all the files everywhere. With Timemachine backups are not usable.
    The Apple system is OK for people who don't want to think about anything, but with a little more complicated file collections and multiple working places, you should drop it immediately.

    I do use TM to keep a copy of the OS so in case something goes wrong I can reinstall the mac fast.
  6. eecyclone macrumors regular


    Jul 10, 2013
    I used a bootable ssd and storage hdd as separate drives for about a year. Then I changed over to a diy fusion drive. It was easy following the tutorial, then I just restored from a time machine backup and was able to pick up right where my system had left off, but with one volume.

    Transfer speeds are 99% of what they were with the SSD, and faster in some instances where the HDD used to be used, but OS X is using the SSD now.
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I boot and run my Mini from an SSD mounted in a plugable.com "lay-flat" USB3/SATA docking station.

    I left the internal HDD "in place".

    I partitioned the internal HDD into several partitions, one of which serves as a backup to my external SSD boot drive. I use CarbonCopyCloner to backup the SSD to the HDD partition at routine intervals.

    I use the other partitions on the HDD for dedicated purposes (media, music, general, etc.). I keep another external drive to further back up the internal HDD.

    Operating this way, I -ALWAYS- have TWO COPIES of my main OS available. The second copy is "instantly bootable" if, for any reason, I have a problem with the SSD (no problems yet). I also have a fully bootable volume to use on the occassions when I need to do maintenance on the SSD.

    I don't keep a "recovery partition". No reason for it. I have a fully-bootable alternative drive "ready" if need be -- the drive that came inside the Mini...
  8. NinjaGaiden thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2013
    Internal Drives Showing in Red

    I just booted from a cloned version of my HDD using an external drive. When I rebooted, everything works well but my two drives, the internal HDD and the internal SSD, are showing up red in Disk Utility. It gave me the option to "Fix" the disks and I clicked yes. It started processing and it shows "Discovered new Logical Volume Group" (with long alpha-numeric string following this.) It has been on this for some time. I am trying to reformat both internal drives from the external HDD. Is this okay, or do I have cause to worry?
  9. niteflyr macrumors 6502a

    Nov 29, 2011
    Southern Cal
    It is creating a single fusion drive from the 2 internals. I hope this is what you wanted. I also hope you have backups as this will reformat both drives.
  10. NinjaGaiden thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2013
    Drives not showing up at all.

    I am running the OS from my external drive right now. But both internal drives are not recognized at all (Finder, Terminal, etc...) What do I do next? I need the OS installed on the SSD (which is not currently recognized.) Any help would be immensely appreciated!!
  11. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Can you post a screen shot of your Disk Utility?
  12. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    [[ Is this okay, or do I have cause to worry? ]]

    Well, you have just had a fusion drive created on your internal SSD/HDD.

    You'd better have backups.

    Apple, in its wonderful wisdom, has made behavior like this a "feature" of Disk Utility.

    That is to say:
    Whenever you try to run DU on a new(er) Mac that has both an HDD and an SSD installed, if those two drives are not "fused", DU will automatically attempt to "fuse" or "re-fuse" them. (IF only one of the drives has an OS installed)

    Apparently Apple has hard-wired Disk Utility to assume that ANY Mac it finds with an HDD and an SSD (with only one of those drives having a bootable OS) is supposed to contain a fused drive, and it is attempting to "repair things".

    The user is given no say in the matter.

    There _IS_ a way to prevent this from happening. Do what I outline next, and it will NEVER occur:
    1. Partition your internal HDD. The "first" partition should be roughly equal to the size of the internal SSD.
    2. Use CarbonCopyCloner (or SuperDuper) to clone the contents of your SSD to the first partition of the HDD.

    Do this, and you will NOT be bothered by Disk Utility trying to "fuse" the two drives again.

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