I noticed that the discussion seems to focus on getting Snow Leopard onto an internal drive of the new Mac Minis. I currently boot my 2009 Mac Mini from a FW800 external drive with 10.6.8. If I just plug my external drive into a new 2011 Mac Mini, will it boot into Snow Leopard if I set it as the startup disk?
I'd say your chances are better than 80%. The only thing that could hold you up would be if your 2009 Mini's install didn't include all drivers that are possible for Mac Minis to need. So your external drive only has the 2009 drivers and not any other drivers. In that case you might be in for some issues surrounding Bluetooth, WiFI, Video, etc.
Best part is you can try it w/o hurting/installing/changing anything
Quick question John (or all). I completely understand what do do up to the point were we need to apply the 10.6.8 update.
After my iMac (in your case, your MBP) reboots and you swap the retail SL disk out for the machine specific recovery disk it will continue to install the core OS.
When that is done we will want to apply the 10.6.8 update. How is that done exactly. If done via "software update" wouldnt I be applying it to my iMac since that is what is actually running (the mac mini is just a firewire connected HD at this point right?). How do I point the update to install on the the Mac mini HD? Should I download it manually?
Or, when the core OS is done installing do I reboot once again and select the Mac Mini as the boot drive and then do the update (is that possible? Does the Mac mini stay connected as a firewire drive during reboots or do I hold down "T" at each reboot?)
Having never used Target Disk Mode I am unsure what to expect.
Quite simple actually sir.
Once OS X has completed installing (Mini) the 'Welcome to OS X' activity begins. This includes all the fancy welcome screens, etc. It asks you to create an account on the machine, register with Apple, etc. Once this activity is complete the machine immediately loads into OS X. You see the desktop, icons, Finder bar, etc. This is your Mini's hard drive and OS X install. Simply click the Apple in the upper left corner and run Software Update. It'll find OS X, iTunes, various security updates, possibly a Java update, etc.
Once you've downloaded all of the updates it will tell you that you need to restart. Click restart and the machine will install all of the updates and do a reboot. The Host machine will restart and actually continue to boot from the Mini's hard drive automatically. After the reboot shut it down and connect the Mini to an external display and you're all set.
Thanks for all your help John. I havent installed a Mac OS in a while (complete oppsite to my Windows quarterly routine!) but I thought I remember that immediately after the core OS finished installing a reboot occured and THEN you get the welcome video and registration screens etc. I was worried that I wouldnt be able to tell what I was actually booting into, my iMac or the newly installed mini at that point
Bravo, John Fair!! (And mikethebook, you should mark John's "success" post with the "answered" plus give "helpful" to his other posts -- he certainly deserves the points!)
A question... I would new need to transfer a user on to a new mini. Is there a screen that comes up asking for Setup Assistant somewhere along the way? (asking if I want to "Transfer from another mac") What if the Source machine for Setup Assistant was the same iMac running 10.6.8 that I was using to install SL onto the mini?
Thanks for the kudos :)
You can definitely recover from a TM backup or another Mac once OSX is installed. You get the same OS X setup screen as you do with a stereotypical install. So it will ask if you want to transfer files from any one of the three standard locations. The Host machine's hard drive should be available to choose "From Another Mac Computer", however I have not personally confirmed this. It should work in theory though.
Let us know if you get that to work :)
Hi John! I'm glad I found your post. I have a new Quad i7 Mac Mini "Server" and have been struggling with it the past couple days. I don't need the "Server" parts, but rather bought this version for the processors it came with.
Over the past couple days I found that it's not possible to restore to Lion (Desktop); it restores to Lion (Server). And while the Server version is supposed to be identical to Desktop, a call to AppleCare confirmed my troubles - that "Server" _may_ have slight differences here and there that can cause compatibility issues.
I had a heck of a time trying to install CS5, in fact I just couldn't, and hours of Adobe chats and Googling couldn't help me. I even tried to install Lion over TDM to my Mini from the AppStore image, and it wouldn't boot that way either! It seems the Server edition of the mini only like Lion Server...something keeps it from booting from a clean Lion (Desktop) install or just the Installer itself (on a USB drive I image'd).
Anyway, I managed to get Snow Leopard onto the Mini and am typing this now on it...while CS5 installs without a hitch (so far) in the background(!). My process wasn;t quite as smooth as yours seemed to be, however.
I was using a retail 10.6.3 disc and the recovery discs from a mid-2010 MBP (shipped with 10.6.3). I installed from the retail disc onto the Mini in TDM, then it rebooted (I didn't swap in the recovery disc since they were the same version). On reboot, the installer popped up and said "OS X Can't boot from this disc" and the install was screwed at that point. I guess I should have tried putting in the recovery disc nonetheless?
Anyway, I also had the retail disc on a USB drive, booted my MBP from it, then installed onto the Mini in TDM. This time it seemed to work and the MBP rebooted successfully and I went through all the setup screens, etc. I then ran Software Update and got to 10.6.8 and shut down.
On reboot of the mini with fingers crossed, it booted! I was ecstatic. But the first thing I noticed was that my dual display setup wasn't working right: the display hooked up to the Thunderbolt port was not being recognized. I disconnected it and rebooted and all seems OK now. I ran SU again, but it didn't fix my Thunderbolt-attached display, in fact System profiler shows two identical displays attached, but the Thunderbolt one is a different model display.
My current plan is to install the Lion-problematic CS5, then clone it, then try an "upgrade" to Lion (Desktop) and see if I can boot the mini into Lion (Desktop). If it works, and my Thunderbolt display works, etc, I think I can live with Lion (although i understand what you mean about how annoying it is!).
Otherwise if it won't boot, I will try reinstalling SL the correct way and swap in my recovery disc this time (BTW, how do you eject the disc when the selector screen comes up? And once you do the swap, do you then select the recovery disc and it will continue the installation process?), and hopefully that will fix my Thunderbolt display issue and I'll happily live with 10.6.8!
Thanks again for your hard work!
ok so here's where I'm at with this. I've been working on this for hours and hours now!
My Mini was booting into 10.6.8, but Thunderbolt wasn't working for my external display on that port, and I noticed my cursor wasn't swapping properly between the arrow and input point, etc. Sometimes it would just disappear until I clicked enough times and it came back. Something wasn't right for sure.
My next attempt was to then "upgrade" to Lion using TDM and the app-store image. I somehow managed that, but on boot, the Mini didn't boot and gave me the circle-line (block) icon. Cr@p! My next bright idea was to try and install the "Server" package and see if that would be enough to get it to boot.
I managed to find an "evaluation" copy, and installed it successfully. About this Mac then showed "Server". I rebooted the mini on it's own and...dang circle-block again! Ayyeee! This is driving me nuts.
So now I'm trying the original method of using the SL retail disc. It rebooted and I held option at reboot, ejected the SL retail disc, then put in 10.5.7 recovery (because the only mac that I have that isn't running Lion right now is a 2009 MBP that shipped with 10.5.7!). When it rebooted, it tried to do the install all over again!
So I rebooted, put back in my SL 10.6.3 disc and the installer picked up again. It's just about done and will soon be restarting.
Thing is, I don't thnk this is any different than my initial installation off the USB drive, since that used the same image as my retail disc has.
Does the host machine need to have Thunderbolt on it? Or at least MiniDisplay Port to get the right drivers working before I run the software update to get it to 10.6.8?
OK, it's restarting now...brb!
ok that didn't work. Same issue as before with the Thunderbolt connected display not working, incorrect dual disaply detection (says I have two displays connected when only one is connected!), and random cursor swapping issues.
Interestingly, I found a post on ZDNet about how to install SL onto a Mac Mini (Server). He did it without the recovery disc. But the main take away was that he installed SL on one of the dual drives, and left Lion Server on the other:
I wonder if that is the key I am missing, to get my drivers all activated and still working.
I'm super tired, but I am going to try and partition my boot drive and restore Lion Server to the smaller partition, then try and install SL again onto the other one tomorrow. On my Mini, I'd formatted both drives completely, with no Lion at all left.
Here goes everything!
Also FWIW, I have painfully fund out that the mac Mini "Server" edition will not boot into Lion "Desktop" period, no way no how. It seems to only boot from the offical Lion Server restore or Snow Leopard through this hack! ;-)
Currently restoring LS onto a small-ish partition now, then on to the SL fun again!
Message was edited by: bryanus
From what I've read on other threads here I think you're right in your reasoning that you should try to get SL installed on the 2nd drive and keep Lion Server on the main drive. Seems that the people who have had success did it this way.
If it makes any difference I have a 24" Apple Cinema DIsplay connected to the Thunderbolt port on my Mini. The downside for me is that apparently there's a glitch in the 24" ACD's firmware that prevents the Mini from using it properly (I had this same problem on Lion so I know it's not OS related). The monitor just sits there and flickers wildly until eventually the monitor gets tired of it and shuts itself off.
Good luck with the re-installs! Let me know if you have any specific questions (though I can't really test anything on my end since I don't have a Mini Server myself).
You can install Lion from another Machine onto an external USB Drive and boot your Mac Mini Lion Desktop from there. Once successful, you can transfer your partition to your Mini with Carbon Copy Cloner. I used this Method to get Snow Leopard Desktop on a Mini Server 2010, now I am booting an external USB Disk with Lion on it.