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  • David Amis Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)



    The reason I had erasing in the instructions is that you can't install Snow Leopard on top of Lion without erasing first. How exactly did you partition the drive, and did you then reinstall Lion?


    I'm still doing some testing, I'm having a problem with a monitor being treated as a TV.

  • ZX48 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    To partition boot drive there appear to be two options I found to work:


    1/ Boot into Lion, launch disk utility, click on the root of the HD (i.e. 251GB APPLE SSD or 750.16GB APPLE HDD). Do NOT select the Lion partition. Click on "Partition" tab. Drag the Lion partition smaller. Click the + button to fill in the created space with a new partition - name it "Snow Leopard". Apply.


    2/ Essentially do the same thing whilst booted from FW target disk mode. Note that in this case you will need to relaunch Disk Utility (and/or remount the drives) for it to recognise the newly created partitions.

  • iXod Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I, too, am having that problem with a 23" LCD monitor (native 1920x1080). System Preferences > Displays is showing me only TV resolutions (max. 1600x900) for choices to set this monitor.


    I've got the original SL drivers installed -- haven't yet done the driver replacement for the displays...



  • ZX48 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Clarificatin: After partitioning there is no need to reinstall Lion. The original Lion install is still there and boots if selected. It is just smaller. Press "alt" during boot to select boot drive.


    Ofcourse, if you want to free up space, wipe the Lion drive, but I think it may be wise to retain the Lion-bootable partition for emergency or for future testing purposes.


    Unfortunately, I don't have any good ideas for yor TV problem. Perhaps just a specific display incompatibility? Are there any drivers you can download? Or a driver disc that came with the display?

  • OdeToBob Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hey guys,

    One more question:

    Why would I not have the ACPI_SMC_PlatformPlugin.kext folder?

    Have I done something incorrectly?


    I followed the instructions to great success with a 10.6.3 Bootable USB Drive

    Snow leopard seems to be running fine on the partition within the new mac mini. (no Phantom Display erratic cursor problems.) But I'd like to update the kexts to make sure things are running optimally.


    Thanks for all the research and testing done so far...

    I couldn't have gotten this far without all of your help.

  • David Amis Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I've improved the full install instructions to version 2 (next post), here's what's changed: The installation part was rewritten to better match what you would have with a new machine, and the process is somewhat streamlined. Migration can now be part of the install. ZX48's input was incorporated (Thanks!). The Lion recovery partition is preserved, and the Lion install can be preserved. 2011 MBP as recommended 2nd machine dropped. Several details were corrected or clarified.

  • David Amis Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Full instructions for installing Snow Leopard 10.6.8 on a 2011 Mac Mini, version 2.


    This is an assembly of what has been discovered and posted by newfoundglory, Kasper E, and others, with much detail added. These instructions look long and complicated, but it's just detail and options.


    The problem: The 2011 Mac Mini ships with Lion (10.7), which is unusable for many users. Snow Leopard (10.6.8) can be installed, but without some alterations it will be slow and will have the Phantom Display* issue.


    There are three possibilities for how the installation will be used: clean new install, migrate from an existing computer during the install, and create an installation that can be copied to many 2011 Minis. It's helpful to determine which type of installation you intend in advance, but only in your choice of user name. If you want a clean new install, use the user name you want to be the final user name. If you migrate during the install, the user name from the old machine will be used. Otherwise, use a temporary name, such as 'Admin', which you will replace later (Migration Assistant requires this if not run during install). When you have completed the installation, you can duplicate it to other Minis using SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner.


    To do the installation, you'll need the following:

    1. A 10.6.x install DVD, and any machine that will run it (also, it should have 10.6 installed). For example, the 10.6.3 retail install DVD will work on any machine introduced before 10.6.3, but a 2011 MacBook Pro must use the 10.6.6 DVD it shipped with. I used a 2011 MacBook Pro, so in these instructions I'll refer to the second machine as 'MBP'.

    2. A Firewire cable. The Mini has FW800, so you need either a FW800-FW800 or a FW800-FW400 cable, depending on the second machine.

    3. 10.6.8 Combo update, downloaded to the MBP.

    4. A few kernel extension (kext) files from 10.7 and 10.6.8 (specific versions). Available here in a folder called "MacMini2011 Snow Leopard kexts":

    MacMini2011 Snow Leopard kexts


    Preserving Lion (optional):

    In order to install Snow Leopard, you'll need an empty partition on the Mini's HD. If you have some reason to, you can keep the current Lion installation. The Lion Recovery HD partition will be preserved in any case, which is an easy way to run disk utility to repair your Snow Leopard installation if anything should go wrong at some point in the future.

    If you want to preserve the Lion installation, decide on how to divide the space between Snow Leopard and Lion, and do the following:

    1. Backup the Mini's HD. A power failure or other problem while resizing a partition can be bad.

    2. Boot into Lion on the Mini.

    3. Open disk utility and click on the HD Media (i.e. 251GB APPLE SSD or 750.16GB APPLE HDD) on the left (Do NOT select the Lion partition).

    4. Click the Partition tab. Drag the Lion partition to be smaller. The free space created will become the Snow Leopard partition.

    5. Click the + button below the partition list to fill in the created space with a new partition.

    6. Name the partition "Snow Leopard" (or whatever you want). Click Apply.


    Install Snow Leopard:

    1. Start the Mini in Target Disk Mode (TDM) by holding the T key, connect to MBP with the Firewire cable. The Mini's hard drive will show up on the MBP's desktop.

    2. Boot MBP from the Mac OS X 10.6.x install disc. The next several steps will be performed on the MBP.

    3. If you didn't preserve the 10.7 installation as described above: You can't install 10.6 over 10.7, so you need to erase the single partition on the Mini's HD. Open disk Utility and select the partition (i.e.'Macintosh HD') on the left (not the 'Media'), click the erase tab, and erase it. You may want to use a different name from the MBP's HD, so you don't get them confused. In any case, the Mini's HD will have the Firewire icon.

    4. Install 10.6.x on the Mini's HD. Be sure customize the install to add Rosetta and QT7.

    5. At the end of the install, restart, but hold down the option key and boot from the MBP's HD.

    6. Install 10.6.8 combo update v1.1, and click "Change Install Location" at the Destination step, and choose the Mini's HD for the install. If it doesn't work, try it again. If it still doesn't work, you'll have to boot the MBP from the Mini's HD and finish the install, then install the update.

    7. Shut down MBP and Mini, and remove the Firewire cable.

    8. Now connect Mini to a monitor and boot from its own HD. It should work, but it may have Phantom Display issues.

    9. The final steps of the install will be done on the Mini, either migrating from an old Mac, or creating a new user.

    10. (optional, perhaps a bad idea?) For good measure, and to make sure no drivers were missed, Install 10.6.8 combo update v1.1 again, this time directly from the Mini.


    Fix kernel extensions:

    1. Copy the "MacMini2011 Snow Leopard kexts" folder to the Mini's desktop and open the folder.

    2. Also open this folder:


    An easy way to do this is to open a new finder window, copy the path above (from first to last '/'), choose Go to Folder from the Go menu, and paste the path.

    NOTE: in step 3 and a few other steps, you'll be required to Authenticate.

    3. Drag Macmini5_1.plist, Macmini5_2.plist and Macmini5_3.plist from "MacMini2011 Snow Leopard kexts" to the Resources folder.

    4. Now open this folder:


    NOTE: After you perform step 5 and also after 6, you may get the "System Extensions cannot be used" dialog several times. You can ignore the error.

    5. Find AppleIntelHDGraphics.kext and AppleIntelSNBGraphicsFB.kext, and move them to the trash.

    6. Drag AppleIntelHDGraphics.kext and AppleIntelSNBGraphicsFB.kext from the "MacMini2011 Snow Leopard kexts" folder to the previously opened Extensions folder.

    7. Open the Terminal app in the utilities folder, and type the following:

    sudo su -

    It will then ask for your password.

    8. Paste the following into terminal:

    cd /System/Library/Extensions/IOPlatformPluginFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/ACPI_SMC_PlatformPlugin.kext/Contents/Resources
    chown root:wheel Macmini5*
    chmod 644 Macmini5*
    cd /System/Library/Extensions
    chown -R root:wheel AppleIntelHDGraphics.kext
    chown -R root:wheel AppleIntelSNBGraphicsFB.kext
    chmod -R 755 AppleIntelHDGraphics.kext
    chmod -R 755 AppleIntelSNBGraphicsFB.kext
    kextcache -system-prelinked-kernel
    kextcache -system-caches
    echo 'Finished'


    the commands will take some time (a minute or so), and you will get an error about InternalModemSupport.kext that you can ignore. It's complete when you see 'Finished'.

    9. Now reboot your Mini, and you're done!


    Known problems:

    Bluetooth may not work as well as it does in Lion.


    *Phantom Display issue:

    The Phantom Display is a duplicate of the main display (the computer thinks there are two identical displays attached), and causes the following:

    1. Cursor updates are erratic.

    2. There's an extra screen off to the right that you can move windows to. And if you play with it, the extra screen can become the only one displayed.

    3. Monitor wakeup from sleep can fail.

    4. The second monitor port won't work.

  • marsexpress79 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Dear David, thank you so much for your well detailed procedure! :-)


    I already installed two months ago SL 10.6.8 on my Mini 2011 (i5-2.3, IntelHD3000, 8Gb RAM, 750Gb WD 7200rpm, HDMI>DVI adapter with an old 22" Cinema Display), using it as a target Firewire800 drive with a Mini 2009.

    But at that time I didn't installed the kernel extensions.

    And I had some of the issues you're talking about, mouse cursor defects, extra screen (phantom display), and monitor doesn't wake up.

    I confirm bluetooth issues, sometimes the Apple Magic Mouse disconnects and reconnects, also sometimes the mouvement doesn't works well.


    I remember that the first time I booted up my new Mini in October 2011, I used it for a while and it worked fine, Then I updated Lion to 10.7.2. After the update, the Mini was absolutely instable and useless. Freezes sometimes also during the boot!!!

    I accidentally deleted the original shipped 10.7.1 Recovery HD partition, so the internet Recovery HD downloaded from Apple servers directly the 10.7.2 image install.


    One week ago I finally found in the internet the 10.7.1 DMG, the original version shipped with the Mini (build 11B2118 for 2011 Air & Mini).

    I installed it and I removed the SL partition, also I installed Win7Pro64SP1 with Bootcamp 4.0.1.

    There's no way... 10.7.1 is a lot more stable than 10.7.2 in the Mini 2011.

    Also booting in 32bit kernel mode, it works faster and it seems to be very stable. So I made 32bit boot my default.

    No freezes, no pauses, no kernel panics, video play is ok, Youtube play is ok, no Safari and Firebox hangs, FullHD content is played perfectly without frames loss. And no graphics artifacts.


    I have all these problems with 10.7.2 that makes the Mini unusable.

    Maybe in this update there was a graphics driver change? In worst I could say...
    Also maybe these graphics artifacts are present while using HDMI output, and are not present using the Thunderbolt port?

    But in the Mac Pro Early 2008 I have at work (with Nvidia GT120 and using the mini Display Port), 10.7.2 works very fine, stable and fast (with 12Gb RAM). No problems at all...


    In the next days I will surely reinstall SL 10.6.8 using your instructions for adding kernel extensions, but I will preserve the Lion partition, because I want to try the 11D46 10.7.3 update to see if the Mini works fine at last...

    I need to develop apps for iOS5 iPhone/iPad with XCode 4.2, I need a stable SL machine, but also I would like to try 4.2.1 in Lion and also the new iBooks Author...


    Cheers!! Fabio

  • ZX48 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Small added info:


    1. No (apparent) need for SL host Mac. I used a 2008 MBPro running 10.5.8 (with FW800-800 cable).


    2. I have realised that retail SL 10.6.3 does NOT contain iLife. So if you need those apps you will have to migrate older sysem over. (Except, see point 3).


    3. Since the Lion server partition also mounts under SL, I actually accidentally ran iPhoto '11 (from the Lion partition) whilst booted under SL. It works fine (as does iMovie and GarageBand. However, other apps are greyed out as being unable to launch under SL. I assume them to be Lion-specific versions).

    I'm not sure if there are problems with running iLife '11 apps under SL from the Lion partition, and/or if I should just copy the apps (iPhoto, iMovie and Garageband) across to the SL partition?


    4. If keeping the Lion partition, one can select which volume is the default boot volume by holding option/alt during boot, then pressing Control whilst selecting the relevant HD (the vertical arrow will change to a circular arrow indicating it will become the default boot volume)


    5. Finally, I have encountered one bug: As reported by Vincent on page 26, I also suffer problems with the external display being recognised after a restart. Shut down then boot is fine. Waking from sleep is OK so long as I don't also switch off the display (going into low power mode on the display appears fine). Monitor is a Dell U2711 mDP>DP connection.

  • StirFry_2112 Level 2 Level 2 (475 points)

    Thaqnks David for the detailed and simplified proceedure for installation and everyone who has helped in making Snow Leopard installation possible!


    I have followed your version 2 instructions and have run into a slight problem with my AirPort setup. After sucessful installation, tested with geekbench and scored 6600 in SL! But here is what my AirPort looks like:


    Screen shot 2012-02-01 at 6.51.05 PM.png


    I can get it to work, but I have to open the Network preferences in the System Prefs. In there, it shows up as Ethernet 2. Because of this, every time I restart, I have to re-enter all my network settings. I have tried running applejackAUTO, and it showed

    "AirPort: Link Down on en1. Reason 1 (Unspecified)" as well as a ton of permission corrections for AirPort Utility.


    I Used my Nahalem Mac Pro to do the installation and I'm wondering if this is the cause of the problem, as it does not have an AirPort card installed. Any thoughts on how to fix this?

  • ashtangiman Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks to everyone for all of the great advice . . . one note, on my 2.3 i5 mini, once i did the graphics fix I had to change my setting from 24hz refresh to 60hz, but other than that small item I have found everything to be working very well.  I will keep lion, but snow leopard boots in what feels like 5 seconds from the solid state drive on which it resides . . . while lion on that drive took a respectable but notably slower (and timed) 18 seconds.  I just like SL much better . . . .

  • ashtangiman Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    ZX48 . . . you say your SL downgrade will properly use the USB DVD drive?  I cannot get that to work on mine, but figure there must be a driver for it in the Lion boot drive . . . is that so?  I do use the DVD drive and this is the only thing left about the SL boot that does not work for me.

  • ZX48 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    ashtangiman wrote:


    ZX48 . . . you say your SL downgrade will properly use the USB DVD drive?  I cannot get that to work on mine, but figure there must be a driver for it in the Lion boot drive . . . is that so?  I do use the DVD drive and this is the only thing left about the SL boot that does not work for me.


    Hmm...I'll double-check this on Monday. Now I come to think carefully about it I don't think I have used the Superdrive since first using it to install SL inside a VM running on Lion (VMWare fusion 4). This worked fine (so the drive works fine under Lion and under virtualised SL). I have since decided that the SL user experience is much nicer than Lion, so even though the VM route worked, I am preferring to stick with the native SL boot partition at least until Lion (or the subsequent OS) improves. Mostly this is because I find Expose and Mission Control to be incredibly jerky on the Lion partition (2560x1440 display), whereas it is noticeably smoother booted under SL.


    Anyway, I digress. What I do know is that the System Profiler inside the native SL boot partition does detect the DVD drive, so I assumed it would work. Do you see it in System Profiler too? Perhaps SL is not giving enough power to the USB ports? (The MBAir superdrive drive needs extra high power USB socket). If that is the case, a powered USB hub _may_ be a sufficient workaround, but I'm not certain of this because I think the Superdrive power specification is above the range of even the standard high power USB spec. Google should hopefully give some answers on what is needed.

  • ZX48 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    ashtangiman wrote:


    ZX48 . . . you say your SL downgrade will properly use the USB DVD drive?  I cannot get that to work on mine, but figure there must be a driver for it in the Lion boot drive . . . is that so?  I do use the DVD drive and this is the only thing left about the SL boot that does not work for me.

    Unfortunately I can confirm that the MBAir Superdrive also does not work for me on the Mac Mini Server when booted from the SL partition. It accepts a disk and spins up, but the disk never mounts. Ejecting the disk requires either booting into Lion or booting whilst holding the trackpad down or mouse clicker (forces eject during boot).


    In SL, the SuperDrive is detected and lists: Available 500mA, REquired 500mA.

    Whereas in Lion it additionally lists: Extra Operating current: 600 mA.


    Since the hardware can support the device, it seems there just needs to be some special updated driver or extension applied. However, the following site indicates that the SD uses a custom USB>IDE bridge that allows the SD to be a USB2.0 boot device (not normally possible)



    Interestingly though, even when I boot the Mac mini with Option/Alt pressed, and when I have the SL retail DVD in the device, I am unable to boot from the SD. Perhaps this is because Lion Macs now have the special recovery partition?


    Other Google searches indicate that powered hubs don't work either due to the defect being in the USB>IDE bridge (although perhaps they would work in this rare case of the hardware being compatible, but apparently underpowered).


    As it is, it seems that I too have now got an attractive £70 aluminium paperweight.

  • ashtangiman Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have it working now. There is a debug flag to set in a config file that will let the drive work with any Mac. I first tried a method that involved editing a kext file, which did not work. I'm using my phone to type this now but I'll try to find the link later and post it here.  But I have the drive working perfectly now :)

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