I am in a very frustrating position as I try to upgrade my Mac Mini (mid 2010) from OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard to whatever the latest version of Mountain lion is. The reason I am doing this is because the original hard drive died and the Mini sat there for 6 months before we decided to get a new hard drive and revive it.
I installed a new 500GB 7200rpm SATA drive and the problems began.
First I couldn't get Mountain Lion installed as a fresh OS installation (using both a USB drive and a DVD to no avail). It just wouldn't go. The grey Apple logo/loading screen would come up and just sit there doing nothing while the loading icon spun.
I then tried installing Snow Leopard (the OS that the Mini came with when it was new). After some messing around, that got done.
However, a peculiar thing happens when the Mini boots. Everything loads up into Snow Leopard, but although the mouse curser moves, I cannot click on anything or use the keyboard for 4-5 minutes. Then it just work (I am typing this on the Mini). This happens every time.
Now, when I updated to 10.6.8, I was able to load up the App Store and download the Mountain Lion install app. I clicked it and went through the initial copying of files and then the restart, but after the reboot, the grey loading screen would not progress. I rebooted again and held down the Option key to check out the available boot volumes, and all I saw was the installation DVD I had in there for Snow Leopard and a hard disk volume called "Mac OS X Installer."
So I booted into the Snow Leopard install DVD and opened Disk Utility to check things out. I did a verify disk and a permissions repair. Interestingly, the first repair I did gave me the message that the ACL was missing from Volumes and that is was fixed. I read something somewhere which talked about the Access Control List and mouse/keyboard issues. But who knows. When I boot back into the Mini as normal I am returned to the fully-functioning Snow Leopard installation, like nothing happened.
And now here is the kicker: it appears that the Firewire bus is hooped. In the Profiler, when I view the FireWire settings I get the message, "Warning: Unable to list FireWire devices." So I am pretty sure the one thing I cannot do is boot the Mini into target disk mode attached to my Mac Pro and installed Mountain Lion that way.
So to recap: I can't finish the Mountain Lion installation because the install won't continue after rebooting because there is something wrong with the underlying base system, which might be hardware (FW bus) related. I think.
Some things I have tried:
- Resetting the SMC
- Resetting the PRAM
- Reparing permissions
- Booting into Safe Mode (doesn't work)
- Booting into Verbose Mode to observe what happens (I get the "Can't load the Bootcache.playlist" error, which I suspect is related to the screwed up FW bus)
- Trying to boot using Internet Recovery (doesn't work)
- Booting into Single User Mode and attempting the "fsck -y" etc. sequence to try and repair the ACL that way
So I am stuck.
I guess the question is, should I get an external HD enclosure and install Mountain Lion onto the hard drive that way and hope it works when I put it back into the Mini?
Any other ideas? I have spent a couple days ******* around with this is am running out of ideas...
Any advice would be appreciated!