Mac Mini Wets the Bed or Pooping Out - Options?

MikeyFresh

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A late 2014 Mac should be able to reload the OS over the internet, iirc. Maybe Google "how to restore MacOS" for some tips.
He would still need an installer drive to have the macOS Utilities necessary to restore from the internet to the best of my knowledge. So the internet download takes the place of what was once a set of DVD-ROM discs that contained the entire OS, but you still need the installer to make it go.

The installer drive can be on as little as a 16GB thumb drive, as it doesn't contain the entire OS itself, just the utilities necessary to install it from the internet (unless something has changed since the last time I did it just a few short years ago).

The problem is I'm not aware of a way to create the installer boot drive without another Mac, I guess it's possible to use a Windows or Linux machine to do that, but I've never heard of anyone actually having done that.

EDIT: apparently it can be done with Windows 10/11 and software called TransMac:

 

airdronian

Radar Member
He would still need an installer drive to have the macOS Utilities necessary to restore from the internet to the best of my knowledge. So the internet download takes the place of what was once a set of DVD-ROM discs that contained the entire OS, but you still need the installer to make it go.

The installer drive can be on as little as a 16GB thumb drive, as it doesn't contain the entire OS itself, just the utilities necessary to install it from the internet (unless something has changed since the last time I did it just a few short years ago).

The problem is I'm not aware of a way to create the installer boot drive without another Mac, I guess it's possible to use a Windows or Linux machine to do that, but I've never heard of anyone actually having done that.

EDIT: apparently it can be done with Windows 10/11 and software called TransMac:

I tried it years ago, and it does take a long time. Apple has docs on it of course, this link is a bit more concise.
 

MikeT.

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He would still need an installer drive to have the macOS Utilities necessary to restore from the internet to the best of my knowledge. So the internet download takes the place of what was once a set of DVD-ROM discs that contained the entire OS, but you still need the installer to make it go.

I tried it years ago, and it does take a long time. Apple has docs on it of course, this link is a bit more concise.
This is scaring me just reading about it and precisely why I am opting to have someone besides me do the install. ;)
 

airdronian

Radar Member
This is scaring me just reading about it and precisely why I am opting to have someone besides me do the install. ;)
Good choice, don't try something you're not comfortable with. As with the flooring we paid people to install today, there's something to be said about getting it done right the first time. :)
 

MikeyFresh

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Apple has docs on it of course, this link is a bit more concise.
Well, lacking a working Mac to create the installer boot drive, that link does indicate a Genius Bar appointment can be made to do the same on one of their machines, so there is that.

Once the installer is on a thumb drive, the rest is very simple and step-by-step easy, the installer wizard guides you through and it doesn't even take that long.

Probably easier to create the installer at a Genius Bar appointment than it is to attempt creation on a Windows machine using 3rd party software, however easiest yet is to have the shop installing the SSD do the work, it just costs more.

This actually brings up an interesting side discussion on all of this, that being the most hard core macOS users apparently always keep a bootable installer drive available for just this kind of instance, and whenever they elect to do a full version update (say Big Sur -> Monterey upgrade), they first create a bootable installer drive for Big Sur, so that it's easy to go back if they need to.

This is considered safer than relying solely on a Time Machine backup, and the most hard core of macOS users actually keep bootable installers going back several versions, just in case they ever want/need to go backwards more than one OS version, especially on an older machine that might not even be able to run the very latest versions (my 2012 Mac mini would be one such example).

When I did this last a few years back, I kept that installer thumb drive around for quite a long while afterwards, and only last Christmas did I wipe that thumb drive clean to be repurposed as additional storage for my Chromecast through a USB-C hub, solving the problem of limited Chromecast onboard storage capacity.

If I were to return to best practice now, I'd create another bootable installer drive to have handy/ready if needed, though admittedly the actual need for such a thing is far less when the Mac has an SSD installed, than it used to be in the good ol' days of "not if but when" failure of HDDs.
 

MikeT.

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Good choice, don't try something you're not comfortable with. As with the flooring we paid people to install today, there's something to be said about getting it done right the first time. :)
Flooring I can do and I only make the occasional mistake which can be covered or buffed. ;)
 

JP

Junior Member
Well, lacking a working Mac to create the installer boot drive, that link does indicate a Genius Bar appointment can be made to do the same on one of their machines, so there is that.

Once the installer is on a thumb drive, the rest is very simple and step-by-step easy, the installer wizard guides you through and it doesn't even take that long.

Probably easier to create the installer at a Genius Bar appointment than it is to attempt creation on a Windows machine using 3rd party software, however easiest yet is to have the shop installing the SSD do the work, it just costs more.

This actually brings up an interesting side discussion on all of this, that being the most hard core macOS users apparently always keep a bootable installer drive available for just this kind of instance, and whenever they elect to do a full version update (say Big Sur -> Monterey upgrade), they first create a bootable installer drive for Big Sur, so that it's easy to go back if they need to.

This is considered safer than relying solely on a Time Machine backup, and the most hard core of macOS users actually keep bootable installers going back several versions, just in case they ever want/need to go backwards more than one OS version, especially on an older machine that might not even be able to run the very latest versions (my 2012 Mac mini would be one such example).

When I did this last a few years back, I kept that installer thumb drive around for quite a long while afterwards, and only last Christmas did I wipe that thumb drive clean to be repurposed as additional storage for my Chromecast through a USB-C hub, solving the problem of limited Chromecast onboard storage capacity.

If I were to return to best practice now, I'd create another bootable installer drive to have handy/ready if needed, though admittedly the actual need for such a thing is far less when the Mac has an SSD installed, than it used to be in the good ol' days of "not if but when" failure of HDDs.

Just be aware of Oct 24, 2019, and April 14, 2029.
 

MikeyFresh

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Just be aware of Oct 24, 2019, and April 14, 2029.
So an installer created a long time ago (prior to 10/14/19) will have an expired software certificate, and even a newer one will once again expire, though not until 4/14/29?
 

MikeT.

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Deauthorized the old Mac Mini and the Roon Core transfer and library seemed to go almost instantaneously. So all good so far. I’ll want to go back through my setting for my DAD, etc.

But it’s playing music. :dance:vegetalia
 

MikeT.

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Expectation bias is a weird thing. I could swear the music sounds better with the SSD. It sure is quieter when I’m close the the Mini. So I now have a 1Tb SSD and another 120+Gb SSD portion left over from the Fusion Drive.
 

MikeT.

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OK, this is a stupid, circular question (I think I’m using it in the right context) but here goes anyway. As this thread clearly shows, my intimate knowledge of the working innards of computers is sparse.

Is it OK to leave the my computer with the new SSD drives on all the time? It doesn’t take any time to boot but I’m wondering if there is a major negative. Possible positives might be auto upgrades and backups.

Sorry, in advance.
 

airdronian

Radar Member
I'd say it's up to you how to handle it. I've typically left mine running, so music is on demand. The computers I've used have fairly low power consumption.

I've turned it off for vacation, or if a nasty t-storm is coming through.
 

MikeyFresh

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I'd say it's up to you how to handle it. I've typically left mine running, so music is on demand. The computers I've used have fairly low power consumption.

I've turned it off for vacation, or if a nasty t-storm is coming through.
+1, my 2012 Mac mini has been on for 10 years, other than during power outages, impending strong storms, or if I'm going to be away for any extended period.

The mini uses very little electricity, and even though I offloaded my music server to a Raspberry Pi some years ago, I've still generally left the mini on most of the time.

There are two schools of thought there, one being the shock to the system of constant power cycles actually shortens lifespan, much like an incandescent light bulb only blows on switching it, but really never while just ON. The other school of thought is heat causes failure, and so prolonged/extended heat caused by just leaving it on will inevitably shorten lifespan.

I think both of the above are true to one extent or another, but if my 2012 unit is any indication, you can just leave a Mac mini on and it will last a very long time. The SSD likely consumes less energy and produces less heat than the old HDD did, and unlike the HDD, the SSD has no moving parts.

I know both myself and @airdronian are known to periodically take apart and vacuum out dust build up in our minis, and that can only help extend the lifespan, as heat is better evacuated with a clean and smooth running fan. If a large amount of dust inhibits the airflow, all bets are off.
 
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