Computers & Electronics

Replacing a hard drive on a 2008/2009 Mac Mini?

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 14th, 2018 12:36 pm
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Aug 14, 2007
8416 posts
667 upvotes
Toronto

Replacing a hard drive on a 2008/2009 Mac Mini?

My fathers Mac Mini (model A1283) (linked here: https://everymac.com/ultimate-mac-looku ... ords=a1283 ) has started performing it's normal day to day operations extremely slow. My guess is the hard drive inside of it is starting to fail. I am just curious if it would be possible to swap an SSD into this and if so, is the OS pretty easy to re-install? I assume it wouldn't be overly hard to install one. I don't know much at all about mac computers, so my assumption about the computer starting to run horribly slow at this point would probably mean the HDD is starting to fail since it's almost 10 years old if not older than that now.
6 replies
Deal Guru
Mar 23, 2009
14687 posts
2589 upvotes
Toronto
A SSD will make that Mac mini feel like a brand new machine, as you may have guessed. Also, typically, it's a lot easier on Macs to upgrade the OS than with other OSes, but the one caveat here is that if he's running a very old version of OS X then you may have to either get an interim OS installed for Mac App Store compatibility, or else get your hands on an original install file for the latest compatible OS and do a clean install and transfer the files over later.

However, with the most recent OSes, while 4 GB is OK, 8 GB is preferred. I'd run 10.11 El Capitan on that machine, whether it's with 4 GB or 8 GB though, for software compatibility reasons. Some of the older OSes are no longer supported by stuff like iTunes and web browsers (and security updates). 10.11 is the last version of OS X that is officially supported on that Mac mini.

You can actually run a patched version of 10.12 High Sierra on it, but some of the Mac minis of that era don't have compatible WiFi modules, if that matters.

http://dosdude1.com/sierrapatch.html
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Aug 14, 2007
8416 posts
667 upvotes
Toronto
tk1000 wrote:
Feb 14th, 2018 1:15 am
Yes, you can install a SSD in this. Does your father have the OS install discs?

Mac mini Model A1283 Hard Drive Replacement Guide
https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mac+mini+M ... ement/1063

Use the Mac operating system that came with your Mac, or a compatible newer version
https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT201686
EugW wrote:
Feb 14th, 2018 10:37 am
A SSD will make that Mac mini feel like a brand new machine, as you may have guessed. Also, typically, it's a lot easier on Macs to upgrade the OS than with other OSes, but the one caveat here is that if he's running a very old version of OS X then you may have to either get an interim OS installed for Mac App Store compatibility, or else get your hands on an original install file for the latest compatible OS and do a clean install and transfer the files over later.

However, with the most recent OSes, while 4 GB is OK, 8 GB is preferred. I'd run 10.11 El Capitan on that machine, whether it's with 4 GB or 8 GB though, for software compatibility reasons. Some of the older OSes are no longer supported by stuff like iTunes and web browsers (and security updates). 10.11 is the last version of OS X that is officially supported on that Mac mini.

You can actually run a patched version of 10.12 High Sierra on it, but some of the Mac minis of that era don't have compatible WiFi modules, if that matters.

http://dosdude1.com/sierrapatch.html
Thanks to the both of you. Will get this all figured out soon then.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 28, 2005
3353 posts
272 upvotes
Ontario / Quebec
I assume you have a clone back-up on an external drive.
I would boot up the Mini on the external and run disk utility to see if that picks up any problems on the internal drive rather than just guessing that the internal drive may have problems.
Deal Guru
Mar 23, 2009
14687 posts
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Toronto
BTW, if you are not aware, you can clone OS installs to external drives or do clean OS installs to external drives and then just boot off those. And then you can swap drives at will, and everything will still boot just fine.

So, say you currently have 10.9 installed on the internal drive. You can then use SuperDuper! to clone it to an external SSD in a USB enclosure. Then boot off the USB SSD and update that to 10.11. If everything is working to your liking, then you can just remove the internal drive and take that SSD out of the USB enclosure and install it in the Mac mini. It will boot fine.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Aug 14, 2007
8416 posts
667 upvotes
Toronto
EugW wrote:
Feb 14th, 2018 12:25 pm
BTW, if you are not aware, you can clone OS installs to external drives or do clean OS installs to external drives and then just boot off those. And then you can swap drives at will, and everything will still boot just fine.

So, say you currently have 10.9 installed on the internal drive. You can then use SuperDuper! to clone it to an external SSD in a USB enclosure. Then boot off the USB SSD and update that to 10.11. If everything is working to your liking, then you can just remove the internal drive and take that SSD out of the USB enclosure and install it in the Mac mini. It will boot fine.
Will try this method, thanks

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