How To Upgrade Hard Drive On Mac Mini

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  1. How To Upgrade Hard Drive On Mac Mini To Windows 10
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The thing to remember with the 2018 Mac Mini is that the memory is upgradeable (expert-level upgrade, though), and external drives (SSD and HDD) are viable options with TB3/USB-C. So, in that way, the base models of the Mac Mini are a good value (when viewed within the Apple ecosystem), especially the Core i5. Use this guide to replace the hard drive in your hard-drive-only or Fusion Drive Mac mini Late 2014. This guide was made with a Fusion Drive Mac mini. If your Mac mini only has a hard drive, skip the steps about the PCIe SSD and its connector.

Can people buy 256 SSD Mac Mini M1 and upgrade it later, or can't upgrade it like memory?

Tetsujin
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ChâuChâu

Both the memory and the SDD are not upgradable. Storage can be expanded by adding an external drive. Apple specifications state the internal drive has speeds up to 3.4 GB/s. Samsung specifications state the X5 Thunderbolt 3 SSD has speeds up to 2.8 GB/s. So storage can be expanded by adding an external Samsung X5 drive, albeit at a 18% drop in speed.

I am using a 2018 Mac mini with a 256 GB internal SSD. I quickly learned this was not enough storage. A 500 GB Samsung X5 SSD was added. The Mac was configured so macOS resided on the internal drive while the each user's home folder resided on the Samsung X5 drive. This allowed macOS to operate a maximum speed, while there was sight drop in speed when accessing user files.

Note: The Samsung X5 drive has TRIM support when used with macOS.

I should point out that at the time of purchase you can upgrade the 2020 Mac mini to an internal 1 TB SSD for $400. Samsung's list price for a 1 TB X5 SSD is also $400.

A user's home folder location can be set from the User & Groups pane of the System Preferences application. See the article Move Your Mac's Home Folder to a New Location.

David AndersonDavid Anderson
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Unfortunately, storage is soldered in for the current Mac minis, so it may be worthwhile to choose wisely when purchasing.

Although, with Thunderbolt 3, in all but the most demanding applications, an external drive would work fine.

How To Upgrade Hard Drive On Mac Mini
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Step 1: If there is a trouble with the current hard disk, and you wish to solve it or use the new version of the OS, then plug the bootable external drive to the Mac. Step 2: Power on the machine and hold the option button until you notice the recovery screen appear. From the screen, you can choose the bootable external device that you have. On some Macs it’s easy to install a new hard drive; on others, it isn’t. To find out how hard it’d be to upgrade your Mac, look it up in the guide below.

The boot drive selection screen of the Mac mini, showing the original drive, a Time Machine drive, and the replacement SSD Select the external SSD to continue the booting process from the new drive.

Before you can access a new or formatted drive in your operating system, you need to initialize it first and then create a partition on the drive. A partition defines an area of the drive to use for storing data. The partition uses a file system (for example, HFS+, ex-FAT, NTFS, and so on).

Initialize a drive

Mac OSX detects a drive that needs to be initialized and automatically prompts you to initialize the drive. If you are prompted to initialize the drive, click Initialize. If you are not prompted to initialize the drive and you cannot find the drive in Finder, you will need to create a partition on the drive.

Create a partition on a drive

Note: The following steps create an HFS+ (Mac OS Extended (Journaled)) partition that uses the entire drive space.

To create a partition on a new drive, complete the following:

  1. Open Finder.

  2. Navigate to Applications and click Utilities.

  3. Open Disk Utility.

  4. Select the new drive and click the Partition tab.

  5. Click Options and verify that it is set to GUID Partition Table.

  6. Enter a name for the partition.

  7. Click Partition.

The drive should now be accessible in Finder.

Looking for a way to install and run OS X on an external hard drive? This can be useful for a couple of different reasons. Firstly, it allows you to run another copy of OS X without needing any additional Mac computer.

Also, since you can run a full copy of OS X on the external drive, it can be used for troubleshooting purposes on other Macs or it can be as a kind of virtual OS X. I’ve already written about how you can install OS X in VMware Fusion, but that takes up space on your Mac. Using an external drive, you can save space on your Mac, though it might be a bit slower if you are using USB 2.0.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the requirements and steps to install OS X onto an external hard drive.

Format External Hard Disk

The first thing you’re going to need to do is format the external hard drive properly. The file format has to be Mac OS X Journaled and you have to use the GUID partition map. To do this, open Disk Utility and connect the drive to your Mac.

Under External in the left hand menu, click on your external hard drive and then click on the Erase button. Make sure you backup any data before you erase the drive. When you click Erase, a dialog will pop up where you can configure some options.

Give your drive a name, choose OS X Extended (Journaled) for Format and GUID Partition Map for Scheme. It should only take a minute or two for the drive to be erased and reformatted. Now your drive is ready for OS X.

Install OS X

Mac Mini Install Os On New Hard Drive Free

There are two ways you can install OS X on to your external hard disk: by reinstalling OS X from the OS X Utilities repair screen or by downloading OS X from the App Store and running the installer. I’ll show you both methods in case one isn’t working for you.

The easiest way is to download OS X from the App Store. Once you open the App Store, you’ll see a link on the right for the latest version of OS X (El Capitan as of this writing).

Go ahead and click the Download button to start downloading the installer. Note that if you already have that version of OS X installed, you’ll see a popup message appear asking if you still want to continue or not. Just click Continue.

Once it has been downloaded, just double-click the installer, which will be located in the Applications folder.

Mac Mini Install Os On New Hard Drive

Keep clicking past the license agreement, etc., until you get to the screen that asks you which disk to install OS X on. By default, it is set to MacBook.

Click on the Show All Disks button and you’ll see an icon for the different disks and partitions on the Mac. I named my external hard drive OS X and that shows up in the middle.

You can also tell it’s an external hard disk because it uses the icon with the orange hard drive. Click Continue and then follow the instructions to complete the installation. Note that your computer may restart during the install and you don’t have to do anything. OS X will automatically continue installing onto the external hard drive rather than booting up to your internal version of OS X.

At the end of this article, I’ll show you how to boot up to the external hard drive, so skip down if you ended up using the App Store method. Note that by default, the Mac will start booting up directly to the external hard drive until you change it.

The second method to install OS X is to restart the Mac and press and hold the COMMAND + R keys. This will load up OS X Recovery.

The OS X Utilities screen will appear and here you want to click on Reinstall OS X. Again, you’ll go through some basic screens, but when you get to the hard disk screen, click on Show All Disks again.

Using this method, you’ll have to login using your Apple ID and password so that the entire OS X installer can be downloaded off of Apple’s servers. Whichever method you choose, it will take anywhere from 15 to 30+ minutes to install OS X onto your external hard drive.

While OS X is installing, your computer will restart a couple of times. Note that when it finally boots into OS X, that is the version running off your external drive. To switch back and forth between the internal and external drive, you have to restart your computer and hold down the OPTION key.

When you do that, you should see at least four icons. In my case, I have five because I have Windows installed using Boot Camp. Anyway, the grey MacBook and Recovery 10.11.2 icons are for my internal OS X and the orange OS X and Recovery 10.11.3 are for the version installed on my external drive.

How To Upgrade Hard Drive On Mac Mini To Windows 10

Mac Mini Install Os On New Hard Drive Windows 10

Mac Mini Upgrade Ssd

Use the arrow keys to select which drive to boot from and then simply press Enter. If you have a newer Mac and a USB drive that supports USB 3.0, everything should run fairly fast. Overall, it’s a fairly straight-forward process and took me less than an hour to get everything working. If you have any questions, feel free to comment. Enjoy!