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Wolfgang
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Snow Leopard on Mac Mini 2011?

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I haven't got the Mini yet, but would like to buy one, if there is a chance of running it with Snow Leopard. I need Rosetta, which Lion doesn't provide, besides my general scepticism about Lion.

I have a friend with a 2011 MacBook Pro. The idea is to clone a freshly installed SL onto the Mini. The two Macs seem to be identical, but I'm afraid that there is something that I'm overlooking. Any ideas or observations regarding this idea?

Edited by: Wolfgang ( )

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Wolfgang
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I have had the chance to see it myself, including some testing. The Mac Mini was the 2,3 GHz i5. To cut it short: The system was slow, flickering monitor, the cursor (and the entire system) was freezing occasionally, and only HDMI was working.

The Mini was booted from an external USB drive. The system was installed on a MBP 2011/Thunderbolt, from the original installer. The same problems occured as SL was installed on a MBP 2007 - from a retail DVD to the USB drive, and updated to 10.6.8. System profiler has recognized all hardware in both cases.

I have also checked some Hackintosh sites for tips. But it seems that it is easier getting a Hackintosh to work with Snow Leopard, than a 2011 Mac Mini!

Having written this and noticing the silence in this thread, I would like to add, that I really don't want to discourage anybody trying this. I think, more has to happen, than my (and other's) naive efforts to get SL on this Mac Mini. Eventually, a hack will come out, or a system update will remedy the problems. I will keep my eyes open. As it stands, I assume it is o.k. to mark the question as answered (written one month later).

Wolfgang,

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Steve Jolly
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The general online consensus is that installing Snow Leopard an a 2011 Mini is NOT possible. The problem is apparently the 2011 Mini's new chip expectations of a fully 64-bit compliant system environment, the loss of necessary drivers that are part of Lion (for example, for the 2011 Mini's graphics processing and/or the Radeon GPU) that don't exist in Snow Leopard or in previous Minis, and other little sabotages that are improvements.

However, one Apple support rep said that he "heard" that it is possible — with perhaps some loss of functionality, but possible. Gotta wait a few days for this one to sort itself out (and I, too, am waiting on proven Snow Leopard compatibility to buy the new Mini!)

The reason why I am asking at ifixit is because maybe someone here knows how the Mini essentially differs in hardware from the "iMac early 2011" or the "MacBook Pro early 2011" (both running SL originally). These Macs and the Mini have at least this in common: Intel Core i5 processor, Thunderbolt, Intel HD Graphics 3000, 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM. The high end models have different Radeon graphics or different RAM, though. And here's a link to a German website where someone has successfully booted his Mini from a MBP in target mode: http://www.macfix.de/index.php?id=467938

Wolfgang,

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rj713
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You can install Snow Leopard on any Mac Mini with a Intel CPU. I'm not certain your preferred method of installation will work unless a retail copy of the OS was used on the MacBook Pro. Apple tends to be fussy that way. You can give it a try but no guarantees. With the cost of a Retail copy of Snow Leopard at $29 I would buy a copy and have it available for future needs. My .02--YMMV

Edited by: rj713 ( )

Are you sure it works with a retail SL on this Mac? The new Mini comes with Lion. Based on the experience that usually only OSes upwards from the original system can be installed, I doubt that a regular installer DVD would work. Besides, the 2011 Mini does not even have a DVD drive.

Wolfgang,

Checking my references I find I cannot confirm 10.6 will run in that computer. I think it will but at this point I can only suggest you may want to consider the 2010 version since you want/need 10.6 and Rosetta. If you should decide later you could upgrade to 10.7. If you need/want the new bells and whistles you probably will have to buy the unit and try to load 10.6 on it. Perhaps someone has tried this and can enlighten both of us. If you do go with the 2011 please let us know how it turns out. Good luck. Apple requires 10.6 to install 10.7 so I would think 10.6 would run on this unit but cannot guarantee it.

rj713,

+ tough question. Usually your can't install a system lessor than what comes with the machine. So call and ask Apple before buying.

mayer,

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7design
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I just got a new Mac Mini A1347 (Mac mini 2.3 GHz / dual-core Intel Core i5 / 2 GB RAM / 500 GB HD / Intel HD Graphics 3000) in my hands.

I will test it with booting from a harddisk of a MBP 15" (early 2011, i7 quad 2.2GHz, Intel HD Graphics 3000, AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1024 MB) which was 10.6.7 and was updated to 10.6.8.

As the graphic drivers match it should work like a charm.

Test has been done using an external harddisk over Firewire 800 and as expected:

It works flawlessly !!!

Now to the hard facts:

Systemversion : Mac OS X 10.6.8 (10K540)

Kernel-version: Darwin 10.8.0

64-bit-Kernel : yes

Let me know if you need more info or an image or whatever... ;-)

Greetz

Edited by: 7design ( )

Thank you for posting this. I indeed have some questions. Can you please keep us posted if you see any behaviour that's not normal? (Another report came from "saugust", who has experienced graphical glitches after a while - he has apparently used a different system build than yours.) Do you plan to upgrade your RAM or your harddrive? I know Thunderbolt hardware is rare, but if you have any chance to try it, a report would be very welcome. Can you do some benchmark tests? I'd be curious how the Mini's score in geekbench is. A free version can be downloaded here: http://www.primatelabs.ca/geekbench/ Here's a comparison chart of different Macs: http://www.primatelabs.ca/geekbench/mac-... The also free Xbench doesn't offer this nice comparison, but also tests the graphics and internal harddrive: http://www.xbench.com/ You can also use it for testing your firewire drive speed.

Wolfgang,

Hi Wolfgang, Sadly I do have to report that there is a glitch with the graphics: When the Mac Mini goes into sleep and returns (wake up) then my LCD (attached over the supplied HDMI2DVI adapter does not show a signal (stays dark and says "no signal"). If I power cycle the LCD then the picture comes back. Well for me not such a problem but no way to explain this to a coworker (me IT). And a no go to configure it as "never go to sleep" as this is not green at all. Then i decided to test this with an Apple 24" screen (2009) attached to the TB port directly as it sports a mini display port connector. Guess what: the screen stays dark. Great !!! Well I attached back the HDMI2DVI and another LCD and I discovered that it sees two monitors next to each other (both the same make as it is the single one attached). And the main screen is the one attached to HDMI. So if I would attach the Apple to the TB port.... Wrong: it still stays dark.

7design,

So i went back to the internal harddisk with Lion and voila: everthing works fine. The single Apple 24" is discovered on the TB port, the single HDMI2DVI LCD is discovered as a single screen and when both are attached the both work... So it is safe to say that one can get around somehow with SL 10.6.8 but no way if you own the Apple 24"... I wish someone of this distris had made a clone of a virgin Mac Mini SL harddisk... (must be another build or some special firmware) As for the tests: I will run the tests tomorrow and post them here (running on external HD over FW800 external case). Greetz

7design,

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Wolfgang
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I would like to bring this article to your attention (this was written a few days and answers later):

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/government/how...

Summary, as I have understood it: The author has installed Snow Leopard on the 2011 Lion Mac Mini. He has done this while booting from another Mac and connecting the Mini in firewire target mode. Then he has used a regular (retail?) SL DVD that he has bought before to install the system on the Lion Mac. He mentioned that he wasn't sure if Thunderbolt is working.

In the talkback someone suggested installing Snow Leopard via virtualization. Interesting.

One thing I don't understand is, why has he updated the Mac OS to 10.6.5 and not to 10.6.8?

Something else I couldn't find in the article was, which Mini model has he used?

Edited by: Wolfgang ( )

There's really not much information in that article and almost no testing. I install 10.7 on my MacPro and had to go back to 10.6 for lack of PCIe Sonnet card support.

mayer,

Yes, I miss the testing too. If I would expend the effort, I'd use a system build that matches the Mini's hardware closer. Apple says: "If you install an earlier (previous) version of the Mac OS X than what was included, your computer may exhibit unexpected behavior such as: The trackpad or mouse may not respond properly; The computer may stop responding; Sleep/wake issues may occur; The display image may appear to "shrink" with black bars around it, may appear tinted, or have other issues; Loss of built-in audio; Loss of Bluetooth or AirPort functionality; May not start up past the Apple logo." I'd suggest this should better be tested as long as there is the chance of returning the computer. And by the way, the Mini in the article was the server model: 2.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

Wolfgang,

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saugust
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I have it 'working' the graphics are screwy but it is passable. I used Super Duper! to clone an older mac mini and then restore it to the lion partition.

It worked fine in the office until I started to use the HDMI port and 16:9 resolution. When using the HDMI two monitors show up and the cursor is on the 'other' screen (ie the one not being displayed). If you set the two displays to 'mirror' things work pretty well - finger's crossed!

Hey, that sounds interesting. But would you please explain it a bit further?

Wolfgang,

Hi Wolfgang, What I did was this: ** Clone an existing Mac Mini (Model A1347) with Snow Leopard 10.6.8 installed (and all the extras) using SuperDuper! on to a USB Drive (Check http://www.shirt-pocket.com/SuperDuper/ for instructions). SuperDuper! will make the Drive bootable. ** Plug the USB drive into the 2011 Mac Mini and hold down the option key. Boot from the USB Drive. ** When the USB drive clone has launched open SuperDuper! from the USB drive and clone the USB drive to the drive on the 2011 Mac Mini ** When the cloning is complete make sure to turn on screen sharing or some sort of VNC client so you can access the machine (you may find that you boot to a 'blank' screen with no dock or menu bar - this is because the graphics card is seeing two screens) ** Reboot! - This worked for me on two machines but I gave up on it because the graphic card does not function correctly. Lion is much more stable.

saugust,

Thank you. I see this as proof that you can't just use any Snow Leopard build. It is crucial to use a system build that matches the Minis hardware (one that comes from a 2011 MBP). There is an Apple doc that helps distinguishing the different builds: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1159?viewl.... If you like, you can post your SL build here, so we can mark it as not working for other people who want to try this.

Wolfgang,

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MichaelLAX
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I am running Snow Leopard on my "July 2011" Mac Mini within Parallels 7 when I need to run my old PPC applications that require Rosetta; primarily Quicken 2002 Deluxe.

Screenshot: https://discussions.apple.com/servlet/Ji...

See my post on the Apple Support Communities

Edited by: MichaelLAX ( )

+ I believe this will be the best way to run Snow Leopard on the 2011 or some other form of virtual machine. Snow Leopard has no way to provide support for the 2011 graphics run natively.

ABCellars,

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Ted Dively
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I just successfully cloned via ASR a Mac Mini Server Core 2 Duo box with a working 10.6.8 installation to a brand new Mac Mini Server i7 machine without a hitch, while the i7 model was booted into target disk mode and connected to the older machine. The new Mac Mini Server boots right up into MOSXS 10.6.8, and runs like a champ. The one thing I did do before cloning was repartition the disk to remove the Lion recovery data, then I enabled a RAID mirror on it and set the AutoRebuild key to true. I'm currently scrunching the pre-installed Lion Server volume into a disk image to be saved for possible future use, after which, I'll repartition that disk and add it to the RAID volume on the 10.6.8 disk.

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deadalus451
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I have a new MacMini 2.3 I5, 8GB RAM and 500GB HD and the Intel HD Graphics 3000. I purchased it for a special project to run all night on a regular basis. I need SL to run on my MacMini because the Nikon graphics software (Nikon Scan 4.0.3) I run for my heavy duty scanning projects (slides and negatives) wont run on Lion. I erased the disc, clean of Lion. I used my (2011) Macbook Pro 2.3GHz Intel i7 with 8GB of RAM as the server and started my MacMini in TDM and connected it via firewire wire 800 to my MacBook pro and loaded an old retail version of SL. It works until the re-start phase of the SL install so i waited and waited and when it restarts I eject the retail SL disc and insert my MacBook Pro SL disc so my macbook pro wont stall. This worked and I installed the update and I am now running 10.6.8 on both machines. Its not an easy fix and it is very time consuming...

Problems: None with my Macbook Pro, restarted fine and works like a champ.

MacMini - Many problems...here is the list

Display - Pink in color can't adjust. Thunderbolt Port not recognized. Display, after sleep won't come back - "No signal" is the message. These seems to be regular problems with this step backward to SL.

Speed benchmarks not attempted yet. If I can fix the display so its not pink I will try that. Start up is not fast, but not deadly slow either.

My monitor type is recognized by the Mini in the status bar and in the system preferences so I do not fear its a monitor issue, but I am going to swap monitors to see if that helps.

On another note, when i was loading SL onto the mini, performing system update and making sure it worked the display was my on my Macbook pro and it looked perfect. Not sure whats going on, but I wont stop till I fix this.

Thanks for all the feedback and hints on how to do this in the first place. Without your upfront advice on how to accomplish I wouldn't be this far along yet. More updates to come.

Cheers

Rich

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ajanky
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hello 7design,

a few questions: have you checked performance with xbench or geekbench? I also made the downgrade to 10.6.8 and got it running (although starting the process from an 2010iMac) and it works, but the mac mini is way to slow (xbench gives a result of ca. 70 - like an 7 yrs old mac) and geekbench-32 gives 1900 (SL) vs ca 6000 (Lion) - so for me it works but makes no sense.

On the other hand I got the info from an Apple Store Manager that the MacMinis all came with SL on it and have been upgraded to Lion just before selling.

So I'm still curiuos If I have a chance to get it to work

Thanks

ajanky

Hello ajanky. Let's suss this out. Do you have the Mac OS on the internal drive? Or on USB? On a Firewire drive? What system build do you have? (The build information is available in the About This Mac window when you click the word "Version".) From which Mac does your system originally come?

Wolfgang,

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rothchildkid
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I tried it on a 2.3Hz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor;2011 mac mini and it didn't work at all the computer wouldn't even recognize the external operating system strange writing came down the screen.

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ihappy
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Don't know about your philosophies.

Mac mini 2011 core i5 (radeon 6630m) works fine with Snow Leopard.

(Just cannot boot from 10.6-media (DVD or external HD) for install.)

1. Image an existing SL 10.6.8 installation (mine a core2duo mac mini), prepare for restore (images/check image for restore).

2. Boot the new mac mini in target mode (holding T when booting).

3. For Safety, image (disk utility) the preinstalled, existing lion installation.

4. Maybe format the hard disk (only if you want to get rid of the recovery partition).

5. Restore the image (choose delete = blockcopy).

6. Boot the mac mini holding alt key to choose hd as boot partition.

Works (quick overview, not indepth testing), including sleep, all system programs, cs4 - enjoy.

Update

btw:

for firmware pw:

- format, boot apple-R, takes a while for network rescue, then choose firmware pw programm

- don't format (leaving lion rescue, after installing image boot apple-R and set pw, reboot alt to choose hd

done

Edited by: ihappy ( )

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Hank Roberts
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booting from a cloned hard drive:

http://www.macbidouille.com/news/2011/09... (pointer thanks to Low End Mac)

http://translate.google.com

Edited by: Hank Roberts ( )

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DannyG
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I've installed Snow Leopard on several 2011 Mac Minis, this is the method I use:

Connect the Mac Mini to an older Macbook with a Firewire cable (Because the Macbook only has Firewire 400 I had to use a special cable with Firewire 400 on one end and 800 on the other)

Power on the Mac Mini and hold down T to enter Target Disk Mode.

Power on the Macbook and boot from a Snow Leopard retail DVD.

Use Disk Utility to format the Mac Mini HD (be careful not to format the Macbook!)

Follow the normal Snow Leopard installation process, make sure to pick the Mac Mini hdd as the destination. Let the installation complete and the Macbook will restart from the Mac Mini hdd.

Now you have Snow Leopard installed on the Mac Mini, but it still wont boot. You need to install the 10.6.8 combo update. After installing this, restart once, then turn both Macs off, disconnect the Firewire cable and turn the Mini on again. It seems to take a while to boot the first time but after that it works OK.

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B Louis
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According to this recipe, it can be done on machine models that originally shipped with SL. But not new Mac Minis.

Uses System Image Utility to create a suitable 10.6.8 netrestore image which is restored onto the new machine.

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/326...

I have used it on a MacBook Pro early 2011 model.

Edited by: B Louis ( )

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ihappy
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Listen Guys

We have 10 Mac minis Mac mini 2011 core i5 (radeon 6630m) working productively with CS4 doing Layout and Photoediting with 10.6.8.

No glitches, no hitches, no hickups and no trouble for two months now.

Have fun

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mike
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Well, I'm stumped. I have a new (Nov 2011) i5 mac mini, that is giving me #@*@ with its refusal to output 5.1 sound via HDMI, and so I tried to install SL to a spare firewire disk on the mini from a remote-mounted retail SL 10.6 DVD (part no mc2232Z/A). The SL installer won't run from the mini - says it needs a different version of the application.

So I copied the SL install disk to a USB stick, and tried to boot from that. Got a kernel panic. Might look deeper into that, but I don't know what to look for.

Don't have a MB Pro to use for the target disk trick, but that seems to be the key.

Mike

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wolfdavis
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It is possible. I've done it with two machines now and we have found some minor issues in display and cursor blinking, but all in all these instructions got me there....

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/320...

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pirate
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http://switchstep.com/ReSpaceApp

This works, is free (right now) and is awesome.

Just be sure to manually create as many spaces as your layout (in preferences) is expecting.

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MichaelLAX
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Installation instructions for Snow Leopard into Parallels 7 in Lion:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.p...

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Luca Mirci
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I used instadmg to install it ,I didnt need a second older mac.

Everything works fine, am only having trouble with the cursor am trying to fix it.

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KnowItAll
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The best method for installation would be to create a USB boot disk using your Snow Leopard DVD. Put the DVD into the drive, insert a USB disk drive that is at least 8GB, and then "burn" the image from the DVD to the disk drive.

Boot your system and hold down "Option" key, select the SL disk and continue on.

Something I forgot to mention, you are likely going to have to do an erase of drive SL would be installed to, then install. These will avoid any software conflicts and backward compatibilities.

KnowItAll,

Knowitallwrong, it's obvious that you don't even understand the problem.

mayer,

I understand the problem just fine, perhaps you are too soon to jump to the conclusion that I am wrong. Have you personally tried to install SL on a new Mac Mini using my method? Can you vouch that it does in fact not work? If not, I don't see why you would down vote me and make such an accusation.

KnowItAll,

I really appreciate your well-meant contribution. Mayer has probably not recognized the grain of humor in your nickname ;). But seriously, it seems that the longer a thread gets, the less people read through it. The question was not how to get an installer on a USB stick (not yet, at least). However, I meant which system build of SL would ideally match the Mini 2011 (that came with Lion). And that is probably depending on hardware similarities or differences. This Apple support doc may give some useful hints about system builds and compatibility: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1159?viewl...

Wolfgang,

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