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Released on July 21, 2011. Core i5 or Core i7 Processor. Thunderbolt. This unit is also used to run the Mac mini Server configuration.

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Want to Gallagher my slow Mac Mini - help!

My Mac Mini has been getting slower and slower over time. It takes 10 minutes to start up, almost as long to wake from sleep, with Chrome pages ultimately loading incompletely. Yesterday I watched the spinning beach ball for several minutes after making minor edits to a Word document, then several minutes more when I hit save, ultimately doing a hard shutdown and switching to a different computer.

I've followed all the advice on free fixes such as checking Activity Monitor, removing large files and unused apps, making sure software is up to date, yada yada yada. It's got 2 GB in each of the 2 memory slots; if I upgrade this, will it help? Or is there anything else I can try before I take a hammer to it out of shear frustration?

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@cynthiareplogle - You don't mean Gallagher! I would hope you were more a MacGyver right? ;-}


@danj I need help to MacGyver :)


@cynthiareplogle - Thats cool! @mayer is a good MacGyver!

Mayer check your email


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Your hard drive is failing. Put a SSHD in it.

500 GB SSD Hybrid 2.5" Hard Drive

Mac mini Mid 2011 Hard Drive Replacement



How can I tell? Just a wild guess after 37 years of Apple experience. Thirty-three of those year were doing Apple repairs professionally. Your old drive is still operational some of the time, so it should be recoverable.

You will need a SATA to USB adapter or enclosure such as this one: [linked product missing or disabled: IF107-131-1]

There's a couple of ways of going about this.

You can put the new drive in the enclosure and hook it up. When you plug it in you should get a message stand it needs to be initialized and Disk Utilities will come up if you stay yes. Format GUID and Mac OS X Extended. It will now be ready for a system installation.

If your old drive is doing OK, it probably has an install on it. Right now it doesn't matter what it is but it will save time if it is Sierra. If the drive is not doing well, it's time to be off with old and on with the new.

Don't use any cloning software as this will negate the repair partition being installed on the new drive.

Now that you have the new formatted drive installed you can install a system either from an external USB source or do an internet install ( this method can take a couple of hours). If doing an internet install just boot it up and wait till it sees there is no system. I like to do these with a wired internet connection via the ethernet port to the router.

Install the system. When it finishes do the setup with your Apple ID and password. At about this point it will ask if you want to transfer your data. Plug in your old drive via USB and say yes and then transfer your data.

This can take some time with a failing drive so just let it run overnight.

If all else fails with your application recovery, email me and I will send you a flash drive with the installations you need.

That failing bring it to the un-conference in September, buy me a glass of cab sav, and I'll fix it with all the software you need ;-) I will charge you a hug after completion.

Finally, when it's all fixed, I want you to get jut a standard 2.5" SATA drive to put in the enclosure for use as a Time Machine backup. This drive does not have to be fast or even new. I'll be putting anti-virus on you machine in September if you don't already have it. What this backup will do is prevent anyone from ever hitting you successfully with Ransom ware. If you ever do get hit, all you will have to do is wipe your drive and restore from the backup. This is actually the only real protection from these guys that there is.

500 GB SSD Hybrid 2.5" Hard Drive Image


500 GB SSD Hybrid 2.5" Hard Drive


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You may be facing a fragmented disk issue here as well.

I do agree with Mayer a SSHD (or SSD) are great upgrades and it side steps the defraging issue.

If you want to try to fix Vs replace you could give a good defragmentation tool a try. I use Drive Genius on HD/SSHD's which do clean them up regaining the speed they offer.


@danj I agree on the defraging. The problem is the software costs more than a new hard drive.


@mayer - You mean the folks at IFIXIT can't do a deal with ProSoft ;-} Even still they could share the copy (load it on one system) then use Target Disk Mode to do their systems.


I'll bet she can get a great price on this drive: [linked product missing or disabled: IF107-137-1]


@mayer How can you tell it's the hard drive? I'm guessing I'll lose all my software if I replace it - I have MS Office and no way to reinstall it.


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Cynthia Replogle will be eternally grateful.
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