Follows the story I told my studio friends. They are somewhat Mac savvy, and have been in the IT industry for a long time. I don’t have to explain a lot of the things that may not parse well…here it is
I updated the mac mini from 10.11 to 10.12 not too long ago – version 10.12.3. Did my typical clone of the system disk each night as a backup. One day Carbon Copy Cloner told me that it had problems reading the system disk. That’s when I went on the path of fixing the mini.
Local dealer SImutek gave me the wrong answers when it came to replacing the drive, adding drives, whatever. No firm quote, no firm estimate without actually having the machine. I’m down a server no matter what I do. They had a used (2014) mini 4GB/500GB HDD for $350 so I bought that to get service back to the house. Slow? wow…macOS is a huge dog on HDD these days. Once apps get up it runs fine. A simple reboot back to running server can take 9 minutes.
The “new” mini was cloned from a CCC backup (10.12.3) of the old one. All is well but slow. Now I can deal with the old Mac mini. OWC offers a turnkey update service. $79 which includes shipping both ways and installation of hardware. I like that price for service. I ordered a 480 GB SSD and a 2TB spinning drive to be placed in the mini. They did the task well, timely enough, and even replaced the OWC memory that was in it. Apparently it failed testing so they did the lifetime warranty replacement while it was there.
I am bold. I decide to make the mini a Fusion drive. That works fine. I restore from same clone as the new mini is running and proceed to make a new studio mac.
10.12.4 comes out. OK. Update my MacBook Pro, check. Update MacBook, check. Let’s update the new mini. Update runs, mini reboots, mini stops coming up at about 75% on the progress indicator. Done. Never completes. No amount of waiting works. Try all the standard things, no. Put new version on from Recovery partition (gets it from Apple). No.
Somewhere during all this the Fusion drive configuration is hosed. I re-partition things, re-install the CCC clone, try everything once again. No. Will not boot. Call OWC. They say they can’t help me. I need to call Apple. Apple will say no, there are no Apple disks in the machine. They can’t help. It is now 3 days of this.
I give up. I erase the drive. I install 10.12.4 from latest downloaded installer. It boots.
Oops – the erase and give up is too early in the story. That comes later…
I decide I will try updating the new mac mini with all Apple gear inside. Guess what? It won’t boot. I try all of the things that I did before, nothing works. I call Apple. They ask me for serial number (AppleCare) so they can determine if they should talk to me. I don’t have it written down. The machine won’t boot so I can’t look there. They talk me through all of the things I have already done (I’m not doing them again) and they get to the point that I should restore from a working backup (10.12.3) and let them check things with their tools. I say OK, I will call back after I get things done which could be 2 days.
I give up. I erase the drive. I install 10.12.4 from latest downloaded installer. It boots. I build my system to a basic level, get it all working. Something odd about the behavior. I clone this disk. I now have a working server for the house. Time to go back to the studio and try that mini. I do the erase and install. Works. Clone from disk from new mini. Works. After 1 week of crapping around everything seems just fine and working well.
My conclusion is that something got lost in the transition from 10.11.6 to 10.12.3 that using the combo updater for 10.12.4 (I tried) didn’t solve. There were some crusty old things on that system dating back to 2012. It got built from a 17″ iMac dating back to 2008, so we can imagine the dreadful evil hiding in the nooks and crannys.
I’m kind of tired of all the system management stuff 😉 during all of this we gave Chris’s mom Geri a MacBook Air (2010) to use as a writing tool. Geri is a 30 year PC user who likes to move things around 😉 so we had some transition issues. Marilyn, Chris’s best friend was here. She got her retirement present, a MacBook (2016) to use as a writing tool. See the common thread. Marilyn is a PC user from long ago (work), but adapted reasonably well to the new environment.
We shall not speak of mail providers who insist that outbound mail from machines should be sent out port 143 (IMAP) instead of SMTP like the creators intended.