Sunday, June 09, 2019

Farewell To My Last Apple Mac Mini :-(

Stones: Waiting on a Friend

In the Basement / Cave

To compliment what Steve Jobs once said publicly about having Intel ports of OSX in his Apple basement far before the move from PowerPC, Marcus has historically kept a whole range of computers in our cave just in case.


You name it, we probably have it.

Just in Case.   Just in Case I need to spin up a macOS system in order to check some vulnerability or investigate some system or Applications behaviour.

Yes, just in case.

I sold It :-(

I really really hope that I am not going to regret it, but the Mac Mini has been sleeping for about 1 year now.  With financial pressures around us Marcus made the executive decision to sell it.

It's painful because a new Mac Mini 2019 spec, non up-gradable, is about 1500+ GBP, and I'm selling this pretty up-gradable 16GB i7 CPU model for what seems like pennies.   If we ever do have to buy back an Apple computer, a new one would be financially catastrophic.

And Sad
This Mac Mini has an honourable history.  I used to work for a large computer company  (I can't say who because of embarrassment to them).

Anyway they provided me with such a shit laptop that I asked if I could provide my own.  They agreed and indeed there was a procedure for an employee to use their own computer so long as it was loaded with their reporting and Virus and other infrastructure software.

And they had options for Windows and OSX.

So because I used to try and run the 20 km (I know!) from home to Office whenever possible I ended up providing a small Windows system at work, and a Mac Mini, this one, at home.

At the end of a day I would copy any changed data to Cloud Storage so that at Home I could back synchronise it.

Essentially then I provided 2 computers that my employer never paid for :-(

It is this Mac Mini that is now being sold.  I'm pretty sentimental about the situation.  It was a damn fine machine in my home office.  Connected up to a 2560 x 1440, 30" screen.

Some Backups

 I made some disk backups of my favourite applications.

I also list them here so that in the future if I need to repopulate a macOS machine with my best of the best programs, I have something to work from.

Oh yes, and this is what happens when you accidentally press a key on an macOS desktop that you have not used for a while.  Bloody chaos.

The Big Rebuild

Having received PayPal funds from my buyer  (less the 3% PayPal commission grrrr)  I set about wiping and then re-installing the system.

Obviously I need to make sure that no personal and ex employer information was left on this system.


Quite cleverly macOS allows you to completely re-install your system from the Internet from scratch.   You press Command,Alt R with Power Button and it makes a connection via your WiFi to Apple's servers and then you start an install.

About 30 minutes later I finished the install.  And found .... it's an overwrite install.  It very impressively left all my applications and passwords and setup intact!  

Impressive but useless to me.

I thought it would format before install, but no.  (I should have remembered this but I do macOS installations very rarely)

From a USB Key

Instead I chose to install macOS from a USB stick.   (I think I could have instead gone into Open Firmware, formatted the Hard Disks, then done an Internet Install, but by then I was committed to making a bootable USB Key

So before formatting the system you boot and then ask to download Mojave from the App store.   This is a 5TB download after which an Installation program starts.  You cancel it.  Then I ran from a root command prompt, with a HFS formatted USB key already inserted

Now shutdown the Mac and then power on holding the Option (Alt) key then selecting the USB key to boot from

 My verbose flag is set on so I see everything as it boots from the USB
 First go into disk utility and format all the hard drives in the system.  In my case 2 of them.

Now return to the above menu and do a Reinstall macOS

Only about 30 minutes later we are nearly done

 Finally there is a clean install meaning that all previous in stallion applications, files, user credentials ... all are wiped.  This is a fresh installation on a null base.

The system is now safe to handover to the lucky new user.

And Finally

I was very sad and almost gutted to say farewell to my little friendly Mac Mini.  But it is done now.  Somehow This Song also seems to express my feelings on the matter.