Apple Mac mini 2011 reset problems

I’m trying to prepare an i5 2011 Mac mini for resale and have gone through the usual process of backing up via time Machine, then to create a fresh installation of OSX Sierra and then get the message “The recovery server could not be contacted”. I’ve just started a back up from Time Machine for the second time to get back to square one - very frustrating!

Mac Mini specs if relevant: Apple Mac Mini (500GB, Intel Core i5, 2.3 GHz, 2 GB, 8GB RAM) Desktop - MC815B/A. Mid 2011 model.

Process was…

Reboot in Disc Recovery - MacOS Utilities.
Disc Utility - Erase HD - quite Disc Utilities.
Reinstall MacOS - initiate reinstallation of Sierra.

I’ve never had this happen before when prepping Macs for resale, so I am at loss. Internet connection is just fine etc, but will check the Mac date & time once the Time Machine back up is complete later this morning. Any ideas folks?

Seems Apple have stopped supporting older OSX fully (online), so the only way to do it successfully is via a bootable USB stick with the OS downloaded from the App Store. What fun!

Lots of web sites are no longer supporting older MacOS I just bought a new iMac with 16gig and 2 Tera Byte hard drive. My 2013 model still works but it needed replacement

I found this out after doing a bit of research when trying to reset the Mac, as I’ve not had to do this for a number of years and it was always really easy to do. I had to jump through a few hoops but got there in the end by using the bootable USB stick with High Sierra installed.

This Mac was only bought and used to get my son through lockdown and he now has a laptop for college, so was just sat there gathering dust. Hope someone else can find a use for it now.

You’ve probably seen this but potentially the biggest things are to deauthorise it for iTunes and iCloud services:

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Don’t suppose you’ve got an old High Sierra installer DMG saved somewhere that you could use to create a bootable USB stick?

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Hi @Alley_Cat Yes thanks, followed all of those steps and it went pretty smoothly thank goodness. Luckily I had another Mac mini in everyday use to download High Sierra from Apple’s App Store and then went from there to create the bootable USB disc. If i’d not had the spare Mac the old i5 Mini would have been an expensive paper weight!

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I recently bought a used 2012 Mini (it’s running very hot) but I wanted a backup in case my original 2012 Mini fails.

Glad it all worked out.

I tend to keep as many of the older installers as possible, though sometimes they fails as their ‘signed’ status has been revoked after quite some time - then reliant on new up to date signed downloads if Apple provide them!

Ah, that’s a good idea re keeping a copy of the OS on the HD, never thought of that, so I’ll not consign it to the bin - thanks for the tip.

We also have a 2012 Mini, a 2.3 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 variant, and with a decent (Samsung 850 Evo) 1TB SSD it is surprisingly snappy, but will be utterly eclipsed by the new M chips. I guess I’ll look at a new M2 Mini in due course - quite tempted by the M2 Pro model. This old clunker acts as a daily use Mac that also runs as a Naim & UPnP server too,

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Generally when you download an installer it runs automatically if it’s a newer compatible version, and from memory usually deletes itself after installation, at least if you install it to the internal drive, but I tend to quit the installer from the dock and save a copy or two to external drives.

A problem in recent years is that in many circumstances the installer for many people isn’t the full installer package, and is much smaller downloading necessary files when it’s used. For posterity I prefer the full installer just in case.

I’ve also got a 2011 Mini which hasn’t had much use, but was the last with internal CD drive.

The older Intel Minis were also special in that along with multiple USB ports we still had Firewire 800 support, but maybe importantly for us audio folk the 3.5 mm audio in/out sockets were dual optical and analogue. Both optical and audio in have gone from recent Minis.

My stalwart 2012 Mini is also the quad core i7 with 16GB RAM, I’ve used it via external boot with a variety of Samsung T5/T7 portable USB3/C SSDs (both USB>X leads supplied). The spare I got is a higher spec quad core i7 Mini (2.6GHz maybe with 16GB RAM), presumably built to order, works fine but surprisingly hot even with an SSD inside. It may be working within tolerances but I’ll probably disassemble as some talk of heat sink paste degrading/ over the years.

The 2012 quad core i7 was the best value/performance Mini they’d made in ages, plus had user upgradable RAM, the next couple of iterations were bizarre downgrades.

The main benefit of the ARM licensed Apple Silicon chips for me is low power consumption with great performance, but if I’m honest I still prefer the 2012 Mini over my M1 Mini.

This is largely because 8GB does not cut the mustard on the M1 Mini even if mainly used for browsing/email etc. I get frequent memory usage issues which make it sluggish. Too impatient to wait for a BTO 16GB machine, but I think my next one will have to have at least 32GB if not more, but you know the extra RAM ‘Apple Tax’ doesn’t help!

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I did a little research on the older Mini before plunging for the i7 as I’d read and watched the Youtube reviews documenting the performance drop with the new ones - a bizarre move by Apple. I bought it at the same time as the UnitiQite2, with a specific aim of making it into a server so wanted something snappy. Managed to get the used i7, a new SSD and 16GB RAM all in for just under 1K. With the extra RAM and upgraded SSD it’s been great, although it does run hot also, similarly to yours.

Ah, that’s interesting about the M1 Mini, and the fact it is actually throttled by the smaller capacity memory. I’ll be sure to take that into account when choosing an M Mini - 32GB at the very minimum. Yes, Apple’s RAM tax is rather cynical given their economic health!

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With the 2012 (16GB) I could have dozens of web pages open in High Sierra, Roon and various other memory hungry apps running.

Reading reviews of the M1 Mini they all suggested it did everything with aplomb with fast memory swaps and incredible speed.

Reality was that with far fewer web pages open made it struggle and impossible to use it simultaneously for Roon duties without serious slowdowns which would be recrified quitting Safari and other apps and reloading - far from ideal, I suspect a memory leak in Monterey and earlier, am not running the latest macOS, and that’ll shift to Sonoma soon.

The 8GB is probably ok for basic stuff, but not for me, and I wasn’t hammering it with photo/video processing either. Never saw these issues with the 2012 Mini and 16GB.

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