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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:43 pm 
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So a month ago I wiped OS X on my Mac Mini and installed SteamOS. SteamOS ran pretty well but I am now changing the purpose of this box. The issue I've run into is that I can no longer get OS X to install. I've tried making a few boot usb drives but these are not showing up under "option +t" when I boot. In fact my mini can no longer detect any wifi networks properly in this mode. Has anyone had any experience with restoring a box like this?

edit: Well, now after fiddling with various USB drives I can no longer even get to the Boot select menu. It boots directly to SteamOS. None of my USB keyboards will let me access the menu.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:05 pm 
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Well I found a VM of OSX and booted that up and tried making a USB drive from that. Still no go. So I tried burning an OS X disc from the VM and that is still no go. I found out I can get access to Netboot but the documentation on it is fairly vague. I feel like I have to go through this nonsense every time I try to put linux on a mac. As I recall I had to boot via firewire with my Powermac G5 to restore it. Unfortunately I don't have any other physical Apple devices besides an iPad or iPod. Going to delve into netboot with OS X server and see what I can come up with. I feel like Apple really missed the point on what EFI was supposed to do for computers. EFI can be pretty awesome and for a while I did enjoy Apple's implementation but there are just too many problems that crop up with it.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:41 am 
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Why not just boot to recovery mode? Just plug it into ethernet and boot holding Cmd+R... and it downloads OS X from Apple's servers. Or does that mac mini predate recovery mode?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:37 am 
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I'm guessing it predates this as when I try command+r it just boots to SteamOS. I had some progress with net install last night though. I got it to detect that there was an image on the network and I got the apple logo and a spinning disc. But I left it running over night and it didn't do anything else.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:05 am 
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btw what is option+t? The boot menu is just option.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:38 am 
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Option+t is what I had been thinking of from the last time I had to restore a mac. That said it's nothing. I had to use Target mode to get my powermac g5 back to even usable and was confusing "T" with "option+t". I don't use macs in any sort of daily/monthly/yearly capacity for the most part so remembering the startup commands isn't exactly priority.

All that said, I did eventually get OSX back on the Mac. All told I had to set up a VM of OS X on my laptop. Install Server, create a Netboot image. Stream the Netboot image ( Netinstall refused to work ). Boot that image up. Reformat the Mac HDD, Install OS X ( This was a bitch as apparently installing OS X to a hard drive doesn't touch the boot order, nor does it touch the partitions ). Kind of absurd for a product that is supposed to "just work".

Still the option command does nothing on boot. None of my USB drives or DVDrs show up. Not sure what's fucked up there. Not sure that I care enough to search further.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:18 pm 
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If the option button does nothing, something is definitely wrong, as even if you have absolutely zero bootable devices attached to the Mac, holding down option should display a blank selection screen. Even if you have an alternative bootloader like rEFIt, holding down option will still bring up the selection screen. Any Mac within the last 15 years should work this way.

Furthermore, any Mac that came with Lion, Mountain Lion, or Mavericks should support internet recovery. You can have a completely brand new, empty unformatted hard drive and hold down Cmd+R and the firmware will download the recovery partition via wifi or ethernet from Apple's servers and reboot you into the recovery environment. So if your Mac came with Lion and won't do Cmd+R or Opt, again, something is wrong.

If you want to see if your USB drives or DVDRs are actually bootable, go to System Preferences > Startup Disk and they should show up if they are bootable devices.

Wagh wrote:
Reformat the Mac HDD, Install OS X ( This was a bitch as apparently installing OS X to a hard drive doesn't touch the boot order, nor does it touch the partitions ). Kind of absurd for a product that is supposed to "just work".


EFI first boots the last device that was booted up. And no, it doesn't touch the partitions because that's what Disk Utility is for, and Disk Utility is present in all OS X installers. Formatting before installation is not as common on OS X as it is on Windows, since OS X can be installed to external hard drives, USB flash drives, etc. it doesn't make assumptions. Windows always assumes you are installing to an internal hard drive and that Windows will be your primary OS. This makes it a pain in the ass to install in a multi-boot environment since it'll just shit all over your bootloader configurations.

And if you want to mention OS installation absurdity, try purchasing a digital copy of Windows 8 and installing it on a computer that doesn't already have Windows. Jesus Christ.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:49 pm 
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Which Mac Mini? I had to do this with my G4 Mac Mini and found that I needed to hold C at boot with a USB keyboard in order for it to boot from a burnt 10.4 CD-R which I then used to reimage the HDD with a nicely stripped down version of 10.5.8.

From the sound of it you've got an Intel model. On the IRCs.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:04 pm 
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APE wrote:
Which Mac Mini? I had to do this with my G4 Mac Mini and found that I needed to hold C at boot with a USB keyboard in order for it to boot from a burnt 10.4 CD-R which I then used to reimage the HDD with a nicely stripped down version of 10.5.8.


Yes, C will boot from optical media, but I usually choose to use Option since it quickly lets me see what the Mac is detecting.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:23 pm 
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|darc| wrote:
If the option button does nothing, something is definitely wrong, as even if you have absolutely zero bootable devices attached to the Mac, holding down option should display a blank selection screen. Even if you have an alternative bootloader like rEFIt, holding down option will still bring up the selection screen. Any Mac within the last 15 years should work this way.

Furthermore, any Mac that came with Lion, Mountain Lion, or Mavericks should support internet recovery. You can have a completely brand new, empty unformatted hard drive and hold down Cmd+R and the firmware will download the recovery partition via wifi or ethernet from Apple's servers and reboot you into the recovery environment. So if your Mac came with Lion and won't do Cmd+R or Opt, again, something is wrong.



Yeah, something is off with its EFI but like I said now that it's working it's not something I care to fix.

|darc| wrote:
Windows always assumes you are installing to an internal hard drive and that Windows will be your primary OS. This makes it a pain in the ass to install in a multi-boot environment since it'll just shit all over your bootloader configurations.
Disk imaging is available for Windows with WIM files. It's pretty easy to do if you know how to use it. You can install Windows to external disks and flash drives with ease. Imagex is a very powerful tool for this. Though you'd have to use BCDboot to correct the boot order on the drive you installed to. I guess it's similar to OS X in that fashion. But yeah, the plain installer will assume regular installation.
|darc| wrote:

And if you want to mention OS installation absurdity, try purchasing a digital copy of Windows 8 and installing it on a computer that doesn't already have Windows. Jesus Christ.


This is actually pretty easy or at least something I've done enough times before to be easy :shrug:. It's also one of the reasons I keep a PXE server up with OS images available. All I have to do is boot from a Windows iso over PXE and install. Copy the cdkey from the email from MS. You can't do that with Apple hardware unless you have another OSX machine.

APE wrote:
Which Mac Mini? I had to do this with my G4 Mac Mini and found that I needed to hold C at boot with a USB keyboard in order for it to boot from a burnt 10.4 CD-R which I then used to reimage the HDD with a nicely stripped down version of 10.5.8.

From the sound of it you've got an Intel model. On the IRCs.


It's an Intel one. Core2Duo/9400m. It's not that powerful these days but good enough to run XBMC.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:49 pm 
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Wagh wrote:
|darc| wrote:
Windows always assumes you are installing to an internal hard drive and that Windows will be your primary OS. This makes it a pain in the ass to install in a multi-boot environment since it'll just shit all over your bootloader configurations.
Disk imaging is available for Windows with WIM files. It's pretty easy to do if you know how to use it. You can install Windows to external disks and flash drives with ease. Imagex is a very powerful tool for this. Though you'd have to use BCDboot to correct the boot order on the drive you installed to. I guess it's similar to OS X in that fashion. But yeah, the plain installer will assume regular installation.



When I worked in-store for Best Buy/Geek Squad I used bcdboot and imagex all the time to repair damaged bootloaders or reimage machines, but I wouldn't think of using that in the same light as I would think of an installer. I haven't used them in years though since I only do remote support these days.

Wagh wrote:
|darc| wrote:
And if you want to mention OS installation absurdity, try purchasing a digital copy of Windows 8 and installing it on a computer that doesn't already have Windows. Jesus Christ.


This is actually pretty easy or at least something I've done enough times before to be easy :shrug:. It's also one of the reasons I keep a PXE server up with OS images available. All I have to do is boot from a Windows iso over PXE and install. Copy the cdkey from the email from MS.


I'll be fair--I was purchasing an upgrade license as I already had fully legal but unused personal licenses for Windows XP and Windows Vista. The only problem is that the Mac I was purchasing Windows 8 for is not capable of running Windows XP or Windows Vista because it's new and Apple doesn't support those old OSs on new hardware. The digital download site says that I'll be able to burn the OS to a disc, so I figure it's no problem, I'll just purchase it, burn it to a disc or image to USB drive, and then it'll install just fine like Windows 7 would. Wrong. They gave me just a small EXE file that I'm supposed to run within the OS to upgrade it. Being in OS X, I couldn't do that, so I created a VM in Parallels and installed WinXP, assuming that this EXE utility would download the ISO for me and I'd be able to burn it. Nope. I only had the option to upgrade directly from the OS, and I never figured out what the site meant when it said I could burn the OS installation media to disc.

So I ended up having to torrent the Win8 Pro ISO and then double check the file hash to make sure it was legit. But then when I went to activate I ran into more problems--since I fresh installed I couldn't activate with an upgrade key, even though you used to be able to do this with Windows 7. The only way around this was changing a value in the registry to make it think I didn't use fresh installation media. That's a lot of hoops to go through for a completely valid/legal use scenario.

Wagh wrote:
You can't do that with Apple hardware unless you have another OSX machine.


If you have a Core2Duo/9400m Mac Mini then yours doesn't support it after all, but nowadays, again, you don't need to do this at all with Apple hardware. Boot with Cmd+R and hit OK and it installs via internet. Not a single bit necessary.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:49 pm 
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|darc| wrote:
I'll be fair--I was purchasing an upgrade license as I already had fully legal but unused personal licenses for Windows XP and Windows Vista. The only problem is that the Mac I was purchasing Windows 8 for is not capable of running Windows XP or Windows Vista because it's new and Apple doesn't support those old OSs on new hardware. The digital download site says that I'll be able to burn the OS to a disc, so I figure it's no problem, I'll just purchase it, burn it to a disc or image to USB drive, and then it'll install just fine like Windows 7 would. Wrong. They gave me just a small EXE file that I'm supposed to run within the OS to upgrade it. Being in OS X, I couldn't do that, so I created a VM in Parallels and installed WinXP, assuming that this EXE utility would download the ISO for me and I'd be able to burn it. Nope. I only had the option to upgrade directly from the OS, and I never figured out what the site meant when it said I could burn the OS installation media to disc.

So I ended up having to torrent the Win8 Pro ISO and then double check the file hash to make sure it was legit. But then when I went to activate I ran into more problems--since I fresh installed I couldn't activate with an upgrade key, even though you used to be able to do this with Windows 7. The only way around this was changing a value in the registry to make it think I didn't use fresh installation media. That's a lot of hoops to go through for a completely valid/legal use scenario.



I'm still not sure why you expected an update to be a self contained iso. Maybe because of the update dialog in a standard Windows Install? Even still updates must always be run from within the OS. Any version of Windows will prompt you to reboot back into the OS if you attempt to install an update versus a new copy. I'll agree that's a bit of a tricky situation but it probably could've been avoided by looking into what all came with an Upgrade copy in the first place...

|darc| wrote:
Boot with Cmd+R and hit OK and it installs via internet. Not a single bit necessary.


Yeah. No doubt that's a neat feature. There's just no way Microsoft could do this with regular PC's. People would flip their shit if their BIOS had some built in talk to Microsoft feature. I guess that's why I like PXE, an open standard that supports everything versus some locked down netbooter that only works with one operating system.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:34 pm 
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Wagh wrote:
I'm still not sure why you expected an update to be a self contained iso. Maybe because of the update dialog in a standard Windows Install? Even still updates must always be run from within the OS. Any version of Windows will prompt you to reboot back into the OS if you attempt to install an update versus a new copy. I'll agree that's a bit of a tricky situation but it probably could've been avoided by looking into what all came with an Upgrade copy in the first place...


Because under normal circumstances, using the Windows 8 or 8.1 Upgrade Assistant gives you the options to burn or write an ISO to DVD/USB. After I made my purchase, it simply didn't give me those options at all (at step 17, it just had "Install Now" and "Install later from your desktop"). No explanation why.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:39 pm 
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|darc| wrote:
Wagh wrote:
I'm still not sure why you expected an update to be a self contained iso. Maybe because of the update dialog in a standard Windows Install? Even still updates must always be run from within the OS. Any version of Windows will prompt you to reboot back into the OS if you attempt to install an update versus a new copy. I'll agree that's a bit of a tricky situation but it probably could've been avoided by looking into what all came with an Upgrade copy in the first place...


Because under normal circumstances, using the Windows 8 or 8.1 Upgrade Assistant gives you the options to burn or write an ISO to DVD/USB. After I made my purchase, it simply didn't give me those options at all (at step 17, it just had "Install Now" and "Install later from your desktop"). No explanation why.



Well first off I would suggest not using random sites like "eightforums" and using official Microsoft tutorials. Second, it looks like the option to burn to disc or usb is there so it's something limited to whatever machine you attempted to do this from. Third.. Every upgrade from Microsoft goes like this. Every single one of them had to be ran from within the previous Operating System. Windows 8 isn't some new entry in this.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:44 pm 
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Wagh wrote:
Well first off I would suggest not using random sites like "eightforums" and using official Microsoft tutorials.


What difference does it really make here? Eightforums was a higher hit in Google and had the same screenshots. While it's common to find misinformation on such sites, I think it's unlikely that an administrator on a site like that would doctor photos to make the Microsoft Upgrade Assistant appear to have more functionality than it does.

Wagh wrote:
Second, it looks like the option to burn to disc or usb is there so it's something limited to whatever machine you attempted to do this from.


Yes, I already concluded in my above posts that 1) the functionality is there but 2) there's some factor that didn't make it appear. You're restating the problem in a different sentence... ?

Wagh wrote:
Third.. Every upgrade from Microsoft goes like this. Every single one of them had to be ran from within the previous Operating System. Windows 8 isn't some new entry in this.


They can all be clean installed using a CD/DVD as well. Clearly since I was expecting an ISO to be available to me, that was the route I was going.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:05 pm 
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|darc| wrote:
What difference does it really make here? Eightforums was a higher hit in Google and had the same screenshots. While it's common to find misinformation on such sites, I think it's unlikely that an administrator on a site like that would doctor photos to make the Microsoft Upgrade Assistant appear to have more functionality than it does.


I didn't say nor was implying that the Admin was falsifying images... I just find that more often than not, the reason something doesn't go as planned is that the guide wasn't followed completely/correctly or that the guide isn't correct ( I.G. from some random on the Internet ). Starting from something official will generally have better documentation but not always.

|darc| wrote:
Yes, I already concluded in my above posts that 1) the functionality is there but 2) there's some factor that didn't make it appear. You're restating the problem in a different sentence... ?


Was just trying to point out that this isn't some broken feature in Windows. It's broken because of whatever is broken in your VM.

|darc| wrote:
They can all be clean installed using a CD/DVD as well. Clearly since I was expecting an ISO to be available to me, that was the route I was going.


You certainly can purchase Upgrade CDs or DVDs. These still run from within the OS. You can start the upgrade process by directly booting to the disc, but at some point it will want to boot back into the current OS.

Just seems like there were other issues here , more pertaining to your setup and the weird install you were attempting, rather than some Microsoft issue.

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