Fully restore a 10th-gen Mac mini to like-new condition

Tenth technology Mac mini 2.26GHz.

Refurbishing the final of the plastic physique Mac minis is fairly simple — as soon as you understand just a few methods. Here is the way to get that 15-year outdated pc up and working once more, and sooner as well.

Like its predecessors, the tenth technology mannequin had an aluminum/polycarbonate plastic shell with a plastic/rubber base and an inner plastic drive provider.

The two.26 Ghz mannequin was one of many final polycarbonate fashions made earlier than Apple switched to the all-aluminum unibody design.

There have been basically three subfamilies of the unique minis, spanning 10 “generations.”

    1.25GHz – 1.5GHz G4 (A1103)
    1.5GHz – 2.0GHz Intel (A1176)
    2.0GHz – 2.66GHz Intel (A1283)

The ultimate mannequin within the polycarbonate sequence was a mini server. This mannequin lacked an inner DVD-R drive and which as a substitute contained two an identical 500GB onerous drives.

The ultimate polycarbonate mini fashions shipped in June 2010. Your complete line spanned roughly 5 years.

You possibly can nonetheless discover many of those machines in on-line retail and public sale websites similar to eBay for a really cheap worth.

We paid nearly $60 for ours which included the 120V energy brick, a mini DisplayPort to VGA video adapter, in addition to an unique Apple Magic Mouse.

Mac mini from eBay eBay.

Mac mini eBay haul: VGA adapter, mini, energy brick, DVDs, and an Apple Magic Mouse.

Not like the sooner mini fashions, Apple made some inner enhancements to the two.26 and later fashions which makes refurbishment a bit simpler.

Have in mind nevertheless, refurbishment is an in depth course of and is just for these assured of their restore talents. The Mac minis include lots of tiny elements and screws, and with fifteen-year outdated plastic, elements can break simply.

Try this restore at your personal threat.

As with earlier mini refurbs, you may want a particular set of instruments to open the machine:

  • A 4.5-inch (11.5cm) wall spackling software
  • A medium magnetized Phillips-head screwdriver
  • A tiny magnetized Phillips-head electronics screwdriver, or jeweler’s screwdriver
  • A small flat plastic or metallic spudger
  • Scissors
  • Compressed air or an air compressor
  • A vivid flashlight
  • Shiny room lighting
  • Optionally a small magnifier or jeweler’s loupe
  • Kapton tape
  • A CR2032 substitute button-cell battery

Step 1: Open your Mac mini

Utilizing both a big soldering mat, or a comfortable fabric or towel, lay your Mac mini the other way up in preparation to open it.

You may use a large spackling knife to open the case. There’s an artwork to this however in case you’re cautious it is not too tough.

To open the case, orient the pc with the entrance in the direction of you, high down. The machine’s ports ought to be going through away from you.

Prepare to open your Mac mini.

Lay your Mac mini face down in preparation for opening.

Insert the spackling knife into the seam on the proper aspect of the machine, and pry up and to the proper in a single sharp movement. This could loosen then case from the highest shell.

Subsequent, insert the knife into the entrance seam and repeat the method. At this level the case ought to be free sufficient from the highest cowl to take away it.

Set the highest cowl apart for later cleansing.

Opened Apple Mac mini with cover.

Case open, high cowl on left. Notice the three antennae on the perimeters.

Now flip the bottom of the machine over. You may see the DVD drive on high, an AirPort antenna on the proper aspect, and two Bluetooth antennae on the left aspect.

The antennae are held in with plastic clips and is derived, which in case you pinch and pull up will free every antenna. Go forward and do this now (fastidiously) and set the three captive springs apart for later.

Apple Mac mini antennae springs.

Antennae springs.

A cursory look across the machine exhibits 4 small screws holding the highest DVD optical drive in, in addition to two small screws on the rear of the drive which maintain a small SATA board on.

There’s additionally a really small audio ribbon cable on the SATA drive board on the rear. This is among the enhancements Apple made to later mini fashions: the audio cable is held in by nothing however friction and you may take away it simply with a small plastic spudger or screwdriver.

Gone are the two-part plastic ribbon cable clips which have been susceptible to break and really tough to re-seat correctly.

Go forward and take away the audio cable and set it apart additionally now.

Apple Mac mini rear SATA drive board.

Rear DVD drive board with audio cable.

Step 2: Take away the DVD-R drive

Subsequent, utilizing a tiny screwdriver take away the 4 small screws which maintain the DVD-R drive to the plastic drive provider. Two of those screws are simple to entry on the left aspect of the machine, however the different two are situated in recessed holes on the opposite aspect.

Fastidiously take away the screws and set them apart.

Mac mini drive carrier screws.

DVD and onerous drive screws.

Subsequent, spin the machine round so the rear faces you, then take away the 2 tiny screws which maintain the small SATA drive board to the rear of the DVD-R drive.

It is best to now be capable of carry the DVD-R drive up and ahead to free it from the provider and the SATA board.

Notice that the SATA board is connected to the drive provider by a single wire so ensure to not disconnect the wire.

Mac mini DVD-R drive removed from carrier.

DVD-R drive faraway from provider.

One of many enhancements Apple made to the later mannequin minis was a smaller, lighter DVD drive. Ours had Sony mannequin AD-5680H-P2 in it.

These DVD-R drives are remarkably gentle, environment friendly, and are constructed from super-miniature elements. They’re additionally extra quiet and run cooler than their predecessors.

Mac mini DVD-R drive model AD-5608H-P2 from Sony.

Sony Optiarc AD-5608H-P2 mannequin.

The one draw back to those drives appears to be the sluggish entry time. Nonetheless, although, it’s nonetheless sooner than the entry time within the drives discovered within the first Mac minis.

Step 3: Take away drive provider from the bottom

Now find the 4 tiny black screws on the 4 corners of the plastic drive provider. Two of those screws are recessed in spherical enclosures, and two of them are uncovered on the provider.

Take away all 4 screws and carry the drive provider away from the machine’s base. Notice that the SATA board holds the provider right into a connector slot with friction so it might take slightly drive to take away the provider.

As soon as the provider is freed from the bottom, set it apart for later.

Apple Mac mini drive carrier assembly.

Drive provider, proper, and Mac mini base with motherboard, left.

Notice the small copper clip on the entrance of the bottom. This clip has to contact the within of the machine’s metallic cowl or the machine will not boot when powered on.

Additionally discover the small coin-cell battery to the proper of the clip on the bottom’s entrance. This battery retains the inner clock and VRAM settings intact when the machine is powered down.

Step 4: Clear the bottom, exchange clock battery

Subsequent, utilizing compressed air or an air compressor, blast any mud from the bottom, together with across the CPU heatsink, the WiFi board, and the rear vent ports.

You might also wish to fastidiously take away the RAM DIMMs from their slots to scrub beneath them. Watch out when eradicating the RAM for the reason that sockets are plastic and may break simply.

The default RAM configuration for this mannequin is 2GB. Our machine contained 4GB of Apple-installed RAM (2GB X 2).

Apple Mac mini motherboard.

Mac mini base with motherboard. Notice left to proper: LED meeting, coin-cell battery, and RAM.

Notice that the combo WiFi/Bluetooth board additionally has a small ribbon cable and the three exterior antennae connected to it with small pin clips.

These connectors are very simple to jar unfastened – so ensure you do not bump the antennae wires and disconnect a number of of the antennae. The truth is, it’s possible you’ll wish to add small strips of Kapton tape to every of the antennae connectors to verify they do not come unfastened:

Mac mini combo WiFi/Bluetooth board with antennae.

Mac mini combo WiFi/Bluetooth board with Kapton tape added.

As a way to clear beneath it, you’ll be able to take away the WiFi board by eradicating its small screws in case you like. Until your machine is exceptionally soiled you in all probability needn’t.

Compressed air ought to suffice.

You might also wish to use a small dry paint brush to wipe away any extra mud from across the base edges and the on the motherboard. Do not use an excessive amount of drive because the parts could also be fragile.

On the entrance of the bottom is the CR2032 coin-cell battery. To take away it, fastidiously carry up on the clips on the proper and high of the battery holder, and pull the battery away from the holder to the rear.

Exchange the battery with a brand new an identical one by dropping it down into the holder and urgent down and ahead. Do not use an excessive amount of drive because the holder is plastic and may break simply.

Lastly, clear all of the rear ports on the machine, together with the fan ports by utilizing cotton swabs with 80% isopropyl alcohol. Cleansing the rear fan ports ensures there isn’t any residual mud odor if you restart the machine later.

Step 5: Non-compulsory – Exchange RAM

In case you like you may also exchange the RAM as much as a most of 8GB by changing the 2 current 1GB SO-DIMMs with two 2GB, or 4GB fashions. You may want PC3-8500 DDR3 DIMMs.

To take action, merely unclip the 2 current DIMMs and exchange them with two new ones. Reminiscence upgrades can be found at a number of on-line retailers.

Our mannequin got here with 4GB RAM commonplace at 2GB per DIMM. We determined to depart it at that.

However in case you’re planning on working the inventory Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6.8), you possible will not want 8GB because the machine runs fairly properly with 4GB. The decrease 2GB amount might be sufficient for many duties.

To remove DIMMs, push open the clips, and pull up and out.

Authentic Mac mini SO-DIMMS – on this case 2GB X 2.

Step 6: Clear the drive provider, fan, and exchange the onerous drive

The plastic drive provider holds the inner onerous drive, a small cooling fan, and a small thermal sensor which detects drive overheating.

The sensor is held on to the entrance of the onerous drive with rubber cement, however you’ll be able to possible simply peel it off and reapply it to a substitute SSD with none extra glue.

To take away the drive, flip the drive provider over, lay it face down, then take away the 4 screws on the underside holding the drive in. You may want to slip the drive out sideways, and disconnect it from the SATA board.

Apple Mac mini hard drive carrier.

The drive provider, with the onerous drive on the left. Notice the tape.

Watch out because the thermal sensor remains to be connected to the SATA board by its wire and you do not wish to pull it unfastened.

As soon as the drive is free, take the drive provider exterior and blast the fan and and its outlet duct clear of any mud with compressed air.

Mac mini hard drive with thermal sensor attached.

The onerous drive’s thermal sensor.

As soon as cleaned, exchange the two.5-inch onerous drive with a brand new SATA SSD of your selection. We used an additional 128GB SSD however bigger ones will work simply advantageous. Amazon has 1TB SATA SSDs for lower than $100, and so they make a pleasant improve.

Mac OS X Snow Leopard installs advantageous onto a 128GB SSD so you will not want a big one.

Apple Mac mini drive carrier with new SSD installed.

New SSD drive put in in Mac mini 2.26GHz drive provider.

As soon as the brand new SSD is put in, reapply the thermal sensor and two small high pads from the outdated onerous drive onto the brand new SSD. You will not want the thermal sensor for the SSD however reapply it to the drive anyway to stop malfunction.

Plug the SATA drive board again into the rear of the brand new SSD. It is held in by nothing however friction.

If there was a small piece of black tape holding the thermal sensor wire to the underside of the onerous drive, reapply it now to the underside of the SSD in the identical place.

Apple Mac mini drive carrier with new SSD installed.

Totally cleaned and reassembled drive provider with new SSD.

After every little thing is reassembled on the provider, merely drop it again onto the bottom unit in place. Fastidiously press down on the highest of the SATA board to lock it into the SATA connector on the bottom’s motherboard.

Nothing else is required to reinstall the provider. Now merely re-install the 4 nook put up screws to the provider to safe it to the bottom.

Notice that when reinstalling the provider, ensure the three antennae wires are situated accurately: the right-side WiFi antenna wire sits on the rear of the machine between the exhaust vent and the small audio board.

The 2 Bluetooth antennae wires exit on the left aspect of the bottom.

Mac mini 2.66GHz with new SSD installed.

Totally reassembled base with drive provider put in.

Step 7: Re-install the DVD-R drive

Subsequent, reinstall the DVD-R drive to the highest of the provider by sliding it into place and re-attaching the rear SATA drive board to its rear connector. Reinstall the drive board’s two small screws.

Safe the 4 aspect screws holding the DVD-R drive in place.

Reinstall the three antennae springs on their posts on the highest of the provider, then snap the three antennae again onto the posts, ensuring the put up clips seize the antennae.

Re-attach the small ribbon cable on the again of the drive board to reconnect the SATA drive board to the audio board.

This completes the drive improve and the provider reassembly.

Reassembled Apple Mac mini, waiting for its cover.

Totally reassembled Mac mini, aside from the duvet.

Step 8: Re-install the highest cowl

Make one last test of every little thing on the machine earlier than you re-install the highest cowl.

In case your machine was very soiled you might also wish to tip the bottom on its aspect and blow out the underside vent holes with compressed air. These holes are the place air enters the underside of the machine ought to the fan come on for cooling.

Cleaned and restored Apple Mac mini 2.66GHz without cover.

Totally cleaned and restored Mac mini – prepared for last meeting.

Subsequent, flip the bottom over and thoroughly re-insert it again into the highest cowl, however do not shut it but.

First be sure the metallic safety clip and the small metallic clips alongside the rear of the bottom line up with the within fringe of the lid. If these clips do not line up, the lid will not shut all the best way and you will be left with a spot within the case.

Apple Mac mini being reassembled.

Be certain that the clips line up.

As soon as every little thing is lined up, and from a standing place, with arms turned outward and palms going through down, give the bottom one strong push downwards into the lid. This could seal the case.

It is best to hear a pointy click on as each the plastic clips and the metallic clips have interaction with the within of the lid.

Apple Mac mini rear case preparing to be closed.

Case place earlier than last closure.

Try to be left with no gaps by any means anyplace on the case.

If there’s a hole on the rear of the case you may must pry the bottom unfastened once more with the spackling knife and check out once more.

A well-sealed case ought to look one thing like this:

Sealed Apple Mac mini after restoration.

Accurately re-sealed lid: no gaps anyplace across the rear, or the underside.

Step 9: Energy on and set up software program

As soon as the machine is absolutely reassembled, it is time to take a look at it.

Plug within the energy brick, a show adapter, and a USB mouse and keyboard. In our instance we’re utilizing the Apple mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter, however you may also use the mini DVI adapter if in case you have one.

Any USB mouse will do, however the minis have been initially designed for use with the clear and white Apple USB keyboard (A1048). We’re fortunate sufficient to nonetheless have one new, in mint situation:

Original Apple wired USB keyboard.

Apple wired USB keyboard.

You may want the Apple keys on the USB keyboard to begin up from a DVD or exterior drive.

Plug the opposite finish of the video cable right into a monitor. For our instance we’ll be utilizing a recycled Acer V173 15-inch VGA monitor from Goodwill which solely value $10.

Smaller trendy 16:9 screens also needs to work advantageous, if they’ve VGA or DVI inputs.

You possibly can join two shows in case you like. As soon as every little thing is linked, press the ability change and wait.

Apple Mac mini with rear connections including VGA video.

Rear connections: energy, Ethernet, FireWire 800, mini DVI, mini DisplayPort, USB.

If every little thing goes in keeping with plan, you need to see a gray display adopted by the flashing folder icon indicating there isn’t a OS to load.

Subsequent, insert the Mac OS X set up CD that got here with the machine, or a retail copy of the Mac OS X DVD. As quickly as you insert the DVD, it ought to spin up and Mac OS X ought to begin to load.

Apple Mac mini booting.

Booting: the soul of a brand new(ish) machine.

As soon as the Mac OS X installer masses, choose Disk Utility from the Utilities menu, format the inner drive as Mac OS Prolonged (HFS+), after which exit Disk Utility.

Again within the installer you may see the drive you simply formatted. Choose it and click on to proceed set up.

There’s additionally an Choices button within the installer which lets you choose extra parts to put in.

Apple Mac OS X installer running on Mac mini.

Choose Disk Utility to erase the inner drive.

The set up can take anyplace from thirty to sixty minutes so be affected person. As soon as the installer is completed, you may must arrange a consumer title and password for login.

As soon as that is accomplished, restart the machine.

After restart you may be requested to undergo a number of steps to complete organising Mac OS X, together with connecting to a WiFi community.

When you end all these steps, you may be left within the Finder.

Apple Mac OS X installer for Snow Leopard.

Mac OS X set up full. Reboot.

Subsequent, open System Preferences within the Dock, and run Software program Replace. Apple nonetheless maintains the Snow Leopard replace servers so you’ll be able to obtain and set up any updates from there.

As soon as software program replace is completed, Restart. Again within the Finder set up the Apple Purposes DVD that got here with the mini and set up any additional apps you need similar to iMovie and GarageBand.

The two.26GHz Mac mini can run as much as Mac OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 launched in 2018, so if you will discover that installer on Apple’s Assist web site, or the App Retailer you’ll be able to set up it for an improve.

El Capitan requires 2GB RAM minimal.

Apple's vintage white wired USB mouse.

Apple’s 2nd-gen white wired USB mouse (A1152 EMC No: 2058).

Step 10 (Non-compulsory): Run Home windows

This mannequin of Mac mini is able to working both Microsoft Home windows XP or Home windows 7. The included Boot Camp utility within the /Utilities folder means that you can partition the inner drive and set up Home windows onto a kind of partitions.

You may want an genuine copy of the Home windows XP or 7 installer, and a legitimate Home windows serial quantity. You can even use a legitimate Home windows installer .iso file in Boot Camp if in case you have one.

The Boot Camp Assistant could or could not additionally ask you to insert a USB thumb drive to obtain parts to, so have one helpful simply in case.

In fact, if you want you’ll be able to run both of the Home windows installers and take over the whole inner SSD and switch the mini right into a Home windows machine, however with the power as well each you may in all probability wish to set up each.

To take action, run Boot Camp, choose the inner drive, set the partitioning divider to measurement each partitions, then step via the set up course of. Insert your Home windows DVD set up disk when prompted.

Boot Camp will re-partition the drive and reboot into the Home windows installer. Home windows will get put in onto the second partition, whereas your Mac OS X set up is left alone on the primary.

Step via the Home windows installer and enter your serial quantity when prompted.

Apple's Boot Camp Assistant for installing Windows.

Apple’s Boot Camp Assistant.

As soon as Home windows installs, reboot and maintain down the Possibility key on the keyboard. This enters the boot quantity selector the place you’ll be able to click on both the Mac or Home windows quantity because the Startup Disk as well from.

You can even set which quantity as well from in System Preferences within the Startup Disk pane so you do not have to carry down the Possibility key subsequent time when beginning up.

Being able as well Home windows from a Mac is helpful, and initially it was one of many main promoting factors of the early Mac minis.

With an SSD drive put in, the two.26Ghz Mac mini is definitely fairly quick. Ours booted into Mac OS X in beneath three seconds.

Shutdown is equally quick and took solely two seconds.

Earlier variations of Mac OS X had much less software program bloat and so basically have been quick.

There are additionally various fascinating obtainable third-party upgrades on the market on-line, such because the OWC Knowledge Doubler which lets you exchange the inner DVD drive with a second inner SSD by utilizing a particular bracket.

For a very full retro expertise, remember to decide up some outdated VST FireWire drives similar to a tough drive or exterior CD-R drive.

The later mannequin Mac minis from the polycarbonate sequence have been well-designed, and effectively made. Lots of them are nonetheless working right this moment – and with slightly work can nonetheless be upgraded and restored to be fairly helpful.

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