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Discussion Starter #1
Macmini4,1 2009/2010ish running 10.6.8

A friend of mine who has lost his job during Covid, did not replace his Mac when the hard drive failed a year or 2 ago.
I have an old Macmini still running Snowleopard. Short story, I stopped upgrading when the new OS's would stop running the games that my kids loved at the time. Anyway, old mac memory has faded from lack of use and Apple has long stopped supporting old Tech.

Google has told me that Mavericks is the latest OS I can run on this hardware. App Store (old) says it ios up-to-date on 10.6.8. I have read post from people claiming to run Sierra and El Capitan. Does anyone have experience in this with older Macs.

I just want to get this old girl to somewhere my buddy can job search the web and email resumes. Snow leopard era browsers are just about non-functional as those companies are dropping support and disabling functionality.
 

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I suspect you have to find Mavericks in the store and Install, the new OSs won't show up as an update. (going from memory.)
If his needs are only for browsing and email, you might consider something like elementary OS which is a Linux, but feels pretty similar if you're used to macOS.
 

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I have forced old Macs to run OSs in excess of their recommended level. Three things:

1: make sure your target computer has lots of RAM. You can seriously bog down an old computer with an out-of-synch OS. It's also tricky to get these upgrades to work, so be prepared to spend some time on it. Which model are you trying to over-upgrade?

2. Apple makes it hard to find old OSs. Archive.org has some helpful files:

3: I recently downgraded a Mac pro 3.1 to run Snow Leopard. Safari and Firefox were almost useless as browsers accessing modern websites. However, Google Chrome was recommended as the browser that would work best, and of all the browsers, it was the most functional.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, I am getting 2 trains to follow up on. The MacMini4,1 2010 only has the base 2gb of ram and my buddy will have to upgrade that. Either I have to upgrade to 10.7-10.9 then free upgrade through apple store or find Mav elsewhere.
Apple likes its brick walls. I'm just trying to help a buddy with as little time and $$$ as possible.
 

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You can even install some form of Catalina on that model if you're game to try it. But the RAM Is the kicker. With 2GB of RAM, my recommendation would be to go to Mavericks and see how that works. If the browser is responsive enough why push it?

Try the Mavericks installer I linked to, Might work out for you.
 
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The everymac.com site says the Macmini 4,1 can run everything up to and including High Sierra (but all features may not be supported). You many not be able to upgrade directly from Snow Leopard, however, since the High Sierra update needs at least Mountain Lion. That means You'll need to do an intermediary update first, or choose use an older OS that can be updated from Snow Leopard.

You can do an El Capitan update directly from Snow Leopard 10.6.8, so you can update your OS to anything up to and including El Capitan directly. From there you could upgrade to High Sierra if you wish. The min ram for High Sierra is 2GB per Apple spec.

If it was me, I'd update to an SSD and add a bit more ram. This would mean additional cost, however. I'd also create multiple partitions so I could have at least three OS versions that you could run. This can be complicated if you don't know how to do this.

Snow Leopard is a great OS, but it doesn't word with any of the latest browsers. There's also some newer software that won't run properly on Snow Leopard now. I'm now using High Sierra and El Capitan regularly, but even they might be dropped soon.
 

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In reference to web browsers, here's the current situation for Firefox Firefox Mac OS X 10.9, 10.10 and 10.11 users move to Extended Support Release | Mozilla Support

Mac OS 10.9 thru 10.11 (Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan) have stopped at version 78 and are in ESR (extended support release). This means there will be no more security updates after July of this year, and no feature updates at all. They noted that the last Apple security update for El Capitan was in 2018, so updating the browser doesn't protect you from the inherent security flaws in the OS. That's why they don't want to keep updating Firefox for these older OS versions.

This is really Apple's fault. I hate to say it, but Windows 10 looks like the better long term bet for older hardware and lower cost.
 

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Heck, you can run Big Sur on a 4,1. But a lot of these upgrades are shaky and can fall apart with the first OS security upgrade that one accepts.
 

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I sure wouldn't install any Mac OS later than Sierra 10.12 on that Mac model, in fact, I would strongly suggest just getting to El Capitan and its latest updates.

You can find some upgrade suggestions along with the Macmini4,1 specs here:


- Patrick
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Discussion Starter #10
Unfortunately, 3 different sites claiming to have a mavericks download fail after 3-4 hours with an unknown network error. This maybe due to the age and browsers on my iMac. I am checking with someone to see if they can download it for me. If I can't, my buddy may have to get the Hard drive replaced on his iMac... Thanks for the help, guys.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
wow is this exhausting...figuratively... Got a copy of Mountain Lion install disk from a friend, partitioned the HD to try a clean install and it claims the installer is damaged. On the Disc? Is it possible to get a full installer of El Cap to clean install on the new partition?
 

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You can get it directly from Apple. Yosemite, El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, and Catalina


I should also add that these downloads should be done from Safari. You may have trouble with other browsers that don't link properly with the Apple Store. This will probably be an issue for the High Sierra, Mojave, and Catalina downloads that go through the Apple Store.
 

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But no Mavericks. This process used to be so easy.
 

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wow is this exhausting...figuratively... Got a copy of Mountain Lion install disk from a friend, partitioned the HD to try a clean install and it claims the installer is damaged. On the Disc? Is it possible to get a full installer of El Cap to clean install on the new partition?

I recall reading on another Mac forum about the downloaded installer being damaged, and as I recall there seemed to be a rather simple fix but unfortunately I cannot recall what it was. In actual fact, the downloaded OS installer is quite likely not damaged.

I'm sure it was on Mac-forums.com that I read about it if you want to Google search for it. Or just a general Google search may work.

It really should not be such a pain in the a** to install a Mac OS X operating system.

Maybe give this a try and see if any of the hits can help:

EDIT:
Maybe this is what I was thinking of:
Fixing OS X Install Errors “can’t be verified” and “error occurred while preparing the installation”

Two unusual error messages that can occur during the attempted installation of OS X El Capitan or OS X Yosemite are the “This copy of the Install OS X El Capitan application can’t be verified. It may have been corrupted or tampered with during downloading” error, or a “This copy of the Install OS X Yosemite application can’t be verified. It may have been corrupted or tampered with during downloading” message, or a more vague “An error occurred while preparing the installation. Try running again” error message. Sometimes these can be resolved by simply rebooting and trying to reinstall OS X again (or re-downloading the OS X installer if it was damaged), but if the error messages are persistent, then you may find that modifying the system date of the Mac can be the resolution.

- Patrick
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Discussion Starter #15
Sadly my version of Safari has not been reliable in ages. I switched to Firefox then Chrome when Firefox became unreliable.
Chrome worked fine until December when my online banking site stopped working. Getting by on most everything else.
 

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Sadly my version of Safari has not been reliable in ages. I switched to Firefox then Chrome when Firefox became unreliable.
Chrome worked fine until December when my online banking site stopped working. Getting by on most everything else.

Did you try updating your installed Firefox version???

It's available in the About Firefox window if there is one available.


- Patrick
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Discussion Starter #17
None of my browsers are getting updated anymore. They are no longer supported for my OS. I managed to download an installer for Yosemite today from Apple's Support Page. I will run that tomorrow and see if that lets me upgrade via AppStore.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Some success...I managed to get Yosemite installed and am testing it out. Never actually used this OS at work.
Once I am comfortable, I'll try upping it to Sierra thru the App Store.
 

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Once I am comfortable, I'll try upping it to Sierra thru the App Store.
To save you some time and work In case you need it, create a working Bootable clone as you update.

That makes it quick and easy to go back to something that actually works In case of any future update screws up.


- Patrick
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Discussion Starter #20
I partitioned the drive and restored the working 10.6.8 to the clean drive and then upgraded the new drive. I probably should have done it as a clean install but I wanted to test the process as I will eventually have to upgrade my iMac.
I don't have a free ethernet connection for the mini right now and the App Store estimates 5hours to update to Sierra on wifi, so tonight I will set it up next to the Xbox and use that ethernet connection. Getting there.
 
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