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Fix Your Fusion Drive

September 28, 2020 Comments off

Recently we have been seeing newer Macs – iMacs and Minis – that come with Apple’s Fusion Drive. What exactly is a Fusion Drive? Apple says, “Fusion Drive, a storage option on some iMac and Mac mini computers, combines a hard drive and flash storage in a single volume for improved performance and storage capacity.”

The issue we’ve found – twice now – is that this drive has been split so that it looks like a regular hard drive and a smaller SSD drive. The two Macs we came across (one an iMac, one a Mac Mini) were split into a One TB hard drive and a 200 GB SSD Drive.

Why they were split is a good question – the design of the drive is, as Apple says, to improve performance. Code that is used often is stored in the SSD so that it can be accessed rapidly. It certainly speeds up the boot process!

TUTORIALS

It turns out there are a number of good tutorials out there – including YouTube videos – to help you easily recombine your Fusion Drive.

Just three of the many video tutorials from YouTube to help you with a problem Fusion Drive.

The quickest way to find all the tutorials is to use your favorite search engine for “Repair Fusion Drive.” But if you just want to see what Apple says – you can go here. A software company called Stellar also has an easy-to-use tutorial here.

THE PROCESS

Essentially, the instructions will tell you to boot into the recovery drive of the the machine you are using with the split Fusion Drive and use Terminal to input a series of commands that will, ultimately, reintegrate the two split drives.

I took a slightly different route – I have an external drive (see above) with an OS that my Mac can boot into. I used El Capitan (10.11.6) but anything up to Catalina should work. Once booted into the external drive, you can just run Terminal from the Utilities folder and go from there (no need to use Recovery Drive). The benefit in my mind is that you are essentially working on your main Mac (and its split Fusion Drive) as if it were an external drive.

Again, anytime you are doing something like this, be sure to do a backup of your data – I was working from a Mac Mini (early 2012) that just had an OS on it so I wasn’t concerned about it losing data. If there were issues, I could always reinstall an OS (up to Catalina in this case). But you’ll see why this is so important in just a minute.

Once you’re in Terminal, follow the tutorial to identify the the two drives (diskutil list) and then process them to reintegrate as one drive. I captured the process from start to finish below so you can see what it actually looks like. The drives I wanted to work with were identified as disk0 and disk1.

Note those final commands at the end – Terminal does format the drive after it is recombined – and it won’t mount until that happens. So again -be sure to have a clone/Time Machine backup or you will lose all your data.

So there you have it! Let us know if you were able to follow the tutorials to successfully restore your Fusion Drive or if you have some other suggestions. Best way is to use the Contact Us page at MacRecycleClinic.org.

All the Latest Mac OS Downloads In One Place

February 7, 2020 Comments off

Those of us who use Macs may have need to reinstall an older version of the OS from time to time. At the MacRecycleClinic, we keep thumb drives and external hard drives partitioned with individual installers from Catalina on back – or even Time Machine backups (which are quicker than OS installs).

El Capital on a MacBook.
OSX El Capitan on a MacBook Pro. Photo: Dave Ottalini.

While it might seem easy to just Google your request, it’s not always that easy. Thus, we offer a list of OS downloads (from the Apple website and beyond) so that you don’t have to go looking for them. Even tho Catalina is available via the App Store, we’ll include it here (as a link).

Note that some of the earlier Mac OS varieties like OS 7 Lion is, for some reason, sold by Apple rather than provided for free (but keep reading – there’s a solution for that!). If you have a need for a really old OS and don’t want to download and install, contact MacRecycleClinic, as we have DVDs with most of the older OS software – including some PowerPC software, and can help you with the install.

If you want to make a bootable installer (to put on an external drive or thumb drive), this is what Apple suggests. Better is this great free (donationware) App – DiskMakerX.

(All photos except where noted and links are courtesy Apple via the company website.)



Please note you will need to use SAFARI for this to work. It won’t work with any other browser. When you press “GET” you will be taken to Software Update to download.
If this does not work, goto this MacOSXDaily page that explains how to get a full Mojave download using the DOSDude Patcher.

Please note that the link provided by Apple will take you to iTunes and breaks after that. The easiest way to download MacOS High Sierra is to follow these instructions from OSX Daily





Following is a rundown of all the OS X versions for the Mac through 2020 – (thanks, Macworld UK)! Even better – this UK site has actual download links for older Apple software going way, way back starting with OS 10.9 Mavericks (from the Apple Discussion Community.)

OS X 10.0: Cheetah – 24 March 2001
OS X 10.1: Puma – 25 September 2001
OS X 10.2: Jaguar – 24 August 2002
OS X 10.3 Panther (Pinot) – 24 October 2003
OS X 10.4 Tiger (Merlot) – 29 April 2005
[OS X 10.4.4 Tiger (Chardonnay)]
OS X 10.5 Leopard (Chablis) – 26 October 2007
OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard – 28 August 2009

Snow Leopard and earlier Apple OS versions can only be installed from DVD (or 3.5 disk).

OS X 10.7 Lion (Barolo) – 20 July 2011
OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion (Zinfandel) – 25 July 2012
OS X 10.9 Mavericks (Cabernet) – 22 October 2013
OS X 10.10: Yosemite (Syrah) – 16 October 2014
OS X 10.11: El Capitan (Gala) – 30 September 2015
macOS 10.12: Sierra (Fuji) – 20 September 2016
macOS 10.13: High Sierra (Lobo) – 25 September 2017
macOS 10.14: Mojave (Liberty) – 24 September 2018
macOS 10.15: Catalina (Jazz) – 7 October 2019

By the way – this is an interesting compilation of all the older Apple/Mac software. It’s a list only as the “links” don’t work.

Capitolmac Baltimore Closes

January 24, 2020 Comments off

The Apple Universe can be a tough one to operate in. Recently, Baltimore’s Capitolmac – an Apple authorized retailer – closed its doors after an 11 year run. Owner and president Dheeraj Vasishta told the Baltimore Business Journal late last year the closure was primarily due to money: “The margins on everything got tighter over the years,” he said. “It’s always bad when selling Apple products, but the squeeze got tighter on repairs. It really comes down to money, as it always does.”

Capitolmac in the Fells Point area of Baltimore has closed its doors.
Capitolmac in the Fells Point area of Baltimore has closed its doors.

Last week, MacRecycleClinic was invited to come see the Capitolmac Fells Point, Baltimore store (there are two others in Richmond and Williamsburg. The Williamsburg store, operated by another owner, will continue).

A panorama view of the Capitolmac sales floor in Fells Point, Baltimore.
A panorama view of the Capitolmac repair area and sales floor in Fells Point, Baltimore.

We were able to see both the front end retail store and back-end where the company did repairs and kept a ton of older machines and parts. We were able to come back later and gleen some of the older Mac parts- hopefully to use in our own refurbishing/recycling efforts here in Silver Spring.

As Vashishta noted to the Baltimore Business Journal, it is always going to be tough running a small business, but trying to be a technology retailer can be especially challenging. We’re sorry to see Captiolmac go because it has an impact on consumer choice as well as consumer experience.

Testing Your Mac’s Hardware & RAM

October 2, 2017 Comments off

screen-shot-2017-09-30-at-10-51-28-am1.png

Photo: Public Domain via Google Search.

Updated Oct. 3, 2017 to include Micromat’s Atomic software:

SILVER SPRING, Md. (Sept. 29) We’ve been looking at ways to test computer RAM from the Macs we get donated to MacRecycleClinic.

Most of the time, we turn on the machine to see if it works. If there’s a problem (and many times there are any number of issues), we pull the memory and plug it into a new Mac of the same vintage and hope it works. Sometimes the Mac will flash it’s “on-off” light on the front to say something was not quite right (sometimes you have to insert the same memory in pairs). But how can you actually test RAM? There are three basic ways to do that – the expensive way, the 3rd party software way and the inexpensive (Apple provided) way.

    1. You can go with a hardware solution – purchasing a RAM testbed that will check out the memory chips and provide a robust report. But the solution is expensive – and requires the purchase of additional plug-in “cards” that are designed to work with the machine – each plug-in is designed for a specific kind of long, or short RAM. The costs can run upwards of $1000.00! One example: See this YouTube video about the Ramcheck LX
    2. Micromat sells a software suite called Atomic – which they bill as “The most comprehensive memory tester for the Mac.” We haven’t been able to try it out yet – so if any of you have – please give us some comments below about the program. By the way – it works with OS X 10.9 or greater, including macOS 10.12 ‘Sierra’ (and we’ll assume 10.13 – High Sierra now). Cost is $29.99 unless you are a previous Micromat customer, in which case, the cost is $19.99. NOTE: TechTool Pro 9 also includes a memory test as part of it’s software offerings.
    3. Use the Mac’s built-in software Hardware Test Suite. Macs, going back to machines from 2000 or so, have built-in hardward diagnostics that offers a more cost-effective solution (as in, free!). We MRC volunteers approve of that! 🙂

    Using the Hardware Test Suite

    Unlike Disk Utility, the hardware test is not an app per se, but requires you to restart your machine and press the “D” key during startup. In some instances, I’ve seen tutorials call for Option + D – but just “D” may be enough in most instances.

      1. Restart your Mac and at the chime, press “D” or “Option + D” and wait for your computer to boot.
      2. You’ll be presented with a screen showing a turning globe and drop-down box to select your wireless network. Go ahead and choose the network and plug in the password on the next screen. Continue.
      3. Once that’s done, the “Apple Hardware Test” screen will open. Choose your language of choice (English is highlighted by default.
      4. Move to the next panel to get to the actual test screen. You’re almost there!IMG_5773 2
      5. To perform the hardware test all you have to do is click on the “Test” button or, as the instructions indicate, press the “T” key. Be ready to wait a bit while the tests are performed. Note the box under the progress screen where your results will be displayed. If you have any RAM issues (or other hardware problems) this is where you’ll find the results.IMG_5775 2
      6. If you do have an issue with the RAM, you’ll need to replace the memory since it is not something that’s “fixable.”

    There are a number of good places to purchase memory – but be sure to ask us first as we have a robust collection of RAM that we sell inexpensively. That said, if you want new, choices range from Amazon and Best Buy to Crucial, and many others. But we usually recommend memoryx.com to our MRC Clinic visitors (we’ll help you purchase the correct RAM).

    Remember that in some cases, your Mac will need not one but two memory cards (usually matched) to work correctly. You can get help from your MRC volunteers, on the memoryx website (by computer type and year it was built) or you can use the MacTracker app on you Mac or IOS device.

    • There are many more resources on the web to help you if you’re interested in learning more about the Hardware Test Suite:CNET: How to Test the RAM on Your Mac

      YouTube
      : There are a number of great videos – click on the link and you’ll be at a search screen with a number of choices.
    • Memoryx.com also has helpful videos that explain HOW to install RAM. But if you’re uncomfortable with doing that, bring it in to the MRC most Monday nights and we’ll be happy to help.

Last Call to Download OSX El Capitan

September 10, 2016 Comments off

imageThanks to MacInTouch for this information (with minor editing):

Please note that if you (and your friends/family/clients) have not downloaded OS X 10.11 El Capitan yet I strongly advise you to do so before Sept. 20 because after this date, in line with what has happened with previous OS X upgrades, it will probably no longer be available to download from the App Store. The download is free and you do not have to install it/upgrade to it:

1. Go to Apple menu > App Store… (or Macintosh HD > Applications > App Store).

2. Click the “Purchased” tab.

3. If you need to sign in, sign in with your Apple ID.

4. In your Purchased list look for “OS X El Capitan.”

5. If it is listed, you have already downloaded it and you do not need to do anything else – quit the App Store.

6. If it is not listed click https://geo.itunes.apple.com/gb/app/os-x…&at=11l7jb

7. If OS X El Capitan has a “Download” button click it to download (the installer is quite large ~6GB so may take some time to download).

8. Once it has downloaded the installer will launch.

9. At this point quit the installer – do not run through the installer.

10. In your Macintosh HD > Applications folder there will now be an “Install OS X El Capitan” application – you can leave that where it is unless you need the disk space in which case it should be safe to delete it (although it’s worthwhile to make a copy/archive of it somewhere else from your boot drive before deleting it).

11. The free purchase and download of OS X 10.11 will now be registered with your Apple ID so that if Apple remove OS X 10.11 next week from the main App Store you will have it in your Purchase history and will still be able to download it in the future should you ever need it.

Categories: Apple General
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