Mac mini Late 2012 HDD replacement with Bootcamp

Last weekend, I spent much time to replacement/upgrade HDD of my Mac mini (Late 2012) from 500GB to 1TB. The old HDD had contained BootCamp volume, so I had to move the volume from old HDD to new one. Before I started working on it, I’ve watched YouTube videos many times to learn how to replace HDD. It looked very easy, but I had many troubles, because my Mac mini has small difference design from the Mac in the videos and my HDD cloner was broken.

Upper HDD is the first reason why the replacement step was so troublesome. Mac mini Late 2012 has small difference design; Upper HDD and Lower HDD. Some Mac mini install HDD in the upper bay, but others install it in the lower one. It depends on when a Mac was shipped. All videos I watched and iFixit.com explain the replacement steps with a lower version, so I was very confused. In upper version, the HDD is located at the most far position from owner’s hand. I had to remove all parts from the Mac mini case!


This website explains how to approach a lower HDD of Mac mini. It was very helpful, but was written in Japanese.

The second reason is that my hardware HDD Cloner was broken and I didn’t notice it first. My old HDD contains a hidden volume (for rescue) and Bootcamp volume. The bootcamp volume had modified MBR. It means my old HDD was not simple. For that, I used hardware HDD cloner that is a equipment to clone a HDD to another one.


But it was broken, so it made a wrong HDD. I installed this one in the case, hooked up all parts and then my Mac mini could not boot correctly. I spent much time to find a cause.

To clone HDD perfectly, I switched to software HDD Clonner; Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) and WinClone. I had been wondered that software HDD Cloner might not be able to clone a hidden recovery volume and MBR on HDD, but these cloners worked perfectly. CCC can clone the original HDD and its recovery volume. WinClone can make a disk image from BootCamp volume and recovery it on another disk. But, WinClone isn’t able to make NTFS partition on a new disk. If you have the same situation, I recommend you to follow these steps;

  1. Initialize your new HDD/SSD with single partition.
  2. Use CCC to clone a MacOSX partition in your old HDD to the single partition in your new HDD/SSD.
  3. Backup BootCamp volume in your old HDD and save it to an external HDD.
  4. Replace HDD and boot up your Mac with the new one.
  5. Run BootCamp assistant to add a NTFS partition. (For that, you need to prepare Windows OS DVD or a flash storage, because BootCamp stops until it confirm any Windows OS media.)
  6. Mac OS will restart itself, but you need to stop Windows OS installation by pressing Option key. Boot your Mac OS again.
  7. Confirm an existence of NTFS partition and recover your BootCamp disk image in the external HDD into the NTFS partition.

I will install an additional HDD or SSD, so I didn’t put back all parts into their original place. A curing tape is very useful.

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