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I've tried 2 sets of RAM; both are matched pairs.
I removed the internal drive and cable today and attempted to start from a good external drive. It didn't recognise a USB drive, and with a Thunderbolt drive attached, I got the folder '?' icon (can't find a system).
Trilo, I meant to check and assure that the RAM is the proper speed (1066) for that machine, as all 3 speeds (1066, 1333, 1600) have the same physical configuration and "notch" for the socket. The Mini you have is spec'ed at PC-10600, which is 1333Mhz speed. (I know, confusing part numbers vs. speeds!)

In all likelyhood it will not operate (GSOD) with 1600Mhz RAM, even though it fits. Additionally, you should first try (known correct) RAM one at a time, and then in each slot, as a bad slot could be causing this issue, as well. Load lower slot, test; if it boots then remove and load upper slot, test. Etc...
 


I have seen this problem on multiple MacBooks - usually means a bad video card. If you can find someone in your area who can reflow the solder on the computer board, then you might get away with a repair in the $200 range; otherwise, you are looking at a replacement, be it new or used/refurbished.
Just to follow-up on this issue...

After a complete wipe and re-install of Mojave (at Apple's insistance), with the same freezing after user login, I took the machine to the Genius Bar. It passed all of their tests, including a video exercise test. Genius suggested leaving for further testing by the techs in the back. His repair estimate included the top case, 512GB SSD, and logic board - $2450 CDN. The genius said that he was just reserving the parts, that the repair would probably not include everything listed. However, Apple called a few days later asking for authorization for the full amount. Of course I refused the repair. When I went to pick it up, I asked for the notes the back office tech had made. I was told that he tried replacing some parts to identify the issue and concluded that it was either the logic board, or the SSD - top case was OK. Logic board was $550, SSD was over $1000.

When I got the machine home, I was surprised to find that the machine was working once again!! I restored from Time Machine and after a week, it is still working - no freezing at all. Not sure how long it will last, but for now we're all good.

Thanks all for your suggestions.
 


When I got the machine home, I was surprised to find that the machine was working once again!! I restored from Time Machine and after a week, it is still working - no freezing at all. Not sure how long it will last, but for now we're all good.
This sounds like there was a bad connection. Perhaps disconnecting and reconnecting was kind of like the old days with the Apple II, where it was suggested that a 'drop' of a foot or so would help reseat the boards.
 


I've been having a few odd problems on a 2010 Mac Mini running High Sierra, and am wondering if they might be different aspects of the same thing or related to some other problems I've been hearing about here.
• It is very slow to wake from sleep and turn on the display when I press a key. This morning it was totally unresponsive and I had to reboot by pushing the switch on the back. That has happened before but not often, and the slow wake-up seems worse. The display is a 27-inch Asus.​
• I have had a few kernel panics recently with no obvious cause.​
• External hard drives often disconnect themselves during sleep, generating warnings of incorrect shutdown upon awakening.​
• The machine sometimes stalls or responds very slowly to things I am trying to do, then later recovers and starts behaving reasonably (for booting from a spinning external FireWire hard drive).​
I'm sure running the Mini on an external spinning FireWire drive contributes to the stalls and operational slowdowns, but I'm wondering if this pattern may suggest some other problems or the probability of an imminent failure. FWIW, I usually have many browser tabs and many word-processing and PDF files open as I work and rarely restart the machine. Any ideas? Or is it just time to buy a new Mini?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I've been having a few odd problems on a 2010 Mac Mini running High Sierra...
The first things I'd do, personally:
  • Make sure you have good backups.
  • Run Apple's hardware diagnostics.
  • Check SMART data on your boot drive for problems. (Use SAT SMART driver and something like SMART Utility or DriveDX.)
  • Backup twice using Carbon Copy Cloner's "Find and Replace Corrupted Files" advanced option.
I would also consider swapping the hard drive in your FireWire enclosure for an SSD (e.g. Samsung 860 EVO or Crucial MX500), one you can also use later with a faster USB3 enclosure.
 


The first things I'd do, personally:
  • Make sure you have good backups.
  • Run Apple's hardware diagnostics.
  • Check SMART data on your boot drive for problems. (Use SAT SMART driver and something like SMART Utility or DriveDX.)
  • Backup twice using Carbon Copy Cloner's "Find and Replace Corrupted Files" advanced option.
I would also consider swapping the hard drive in your FireWire enclosure for an SSD (e.g. Samsung 860 EVO or Crucial MX500), one you can also use later with a faster USB3 enclosure.
Be careful; I believe the Crucial MX500 is not backward-compatible with SATA2 interfaces. The 2010 Mini uses the Nvidia chipset and requires either a true SATA2 SSD (like those sold at Macsales.com) or the excellent Samsung 860 EVO (which is SATA3 but backward-compatible). The SanDisk Plus SSDs also exhibit the bad behavior (if I recall correctly). If you uses one of the non-compatible drives in the 2010 Mini, you end up with SATA1 performance.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Be careful; I believe the Crucial MX500 is not backward-compatible with SATA2 interfaces. The 2010 Mini uses the Nvidia chipset and requires either a true SATA2 SSD (like those sold at Macsales.com) or the excellent Samsung 860 EVO (which is SATA3 but backward-compatible). The SanDisk Plus SSDs also exhibit the bad behavior (if I recall correctly). If you uses one of the non-compatible drives in the 2010 Mini, you end up with SATA1 performance.
Thanks for pointing that out! I was more familiar with the problem affecting MacBook Pros and didn't realize it affected Mac Minis, as well.

That said, I don't expect it would matter for the FireWire drive - probably only with the internal Apple SATA interface - though the FireWire drive controller could potentially have issues, as well, and I hadn't considered that possibility. But I haven't encountered any SSD compatibility issues with the FireWire enclosures I've been using from Akitio, Oyen Digital, and OWC.
 


Thanks for pointing that out! I was more familiar with the problem affecting MacBook Pros and didn't realize it affected Mac Minis, as well. That said, I don't expect it would matter for the FireWire drive - probably only with the internal Apple SATA interface - though the FireWire drive controller could potentially have issues, as well, and I hadn't considered that possibility. But I haven't encountered any SSD compatibility issues with the FireWire enclosures I've been using from Akitio, Oyen Digital, and OWC.
Indeed, using an SSD in an external enclosure should make my point moot.
 


Thanks for all the suggestions, but I seem to have hit a brick wall and cannot find a version of the Apple Hardware Test that I can run. I found an Apple Discussion that reports much the same problem I have.
Apple Communities said:
I have a mid-2010 Mac Mini that came Mac OS X 10.6. I tried to run the Apple Hardware Test and pressed and held the D key for a long time. After a while, it showed "Starting Internet Recovery", and I kept pressing the D key until an error screen appeared, "apple.com/support-2105D", a page which does not exist even when I try a couple of more modern versions of the support page naming.

The alternative for Lion or earlier was to look for an Installation disk named "Applications Install Disc 2." However, the two disks for Mac OS X 10.6 that I received were, "Mac OS Install DVD" and "Applications Install DVD". The latter has an "Instructions" folder containing one document, "About Apple Hardware Test," but I can't find the Apple Hardware Test on that disk. Nor could I find it by starting up on the OS Install disk. After trying a couple of variations, I gave up.

Because I am running on an external hard drive, Smart Reporter can't tell me the condition of the boot drive. I do have two backups, one Time Machine and one CCC, and added the verification of the CCC backup that you recommended.

I bought the Mini in 2011, so I have gotten nearly 8 years out of it. I will keep a careful eye on the machine and the backups, and at this point, it looks like time to start planning a migration strategy to a 2018 Mini.

Thanks again for the help.
 


Thanks for all the suggestions, but I seem to have hit a brick wall and cannot find a version of the Apple Hardware Test that I can run. I found an Apple Discussion that reports much the same problem I have.
I have a mid-2010 Mac Mini that came Mac OS X 10.6. I tried to run the Apple Hardware Test and pressed and held the D key for a long time. After a while, it showed "Starting Internet Recovery", and I kept pressing the D key until an error screen appeared, "apple.com/support-2105D", a page which does not exist even when I try a couple of more modern versions of the support page naming.
The alternative for Lion or earlier was to look for an Installation disk named "Applications Install Disc 2." However, the two disks for Mac OS X 10.6 that I received were, "Mac OS Install DVD" and "Applications Install DVD". The latter has an "Instructions" folder containing one document, "About Apple Hardware Test," but I can't find the Apple Hardware Test on that disk. Nor could I find it by starting up on the OS Install disk. After trying a couple of variations, I gave up.
Because I am running on an external hard drive, Smart Reporter can't tell me the condition of the boot drive. I do have two backups, one Time Machine and one CCC, and added the verification of the CCC backup that you recommended.
I bought the Mini in 2011, so I have gotten nearly 8 years out of it. I will keep a careful eye on the machine and the backups, and at this point, it looks like time to start planning a migration strategy to a 2018 Mini.
Thanks again for the help.
Jeff, I found this webpage, which seems to explain how to access the Apple Hardware Test for your mid-2010 Mini. The critical part appears to be updating the firmware to the latest version, which will then allow access to the internet Hardware Test. (This page also includes a link to Apple's EFI and SMC Firmware Update page.)


Hope this helps.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I have a mid-2010 Mac Mini that came Mac OS X 10.6. I tried to run the Apple Hardware Test and pressed and held the D key for a long time. After a while, it showed "Starting Internet Recovery", and I kept pressing the D key until an error screen appeared, "apple.com/support-2105D", a page which does not exist even when I try a couple of more modern versions of the support page naming.

The alternative for Lion or earlier was to look for an Installation disk named "Applications Install Disc 2." However, the two disks for Mac OS X 10.6 that I received were, "Mac OS Install DVD" and "Applications Install DVD". The latter has an "Instructions" folder containing one document, "About Apple Hardware Test," but I can't find the Apple Hardware Test on that disk. Nor could I find it by starting up on the OS Install disk. After trying a couple of variations, I gave up.
Is that a "Mac Mini 4,1", Jeff?
(A hat tip to TKS Ose...)
 


I've been having a few odd problems on a 2010 Mac Mini running High Sierra, and am wondering if they might be different aspects of the same thing or related to some other problems I've been hearing about here.
• It is very slow to wake from sleep and turn on the display when I press a key. This morning it was totally unresponsive and I had to reboot by pushing the switch on the back. That has happened before but not often, and the slow wake-up seems worse. The display is a 27-inch Asus.​
• I have had a few kernel panics recently with no obvious cause.​
• External hard drives often disconnect themselves during sleep, generating warnings of incorrect shutdown upon awakening.​
• The machine sometimes stalls or responds very slowly to things I am trying to do, then later recovers and starts behaving reasonably (for booting from a spinning external FireWire hard drive).​
I'm sure running the Mini on an external spinning FireWire drive contributes to the stalls and operational slowdowns, but I'm wondering if this pattern may suggest some other problems or the probability of an imminent failure. FWIW, I usually have many browser tabs and many word-processing and PDF files open as I work and rarely restart the machine. Any ideas? Or is it just time to buy a new Mini?
This could also be an indication of a bad drive. This can be the external drive you indicate you boot from, or it could also be a bad internal drive or another external drive. I have seen times where a bad drive, even if it was just on the drive bus, can cause problems with other devices.

Testing-wise, try booting with all other devices disconnected, including USB hubs. If the boot device is external, try switching to a different external and, if you can, disconnect the internal drive.

If the problem presists, then the next thing to look at might be the graphics board - things to try here are booting in Safe mode and installing a temperature monitoring app, like Mac Fans.
 



Jeff, I found this webpage, which seems to explain how to access the Apple Hardware Test for your mid-2010 Mini. The critical part appears to be updating the firmware to the latest version, which will then allow access to the internet Hardware Test. (This page also includes a link to Apple's EFI and SMC Firmware Update page.)
Thanks for the effort. I chased my way through the links and downloaded the update, only to be told by the Installer (6.2.0), "This software is not supported on your system." From a quick search of my files, I apparently had downloaded and presumably installed the update in November 2016. Could the firmware upgrade be coded in a form that won't run on High Sierra or Installer 6.2.0?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I bumped into this important info about recovering from critical failures with Macs that use Apple's "T2" chip (while reading up on Apple Configurator...):
Apple Support said:
(T2 chip) Restore Mac portables in Apple Configurator

In very rare circumstances, such as a power failure during a macOS upgrade, an Apple portable computer that has the Apple T2 Security Chip may become unresponsive and so the firmware on that chip must be restored. To perform that restore, you must have:
  • Apple Configurator 2.6 or later installed on any Mac that supports macOS 10.13.5 or later and has Internet access.
    You may need to configure your web proxy or firewall ports to allow all network traffic from Apple devices to Apple’s network 17.0.0.0/8.
  • Supported USB-A or USB-C to USB-C or a Thunderbolt cable, such as the one sold by Apple (may not available in all countries).
...

Use Apple Configurator 2 to restore the firmware on the Apple T2 Security Chip.
#T2 #recovery #appleconfigurator
 


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