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Ok, what am I doing wrong?
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Chongo
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May 25, 2021, 10:03 AM
 
As I mentioned in my “fusion drive” thread, the fusion drive in my late 2013 27” iMac is in its death throes. I bought an external 1TB HDD to use until I get one of the M1 Macs.

Here is my problem: I have formatted the drive APFS/GUID. I downloaded the Catalina installer. I select the external drive, it installs, restarts, then boots back to the internal drive. The external drive is not showing in the startup disk pane. What step am I missing?

Side question: I had iCloud turned on, so all my documents etc. are in the cloud, along with two+ years of time machine backups on a 8TB drive. (Non iCloud stuff) It seems to run ok on Mavericks (OEM OS), which will be fine for mom, to whom it will go once the new Mac arrives (and until the internal drive dies). Can I utilize iCloud (Catalina uploaded) using Mavericks? I know I’m SOL as far as Apple Music is concerned.
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Chongo  (op)
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May 25, 2021, 11:31 AM
 
Update: My brother gave me a 120 GB SSD to try. I formatted, launched Catalina installer, restarted, back to internal drive, doesn’t show in startup manager when using recovery, or option during startup.
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reader50
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May 25, 2021, 01:26 PM
 
Sounds like your boot firmware is ignoring externals. T2 iMacs do that by default, but your iMac doesn't have a T2 chip. So it's likely confused. Try resetting PRAM.

If that doesn't do it, reset SMC. Unplug iMac for at least 15 seconds. Press Power button for 5 seconds. Plug iMac back in, and boot as normal.
     
Chongo  (op)
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May 25, 2021, 04:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Sounds like your boot firmware is ignoring externals. T2 iMacs do that by default, but your iMac doesn't have a T2 chip. So it's likely confused. Try resetting PRAM.

If that doesn't do it, reset SMC. Unplug iMac for at least 15 seconds. Press Power button for 5 seconds. Plug iMac back in, and boot as normal.
Didn’t help. I loaded the OEM os, Mavericks. I tried installing El Capitan, on one of external drives. It tried but gave an error. I’m installing El Capitan on the internal drive. I’m going to try install up the the last OS that used hfs+ and leave it there.
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reader50
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May 25, 2021, 04:24 PM
 
Wait ... was Mojave ever installed on your iMac? I don't recall what you had installed on the internal drive.

If Mojave was never installed, the firmware was not updated to recognize APFS boot devices.
     
Chongo  (op)
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May 25, 2021, 09:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Wait ... was Mojave ever installed on your iMac? I don't recall what you had installed on the internal drive.

If Mojave was never installed, the firmware was not updated to recognize APFS boot devices.
I had Mojave installed. I started over with the OEM Mavericks. It had an error trying to install El Capitan on both internal and external drives. I’m installing High Sierra now.
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Chongo  (op)
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May 29, 2021, 11:57 AM
 
iMac is now back on Catalina.

Argh! I created a bootable usb 3.0 Catalina installer using the process outlined on the Apple support page, but it won’t boot to it. It shows in the startup disk pane in the settings menu, I selected the installer and restarted and it boots to the internal drive. I restarted, pressed option to bring up the startup manager, the installer does not show as a choice. Tried “Option-Shift-Command-Period” no help.

I haven’t tried erasing the fusion drive and restarting to force it to the usb drive, or is that a “no no?l
At this point I’m thinking about replacing the fusion drive with an SSD, but I’m not certain if that will fix the issue until I can run it off an external drive.

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201372
( Last edited by Chongo; May 29, 2021 at 03:22 PM. )
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Chongo  (op)
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Jun 1, 2021, 04:02 PM
 
SUCCUSS!
I managed to get to boot to the USB installer, twice. The first time I installed Catalina on the 1TB HDD I bought. It promoted me to install an update, it did the install and defaulted back to the Fusion Drive (running Catalina). After several fruitless days of restarting/reformatting, running off a 60MB/sec. flash drive (slooooooow) the system considers internal, startup manager once again recognized the thumb drive installer. I installed Catalina on a 120GB SSD my brother gave me. I WILL NOT install the update just be sure it stays on the SSD.
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reader50
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Jun 1, 2021, 05:49 PM
 
So you figure it was the post-install update that broke external boot? It would be good to know the cause, as this is a problem that shouldn't happen.

I have a 2009 flashed to 2010 Mac Pro, and run unsupported OS versions. On later OS versions, I've found it wise to apply OS updates while booted from a different drive. ie - boot from drive "B" and apply update to drive "A". Then boot into "A" and apply updates to drive "B". So I keep a USB drive with a basic Mojave install on it, to apply Mojave security updates to my main internal drive.

In my case, applying updates to the currently booted drive didn't break boot. Instead, the install aborts with a bogus error message.
     
Chongo  (op)
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Jun 1, 2021, 06:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
So you figure it was the post-install update that broke external boot? It would be good to know the cause, as this is a problem that shouldn't happen.

I have a 2009 flashed to 2010 Mac Pro, and run unsupported OS versions. On later OS versions, I've found it wise to apply OS updates while booted from a different drive. ie - boot from drive "B" and apply update to drive "A". Then boot into "A" and apply updates to drive "B". So I keep a USB drive with a basic Mojave install on it, to apply Mojave security updates to my main internal drive.

In my case, applying updates to the currently booted drive didn't break boot. Instead, the install aborts with a bogus error message.
I created a bootable installer on an SDHC card. Startup manger would see it every time, it considers the card reader as an internal drive. It would load, start the install, then quit. That is when I installed Catalina on a 64GB SDHC card to see if it would load.

I forgot to change the iCloud settings on Photos. It was downloading all my photos from the cloud, and filling up the 120GB drive. Hopefully it will offload the phots to it did download. I have 12GB left. This the drive it will use when I replace the 2007 iMac I gave my mother when I bought the 2013. It"s still chugging along on an an external drive as well. The backlighting is starting to give out.
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Chongo  (op)
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Jun 7, 2021, 04:42 PM
 
Argh!!!!! It tried to install the latest Catalina update in the middle of the night, restarted and back to the dying fusion drive. I gave up trying to get to boot to the external SSD, so I took it to MacMedia and had them install a 256GB SSD, the smallest they had. It's now back up and running on a new SSD "Fusion Drive," the original 128GB and the new 256GB. I will use it until the new iMac arrives.
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wagnerd
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Sep 12, 2021, 12:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chongo View Post
Update: My brother gave me a 120 GB SSD to try. I formatted, launched Catalina installer, restarted, back to internal drive, doesn’t show in startup manager when using recovery, or option during startup.
I had the same problem and doing almost the same thing but after recovery, some files are missing. is it possible to recover the missing file?
     
Chongo  (op)
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Sep 14, 2021, 04:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by wagnerd View Post
I had the same problem and doing almost the same thing but after recovery, some files are missing. is it possible to recover the missing file?
I had time machine running on an external drive, in addition to iCloud backup.
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