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Misbehaving mac mini media center
Posted by: sekker
Date: October 23, 2020 10:25PM
I have an early 2009 mac mini with 2GHz core 2 Duo with 8GB RAM and an SSD boot drive. Running El Capitan. Has worked as a media center until a month ago.

Right now, does very strange things. First, it knows there is media on the external hard drive, and I can start to load in iTunes but it won't play any video.

Plex also gets me playback errors.

Quicktime gives me the -101 error - does not even load the file.

Downloaded VLC; can read some of the files, however. Some, not all. But the file VLC reads does not play in iTunes or Quicktime.

All of the files on the external drive can be read fine by another Mac.

I've run disk utility first aid, but did not fix anything.

Same errors with a new user.

Could be a defective SSD? I will try a new boot drive, just wondering if someone had an experience like this.

TIA!
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Re: Misbehaving mac mini media center
Posted by: ADent
Date: October 24, 2020 12:27AM
Sounds like something is off.

I assume you have moved the external to a different port, if possible.

You can pull the drive and run the manufacture diagnostics, long run.

But probably a flaky internal SSD. You could try a reformat and re-install of OS to fix any disk corruption.
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Re: Misbehaving mac mini media center
Posted by: space-time
Date: October 24, 2020 08:53AM
[www.volitans-software.com]

run SMART Utility. I have seen disks with major problems, many bad and failing sectors that Disk Utility reports as just fine. I like SMART Utility so much that I bought the license.

You can install SAS (?) drivers and it will read SMART status on many (most?) external drives.
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Re: Misbehaving mac mini media center
Posted by: sekker
Date: October 24, 2020 09:21AM
Quote
space-time
[www.volitans-software.com]

run SMART Utility. I have seen disks with major problems, many bad and failing sectors that Disk Utility reports as just fine. I like SMART Utility so much that I bought the license.

You can install SAS (?) drivers and it will read SMART status on many (most?) external drives.

The issue is not the external drive. I can read those files from a different computer, and the misbehaving computer cannot read a second external drive with media on it.

Am rebuilding an SSD boot drive to try to isolate the issue to the internal SSD.
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Re: Misbehaving mac mini media center
Posted by: space-time
Date: October 24, 2020 12:13PM
you can check both internal and many external drives with that utility.

It is free for 3 runs or 30 days (I forgot), so why not give it a try?
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Re: Misbehaving mac mini media center
Posted by: sekker
Date: October 24, 2020 12:58PM
Quote
space-time
you can check both internal and many external drives with that utility.

It is free for 3 runs or 30 days (I forgot), so why not give it a try?

Will do, thanks. Haven’t seen a lot of tools that properly diagnose defective SSDs.
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Re: Misbehaving mac mini media center
Posted by: sekker
Date: October 24, 2020 04:32PM
Welp, looks like the Mac Mini is toast. Took an SSD with a copy of a working boot drive, and launched via that boot drive and had all of the same issues. Quicktime didn't even run well (and would crash).

Then moved the external media drive to a different Mac, it's all just fine.

Could be defective RAM or motherboard.

Likely EOL for this 2009 Mac Mini. RIP.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/24/2020 04:33PM by sekker.
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Re: Misbehaving mac mini media center
Posted by: space-time
Date: October 24, 2020 10:48PM
What os the last time you cleaned the Mini with compressed air? maybe it is overheating.
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Re: Misbehaving mac mini media center
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: October 25, 2020 08:31AM
Sounds like a motherboard issue, could be Ram, but I that is pretty rare to crop up after this length of time. You may want to pull one ram chip, try it and then the other and try it - see if it is just one bad chip, bought I doubt it.

If you go to replace it, there are some android based media players in the $60 range that work surprisingly well with some limitations (won't stream Netflix or Hulu, but my Roku does). My use is pretty much limited to playing movies from an external drive. When my WDTV dies, one of there will be my replacement -- [smile.amazon.com]



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld
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Re: Misbehaving mac mini media center
Posted by: sekker
Date: October 25, 2020 10:55AM
Quote
space-time
What os the last time you cleaned the Mini with compressed air? maybe it is overheating.

I wish it were this simple. The machine was turned off overnight before I did the last tests.
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Re: Misbehaving mac mini media center
Posted by: sekker
Date: October 25, 2020 11:00AM
Quote
Ombligo
Sounds like a motherboard issue, could be Ram, but I that is pretty rare to crop up after this length of time. You may want to pull one ram chip, try it and then the other and try it - see if it is just one bad chip, bought I doubt it.

If you go to replace it, there are some android based media players in the $60 range that work surprisingly well with some limitations (won't stream Netflix or Hulu, but my Roku does). My use is pretty much limited to playing movies from an external drive. When my WDTV dies, one of there will be my replacement -- [smile.amazon.com]

It’s a Mac mini - if I decide to test whether it’s RAM, I’ll do so when I decide to recover the SSD.

I was using this as a combo iTunes and PLEX server. I ended up recovering a 2009 MBP from a scrap heap at work recently that apparently had a defective trackpad. Added an SSD (which was not trivial, not all SSDs work in it apparently). But runs nicely and all keys work on the keyboard (and a fixed trackpad).

It’s now likely to be my new server. Kind of a waste but that machine has an old battery. Has an optical drive too so I can still rip any DVDs or CDs we might have around that I didn’t convert for our library already.

I’d have preferred to use the Mac Mini, but it’s not likely worth repairing.
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