T6 Torx with Hole

How to Fix a Slow Mac mini in an Unusual Way by Troy Shimkus

Hello Castaways!

So, just an anecdotal story to share for fun. Recording this on my new 13” MacBook Pro in a hotel room after buying it last night at the local Apple Store in the city I’m visiting.

While visiting my parents, my dad was complaining that his late 2014 Mac mini was slow. While I just thought it was normal whatever slowness and not really concerning, when I sat down to maybe clean up a few things or whatever, and it took 64 seconds to open System Preferences (yes I timed it), I thought, welp, this aint good.

T6 Torx with HoleSo, I decided we could just replace the internal drive with an SSD and make it all better again. So, off to Best Buy for a $50 SSD, no biggie. Then I recall that the process to replace this drive in this computer is rather involved, and off to YouTube to bone up on that. Oy Vey! Now I remember, you have to remove the entire logic board to get at the drive in this thing and you need special tamper-proof torx screws.

A call to a local repair place indicates the job would cost $400. Bah! I can save my parents money and take care of this, surely we can get this tool somewhere. You know, the special torx screwdriver with the hole in the center. Well, Best Buy is a no, there is no more Radio Shack, no Hobby Store has them, and Home Depot and Lowes only have sets that start at T7, and of course, I need a T6.

Harbor Freight! Yes, while I’ve never been to one, I’ve heard great things about them, and my Dad (who owns a dozen of every tool ever made, ever) loves this place! So we take a bonding trip down to Harbor Freight. They have a tamper proof set that includes all the way down to a T5 size, score! Get back home (about a 20 minute drive), get the bottom cover off, and go to unscrew the first screw….denied! Huh? Well that’s strange, the T6 size doesn’t have the hole in it. Every other size does, but not the T6. Sigh.

Well, this has to be a fluke so Back to Harbor Freight, more dad bonding time, we find a dozen or so of these tools. Every single one has the same problem. Well, Dad doesn’t give up, so off to the next Harbor Freight, another 20 minutes away, and the same thing. We even got the nice sales person to get a new box from the back, the entire box had the same issue. I’m guessing some kind of manufacturing error. We inform them, and leave empty-handed.

Well, I can’t let my dad continue to struggle with a computer that is slower than my first 286 I built 30 years ago, so as I head to the hotel last night I’m thinking of what I can do. Just buy him a new MacMini? Well, at $800 that’s a bit much for someone who checks email, plays solitaire and looks at car sites. I just need to get one tool to fix this up but I leave tomorrow and Amazon can’t get anything here for 2 days.

So as I ponder, it hits me. While I do love my 12” MacBook, especially the keyboard (I know I’m the only one in the world that loves that keyboard) I’ve been thinking of consolidating the MacBook and my trash can MacPro that I don’t use much anymore down to just a single laptop, but to do that I need a machine with more than on USBC- port, so the MacBook I have won’t work as my only machine.

So, here I sit using my brand new MacBook Pro, that I set up in a hotel room and used a USB-C cable to transfer my MacBook to this machine using Migration Assistant that went flawless, and I’ll be headed home to set my dad up with my MacBook hooked to his monitor and keyboard setup, I’ll take the MacMini home with me, get the drive replaced, then bring it back at some point and sell the MacBook.

And just like that, Dad can play solitaire again! Let it not be said I won’t bend over backwards to help my parents – or maybe just to buy myself a new computer, we will never know the true motivation.

So after using this computer and this recording being the first thing I’ve done on this computer, I can say I’m rather impressed with it. The Touch Bar that I thought would be a gimmick and not that great, I’m actually enjoying. As I’ve already found a few things pop up that I found useful. And I’m exited about the T2 chip being there with Touch ID, as it should help me out security wise with some things. The keyboard is very…different. It has a softer feel than the MacBook, and I’m not sure how I really feel about it yet, as I really loved that MacBook Keyboard. But I’m sure I can get used to this keyboard as well.

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