Mac OS X Lion (10.7) on my (upgraded) Late 2006 Mac Mini

After yesterday’s upgrade of my Late 2006 Mac Mini (MacMini1.1) it was time today to see if I could get OS X 10.7 (Lion) working on it. As per  discussions on Apple’s discussion forms this should be possible (as the hardware supports after the upgrade I did). However, the standard OS X Lion installation did not want to install on this hardware yet. As per the discussion on I had to remove the file


before the installation wanted to start. Once I did that, I could do a clean install on the new SSD Harddisk withougt any issues or additional hacks needed. Also transferring the users, apps and settings from the old system still on the external USB harddisk went fine and actually totally surprised me (I never used it before) as it turned the clean install in a totall usable system including the configuration of the OpenDirectory server.

After the installation it is important to enable Trim support on OS X to extend the lifetime of my SSD harddisk with the excellent tool Chameleon.

Right now I am very happy with the end result: a Late 2006 Mac Mini running OS X Lion (10.7):
Late 2006 Mac Mini after upgrade

Obviously only 3 Gb of memory is available as that is the max. the hardware supports, but still this is a very good solution to have a 2nd Mac Mini system for my children.

Upgraded my MacMini1.1 to a MacMini2.1 :-)

As I already wrote in my last post, I was looking into upgrading my old late 2006 Mac Mini to extend it’s techinical live. Today I have successfully managed to upgrade the hardware of the old machine and it is running fine again. The steps I did were:

  • Replaced the Core Duo 1.66Ghz CPU with a Core 2 Duo 2Ghz CPU
    The exact CPU I purchased for about €25 through e-Bay was an Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 SL9SF 2.0GHz/4M/667 Laptop CPU. To install it I basically followed the steps as in the iFixIT step-by-step guide to replace a MacMini CPU, which were pretty straightforward.
  • Booted OS X from the MacMini’s USB harddisk while the machine was still open to install the MacMini2.1 firmware
    As per this NetKas forum guide, the firmware must be updated before adding the additional memory or the Mac Mini won’t boot. The links to the firmware were broken, I actually downloaded them MediaFire and followed the steps from the French Mac forum post that linked to them.
  • Replaced the 2x 1Gb memory with 2x 2Gb memory modules
    Through Marktplaats.NL I acquired 2 used memory modules for only €35. As the machine was still open it was pretty straightforward to replace the memory modules.
  • Replaced the 80Gb broken harddisk with a 60 Gb SSD Drive
    I purchased an ADATA S511 60GB SSH Harddisk online for only € 39,00. Again installing it was straightforward as the machine was still open.

After all steps were completed, the Mac Mini was still working as before on Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6.8) without problems. The extra memory did help, but as it was still booting from an USB Disk it was still very slow.

As extra bonus I noticed that the Mac Mini now supported the modern Mac keyboards (the flat iron ones) during the BIOS startup. Before this update I always needed the old (plastic) keyboard I got with the machine to be able to intervene in the boot process, but now this also worked with the modern keyboards :-).

Tomorrow I will look into upgrading OS X and see how that goes. So far so good, the machine is working faster already and for about €100 in total not a bad investment to keep using it.

Upgrading a late 2006 model Mac Mini

One of the Macs in our house is a late 2006 model Mac Mini (MacMini1.1 model MA206LL/A). The machine itself still works hapily with Mac OS X Leopard (10.6), but it only has 2Gb of memory and since its harddisk broke a while ago, it is working from an USB harddisk. All in all technically still OK, but terrible user experience as it is just slow.
Today I did some investigation on the Internet to see to what extend this old machine can still be upgraded and bumped into an interesting overview on It turns out that the basics are quite good and with a few changes it can still be used for some time:

  • CPU – currently a Core Duo that could be replaced with a Core 2 Duo
    The Core Duo processor is a 32-bit one that does not support 64-bit OS X. Fortunately the processor is on a socket (and not soldered to the main board) and its pin layout is identical to Core 2 Duo models. This is also being discussed on Apple’s discussion forum (still exists so Apple is not stopping it) and according to posts on others have done this successfully, so this is definitely something I will try. Guess what, there is even a step-by-step guide on iFixIT on how to do it!
  • Memory – currently limited to 2GB but potentially could support 3Gb (of 2x 2Gb)
    Memory is limited to 2Gb (2x 1Gb) with the Core Duo processor, but the Core 2 Duo can support up to 4Gb (2x 2Gb) of memory. Unfortunately the MacMini1.1 model firmware does not support it but it turns out to be possible to flash the firmware of a MacMini2.1 as the folks on the NetKas forum explain. The links to the firmware no longer worked, but I found them on a French Mac Forum thanks to this post. After this upgrade 3Gb can be used, which is still 50% more than the machine had.
    There is a separate step-by-step guide on iFixIT for replacing the memory, but I don’t think I will need it as I will do it when I replace the CPU.
  • Harddisk – currently broken 5400rpm 80Gb disk, replacing this with a 60Gb SSD harddisk is a no-brainer
    Replacing a broken harddisk for an SSD disk is nothing fancy, though it is important to enable Trim support on OS X after replacing it when you use a non-Apple disk. For this I found the excellent tool Chameleon some time ago for my Macbook Pro.
    Also for this step there is a step-by-step guide on iFixIT, that I won’t need either as I will install the new harddisk when I replace the CPU.
  • Software – currently OS X Leopard (10.6) is the maximum
    Replacing the Core Duo CPU for a Core 2 Duo would turn the MacMini1.1 effectively into a Macmini2.1, which is capable of running OS X Lion (10.7) according to discussions on Apple’s discussion forms. There is apparently only one hack needed (removal of a file on the installation media) to be able to perform a clean install according to a discussion on

As I am not that uncomfortable with opening my old Mac Mini (did it before when I added memory) and the other steps appear doable, I will give this a shot. I just ordered the components and plan to perform the upgrade next weekend (assuming all parts will be in).

Access Cisco Firewall forwarded external IPv4 port from inside

For some time now I am using a borrowed Cisco 881 router as router/firewall for my internet connection. The box is stable and configured as I want, but unlike with the Linux and Fritz!Box routers I used before, the Cisco does not allow to connect to forwarded IPv4 ports on its external address. This is inconvenient in my situation as this means that I am unable to reach some services from my internal network (i.e. I cannot reach websites I host). So far the only way around this was using split DNS and double administration, which is quite tedious and inconvenient.

Some time ago when looking how to set this up, I bumped into this article:  NAT: access outside global address from the inside (this site seems to be down at the moment, but it’s content is still available through here thanks to the Internet Archive). This describes an alternative way to setup the Cisco NAT rules using the NAT Virtual Interface (NVI),which decouples them from the specific interface in a specific direction. Today I have tested this approach.


To setup the new NAT approach, change the existing NAT rules:

ip nat inside source static tcp 80 WW.XX.YY.ZZ 80

into something that looks like the next line:

ip nat source static tcp 80 WW.XX.YY.ZZ 80

ip access-list extended NAT-INSIDE-ADDRESSES
permit ip any
ip nat source list NAT-INSIDE-ADDRESSES interface FastEthernet0/1 overload

(basically remove the inside clause in the statement). In my setup is the internal IP address of my web server and WW.XX.YY.ZZ represents my external IP address. In this example I forwarded port 80 (HTTP). The last part is required to make sure that also internal traffic on FastEthernet0/1 will be NATted properly to avoid asynchronous data flows.

 Testing it

The first basis tests of this new setup were promising. Indeed, after these changes I could access my external sites also from internal addresses. However, when downloading something from an internal site I noticed that the performance was not very good. This was something I definitely could live with as the traffic would not be massive. However, due to this change in config, all NAT traffic turned out to be slower and effectively the performance of my network connection was about half of what it used to be. Before this change the Cisco 881 was capable of streaming about 38 – 43 Mbit, which was not my full 50Mbit bandwith, but close enough. With this (NVI) setup, I noticed that my max. network bandwith  using SpeedTest.NET dropped to 20Mbit and below. With the command
show processes cpu history
on the router I noticed that the poor Cisco 881 was at 100% CPU load/utilization during the downloads. I suspect that the old Cisco 881 (which does not support 50Mbit in the first place) is CPU-bound when using NAT Virtual Interfaces and not capable of handling this at higher speeds.


Technically, the approach to use the NAT Virtual Interface (NVI) feature of IOS works to enable access to NAT forwarded external ports from the inside. However, since this appears to be very CPU intensive, it is not a good solution for now as the Cisco 881 cannot cope with the load and the internet bandwith is effectively reduced to only 50%. I think need to revisit this approach once I have acquired a router that is capable to support the bandwith I have and see if then can handle the CPU load.

Happy New Year!

A Happy New Year and best wishes for 2014 to all of you!

As you may have noticed, things have become extremely quiet here and and published only a few posts during 2013. The key reason for that was that at my day job things were (and still are) tough, which did not let me a lot of time over the weekend spend time with my family, to play around with technical stuff, and still have enough energy (and discipline) left to post about that here. Now for this year I do not expect that to change immediatly, but I still do have a number of posts in draft to finish regarding the recovery of upgrade to Mac OS X Maverick, I have started to play with Cisco routers which requires me to document stuff and have some small projects lined up for this year to complete….

Now of course this is the beginning of the year, which normally means a fresh start and a lot of initial ideas… so let’s change some things now for the rest of this year…