Mac Mini Not Booting (no hard drive detected) after installed from live CL


My computer is a Mac Mini (mid 2011). I have created a live CL USB and used it without issues. But when after installing it to the HD I try to boot from the HD I can not, the HD has “dissapeared”.

I have installed CL to the HD following the live CL GUI steps for a full clean install (no partition sharing with other OS, etc). All with zero issues during the install.

After installing, when I try to boot the from the HD all I get is a white screen with a directory folder icon flashing with a question mark. Seems like it finds nothing, no HD where to boot from.

When at startup I try to choose in the boot menu which source to boot from there is no source to choose, no HD.

I have rebooted with the live CL USB and seen with the Disks utility that the partitions on the HD have been made and CL has installed itself to the HD.

Therefore it is effectively installed on the HD, but for some reason the Mac does not see the HD when booting.

I am testing several live distros and I have installed them also to the HD, so I am sure the Mac is in perfect working conditions.

I am, what some would call a very, very advanced user, but by no means a computer/IT specialist.

My wild, non-expert guess, is that it may have something to do with the partition scheme. I see that the scheme used by CL to install itself on the HD is FAT, normally MACs are GUID and work better with it.

Of all the distros I have tested/reviewed up to now, by far I like CL the most, it is fast, zippy, slim, and its package management is oriented to my area of interest, ML/AI.

Simply I can not get it to work. I guess the solution is easy and at the tip of fingers.

I would very much appreciate some help/hints.

Thanks !!!

I assume the Mac mini can boot with UEFI. UEFI uses a FAT filesystem for the boot partition (Also called ESP). The actual OS would live in a second ext4 partition.

Can you reboot into the live image and check the output of lsblk - and show that to us? We might be able to get some useful info out of it.

Hi ahkok, Thanks for the help !

Sure, here is my output …

Searching around for info I have found this answer from 2016 in Quora (full text in next message screenshot):

"MacOS on Intel will only boot from a drive with a GUID partition table, and Windows systems from 2005 on can read/write these disks but can only boot from them on systems with UEFI (instead of a BIOS).

“You should format your disks with GUID partition tables. For macOS boot disks, it is mandatory”

Without myself knowing any of all that he explains, it is in line with what I have experienced for myself with Mac bootables.

Apple support seems to explain the same (see next message screenshot).

All the other distros I have booted from live USB and then installed to the HD have booted on the Mac with GUID, otherwise not.

Serve also as an example that the live CL USB I created did not work at the first go on the Mac.

I followed step by step the instructions available at the CL web section “Create a bootable USB drive on Linux” .

I was following these linux instructions to create the live CL because I was running another linux distro on the Mac at the time The USB I was using was brand new (FAT from factory).

Seeing that the live CL USB was not recognised by the Mac I checked out - just in case and even though I was running on the Mac linux - the instructions in “Create a bootable USB drive on macOS” instead of the linux instructions.

I saw in the macOS instruction screenshot that the USB was GUID.

Remembering the boot problems with Mac and FAT I changed the USB scheme to GUID and reinstalled the live CL to the newly GUID fomated USB. The MAC now did see it and boot.

Nevertheless the best option, proof test, would be for you to try it out with a live usb FAT formated and any Mac you may have at hand available and then try again with GUID.

Maybe I can do a test also, and I can get back to you with the results. Is it feasible for me to install CL with a HD GUID scheme and see if it does the trick ?

I do dearly hope this info is useful.

And that other Mac user get a chance to try successfully Clear Linux.


In the previous message check out specially the 5th bullet point.

This is usually the problem - we don’t keep hundreds of systems around - that would be difficult. We have a good mix of NUC systems and a few laptops and servers, but not a large library of COTS systems.

Just for clarification, Clear Linux does use GPT, and UEFI (for both Mac OS X and Clear Linux) uses a VFAT EFI partition in that GUID partition table. The OSes should even be able to coexist; you’d end up with a GPT that includes:

  • VFAT EFI partition (with both OS X and Clear Linux kernels and other bootloader assets)
  • swap partition for Clear Linux
  • ext4 partition for Clear Linux root filesystem
  • HFS+ partition for OS X (if you want to dual boot)

However, as @ahkok mentioned, we don’t have hardware available to try this out, so we haven’t had a chance to figure out what other steps are necessary to make it work.

I honestly believe you are both right, therefore I am retaking at this present moment the installation in order to see if somehow I am able to achieve a successful install.

I will retake this install without the possibility of effective support from CL due to CL’s hardware availability constraints - the availability of a Mac computer.

I do fully understand possible available hardware limits and at the same time I would suggest for CL to add in the hardware test assortment a Mac.

Why add a Mac ? Please bear with me that the following reasonings could be more for whom may have to decide the assortment of hardware than maybe directly yourselves:

  1. CL has a Desktop and a Server version, therefore should have a representative hardware assortment of both, Desktops and Servers.

  2. Marketing communication skills say we read in a Z-pattern. On the CL webpage the Desktop download is at the top left and the Server download is to the right of it. Therefore, communicationally, Desktop seems given by CL a higher order of importance.

  3. Desktop OS Market Shares: Win 87%, MacOS 10%, Linux 2%, Chrome, etc 1%. Therefore, it seems reasonable to have at least one Mac, since it has a 5-fold market share of Linux.

  4. Desktop Vendors: HP 23%, Lenovo 22%, Dell 16%, Apple 7%, Acer 6%. If you have say 5 test Desktops, it would seem reasonable to have at least one Mac. Mac also has certain technical spec peculiarities vs others. For example Thunderbolt is typically on a Mac, while not normally on others. Therefore, more reasons to have at least one Mac.

  5. Last, and by no means least, CL web offers instructions on how-to’s with a Mac. Therefore, hope is that CL has at least one real physical Mac to test on.

I am quite sure CL is already totally aware of all these possible reasonings, and at the same time I also believe a users input at CL is always highly valued and taken into consideration by whom may concern.

Kindest Regards