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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Apple's new file system APFS won't support old hard drives, you CAN run High Sierra on your hard drive, and MS Office 2011 for Mac comes to the end of support

Appleinsider reports that Apple’s nifty new Apple File System (APFS) that replaces the 20 year old Hierarchical File System Plus (HFS+) won’t support legacy hard drives. You know, that stock 500 GB 5400 rpm hard drive that came with your Mac Mini or iMac? Nope, it’ll still run HFS+ . Slower than a SSD running APFS, but it will still work just fine spring for a SSD.


“Did he just say that I can’t update my old Mac to 10.13?!!!” (Panic and spit takes ensue) No, I DID NOT SAY THAT! I’m running 10.13 beta on a stock 5400 rpm 500 GB hard drive. It doesn’t run as fast as it does on my MacBook Air with its SSD. Let’s keep things in perspective.


It’s clear that Apple wants you to get a New Mac. They’d like you to get a new one Every Year. I expect 10.13 will cause many users to look at their machines, as I did in 2012, and decide to get a new Mac.


Let’s review our options:


1. Just stay put. You might have software that works fine now, but that would cost too much to upgrade. For example, Microsoft put out the word that support for Office 2011 for Mac stops this year. They haven’t tested Office 2011 on the beta of 10.13. They don’t intend to. They want you to buy Office 2016.


Should you upgrade from Office 2011  and macOS 10.12 if it works for you? No, I see no reason to if you have to pay full retail price for it. You might investigate your options, such as joining the Office 365 program for a monthly subscription. That would automatically offer you an upgrade to Office 2016.


And you might want to finally break down and learn how to use iWork ‘15!


My Senior Correspondent, Arnold Woodworth, always advised us at meetings to wait until the 3rd version of the new OS came out before installing it. This avoids installing bugs that Apple forgot to squash before shipping it out. So you have time to think and gather funds for the next steps.


2. Survey the situation. Could your Mac receive a new SSD? As always, it depends on the Mac. On older Macs, you could even do this yourself. On some of these newer Macs that they soldered and glued together, it’s not an option for the faint-of-heart. Which brings me to option #3


3. Boot from an external SSD. Glenn Fleishmann of Macworld suggested this. He has an older Mac Mini that he didn’t feel like opening to install a faster hard drive or SSD.


He only had the four USB 2.0 ports and a single Firewire 800 port. So he looked for an external SSD with a Firewire 800 connection. He found it at He reports satisfaction.


If you have USB 3.0 or 3.1, you have more options for an external SSD. Samsung and Western Digital make well-reviewed units. In any event, read Glenn’s article for advice on how to do this without borking your machine.


4. Open your Mac up to install a new SSD. This is the heart-stopping measure. I have some advice in this, having installed a second hard drive in my late 2011 Mac Mini.


A. Backup, backup, backup! Make one backup using a cloning app such as Super-Duper or Carbon Copy Cleaner. Make another one, just to make sure. Now make sure you’ve got a Time Machine backup, too.


C. Read the instructions and view the videos. You’ll find instructions on You’ll also find kits with all the parts and tools you’ll need at iFixit, too.


I got my tools, parts and instructions for upgrading my Mac Mini from They provided me with printed instructions with lots of pictures. They have videos on their YouTube channel. They provided a full set of specialized tools that you won’t find in your regular toolbox.


D. You could split the load, as it were, between a smaller SSD for macOS and your apps; with another hard drive for your User folders. M. Christopher Stevens of Macsales wrote an excellent tutorial detailing how to do this.



To recap, Don’t Panic over High Sierra. It will run on a 5400 rpm 500 GB stock Apple hard drive. It just won’t run as swiftly as it does on an SSD formatted with the new APFS.


Microsoft will cease support for Office 2011 for Mac this year. They haven’t tested it on High Sierra. Iwork ‘15, anyone? NeoOffice, LibreOffice, or Google Docs? Even


You have options with an SSD, ranging from an external SSD that just plugs in to opening up your system to install a new SSD.


So relax, sip a refreshing cold beverage and review the links I put in this post.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog



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