Moving a Mac mini's AirPort card

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Reader Artur Sobieraj’s Mac minis are configured in a way that displeases him. He writes:

I have two Mac mini 1.25 GHZ PowerPC G4. No.1 is without a wireless card, No.2 with the card. I need the card from No.2 on No.1. What’s the best approach: swap the hard drives, move the card from No.2 to No.1 or any other options?

There are a variety of ways to go with this one. If you decide to take the hardware route, you have the couple of options you mentioned—swapping the hard drive or moving the AirPort card. I took a stroll over to to look at its Mac mini PowerPC repair guides and it appears that moving the AirPort card may be slightly easier than swapping the hard drives, but the latter operation isn’t that much more difficult. I’d suggest that you look at the instructions for each procedure and see which one seems more manageable.

If these upgrades are beyond your capabilities and you have an external FireWire hard drive, you could clone the contents of mini No. 1’s hard drive to that external hard drive with a tool such as Carbon Copy Cloner. Then confirm that the external drive can boot mini No. 2 and contains all your content. Now attach the two minis with a FireWire cable, boot mini No. 1 holding down the T key to boot into FireWire Target Disk Mode and boot mini No. 2.

When you do, mini No. 1’s hard drive will appear as an external hard drive on mini No. 2’s display. Using a tool such as Carbon Copy Cloner, clone mini No. 2’s hard drive to mini No. 1. You now have the contents of mini No. 2 on both Macs.

Finally, shut down both Macs, attach the external hard drive (which contains the contents of mini No. 1) to mini No. 2, boot from it, and clone its contents to mini No. 2.

Phew. Makes that hardware swap more attractive, doesn’t it?

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