I was going to suggest that you file a bug report, but you already have (three years ago):
When creating a template in the Metadata Wrangler Plugin, add the field "XMP:PreservedFileName" to the field list in "Finally, Forcefully Delete These Fields". (I haven't tested this, but I'm reasonably confident this is the magic spell.)
Unfortunately, LR doesn't let you change the lens information recorded in metadata (LR looks at both the industry standard EXIF fields and in MakerNotes). You could use the Lenstagger plugin after you import the photos if you really wanted to change the EXIF metadata.
If you primarily use just...
Some people have used symbolic links to place the previews and smart-previews subfolders in different locations than inside the catalog folder, e.g.
Is it possible to move the file location for Lightroom Previews?
I think the best you can do is to put the catalog folder on the virtual machine's drive and put the photos on the physical drive. But that's mildly inconvenient, since after exporting the catalog from your Mini, you'll have to separate the photos from the catalog.
I too often observe significant differences between LR and PS, in how they handle different projections, in the quality of the seams, and in vignette handling. Usually LR gives very good results, and I only use PS when LR doesn't.
A fair number of people have reported these symptoms in the past year:
At least one person...
The Any Source plugin's Publish Collections command finds all published collections with photos needing to be published or republished. You can quickly examine those collections and photos and select some or all to batch-republish. You can run publish multiple collections concurrently, to better...
Those folders contain files that control diagnostic logging by the corresponding versions of LR. Typically they're of use only to Adobe engineers troubleshooting issues. You can safely delete the folders for versions earlier than the version you're currently running (9.3). But there's really...