(Note- This post is done in order to share my experience creating a Hackintosh. It is not intended to recommend or encourage similar hacks. Gear Diary neither recommends, nor takes any liability, if you choose to do the same.)
I’ve been through the whole UMPC thing from the start. I had a TabletKiosk UMPC the day they were shipped. I had a Samsung Q1P, Q1Ultra, Q1Ultra Premium and a Sony UX 280P in rapid succession. I loved the whole UMPC concept but none of the machines ever fit the bill quite well enough for me. Each was either returned or, more often, found their way to eBay in pristine condition.
When I made the shift to Mac a year and a half ago I figured I had left the whole “netbook-thing” behind- at least until Apple made their way into the arena with more than the iPhone and iPod Touch. Three weeks ago, however, I decided to try again. I had an Acer Aspire One for a week and was impressed with it on many levels. The trackpad did me in, however, and it went back. From there I jumped into an HP Mini-Note 1000 and loved it. Seriously, I absolutely loved the machine. Yet after a few days using it I realized that as much as I loved the Mini-Note I hated being back on XP. (here is one exception- XP Tablet- but that is another post.) Then, earlier this week, I saw that RealTek had released a wifi driver that allowed the MSI Wind U100 to be “OX S-ified” without having to make any changes to the hardware. (Prior to this in order to get wifi working you needed to either use a WiFI dongle or open the machine up and swap in a different WiFi card.)
So goodbye HP Mini-Note, hello MSI Wind.
Truth be told I like the hardware on the Mini-Note a whole lot more than the Wind, but putting OS X on the Mini-Note is apparently still a work in progress so off I went…
Now I don’t have any technical training. My father was deeply involved in early fiber optical research (you know, the research that led to today’s interconnected high speed world) but I couldn’t get through Freshman Physics. I’m GREAT at taking stuff apart but putting it back together and getting it to work again… that’s a different story. So here I was with a brand new MSI Wind that I picked up from Best Buy for $349, a 4GB flash drive and a new copy of Leopard (not necessary for the surgical procedure I was about to begin but good if you want to sleep guilt-free at night) and one of two things would happen-
A. I would have a super light Apple Mini-Note or
B. I would destroy a perfectly good piece of brand new hardware.
I used Brian Chen’s excellentas a guide.
The First Step was to get the “magic sauce”. It goes by the name “MSIWindosx86.iso” and it can be found through a quick Google search.
I also downloaded and installed OSX86Tools. and, although Brian’s piece doesn’t mention it, I ended up using Chameleon as well.
The Second Step was to prep the flashdrive.
From Disk Utility (in the Utilities folder) I chose the USB drive.
I reformatted it to “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)”. (Note that while the drive name still appeared to be formatted for Windows it was not.)
From the “Partition” I chose Options and selected Master Boot Record. Then hit “OK” and “Apply”. This created one partition on the drive. (It is here that you’ll do the magic.)
Now I selected the USB drive from the window on the left side of Disk Utility and clicked restore. I slid MSIWindosx86.iso (the hacked OSX file) into the “Source” field. I slid the thumb drive into the
Destination” field. (I tried “choosing” them but it didn’t work.) I clicked “Restore”. I held my breath.
The Third Step
Here’s where I hit a snag. Brian’s instructions read-
Launch OSX86 Tools. Click Install EFI/Run FDISK. Install the tools, then select “Run Script.” A Terminal window will open. Type in your administrator password. Then enter 4 to run Chameleon EFI. Then follow the directions listed in the Terminal window to install the code onto your USB drive.
Didn’t work for me as I never saw the window for running the script. Search as I might I could not figure it out so I had to start over. No biggie.
This is what ended up working for me-
I launched OSX86 Tools and Clicked “Install EFI/Run FDISK”. I installed EFI on the flash. Then I started Chameleon and chose to load it on the flash drive.
I now had a drive with OSX and a small file called “boot”. I was locked, loaded and ready to go.
The Fourth Step
I eject the USB drive from my iMac and inserted it into the Wind. I rebooted while holding down the F11 key. I choose the USB drive as the startup disk and… waited.
The installation process began but when I was asked to choose a destination for loading the OS I received the message that the OS could not be installed on the Wind’s HardDrive. Wanna Bet?!?!?! I chose to format the hard drive, held my breath, started the install again and…
The Fifth Step
Here is what I encountered.
a. After install only part of the screen was actually being used. I had to change the screen resolution and, once I did, all was good.
b. I downloaded the RealTek drivers that now allow the stock WiFi card to work without being replaced. For some reason I had to load, remove, load again, remove again and then load it before it would work. I’m not totally sure what I did to get it to finally work but with a little playing around it magically started to connect to my local network.
This Thread can help if you run into issue.
So how does this bugger run? Pretty darn well. So far the only thing that does not seem to be working is the video camera. I’m sure it will, but I have not had a chance to play around with it. Everything else, though, is great. EDIT: The camera is now working too.
It runs fast enough has decent enough battery life (even with the 3 cell) and while it certainly isn’t my new MacBook with 2.4 Ghz dual-core and 4GB RAM, it works fine. Fine enough in fact, that I pulled it out while in a waiting room this morning and wrote most of this post.
All the other UMPC-type devices I had didn’t last long for me. It was, in part, the early hardware. More so, however, it was the OS. This one… it’ll be staying around for a bit.
So what’s next? I always wanted an Apple Mini-Note with a flashdrive…