February 18, 2009

'Nother Netbook Note - Neofelis Nano

(A note about the title - I like to alliterate. Since Apple, Mac, OS X, MacBook, iWhatever, Leopard, and even Lisa do not start with the letter "n" - I used the only big-cat-related "n" word I could find. Neofelis is the genus that contains two species, the Clouded Leopard and the Bornean Clouded Leopard. So, basically I'm talking about putting Mac OS X on my MSI Wind netbook.)

Here it is, folks, my Mac-powered MSI Wind. *Updated - See note at bottom

Ain't she a beaut? Okay, so it looks just like every other MSI Wind U100 black out there (well, the ones with a Canadian International keyboard). But it's running OS X!

Î ® 733† h@XÓR! w0ot¡ Witness my madd  hakksing skillz and ph33r!

Yeah, okay, so anyone who can download ISOs, burn DVDs, read internet forums, and follow instructions can do it. I am not elite. (Yeah, that's really how you spell elite.)

Basic run down of what I've done. More details later... maybe... if I find more time.
  • Bought an MSI Wind U100-422CA ($349.99 shipped from zipzoomfly.com)
  • Bought 1 GB RAM DDR2 ($10.99 shipped from newegg.com)
  • Bought a DVD±RW USB drive from ebay (Around $50 shipped from ebay.com)
  • Installed the RAM
  • Downloaded and burned a file called msiwindosx86.iso from the webbernetz
  • Reinstalled MS Windows XP Home (using the Genuine restore disc that came with my MSI Wind)
    • (You don't have to do this - I just screwed up and had to start over - but the good news it, it gets rid of some of the pointless "trialware" that ships on the Wind)
  • Used the Ultimate Boot CD and gparted to repartition my hard drive.
    • (I couldn't get it to resize my Windows drive, so it was another good thing that I reinstalled Windows, because I put it on a 30GB partition to start with. I think it shipped with Windows on a 40GB partition.)
    • I made 4 partitions - 30GB for XP, 5GB (in fat32) for a (not-yet-done) Linux install, 20 GB (in fat32) for media sharing between the OSes, and 99GB (which I reformatted later into "Mac OS Extended" with the OS X install disc) for Mac OS X.
  • Installed the slipstreamed Mac OS X
  • Found (using another computer) the drivers for my WiFi card.
  • Used a Time Machine Backup from my MacBook to install all my apps and setting.
Just a note. I bought the U100-422CA because it had the bigger hard drive, bigger battery, BlueTooth, and WiFi N. That last bit is a problem. The much-touted "official OS X Wireless drivers" for the MSI Wind are not official, (not from Apple or MSI anyway), and they don't work for all models of the Wind.

Basically, if the Wind only has 802.11b/g you're fine with those drivers. But if you go all out and get the 802.11n like I did, then you have to do some more digging. Unless, of course, you are reading this. Then I can tell you the drivers are here... but they suck. (Use the 3rd one down, the "PCI/mPCI/CB (RT2860/RT2790)" ones. Not sure how long the direct link will work.)

It doesn't work like an Airport card, at all. It's not built into the System Proferences in anything close to a "Mac-like" way. You have to run a seperate app to connect to any WiFi point, at least anyone that requires a password. Don't misunderstand, you don't have to leave it running, but you do have to run it to establish a connection. And it's horrible to use. It makes very little sense, and I have no idea how to save the settings. There's not even a way to click "okay" "done" "apply" or "quit". You have to go up into the menu and quit from there. And you don't know if your settings are saved or not. It's horrid... but it works. And the settings apparently don't last if you reboot your MacSI Wind or your iWind or your MacWind or your WindMac or your iNetbook or your MacBook Nano or whatever you want to call it.

What's left? Well, it's running software update right now. Not sure how smart that was, I'll let you know. I still need to install Linux, although for the life of me, I can't think of why, other than then I can say "I've got a triple boot netbook!!!" I might try Windows 7 Beta, but I'm iffy on that, too. Since I have 4 partitions, I could possibly do both, so who knows.

Oh, since it's not a Mac, the Boot Camp feature doesn't work. I think it's a part of the hacked ISO, but what happens is, when you turn on the Netbook, if you do nothing, it will go into Mac OS X. but there's some text that comes up before the familiar gray apple screen and it asks if you want to choose which partition to boot from. If you hit any key, a list of the partitions shows up, and you can select which one to boot from. It's kind of funny because it calls the other partitions "Foreign OSes" or something like that. Anyway, just thought you might want to know how to switch. And VMWare recognizes the Windows install as a "Boot Camp partition" but it I got error messages and it wouldn't start. Apparently it couldn't mount the drive while booting.

*Update about Software Update!

Okay, I figured as much - don't run Software Update without being ready for it. It screws everything up. It can be fixed, and you can be up-to-date (10.5.6), but it takes preparation and work and a USB keyboard and mouse, (which are buried in my basement somewhere at the moment...) See this blog post for more info.

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1 comment:

PT-12599 said...

Congrats, Chad - I've definitely bookmarked this page as a reference. Thanks for sharing the fruits of all your time and effort.

Now, I have to decide if I REALLY need Firewire so bad that I would rather opt for the Lenovo S10... :)