Recently I’ve managed to install Apple’s OS X Leopard operating system 10.5.4 onto a 10 inch MSI Wind Netbook, and you can too. Let me preface this by saying that I consider myself an Apple fan, and run nothing but authentic Macs in my home studio office. If you’re looking for another Mac vs. PC debate, then there’s is nothing for you to see here. Move right along please.
The Victim: An MSI Wind U100 Netbook. This slick little machine comes preloaded with your choice of Windows or Linux. Armed with an Intel Atom 1.6 Ghz Processor, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB HD, built-in ethernet, wifi, webcam and bluetooth. That said, the most enticing feature is its crisp & clear 10 inch screen.
To accomplish this procedure, you will be opening the MSI netbook to upgrade the memory and swap out the factory wifi card (which will void your warranty). So think twice if you are not comfortable doing such a thing. We need to do this because having more memory always helps any operating system run snappier. OS X is no different. The MSI Wind takes up to 2 GB of RAM. More importantly the factory wifi card that it comes with, does not work in OS X out of the box. So you’ll need to acquire a Dell Broadcom DW 1390 or 1490 internal mini pci wifi card, which are both inherently supported in OS X.
I found both the 1 GB memory upgrade stick and a 1390 card on ebay for no more than $20 each. You’ll need a special Leopard build titled “MSI WINDos x86”, of which the Hackint0sh community should be credited for assembling. It’s a slipstreamed “Kalyway” build which includes all the proper Kexts, drivers, Kernel modifications, and other files necessary to achieve a fully working installation on the MSI wind. Please do not inquire about where to find this disk image, it’s in all the typical shady places on the net.
Additionally you will need an external dvd drive to do the install, since the MSI Wind does not have an optical drive. You can acquire a cheap external USB DVD drive from Tiger Direct or your favorite online electronics shop for about $50. Lastly, I do not advocate piracy, and highly recommend that you purchase a copy of OS X Leopard to be legit. Well then, let’s get into it.
Product: MSI Wind U100 running OS X
Author: Jose Perez
Published on: September 28th 2008
Product & Parts cost: $634.00
Spelling and Grammatical editor: Planetx64 Staff
You will need the following:
- MSI Wind U100, Specs as follows:
1GB Ram, 80-120GB HD, Wifi, Ethernet, 3 USB, SD Card Reader, VGA output, Bluetooth, Webcam Price: $549 – at Amazon (Free Shipping) Check Newegg and other places for alternate pricing…You mileage may vary
- 1GB SODIMM PC5300 DDR2 Notebook RAM (for a total of 2GB)
Price: $20 E-bay ….Check Crucial or other online store, RAM is CHEAP
- Dell Broadcom DW 1390 Mini PCI Express WLAN card, or the 1490 version
Price: $15 on E-bay
- An External USB DVD Drive
Price: $50 at Tiger Direct
- “MSI WINDos x86 Disk Image”
- Blank Dual Layer DVD Disk
- Phillips Screwdriver
Total Invested $634
Opening the Casing:
- First, flip the Wind over and remove the battery (Figure. A)
- Next, unscrew the 8 visible phillips screws (Figure. B). There is a ninth screw hidden under the warranty void sticker. You will need to puncture thru with your screwdriver. MSI allows you to open the Machine to upgrade the memory. However, every other modification voids the warranty, including the wifi card you will be replacing here.
- Slowly wiggle the case edges from one side to the other until case pops up. Take your time, patience is a virtue here. Once it’s open, make sure you ground yourself before proceeding towards the innards.
We’ll begin with the memory upgrade, followed by the wifi card. There is a standard notebook memory slot (Figure. C) visible on the surface to the left of the Hard drive.
- Slide your memory chip (Figure. D) in at the inclined 45 degree angle, and then gently push down until the post clips snap into place. Next we’ll replace the wifi card (Figure. H).
- There are a few steps required here. First remove the 1 phillips screw (Figure. E) holding the card in place right under the antenna block.
- Slide the card out slowly, while lifting the tape (Figure. G) holding the antennas in place.
- Once you have the wifi card out of the socket, slowly disconnect the 2 aerial antenna connectors (Figure. F) from the block. (On a side note, while you are in there, you can upgrade the 2.5 inch notebook hard drive. It slips out easily and it’s only held down by one screw under the wifi card). Grab your replacement 1390 or 1490 wifi card, and reverse the procedure.
- Slide the card in, and reconnect the 2 aerial antenna connectors (Figure. F) into the block.
- Don’t forget to place the tape (Figure. G) back over the antenna holding the wires down over the card.
- Place the screw back onto the wifi card edge, and tighten it (Figure. I).
- Position the bottom case lid back on, and snap into place slowly.
- Finally tighten all 9 screws back into place (Figure. B).
Before you begin, you will need to burn the “MSI WINDos x86 ISO Disk Image” you acquired, onto a blank Dual Layered DVD from an existing pc or mac. If you are not familiar with burning an ISO image, then Google it. There are plenty of ways to accomplish this on all platforms. Once you are done, we are ready to begin.
- Connect your external USB dvd drive to the MSI wind while the computer is off.
- Turn on the dvd drive and eject the tray. Place the MSI Leopard disk in the drive and close the tray.
- Turn on the MSI wind. After the MSI logo screen, you will be prompted for 5 seconds at the darwin screen. Just tap the space bar within the 5 seconds provided in order to boot from the disk. You will see the installation commence.
- The process will take around 5 minutes before you get to the main OSX installation GUI screen. On your way there, you will see a blue screen with the spinning multicolored beach ball as your mouse representation.
- Shortly thereafter you will arrive at the language selection screen. Select English and click next.
- You will arrive at the Welcome screen for the install. At this point you need to stop and blow away your drive partitions to start fresh. Drag your mouse to the top edge of the screen, and click on “Utilities”.
- Then go down and select “Disk Utility”.
- Click on your main drive in the left side.
- Select “Partition” on the right side.
- In “Volume Scheme”, select “1 partition”.
- Assign your disk a name. Then Click on “Apply”. It will take a few seconds to process the disk.
- Click on “Quit Disk Utility” from the menu.
- It will take you back to the main installer “Welcome” page. Click on “Continue”.
- Click to accept the licensing agreement.
- Select your drive destination which you just partitioned.
- Very Important to STOP on the next screen titled “Install Summary”. In the lower left hand corner there is a “Customize” button. Click it.
- Go into Patches, then Kernel, and Uncheck it.
- Click on done, and you will be taken back to the “Install Summary” page and click on “Install”.
- Sit back and have a cup of coffee while the machine goes thru the whole install process. Don’t be alarmed if it loooks like no activity is going on. If you don’t see the dvd drive light going, you will notice the HD light on the MSI blinking while installation happens in the background.
- Once it is finished and reboots, unplug the dvd usb cable.
- This time when the “Darwin” boot screen comes up, don’t click space bar. The grey Apple logo screen should come up upon booting. If all went well, core animation and sound were installed, and you should see the welcome intro movie playing smoothly. That’s it, you are home free.
Some Caveats: You can install any application, and do your security updates and patches. However, you can’t do the point upgrades. This install will leave you patched all the way up to 10.5.4. So for instance you can’t update to 10.5.5 unless you are using a patched kernel for 10.5.5. Basically you stay on 10.5.4 until the Hackint0sh community releases the next build fix for the wind (ie “Kalyway 10.5.5”). Everything should work except the Internal Microphone, Mic port & headset port. Fortunately, External Audio , wifi, bluetooth, ethernet and Webcam work fine, and you have the option to turn that hardware off with the notebook function keys.
Power management/Sleep work normally for the most part. The only difference from actual Apple hardware, is that you need to tap the power button to wake from sleep, as opposed to screen lid, mouse movement or space tap. Fans work properly, same as on a macbook. They kick in on heavy CPU usage and high temps. However, I must say, the device keeps very cool most of the time. Other pluses include Portability & Price. The 6 cell battery gets you around 5 hours of usage.
- Core image
- Core animation
- Core audio
- Video Out & Graphics in general
- Wired Ethernet
- Internal Speakers
- SD Card Slot
- Function Keys
Not able do perform Major OS point upgrades. There is no support for this. Warranty becomes Void. You are totally on your own. Web Cam, Wifi & Bluetooth, need to be activated via the function keys before the OS will see them (very PC like). The trackpad feels a little clunky, however I prefer a small mouse (wired or bluetooth). If you try to save a few dollars by going with the 3 cell battery, you will only get 2 hours of usage.
- Internal Microphone
- Microphone port
- Headset port
Previously, the OS X Hackint0sh community has been able to get several versions of OS X including Tiger and Leopard onto these devices using Intel CPU’s. It was cumbersome to install, and a half-baked install at best leaving certain features not fully functional. This all changed with the release of MSI’s Wind notebook running on Intel’s newest Atom CPU.
Why would you want to install OS X on an MSI netbook? We all have our reasons. Mine however, was portability and price point. Filling a missing gap in Apple’s mobile product line. The Macbooks are fantastic, but still to big and start at around $1,000. The Macbook Pro’s are even better, and yet more expensive (Granted you get what you pay for). Macbook Air’s are very attractive and portable, but the premium price is a bit in the higher range as well.
Using the Hackint0sh community resources I was able to get a fully working copy of OS X installed. Well actually, more like 98% working, however that’s pretty good if you ask me. This leaves you with an affordable Non-Apple Intel based 10 inch notebook, which is usable for most daily computing tasks. Obviously you will not be running Photoshop or 3D software on this tiny screen (1024×600) & cpu, altho you could (barely). However, for a $600-650 investment, this is a no brainer compared to the sleek Macbook Air for 3 times that amount in it’s base configuration.
There is in my mind, no substitute for the marriage of software and hardware combination that are Apple products. However this is a good alternate portable solution, at an affordable price, providing you all the goodness of OS X Leopard