My MSI Wind netbook is now running OSX

It took me almost all day to do it, but my MSI Wind netbook now has OSX installed on it…

The reason why it took so long was that I ran into a few hiccups along the way. The first thing I did was to install a 1GB RAM upgrade. Then I transplanted a Dell Wifi card that I purchased on eBay. OSX doesn’t recognize the WiFi card that MSI uses… Then I burned the OSX ISO onto a DVD. Problem was that I only had one blank DVD and after the burn, it wasn’t able to do a verify. Oops… I didn’t feel like driving into town to buy some more discs, so I scrounged around in my drawers and found another solution. A spare 70GB 3.5″ SATA hard drive and Brando’s SATA 2.5″ and 3.5″ SATA HDD Dock came to my rescue. The MSI Wind Forums helped me again with instructions on how to set up my HD so that it would be bootable.

The actual install using Paul O’Brien’s walk-through went great until I got to part in the OSX setup where it asks you if you want to transfer your files and settings from another Mac. It kept looping at this part. But of course a little reading in the MSI Wind Forums turned up the answer to that problem as well.

The install is complete now and all the important functions appear to be working properly, including sound, WiFi and sleep. There are a few things that I still need to look into and / or fix:

1. The built in webcam isn’t working.
2. The fan seems to be running considerably more than it did under XP.
3. I don’t know if it’s my imagination, but the display seems fuzzier under OSX than it did under XP. The resolution is the same 1024 x 600.

I still need to do some battery life tests to see how the 3 cell battery performs under this new OS. Other than that, I think I’m good to go :o)

29 comments… add one

  • Bill Quinlan September 7, 2008, 4:58 pm

    I am curious as to why you went thru all that effort.

    What do you expect to get from OSX that you can’t get from XP or Vista?

    Wil you keep it installed or revert back to — what?

    thanks…

    1
  • patte September 7, 2008, 6:17 pm

    I’m also looking forward to your upcoming reviews of the Wind on OS X.
    As a huge OS X fan, this is also the platform/ OS which are all of my favourite applications are at home. I’m most productive under os x and have grown to a workflow that simply isn’t possible under xp or vista.

    I plan to do the same thing so I’m very curious about the drawbacks.

    cheers,
    patte

    2
  • Tyler Puckett September 7, 2008, 6:19 pm

    Thanks for the post, Julie. I’m sure Apple Legal will be knocking on your door shortly… ;-)

    Only teasing. So, are you planning on keeping OS X on there or what? Personally I really like the looks of the Ubuntu netbook distro. That looks really nice, and optimized for netbooks like this puppy.

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  • Julie September 7, 2008, 8:49 pm

    Bill:

    I installed OSX on the Wind because I’m a Mac person ;o) That’s what I use all the time (except at my day job). Having a tiny travel ‘Macbook’ has been a wish of mine for awhile. When I heard that it could be done, I had to give it a try to see how well it actually works.

    patte:

    I probably will just update this short article with more info or add more comments. I don’t plan to do a full blown OSX on a Wind review. If people have specific questions about things, I’ll be more than happy to try to answer them.

    Tyler:

    I’m not worried… ;o) I bought a Leopard family pack when it came out and have only installed it in 2 machines. So I feel like I’m entitled ;o)

    As for my plans to keep OSX on the Wind, revert back to XP or try Ubuntu, time will tell… I want to use OSX for a few days before I decide. I’m actually still having issues with the layout of the Wind’s keyboard. I’m considering even trying another netbook that has a more conventional layout…

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  • Mark Rosengarten September 8, 2008, 3:57 am

    Very nicely done!!!!

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  • Michael Murray September 8, 2008, 7:12 am

    That’s really neat. I miss the old 12″ powerbook — such a great size.

    I do wonder though how long Apple legal will let them distribute Leopard :-)

    Michael

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  • Julie September 8, 2008, 7:42 am

    Michael,

    Hard to say… but different builds have been floating around for months now. I’m not quite sure how Apple can easily really stop it.

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  • patte September 8, 2008, 7:54 am

    Hi Julie,

    yes… I was a bit sleepy last night when typing that I’d be looking forward to a review of you. Just keep us curious folk a little bit updated with the keyboard layout issue, the possible switch to another laptop with osx or whatever.

    Like Michael and you I am all about a small small OS X laptop – even it is not from apple ;)

    -Patte

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  • Christopher Spera September 8, 2008, 8:42 am

    VERRRRY cool. I haven’t used or even seen any of these netbooks. The fact that you have found a way to get OSX on it is very interesting. Have you been able to get iTunes, and the rest of the standard Mac fare up and running as well? Have you bumped into any application issues now that you have it going?

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  • Julie September 8, 2008, 9:13 am

    After spending the main part of yesterday just getting the OS installed, I was happy to set the Wind aside to do other things with the rest of my Sunday ;o) I plan to ‘play’ with it again tonight though. I’ll see about trying iTunes. I am going to assume that there will be no issues at all.

    I do still need to get the webcam working – not that I’ll probably ever use it, but still…

    10
  • Jake Tongue September 8, 2008, 12:52 pm

    i must say that is very cool since i use both macs and pcs

    [Edited at September 08, 2008 12:55:11 PM.]

    11
  • Andrew Baker September 8, 2008, 1:10 pm

    Ohhhh don’t let Jobs see this post. ;)

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  • Meredyth September 8, 2008, 6:22 pm

    You are braver than I am :)

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  • Julie September 8, 2008, 7:48 pm

    No guts, no glory ;o)

    It really wasn’t hard to do thanks to the walk through.

    14
  • Electric Vagabond September 10, 2008, 6:48 am

    Good work Julie – I even linked this page on my netbook Blog Electric Vagabond
    . One thing – please take those Manufacturer’s stickers off your Wind! It will look so much sexier! I think if Steve Jobs saw a netbook running OSX with a prominent Windows sticker under the keyboard he would start sobbing :D.

    [Edited at September 10, 2008 06:59:01 AM.]

    [Edited at September 14, 2008 02:26:51 AM.]

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  • Julie September 10, 2008, 8:06 am

    Electric:

    Thanks for the link! Nice site :o)

    Yes, I plan to strip off all the stickers soon. Just haven’t gotten around to it yet :o)

    16
  • Jon glass September 19, 2008, 2:11 am

    You mention the keyboard layout…. Is it just the punctuation keys? I have/had problems with the ,./ keys, but otherwise, nothing else. In fact, since my main computer is a Pismo, I’m quite comfortable with the location of the Fn key, as it’s identical with my Pismo (I keep hitting the wrong key on my Dell laptop). :-)

    However, those tiny keys for the “,./” took a while for me to get used to–but I’ve adjusted, and now am starting to have problems with larger, full-size keyboards. :-)

    I appreciate your posts on OSX, as I’m still considering it, but so far, I’ve been happy with Ubuntu, and don’t see a “need,” other than the fact that I can’t sync my Mac’s mail and address book. In the end, I might just switch for those reasons alone, but it would be a shame, since I’m really happy with Ubuntu overall.

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  • Julie September 19, 2008, 6:44 am

    Jon:

    Yes, it was just the ,./ and right shift keys that were giving me problems until I adjusted to their size. Now I’m not having as much trouble with them.

    I keep considering trying Ubuntu too… Do the earphone and mic jacks work under Ubuntu? What about the sleep function?

    18
  • Billy Topley January 12, 2009, 1:28 pm

    Nice, i’ve just done this to my wind clone.
    To make the webcam work, as I have made the same mistake, you need to reinstall windows (Painful I know), and then run the webcam firmware upgrade from MSI.

    Cheers,
    Billy.

    19
  • Julie January 12, 2009, 3:45 pm

    @Billy: Any updates on getting the headphone jack to work?

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  • Andrew February 22, 2009, 11:20 am

    I know I come late to this party but any February updates? Are you still running OS X on the MSI? Have you found a fix for the headphone jack functionality? Is the MSI Wind still the best platform for attempting this project. This all seems really cool. Thanks!

    21
  • Julie February 22, 2009, 12:52 pm

    @Andrew: I put XP back on the WInd and haven’t tried OS X again. Since then, I’ve purchased an HP Mini 1000 and now the Wind hasn’t had much use. I like the keyboard layout on the Mini quite a bit better.

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  • Andrew February 22, 2009, 1:27 pm

    The keyboard was my major concern with the WInd – 75% versus the 92% the HP Mini claims. You haven’t had issues with the reduced RAM and the lack of HD? I take it you weren’t really dependent on using Mac OS X. If you really needed a dual booting XP/Leopard system, do you think you could have been happy with the WInd solution?

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  • Julie February 22, 2009, 2:06 pm

    @Andrew: I put 2GB in the HP and Wind. Both have hard drives. As for being dependent on Mac OS X, now that I’m using GMail, not so much. That said, I’m only using these netbooks for travel and not for my main computer. Could I be happy with the Wind running OS X? Yes. I had no major complaints with it (besides the headphone jack issue).

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  • Robert Glanzman March 2, 2009, 2:05 pm

    Hi,

    I have a Lenovo S10, am in the process of installing OSX 10.5.2 and have the same problem you mentioned, hanging up at the “Do You Already Own a Mac” screen. I can’t seem to find the solution on the MSI forums. Can you point me to the solution? Many thanks.

    25
  • Patrick Stoddard April 20, 2009, 10:02 am

    I installed Ubuntu 8.10 on my Wind and after changing out the installed wireless card with a supported Intel card and upgrading to 2 GB of memory, I’ve had no problems with getting any of the hardware to work. I actually am using my Wind as my primary computer at work and at home. Both the camera and the headphones jack work.

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  • Michael August 15, 2009, 9:05 am

    I just got my Wind U123 up on os x, dual boot either xp or os x, and it’s slick. My main machine is a mac mini but the convenience and economy of this little netbook is awesome, for me at least. I still don’t have the web cam working but some techie jock will eventually write a driver for it. In the meantime the only thing I use it for is Skype and I load up in xp if I want to use that. Wifi works great, I’m on my front porch with my morning coffee and cigar writing this via wireless router, no problems whatsoever with networking. The small screen and keyboard will throw some off, I’m getting used to it now. Cheers all, Michael

    27
  • Ashley October 25, 2009, 8:03 pm

    Hi, has anyone installed Snow Leopard on the MSI? If so does anyone have a list of what to do?

    Cheers
    Ashley

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  • Neo101 June 4, 2010, 1:28 am
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