My Christmas break project was to build a Hackintosh out of a Dell Mini 10v. The Mini 10v is a $299 NetBook that, I swear, is deliberately manufactured with on-board parts suitable for creating a Hackintosh.
There are tons of guides out there with conflicting instructions on how to create a Hackintosh on a Mini 10v. I’ll just share with you what worked for me, in a really brief way, because I know you’re busy and want to get working on your new Hackintosh!
Required Kit of Parts
- External USB disk, or a USB key (at least 8 GB). The external USB disk is liable to be faster.
- Install DVD for Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6). I used the GA build 10a432, which was the original released version. The install DVD must be a retail version and not a restore disk from an existing Mac. (c’mon guys, it’s only $30)
- Someone’s (your wife‘s?) Mac that you can borrow for 15 minutes to copy the install DVD to the external hard disk.
- Dell BIOS A05 or lower for the 10v
- Your Dell Mini 10v (not a Dell Mini 10… they’re two different things)
- A few hours to kill.
- Downgrade the BIOS to at least A05 or lower. The linked page says that doing so is scary/perilous but really, it’s not. I couldn’t downgrade using the DOS installer and the external USB disk, so I had to boot into Windows XP Home on the Mini and do it that way. Honestly, this was the most time-consuming part of creating the Hackintosh… the rest was pretty straightforward.
- Copy your Mac OS X install DVD to the external drive using the directions on the Gizmodo article. This’ll take about an hour.
- Run Netbook BootMaker against the newly-minted USB drive; this patches the install image so that it can boot on the Mini.
- Eject the USB drive from the Mac and plug it into the 10v, then boot off the USB device (press F12 on the POST screen to select boot device). Install Mac OS X per normal, as though it were a Mac.
- When the install finishes, you’ll have a Hackintosh running Mac OS X 10.6.0. I couldn’t run Software Update to get it to 10.6.1, so I had to manually download and apply the 10.6.1 Combo Update from Apple. Reboot the Hackintosh into 10.6.1.
- Apple was clever in the 10.6.2 update to remove support for the Intel Atom processor in order to foil Hackintosh users. Don’t fear; run Software Update (under 10.6.1) as usual, but before rebooting, download and run the latest Netbook Installer to patch the new kernel to put Atom support back.
- Reboot the system into Snow Leopard 10.6.2!
Everything’s working great for me, including automatic dual-monitor detection — but do not turn on Mirror Displays in the Display control panel. You’ll end up with a corrupted display on both monitors (which you can fix easily by unplugging the external monitor) but doing so will prevent you from using an external monitor again.
Of course, if you do end up doing this (like I foolishly did), NetBook Installer even includes a handy utility to fix it. To undo the damage:
- Start a Terminal.
- Type /Extra/bin/mirroring off but do not hit Enter yet.
- Plug in the external display. Both it and the screen on your 10v will show a corrupted image.
- Hit Enter to execute the command you typed above.
- Your display should return to normal.
I don’t remember if I had to use “sudo” before the mirroring command. If it doesn’t work, try it with “sudo”.
The Mini 10v community has done a really great job to turn the 10v into a perfect Hackintosh. Every peripheral just works right out of the box: the wireless card, the SD media reader and the webcam all work flawlessly. Not only that, but the front panel LED throbs when the system goes to sleep, just like a real Mac!
The MyDellMini forum on OS X was really useful, although it can be tough to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Great write-up Julian.
I've been hanging out with the one-and-only Jason Roks here in Buenos Aires and he's managed to get me addicted to / obsessed with the idea of a Hackintosh. He's running one on a Dell Mini 9, but was recommending that I look at the 10V if I wanted to indulge my obsessions. I might just have to see if our next visitor can bring one down. 🙂
the 'one-and-only'…. awwww , so kind! =). I'm glad you are inspired. I'm also happy to help haX0r yours up , Phillip. Im also thankful that Julian wrote us up such a concise how-to guide. He is so right about the excess of conflicting info online.
Julian, are there ANY incompatible issues with the 10v?
Not that I can find — even the webcam and the SD reader work. A great demo that I do at work is to fire up Photo Booth and watch people get amazed that the little LED beside the webcam turns on too — just like a real Mac.
I've been reading that the newest version of NetbookBootMaker supports the A06 BIOS and that there is no longer any need to downgrade. This is now confirmed on the Gizmodo post above. Was there a reason you didn't leave it as A06?
Ricky: No particular reason, it's just that I started with an older version of the Gizmodo article and it said to downgrade the BIOS as the first stage. I didn't want to spend an hour or two doing the install only to find OS X won't boot 🙂
How crazy, I stumbled (fumbled?) across your Linkedin page, and saw this post – I hackintoshed my own Dell Mini right after Christmas. It was totally worth it!
Wow, talk about a blast from the past! Thanks for making contact, Sarah!
Hi thanks for the writeup! How is the performance of the webcam?
I've heard its not great but not sure if this is true. I was wondering if OS X limits the MIni10v's webcam quality or if the camera looks bad in windows also.
Webcam works fine. My wife and I used it over iChat while she was on a trip; I had her MacBook Pro and she took the Hackintosh.
Great writeup, Julian.
I see options for ordering the 10v with Ubuntu (instead of Windows) and with a factory 2GB RAM config. This puts the cost at $299.
Is there any reason other than the BIOS downgrade (which is apparently no longer needed) to order the Windows version?
Steve – nope, no reason at all to order with Windows, especially now that downgrading the BIOS is not required. I wish I could have avoided the cost because now I have a spare XP Home license I can't do anything with!
I am hackintoshing a Dell Mini 10v right now. I have many difficulties with USB booting so I am installing from a external DVD drive to install Retail copy of Snow Leopard (SL).
I am using Empire_EFI.iso (find on torrent) to boot up the Mini10v. Once EFI boots, I simply switch the Disc with SL Installer and press F5. Once the Disc changes I hit Enter and install Snow Leopard.
Once installed I reboot. Must boot with the EFI disc in to boot machine and then select the SL volume to boot and to set the new drive up as bootable. Once booted install NetbookInstaller 0.8.4 (i could have just used EmpireEFI/iHAck Installer but it only has the basic kext files).
Run NetbookInstaller 0.8.4 and reboot. make sure to disconnect all external devices.
Voila! 10.6 Snow Leopard Install.
I will try the update to 10.6.2 as you suggest and see how that goes.
I tried this solution, and it worked. Thanks to all those that have made this crossover an excellent experience.
Best "hack" I have ever done on any electronic item I have ever owned. The 10v rocks with OS X 10.6.3. A MAC mini netbook for $200 (Craigslist). Beats the pants off an Ipad!
Great walkthrough Julian. Kudos.