OS X on a MSI Wind NetBook

Last week I got myself a MSI Wind laptop. It’s one of the new small and light laptops that people call netbooks.

My old and trusty Powerbook G4 needed to be replaced and I wanted something easy to carry around the house and bring with me on trips. Naturally I was looking at the new unibody MacBook but even if they are gorgeous and I’m envious of my brother who has one, it’s rather expensive. Don’t get me wrong. I think OS X is the best operating system around and I love Apple designed hardware. However, I already have a MacBook Pro from work that I can use for all the programs that need more computing power so I only need something to keep my personal things on. Buying a new MacBook just for that felt like a waste of money.

The MSI Wind is plenty fast enough for most things and the price is just a third of that of a new MacBook, so for me the decision was easy.

Saturday afternoon I installed OS X on my Wind by following the instructions from the linsec.ca blog. The first problem I got was that I had downloaded the latest version of OSX86Tools which was version 150. Using that version I had no success booting my Wind from the external USB drive containing the restored MSIwindosx.iso image. As soon as I went back to version 149 of OSX86Tools it started to work.

After installing OS X the screen resolution on the Wind was wrong. I fixed that by downloding and installing GMA950.pkg.zip and then rebooting. I’m not sure why this step is needed but I had to do it to get the proper 1024×600 resolution.

My U100 version of the Wind contains a Ralink wireless card which I got to work by downloading the latest drivers from their site.

I upgraded to OS X 10.5.6 through Software Update and after restarting I had, as expected, no working keyboard nor mouse and the resolution was back to 800×600. I attached a keyboard and mouse through USB and followed the instructions from the linsec.ca blog. After another reboot I had working keyboard and mouse again, but I had to reinstall the GMA950 package and reboot to get back to 1024×600.

All in all it was a rather painless install and now I have a truly portable OS X laptop!

Update: To get the “dead key” left of the ‘z’ key to work follow the instructions under the “Phase 4 Some minor things…” header here. Follow the instructions in this thread at InsanelyMac to install another driver for the touchpad so you can disable tap to click.