Continued from Part 1: Why to Mac-ify


Here’s how Mike told me to test whether I could get the netbook to run the Mac OS:

  1. Format an external hard drive and attach it to your Mac.Insert the Mac OS Snow Leopard Installation CD into your Mac.
  2. Launch the Snow Leopard installer; select the external hard drive as the destination for your installation.
  3. Once installation is complete, run NetbookBootMaker, available as a free download here. This is the step that magically makes the Mac installation work on non-Apple hardware.
  4. Eject the hard drive from the Mac and attach it to your (powered-down) HP Mini.
  5. Turn on the Mini, and when the boot-up process shows <F9> to change boot device order, hit <F9> and select your external drive as the volume to boot from. Your netbook should now boot into the Mac OS.

I followed Mike’s advice, and while the Snow Leopard installation took a while (just as it did to install on my Mac), the process was incredibly easy. Within two hours of walking out of the movie theater, I’d booted my HP Mini netbook into the Mac OS. Wahoo!

The next day I proceeded to convert the netbook into its new life as a Mac. I decided to eliminate the Windows and Ubuntu partitions entirely, since Mike advised that I was more likely to get good results if I avoided the landmine of a dual-boot machine. The hardest part of the conversion process was creating a complete and perfect backup of my Windows and Ubuntu partitions, and in fact I never succeeded in creating bootable backups. But I compared the size of my original partitions with the size of the backup, and concluded that the identical size meant I almost certainly had a retrievable, reinstallable backup if I really needed to go back to Windows/Ubuntu. (All my data was already backed up — I was just worried about the operating systems themselves.)

To convert the netbook to run the Mac OS, and the Mac OS only, I followed the excellent “Cat in the Bag” instructions on MyMacBookMini (there’s now a newer, 4-part set of instructions on that site, which promise slightly better results but require a more complicated install). This methodology was a little different from Mike’s — it was based on turning the external hard drive into a Snow Leopard install disk, rather than a bootable version of the OS. Since I was too lazy to start the process from scratch, here’s what I did:

  1. While running Mac OS on the Mini from the external drive, I downloaded & installed CarbonCopyCloner.
  2. I ran Carbon Copy Cloner and used it to clone the bootable drive to the Mini’s drive.
  3. I followed the instructions under “Post-install tweaks & configs” on the MyMacBookMini post. (I did not do the optional VooDooPS2Controller step).
    Note: Step 7 — when you hit the  “Update extensions” button — takes a LONG time. I messed my netbook up by restarting too soon. Pay attention to this line: You’ll know that the update is completed when this ramdisk is unmounted and the Update Extensions button is no longer recessed.

Once I finished up the install process, I rebooted, and miracle of miracles, I had an HP Mini that booted directly into Mac OS Snow Leopard. The final touch: slapping a big Apple sticker on the lid of my newly Mac-ified netbook!

Continue to Part 3: How to migrate your current Mac setup to your new Mac netbook >>