Dual Boot MBR-based OS X Leopard (Vanilla) and Windows 7 on $330 Dell Mini 10v Netbook

Natively booting OS X and Windows 7 on a hella fine Dell Mini is initially challenging but well worth the reward of being the coolest nerd on the block. Here’s what you’ll need to accomplish this task:

  1. Windows 7 DVD
  2. Leopard Retail Vanilla (I have 10.5.6)
  3. External USB Drive
  4. External CD/DVD drive
  5. DellMiniBoot123v8
  6. EasyBCD (optional)
  7. gparted disk partitioner (optional)
  8. A Dell Mini 10v w/A06 BIOS. I purchased my Inspiron iM10-008B at Best Buy for ~$330 .

First thing is first, get setup by burning the CDs and DVDs that you’ll need. Next, you will have to create a bootable USB drive with Leopard on it. You can probably do this using a Linux utility or you can do it if you have an extra Mac laying around, but I did it by temporarily booting to the Kalyway OS X DVD and then following the instructions for creating the USB boot drive. Note that this tutorial does not use the Kalyway DVD for the actual install. Then…

  • Install Windows 7 on freshly partitioned and formatted disk
    • I loosely followed the gizmodo dell mini 9 tutorial. First, I installed Windows 7 from scratch, with a fresh partition and a fresh format. Note: when you format/partition under Windows 7, it creates some kind of System partition. In order to avoid this, you can click “Cancel” when the message pops up about Windows automatically adding files/a partition. Alternatively, you can pre-partition the drive under the Kalyway boot or by using gparted disk partitioner. This will partition the drive using MBR; that’s what you want, fa sho.
    • Make sure no other system formatted drives (such as the Mac OS X USB drive you will create) are plugged in when you attempt to install Windows 7. You’ll run into a variety of errors. Check my blog for details.
  • Create 2 new partitions for Mac OS X and the temporary installer
    • Once Windows was installed, I used Windows Disk Management to shrink my Windows partition and create two new partitions. One was 50gb (for Mac OS X) and one was 5GB (for a trick we’ll do later). You can merge this partition later, don’t fret.
  • Using the DellMiniBoot123v8 CD, I booted to my USB Mac OS X install.
    • Basically, I pressed Esc at the boot prompt, typed in the hex for my USB drive (80) and then booted  with the -f option. Once I was able to, I opened the Disk Utility and properly formatted my two new drives to Mac OS X Journaled.
  • I then used this INCREDIBLY EASY tutorial for enabling Leopard to install on MBR formatted disk
    • Leopard usually requires a GUID partioned drive but Windows 7 (x86) refuses to install on such a setup.
  • I installed Vanilla Leopard 10.5.6
    • I deselected all the language and printer packages. This saved gigs of space.
  • I used the DellMiniBoot CD to boot AGAIN into the OS X installer
    • Pressed escape, keyed in 80 at the prompt
    • Gave the -f param at the boot: prompt
  • I set the Mac partition to active.
    • If you install the DellEMI utils without doing this, you will destroy your Windows 7 install and have to start all over again.
  • I used the DellMiniBootCD to boot into my  new OS X install
    • Pressed escape, keyed in 81 at the prompt (ir 80 if you remove your USB drive)
    • Gave the -f param at the boot: prompt
  • I copied the DellMini folder from the CD to the Desktop, and ran the installer.
  • I repeated the last two steps once more for good measure
    • NOTE: This installs the Darwin boot loader. You can now boot up to Windows using this, but I prefer the prettier menu-driven one that defaults to Windows so I used EasyBCD for boot management.
  • I removed all media (External CD drive, Mac OS X USB drive) and rebooted
  • I used the Darwin boot loader to boot into Mac, threw my hands up in the air and drank a glass or three of La Crema Pinot Noir in celebration.
  • I later booted into Windows and setup EasyBCD to manage my bootup.

It took about a week and about 3200 repartitions/reformats to get this routine down but it was time well spent; my $350 Hackbook is mega. Thanks to the slew of people who spent the time creating various tutorials that made this party possible!

Here are some of the resources I used:

MyDellMini.com:  USB Install (no DVD drive)
Gizmodo: Hackintosh a Dell Mini 9 Into the Ultimate OS X Netbook
How to: Install to an MBR Drive from an Unmodified Vanilla OSX DVD
Hack Attack: Dual Boot Windows and OS X Leopard
InsanelyMac: Setting Your Mac OS X Partition to Active
Upgrading to 10.5.8

If you have any questions or if I left something out, please feel free to comment.

Chrissy is a PowerShell MVP who has worked in IT for nearly 20 years, and currently serves as a Sr. Database Engineer in Belgium. Always an avid scripter, she attended the Monad session at Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles back in 2005 and has worked and played with PowerShell ever since. Chrissy is currently pursuing an MS in Systems Engineering at Regis University and helps maintain RealCajunRecipes.com in her spare time. She holds a number of certifications, including those relating to SQL Server, SuSE Linux, SharePoint and network security. She recently became co-lead of the SQL PASS PowerShell Virtual Chapter. You can follow her on Twitter at @cl.

Posted in OS X & iPhone
8 comments on “Dual Boot MBR-based OS X Leopard (Vanilla) and Windows 7 on $330 Dell Mini 10v Netbook
  1. WW4DP says:

    amazing! you are indeed the coolest nerd i ever did know (besides myself, of course)

  2. What if I like my OS X more kinky?

  3. Aaron says:

    What is the BIOS on your mini? Is it A05 or lower or did you do this with A06?

  4. Joseph King says:

    I was thinking it was time for a mobile alternative to my desktop hackintosh. Now I have it. Dell just made a sale thanks to you – you should ask for a commission!

    Your geek-fu is strong beyond all rational bounds.

  5. Chrissy says:

    Hey Aaron, I did this with A06 :)

    haha thanks, Jo! Glad I could help!

  6. ONDA says:

    i love u ;)

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