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.