Dell Mini 9 OS X Discussion Discussion for installing and setting up Mac OS X on the Dell Mini and Vostro A90

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Taichigirl Taichigirl is offline
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Default 10-18-2009, 05:27 AM

I tried running NBI 4 times with the same result. Sorry, but I didn't think to try safe boot with it.

Finally, I decided to start from scratch using NetbookBootmaker 0.8.3 RC3 to build a USB key installer. Although I was eventually successful, there were still some issues. I imagine some of these will also affect the use of the NetbookInstaller method for Runcore installations.

[Remember -- my goal here was to create an external USB boot drive to run OS 10.5.8 on my Mini 9, while retaining Ubuntu on the internal SSD.]

1) Booted Mini 9 from USB OSXDVD Installer key.
2) Then attached the USB HD described above.
3) Reformated USB HD and reinstalled OS 10.5.0 then Combo Update 10.5.8 using method NetbookInstaller 1 exactly.

Everything went as expected until final reboot after running NetbookInstaller 0.8.3 RC3 on the USB HD.

On reboot, I got the dread "can't find mach_kernal 10.5.6" message, which others have fixed by editing the file. I was not able to edit the file from the Mini itself.

There seem to be some weird interactions between the USB OSXDVD key and the USB HD when I try to boot. When I "press any key" during the grey screen with progress bar, I get a screen with some boot drive choices. If I choose the USB HD and try to safe boot, I still get "can't find mach_kernal 10.5.6". If I choose the USB OSXDVD key and try safe boot, it appears to boot me into my user on the USB HD, but I am not able to copy from or write anything to the HD.

To get around this, I attached the USB HD to my iMac and opened the file there, changing "mach_kernal.10.5.6" to "mach_kernal". I found two copies of this plist and edited both of them.

Now I can boot the Mini 9 into OS 10.5.8 from the USB HD, and all is well (so far).

If I try to boot the Mini 9 with both the USB OSXDVD key and the OS 10.5.8 USB HD attached, I still get some weird interactions, which I can document further if anyone is interested. There also seem to be issues related to the fact that the USB key is still looking for "mach_kernal 10.5.6" even though the USB HD wants "mach_kernal".

Other notes:
The Startup Drive System Prefs pane doesn't see either the USB HD or the USB OSXDVD key as bootable volumes. I'm not sure if this matters, but my original problematic install from the iMac onto the USB HD WAS seen as a bootable volume in this panel.

Mini 9 | 8GB SSD Ubuntu 8.0.4 | 60GB USB HD OS 10.5.8 | 2GB Crucial | 1.3 Cam | A04 | USB legacy on-BT off | NBI 0.8.3 RC3
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mechdrew mechdrew is offline
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Default 10-18-2009, 06:11 AM

The mach_kernel issue is related to using a non-10.5.6 DVD. Some of the kexts and techniques used by NetbookBootMaker require a 10.5.6 kernel, so a second kernel (the mach_kernel 10.5.6 referenced) is added and booted from. The benefit is a nice and complete install process, the downside is that once an update is made to 10.5.8 this mach kernel is erased but the plist isn't updated. Apparently running NetbookInstaller from the USB key is supposed to fix this, but I guess maybe it doesn't work every time.

You shouldn't have modified the USB key, since it still needs the 10.5.6 kernel to function properly. Also, now that you have update to 10.5.8 you shouldn't use the USB key in conjunction with the hard drive, it will only cause conflicts.

The reason the System Preferences Startup Disk pane isn't functioning is because the hardware that pane uses is missing. Apple Macs use several types of RAM to store settings, one of those being a non-volatile version that can store data with the power off. That RAM stores the setting for which volume to startup from, but since it is missing it cannot read - nor write - a startup volume to use. You can actually take care of this basic need in the Dell BIOS Setup when you first turn your computer on, or modify the Chameleon to specify a boot volume (but that last one is a lot more technical and tricky.)

Dell Mini 10v | Mac OS X 10.6.2 | XP Home | Windows 7 Home | 2GB RAM | 160GB HDD | BIOS A05 | USB Legacy: ON | USB Wake: ON | BT: None | NBI 0.8.3 Final - News and Guides for Installing Mac OS X via NetbookInstaller - Now on Twitter

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Taichigirl Taichigirl is offline
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Default 10-18-2009, 07:00 PM

The only modifications I made were to files on the USB HD. I found two copies of the file, one in the folder "Extra" and one in the folder "Extra.bak". Both contained the "mach_kernal.10.5.6" line, which I changed to "mach_kernal". The USB OSXDVD key was not modified, so that the subsequent conflicts I saw were inherent to its initial configuration.

I regret that I didn't try to run NBI on the iMac under safe boot. I can see now that that would be very informative, and I recommend trying that to anyone who is interested in a similar install, especially to a Runcore drive. Hopefully the next person in need of this option will give it a go.

I am going to try making backup clones with SuperDuper to another USB drive with several partitions. Eventually I expect to have more than one clone of the Mini9 boot volume on the backup drive. I would like to be able to boot from the backup drive if necessary. Will I be able to choose which partition on the backup drive is used for the boot?

Mini 9 | 8GB SSD Ubuntu 8.0.4 | 60GB USB HD OS 10.5.8 | 2GB Crucial | 1.3 Cam | A04 | USB legacy on-BT off | NBI 0.8.3 RC3
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