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gj91 gj91 is offline
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Default Finally - Success on mini 8gig using DELLEfi - 02-23-2009, 02:56 PM

EDIT.....Crap, I spoke to soon. Having strange network adapter issues and not booting right....I think I may have toasted the drive by doing too many hard resets....

I finally got my Dell Mini 8 gig working over the weekend. I bought the mini from best buy on Friday, I also bought the 2 gig DDR2 memory upgrade. I know the benefits of extra memory. I booted it up right away just to see what WinXP looked liked and it was ok, but not worth it at all. I would say the Mini Ubantu would be better then XP. But the mini xp is the best starting point for OSX.

I used several posts and want to give my mini report. It took a long time to get everything right. I almost gave up to buy a Retail Leopard DVD and external DVD drive, but I tried again. I tried a lot of different things like installing OSX to the flash drive and them slimming it down then doing the restore option on the mini but something was missing. Use the DVD on USB install. It works.

I was using the DEllEFI 1.0 iso. Or whatever the current one is, maybe it's 1.0.1

I did the 2 USB setup with the DellEFI boot drivers. I had an 8 gig USB drive for this so I could have enough room to put the monolingual and other stuff on it. It seems that this drive is really the only constant when doing the install so use it to your advantage.

The only issue I had with the DELLEfi boot disk was that it didn't like being 1st in the boot order from the bios. Once I set it 2 second and used the 0 zero boot option it worked.

I have an MBPro and VMware to put the linux boot files. Not much to say here, either you can boot from the USB or not. There are plenty of posts on this. After you run the command, you may not see the file from the windows side, but once you put it on the mac you will see it. Then open the dellefi ISO and copy the files except for the linux file.

I used a Leopard disk that I am not really sure if it was retail or not, but it worked. It came with my used MBPro and I am thinking it may be one of those OSX family pack but not sure. I used Disk Utility to format the flash and then did the drag and drop restore OSX DVD to the Flash drive. I used a 16 gig drive for this. This took 45 minutes to copy.

Since I had the 8 gig SSD drive I had to slim it down, I unchecked everything on the install. Also, I formated the 8 gig SSD with the GUID first, then I erased and formated with FAT32, then I hit continue and it complained it needed to be the mac format and hit go. I also did the open terminal and did the command line erase hfs + just to make sure. The install did fail at the end, I rebooted and it worked. I think the FAT32 step is a must for the 8 gig SSD. Just doing the normal format I don't think it liked it. This is another hang up point. I knew about this but I did not follow directions until the 5th time. Then I finally got it right.

After it booted for the first time and it asks you a bunch of questions it hung at the transfer option. I think you need to be quick on selecting nothing to transfer and hit continue. I had to reboot a couple of times since I think I let it go too long, or it may just be a quirk. This is a good point to keep pushing. If you think everything went well, hard reboot and try again. I think I gave up and started over once before but I should have pushed harder. After a few times you get pretty good at this and you will know if you did it right or not.

After it booted I was at 10.5 and I started to clean things up so I can run the 10.5.6 COMBO update. Make sure it's the combo and the normal updater. I think there is a link to it in one of the official How-To's but I think it points to the wrong Apple Download, not the COMBO. I did my own search and found it. If you get the normal update it says it's not compatable, so you will know. I don't think wifi was working at the time. The only way to get it to work was to use the -f option at boot. But I think others have done the disable / boot, enable / boot two-step to get it recognized. I am still booting DELLEfi.

So I ran monolingual to then put the 10.5.6 updated on the boot drive and ran the updater, no issues. I think I also removed some of the voice files and a few apps that I know I won't use. Still booted with DellEFI

After that I had booted to 10.5.6 without issues. I think at this point I still didn't have wifi, but I still needed to do the dellutils install. I ran the system profiler, that worked. Then I ran the DellEFI stuff. It worked well, but after that damn mini would not boot into OSX. I kept on getting the blue screen and that's it. The only way I could get in was to boot with -x (safe mode). After reading through other posts it seems that using the DELLEfi boot again may help and it did. I was able to get in to 10.5.6 and do a little troubleshooting. So booting off of the DELLEfi I ran the dellutil again, the normal mode, and rebooted.


I am not sure if it was the combination of running the DELLEfi util again or booting off of DellEfi and running the util but it worked.

I guess my point is your mileage may vary from others, so don't give up you will be rewarded at the end.

After it is all said and done, I have close to 2gig available space, so an 8 gig install can be done.

I got the wifi up and running. I installed skype, remote desktop (RDC) and Aidum. I also checked out to watch lost. I even went to Took my photo using the camera, skype even worked with the video.

I will test more, but I think I may have the the deep sleep issue. this morning, it wouldn't boot after a night of sleep. Hard reset and it worked.

Lastly, my mini does not have bluetooth, so I bought the kensington use bluetooth. The super slim one. It installed without any issues and I am using my apple wireless mouse if I need it. I would like to find the real dell internal bluetooth module.

I was debating on getting the Runco 32 or 64 gig SSD, but they are all out. But i'm not really sure you need the 64 gig. I think the 16 or 32 gig is reasonable. Or just use the memory slot.

oh yeah. I also have a verizon express card modem. I am using a SIIG express card to USB and that worked great too.

So I am set.

Let me know if you have any questions, I will try to help if I can.

I am really looking forward to using the mini more. I need a computer all the time when on the road, i'm just tiered of hauling around an mbpro. Even a MB is still too big, the MBAir isn't worth it. The mini is perfect size. Not to throw stones, but the HP mini has the perfect size keyboard, I just wish it would run OSX. I think it will now but there are still a bunch of issues. Maybe the mini 10 or 12 will be an option in the future.

The dell mini just works!
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