June 15, 2013

Hackintoshing the Acer Aspire One D150

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I have had a little netbook (bless it’s heart) that has tried to be my little buddy on trips. Unfortunately, it has had Windows XP on it and I have less than love for that particular operating system. My work machines and my desktop system are all Macs.

I’ve been wanting to put OS X on the netbook, because nothing is cuter than a little 10″ screen with OS X. Last time I had checked, the MyMacNetBook compatibiity chart said that the Acer Aspire One D150 had very high compatibility, with even sleep and hibernate working. I was pessimistic about this because my previous Acer Aspire One A150 (which ran OS X) would crash if it went into sleep or hibernate mode. Pull the battery to get it to reboot type of crash. I was expecting more a result like the D250, which was listed as was missing some key functionality, like wifi, ethernet, and sleep. I knew bluetooth wouldn’t work since the hardware isn’t present. (Besides, the so-called Hackintosh guide for the D150 was a link to a YouTube video with a D150 running OS X off of a USB key. No list of what features worked or how stable it was. Not exactly trustworthy.)

Computer Software Is Your Frieng blog has good tutorials on hackintoshing the D150, just like Razor’s Tech Den. Razor’s Tech Den blog has a post from July 2011 that provides detailed instructions on how to get OS X 10.6.5 working on the D150. He claims that his steps will also enable wifi and ethernet. (Not sure about sleep, but hey, wifi and ethernet are a higher priority.) I chose to use Razor’s instructions.

Previously, I had created a hackintosh using a Shuttle box and hardware that was (mostly) on the known list of stuff that works. It took many many hours of getting it to work, but I didn’t have a how-to guide to use. Many hours on the Hackintosh and OSx86 forums helped locate a lot of the problems.

I downloaded the recommended build for this netbook: IATKOS S3 v2 (OS X 10.6.3), the combination updater to 10.6.5, kext helper b7, and other miscellaneous bits and peices. Got everything setup, burned IATKOS to a DVD and set the netbook bios to boot from the USB drive. I have two external USB DVD drives. One is a little cute portable one and the other one is this big silver behemoth that sounds like a vaccuum cleaner with a fan that doesn’t quite work.

So here is the saga so far. I actually started preparing to do this last fall and put it aside. Today I was feeling particularly technical so I decided to go ahead and get this done. (BEND IT TO MY WILL!)

First, the external DVD seemed to boot okay, but then came up with an error messages of “EBIOS Read Error”. Seemed to be a pretty common error indicating either the media or the DVD drive was having trouble. One forum thread suggested using Verbatim DVD and checking the MD5 checksum or to try booting from a USB stick of at least 8 GB.

The DVDs I had here were generic CompUSA store brand, so who knows that they might actually be. Plus I only have a 1 GB external drive (yeah yeah I know). One trip to Wal-Mart and Walgreens later, I have an 8 GB USB stick and a set of 5 DVDs. Sony brand. Options are limited at 12:00 AM for finding a specific brand of DVDs.

I followed the instructions for creating a bootable USB stick for IATKOS and low and behold it doesn’t work. Like royally failed no matter how many times I tried changing things around. Booting from USB apparently requires *two* USB sticks — one to have the bootloader and another to have the IATKOS installer. My poor little netbook can’t seem to handle booting with two USB devices in it. It gets confused. Other people said they put the bootloader on a SD card and then changed the boot order in the bios to SD card, USB, then hard drive. None of these options worked for me.

Head-bang-wall.

I burned another DVD using the Sony discs at the slowest speed the internal DVD burner on my desktop Mac would go. About an hour later, the validation finished and out popped the disc. When I booted the netbook using the new DVD and the portable DVD drive, nothing happened. I verified the settings in the bios for the boot order (note that the bios didn’t seem to register the DVD as listed hardware) and tried multiple times. Stupid, ugly Windows XP boot screen every time.

Luckily, I’ve done this before on other hardware. I remembered that I’d had the same problem before with that external drive being flaky. I got my big steel external drive and plugged it in. (I keep smelling burned dust because it’s been so long since this thing has been used. I don’t have any compressed air to clean it.)

The DVD spins up, netbook boots, away we go… Installing from the external DVD is so friggin’ slow. I wish the USB sticks would have worked, but hey, I’m not complaining. I may leave this thing and go to bed then check on it in the morning.

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It is now 2:53 and the installer says “16 minutes remaining,” which is one minute less than what it said 30 minutes ago when it started the actual installation process. I hope one minute doesn’t equal 30…

Any way. It’s exciting. Even if I can’t get OS X to work reliably on it, I’ll probably put something like Ubuntu or another netbook linux build.

Update: At 3:34 AM, the system is booting from the hard drive. The tutorial said that this first boot will take a long time and to just let it spin. It should eventually come up. Eventually. I never have enough patience at this piont. Maybe going to bed would be the best option. And there it goes! Blue screen and music! Woohoo! No video of flying through stars but at least there is progress! Yay!

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