03 January 2010

(Almost) Perfect Mini MacBook Air

Please disregard this post/guide.
This guide is available for download in .pdf format.
One night, after another day in the office, you decide to check out the gadget expo in the nearby mall. And though you haven't envisioned yourself buying anything (cause hey, you're there just to unwind some), you still find yourself carrying a black box that's quite heavier than when you last got your Mini 1000. That shiny new Red master card? Swiped. Despite and in spite of your resolutions to be a more sensible consumer (or perhaps to quit being a consumer at all since belonging to that demographics has proven to take a very considerable amount of toll on your financial well-being), you still have that smug look in your face, unable to hide a smile: you've just been made the proud owner of snazzy Ion equipped netbook rig in the form of the HP Mini 311. Then after playing with Windows 7 it came installed with, you're at a lost what to do with the machine cause it's the third in your growing netbook family (five actually - the first two EeePC's gone off to better hands to care for them) and you just don't need another to be honest - you just want it. 

Well good news, cause as it turns out, the HP Mini 311 makes for one perfect MacBook Air substitute - almost. (Apple fanboys and fangirls, please, for the love of humanity, I'm not contesting the fact that is the superiority of the Mac - real Macs rock the whole universe and beyond). And the procedure is literally a no brainer.

i. What You Need
(1) *Download the CD Booter iso image and the Snow Leo 10.6.2 Combo Updater - Burn the iso image onto a blank CD-R (in Windows or Mac or Linux - be sure to use lowest burning speed as precautionary method to avoid a failed write and adding to your growing collection of funky over-sized coasters)

* New "HF4" release courtesy of the HP Mini 311 Darwin Project at insanelymac.
** You can also use this alternative method if you don't want to burn the ISO.

(2) External DVD drive - the LightScribe drive enclosed in a HP logo bedecked black case (that's equally chic as the Mini 311 itself, let's admit) will do the job just fine.
(3) Snow Leopard Retail DVD - though I'm not sure if the 10.6.2 default ones are already out in the market in shrink-wrapped boxes, I can only attest to this method working on the first batch of Snow DVD's i.e. "10.6" cause that's what I have.
(4) HP Mini 311 - the results described in this step by step installation documentation are based on the HP Mini 311-1002TU model. Tech specs of which can be found here.

A. Install Snow Leopard
(1) Boot up with the project CD - Put in the CD Booter that you've just burned a while ago into the external DVD drive. With the DVD drive plugged into one of the Mini 311's USB ports, power up the machine and press F9 to bring up the boot selection screen. Use the arrow keys to highlight the DVD drive and press Enter.It will take a while for Chameleon to completely load - around 2 minutes - be patient.

**Or if you chose to go with the alternative method (without burning .iso to CD), just plug in the usb, when you press F9, choose that USB to boot from. 

(2) Boot into the Snow Leopard Retail Install DVD - Manually eject the CD Booter from the DVD drive and put in its place the Snow Leo DVD. Wait for the drive to load the contents - 10 seconds or so would do - and then press F5 to refresh Chameleon's boot selection listed in a row. A new entry named "Mac OS X Install DVD" will be added; use arrow keys to highlight it and press Enter to boot into the installer.
**Again, if you chose to go with the alternative method, just plug in the DVD drive and load the Snow Leo DVD. Press F5 to refresh list and then choose the Mac OS X Install DVD; press Enter.

I'm referring to a "row" since I didn't bother wiping out the stock Win 7 partitions which my 311 came with out of the box; the Mac OS X Install DVD entry was added at the far right of the row. Also, the image above shows my list of volumes as they are now - when Mac OS X Snow Leo is already installed in my 311 (the FAT32 drive is supposedly for Win XP) 

(3) Install Snow Leopard as you normally would - Format the Mini 311's drive first as GPT "GUID Partition Table" (Menubar > Utilities > Disk Utility), leaving standard Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as default. I suggest naming the new volume "Macintosh HD" like in real Macs.

GPT because Snow Leopard by default installs only onto hard drives partitioned using that table. MBR could be used but that's via a custom modded installer which we won't be covering here. Besides, we're going Vanilla so we need that 200 MB hidden EFI partition that's created under GPT. The method used in this guide doesn't work on MBR.

B. First Boot and EFI (Boot Loader/Environment) Setup

(1) As in the first step when you installed Snow Leopard - "A.(1)" of this guide; boot with the project CD or CD Booter, as I've come to call it. (Restart the Mini 311 and press Esc, swap the Snow Leo Install DVD with the CD Booter and hit Ctrl+Alt+Del) This time choose "Macintosh HD" as the volume you want to boot. Or whatever it is you've named your installation volume.

(2) After watching the welcome video (no sound at this point, by the way), go through Setup Assistant and configure your user account. As usual, choose "Do not transfer my files" option and "My computer doesn't connect to the internet" to get to the desktop faster. All that, we'll deal with later.

(3) Once in your Desktop, if you haven't unplugged the DVD drive, you'll see an "HPM311 Darwin Project" disc mounted. Go inside this disc and run the "HPM311 Darwin Project.pkg" installer.

(4) Install updates and support files - (a) go to System Preferences > Security to uncheck "Use secure virtual memory" option and run the MacOSX10.6.2ComboUpdate.

It's done, congratulations! You've perfect Mini MacBook Air in your hands - well almost perfect Mini MacBook Air because: (1) the default smbios.plist that gets installed makes your HP Mini 311 a "MacBook6,1" ergo not a MacBook Air of course; (2) it always boots up with -v flag or "verbose mode" or else you can't resume properly from sleep; (3) the Broadcom 4312 WiFi card doesn't work; and - I could be the target for death threats for noob stupidity for this - (4) there are some more tweaks - I dare not call them "improvements" else I be shot dead right this instant or this blog attacked - that can be done regarding some kexts and EFI.

Up next is how I think you get can get a perfect Mini MacBook Air - perfect, that is, according to my quite shallow nooby instincts. It's up to you if you wanna go with me. ;)


Tev said...

Man you rock! So, I'm planning to by myself a Mini 311c. The build-in WiFi card doesn't work. Any chance of this getting fixed soon? Cause I want to use my Hackintosh at school ;-)

Andrew Toy 40B R.O. said...

Great guide! Took a while looking around online and this was by far the most well written - thanks!

Question: have you considered replacing the drive with a 7200RPM? If one was to do so, how easily accessible is the HDD?

LeMaurien19 said...


It's very easy to upgrade the Mini 311's hard drive. All you need is a Phillips screw driver to take off the panel access at the bottom of the unit. The hard drive is secured in a mount which should be very easy to pry out of its slot. Here's the Mini 311's Service Manual for your reference; has some diagrams for the procedure.

Darren said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I used all the files and everything is working except sound. any tips?

LeMaurien19 said...

Audio is via DSDT.aml plus an injector kext in the form of HDAIDT.kext.

I'm surprised with your probs with audio - I'm sure it works. Try fiddling with the volume control, slide it up/down and check. Even the internal mic is functional so it's a welcome change for once in the hackintosh scene.

Darren said...

In my profiler says no built in audio. This is after i redid the DSDT.aml and HDAIDT.kext

I know it seems strange i've read and re-read. spent hours on all the forums. Should i be removing the AppleHDA.kext?

Tried plugging in headphones with noluck.

I may start over and try again.

LeMaurien19 said...

Where do you have the AppleHDA kext? In EFI? As far as I know the only things you shouldn't have any AppleHDA.kext in EFI/Extra/Extensions. Also, you shouldn't have had to touch anything on the system aside from the EFI partition. The current state of Mini 311 as hackintosh is 100% Vanilla - no hacks beyond "/".

All you need is the DSDT.aml which is comes with the HP Mini 311 Project installer from the insanelymac opening page for the thread, that with the HDAIDT.kext (which is also installed by default by the same installer) should get your audio working.

Darren said...

It's working I reinstalled the HF4 Package. sound is up.
Thanks. Trial and Error.

LeMaurien19 said...

Great! Glad you've got it working :)

Andrew Toy 40B R.O. said...

Got my installed with a 40Gb Intel SSD and 3gb of RAM - works great! Dell delayed my wifi card but oh well.

One thing is I would LOVE to deactivate tap-to-click on the trackpad but can't figure out how to do it because it sees the trackpad as a mouse. Have you guys seen an option to do it anywhere?

LeMaurien19 said...

^You're right about the trackpad being recognized as a mouse in OS X - actually it's one problem why we can't disable tap-to-click; no driver for the Alps trackpad and so no preference pane available through which we could control features of the said hardware.

But the voodooproject page/forums is a good place to hang out - try searching there; I think I've read some posts about Alps trackpad drivers but then they're still buggy in general so I'm making do with my obnoxious trackpad in the mean time.

Darren said...

i"m on 10.6

updating I have the mach_kernel_atom2

do i do the 10.6.3 update first then put this file in before rebooting or after?

Any good tutorial for this?

Vasu said...

could you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE post a guide on how to do this with a usb drive? I do not have a external dvd drive, and I also know that a lot of people are looking for a good guide, and are in the same boat as me. I am willing to donate.

LeMaurien19 said...

Create a usb booter via this guide.

Then, on a Mac or a hackintosh, get an external drive (usb flashdrive with at least 8Gb will do). And then restore Snow Leo DVD disc onto that drive (formatted as GPT/MBR).

Plug in the usb booter you made, use it to boot the restored Snow Leo DVD.

LeMaurien19 said...


Pardon me, but I think you're not doing enough of your homework...;)

If you read again closely this guide, you'll see that it's been updated. It points to the new HP Mini 311 Darwin Project media release : "HF4". And with this guide, you get upto 10.6.2.

That HF4 already installs Chameleon boot files that automatically patches the mach_kernel for Atom CPU support. Therefore, that means you don't have to dabble with other mach_kernel other than the stock Apple installed ones.

And 10.6.3 is not yet released by Apple.

LeMaurien19 said...

^And I've just recently also taken out the HF1 update link since, installing with HF4, it's no longer needed.

Andrew Toy 40B R.O. said...

One small tip for everyone : after you're all done, you might want to go into your BIOS and turn off the "Always Run Fans" option that you find there. The fans will still run but only when needed, otherwise they seemed (to me) to be running on high nearly all the time.

wayne said...

well, i actually did everytihng like in tihs tut, except that i use another usb stick with the snowleo iso on it.
it works well till the installation. it stops with: the installationprogram can't copy the needed packages (or smth like that)

after reoot same probelm...

could it be an image problem?

Vasu said...

HF4 link does not work, can some one post another link please!

Vasu said...

also, what do you do with the combo updater, sorry for begin so noob, it isn't clear to me

LeMaurien19 said...

^I didn't realize theproto just closed the project and didn't even make sure the files needed will still be available for us users. Tsk tsk tsk.

I'd have to check my files and upload them to my mediafire account when I rewrite this how-to guide.

Vasu said...

I would like to begin by thanking you.
My U.FL antennas came in yesterday =) and I am very excited to get hackintoshing. I just want to make some precautions though:
- Can I put in an old airport card form the last macbook without covering pin 20 and with 1 antennae on each receptacle and will this work right away?
- The above question is with hackintoshing with this guide: http://mymacbookmini.blogspot.com/2010/01/...acbook-air.html
- When I hackintosh with the above guide will this erase the current xp install, because I want osx to have the full hard drive space?

Thank you so much for all the help this site has given me, and thank you to those who will answer my question. It is greatly appreciated.

Vasu said...

lemaurien, i am sorry to be such a pest, but I really need the hf4 because I only get to borrow this external dvd drive for a short amount of time.

Vasu said...

just wanted to post my results:
i found hf4, if anyone needs it, I can post.

Everything goes well until last 10 seconds, because it says it failed, but if you put the boot cd back in the and use it to boot into the hackintosh HD, then it works fine
I have been getting a lot kernel panics, especially after I come back from sleep.

I'm posting this from my hackitnosh, and I am really really pleased.

Sequoia said...

Does this method also work with hp mini 110 preloaded with windows 7?