Snow Leopard on the HP Mini 311 (non dual boot)
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)
(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.
(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.
(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.
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 but DO NOT restart yet cause (b) there’s also an update developed by the HP Mini 311 Darwin Project team from InsanelyMac called HF1 (Hot Fix 1, I believe) which you can install at this point to be done with it. Download and install the HPM311DP_1109HF1 package as well.
As you might have already noticed, the brilliant “HP Mini 311 Darwin Project.pkg” installer has taken care of setting up your boot loader for you – that includes complete configuration of the EFI partition so you need not dabble with Terminal at all.
It’s done, congratulations! You’ve perfect Mini MacBook Air in your hands – well almost perfect Mini MacBook Air.