How to build a Hackintosh

How to build a Hackintosh out of an old MSI Wind PC

Part 1:
MSI is a company known mostly for its PC components. They recently jumped into the netbook bandwagon with just about every other major pc manufacturer. They make a not too well known desktop with roughly the same dimensions as a ream of printer paper, called the MSI Wind.

The MSI Wind PC is a great little computer; It comes with a 1.6GHz Intel atom CPU, two SATA connections for 3.5″ and 5.25″ bays and 6 USB ports. You can pick a barebones one, requiring ram, a hard drive and possibly DVD drive, for $140 or so.

What You need To Roll A Mac:

1. MSI Wind PC.
This can be found for around $140.

2. Hard Drive.
If you don’t have a spare one laying around, the Wind has an internal CF card slot that may also be possible to use. I have not tried this myself and it would most like be ridiculously slow. I suggest Seagate, as they have yet to fail me. You can pick one up at Newegg for about 50$ with shipping.

3. RAM.
Again if you don’t have it laying around, the Wind takes 200-pin DDR2 notebook memory, up to 2GB. You can get this at Newegg for about 20$.

4. Optical Drive:
I assume you already have a SATA DVD drive, the Wind does not have a PATA/IDE connection so you can’t use an older drive. You can also get one of these at Newegg for about 20$, however it isn’t required once you have the OS installed.

Speaking of which, you need the OS.  Make sure you are using Leopard as this machine will not take Snow Leopard.  If you are using any Intel machine there are modded versions of OSX for download on the internet, but make sure you own the original discs as well as it is illegal to download software you do not own.

Make sure you research KEXT files and become acclimated with how to install these files ahead of time so you are prepared.
If your Wind’s bios is version 1.50 or later (you can find out by mashing the delete button right when it boots) you do not need to flash the bios, so therefore you do not need the corresponding files. However the other two files are divers needed for the video card and the sound.

To Get Started:
* At least one (maybe 5) blank DVDs.
* USB Flash drive to flash the bios.
* A PC or Mac capable of burning discs.
* USB keyboard/mouse.

I did all burning, downloading and anything else needed to install on a Windows 7 computer without any problems. There is no reason a XP or Vista machine won’t work just as well.

Once you have all the required items, we can get started.

1. First burn the OS image on to a DVD, to do this I used isoburn to burn the image to the DVD. It took me about 3 or 4 bad discs to find that you should burn it at 2X speed; I got the best results with that.

2. While that is burning put the Wind together. Remove the two top screws in the back of the case then slide off the top panel.

Then remove the face plate (undo the three tabs at the top and pull forward).

Then remove the two screws holding the drive rack on. Once you have done this put your drives in.

If you are just using a temporary DVD drive leave it apart for now and just make the internal connections,

otherwise screw the drive rack back on. Now, plug in the sata and power connections for both drives, and clip the front panel back on. Before you put the top cover back on install the ram (you have to install at an angle then clip it upright).

Finally, replace the top cover. You now have a fully constructed Wind!

Now, for the software:

Part 2:

3. You can skip this step if your BIOS is version 1.50 or later. If you are like me and got your Wind with BIOS under 1.50 then this is for you.

Install the HP format utility from the downloads page (here). While this is installing, find a flash drive. Once you have found the drive (probably in a pair of pants) back up all needed files on the drive onto your computer. Extract the Windows 98 boot files to a folder on your desktop or something (not the flash drive). Now run the HP format utility, check the DOS boot files box and browse to the win98 files. You can either format the drive as fat or fat32, (didn’t try ntfs) and apply. Once this is done extract the msi Wind bios update to the drive root and eject.
Plug the drive into your Wind and mash the F9-F12 keys while booting to get to the boot menu. Select your flash drive. The Windows 98 DOS screen should shortly follow when it does type in “flash.bat” and hit enter,

after it is done your Wind should restart, pull out the drive. Your Wind may come up with a bad BIOS checksum error (mine did) ignore it (hit F2) and proceed.

4. Once you are done flashing, go into the BIOS (hit delete on boot),

go to the USB settings and change it from HIspeed(480mbps) to FULLspeed(12mbps).

Unfortunately it won’t work unless you do this, also you can’t change it back once it is installed either (won’t go past grey screen). Hit F10 to save changes and restart.

5. Now insert your disc into the DVD drive and boot (you may have to mash the F9-F12 keys again to select the DVD drive). An all text screen should pop up asking you hit any key to boot from disc with a little timer counting down.

hit any key. Another screen should pop up with a bunch of text, your screen may flash a couple times and it should take no longer than 5 minutes.

6. After a short time a grey screen will come up, select your language.

Now at the top bar got to Utilities-> Disc Utility.

Part 3:

Now follow the steps to partition the drive 1 partition as Mac OS journaled.

hit apply then tell it to apply again. When you get to the license agreement  do not read it.

7. Follow the rest of the steps to install, selecting your new freshly made partition.

*Before you install, hit customize.* Now expand the Patches section until you see kernel and uncheck it.

Now install, which should take about 30 minutes, give or take a few, and then restart.

8. The screen that asked you hit any key to boot from the disc should come up again;

this time just let the timer run out. It will take a minute but the OS X set up will come up, just follow the very easy steps.

Part 4

Once it gets to the desktop restart the computer so the Ethernet will work.

9. After it has restarted, open and unarchive the other file that you downloaded, install the GMA950 package, and restart a final time.

10. Congratulations! OSX is installed on the Wind, and you can remove the install disc as you won’t need it again until your envious friend wants to make one for himself. I suggest you visit Lifehacker for a bunch of tips and tricks for OSX.  Also please remember not to install ANY updates.  In fact, disable updates as soon as you can.  If you run a single update your whole OSX system could come crashing down!

Enjoy your HACKINTOSH!

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About Jonathan G. Nelson

Jonathan G. Nelson is the editor-in-chief and owner of NERD TREK. He is also owner/publisher at AAW Games / AdventureAWeek.com, a tabletop gaming company based in Snoqualmie, WA. Connect with Jonathan via Facebook.