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Installing Mac OS X on a Dell Mini 9 netbook

Here you can see the Mini 9 (still running Windows XP) sitting on top of the MacBook Pro 15-inch unibody.

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1 of 27 Jason D. O'Grady/ZDNet

Here you can see the Mini 9 (still running Windows XP) sitting on top of the MacBook Pro 15-inch unibody.

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2 of 27 Jason D. O'Grady/ZDNet

(Note: sorry about the iPhone photos, it was the best way to tweet the experience.)

In this photo we see the lovely OS X installer's pick your language screen. Good times ahead!

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Before installing OS X you have to launch Disk Utility and format the SSD as a single partition. Don't forget to go to Options and select GUID Partition Table or it won't work.

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Before installing click the "Customize" button and uncheck as much as possible to save space. I unchecked everything except the Canon and Xerox printer drivers.

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Installing Mac OS X on the formatted SSD takes about 47 minutes so smoke 'em if you got 'em.

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After patiently waiting the 47 minutes for Mac OS X to install, you may be greeted by an ugly "Install Failed" error message. Don't worry, this is normal.

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Maiden OS X boot from SSD is taking a loooooong time. Starting to worry.

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Success! I've never been so happy to see the Welcome screen ;)

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Bunch of software updates needed. I installed 10.5.1 initially. That's Monolingual running in the upper right.

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After making enough room to install Mac OS 10.5.6 (you need at least 4.9GB) prepare to wait a while. For some reason the SSD is painfully slow, taking over 2 hours for this process.

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Finally, the Restart button! The mini 9 gets weird after being left idle for more than an hour. The screen often stops refreshing on long installs. A couple of clicks and key presses usually wakes it from the coma though.

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After the 2 hour download of 10.5.6 and fumbling to make to accept the Restart command, be prepared for another long wait. This time after necessary pre-shutdown install.

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This is the Mini 9 boot menu you get by holding down the zero key at boot. Arrow down to the optical drive to boot from the Type11 bootloader.

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Type11 bootloader - choose your boot device.

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Type11 bootloader - start with options or just hit Return for no options.

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Last step is to run the DellEFI Installer which lives in the DellMini9Utils folder on Type11 bootloader CD.

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The DellEFI Installer. Look at all the nice things that it does for you :)

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Go with the default options and resist the urge to, say enable Quiet Book and two-finger scroll. I'm just sayin'

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All done, ready for reboot.

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The Dell boot screen, which is kind of weird to see before booting OS X. Press 2 for setup and 0 for boot options.

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Ah, the Mac OS X desktop in its native (non-stretched) 1024*600 resolution. Life is good at this point.

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This is the slimline Blu-Ray drive from FastMac that I used for my OS X install. Sure, you can install entire from a flash drive (8GB or larger) but I don't recommend it. $100 for the BD reader, $300 for the 1x BD writer, $400 for the 4x writer.

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My first Kernel Panic on the Mini 9. Luckily, I haven't had one since. Hopefully just a fluke?

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Your honor, this is the retail Mac OS X CD that I purchased for $129 that I installed on my Mini 9. Note that I didn't use a pirated/slipstreamed version of OS X. I recommend that you do the same (besides Software Update works, which is killer!)

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The Mac OS X desktop in all its glory. Wheee!

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Man, I need a lot of Software Updates! I installed them all without incident and with room to spare on the Mini 9's 16GB SSD.

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The next thing I did was sync my Safari bookmarks via MobileMe. The first software I installed was: 1Password, Tweetdeck then AdiumX.

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