Installing Mac OS X and Ubuntu on the MSI Wind U100

Updated 2009-10-18


This was written while installing both Mac OS X 10.5.6 and Ubuntu GNU/Linux 8.10 in an MSI Wind U100, model MS-N011. Just notes to remember how it was done, just in case it needs to be done again.

Quick links to the drivers

For the ones that are revisiting this article and do not need the long story:

Hardware specs

Preparing partitions

The system comes with three partitions in the 160 GB disk

Factory partition table

 | Linux Device Name | Size   | Description                            |
 | /dev/sda1         | 4 GB   | MSI Windows recovery utility partition |
 | /dev/sda2         | 40 GB  | C: Windows Installed Partition         |
 | /dev/sda3         | 116 GB | D: Empty                               |

fdisk output

Disk /dev/sda: 160.0 GB, 160041885696 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 19457 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x7ecbba1f

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *           1         510     4096543+  12  Compaq diagnostics
/dev/sda2             511        5610    40965750    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda3            5611       19457   111226027+   7  HPFS/NTFS

Booting with an Ubuntu installation Live CD, split /dev/sda3 in two using fdisk, leaving sda1 and sda2 as they are

New partition table

 | Linux Device Name | Size  | Description                            |
 | /dev/sda1         | 4 GB  | MSI Windows recovery utility partition |
 | /dev/sda2         | 40 GB | C:\ Windows Installed Partition        |
 | /dev/sda3         | 55 GB | Mac OS X installation                  |
 | /dev/sda4         | 55 GB | Ubuntu 8.10 / root filesystem          |

I did not make extended partitions, nor a swap partition. The machine has 1 GB ram, and Ubuntu will work well without swap since it is a netbook and not a workstation, and I know from previous iDeneb installations that extended partitions do not play well with Mac OS X. If swap is needed in Ubuntu, add it as a file.

Mac OS X 10.5.6

Downloaded iDeneb 1.4, which was released on February 7 2009 The .torrent or rapidshare links are not at the iDeneb website, to avoid legal implications I guess. At first i tried downloading a .torrent found in piratebay but it was excruciatingly slow.

After a bit of searching, found links to rapidshare

Downloading, burning it, rebooting selecting (with F11) the external DVD writer as boot device...

Installed iDeneb 1.4 (Mac OS X 10.5.6 for non-Apple hardware) by selecting MSI Wind in the advanced settings tab. In theory, this should have seamlessly installed the thing into the computer, but you know it is never so easy...

Fixing video

At first boot, graphics card freezes. As the welcome music is heard in the speakers, I realize that everything else seems to be working. Rebooting with -x (without loading drivers), and installed the drivers from here following this link

Earlier versions of this document pointed to other installer that required using Kext helper, and in the end you had the wrong resolution. Everything is better with this GMA950.pkg, just click, install and reboot.

Now that hardware acceleration is working, you can try Photoboot to see the webcam works

Ethernet workarounds

It seems that for Ethernet connection to work, the cable must be plugged in (and connected to the gateway) DURING BOOT. Afterwards, you can unplug the cable, hibernate, and re-plug it and the device will still be working. You will need to Refresh the state of the card in System Preferences/Network by setting it to *off* and back to *using DHCP* again

Getting WiFi working

There is no Airport driver for the WiFi card, but there is one that works with it's own custom configuration tool.

From the Ralink site I downloaded the RT2860 driver (RT2860 is the name of the chipset the card uses). Ralink update their drivers often. See the first link to see if a new version is available, and install that instead of the link I provide.

The card is recognized as "Ethernet 2", and works with the "Wireless Utility Cardbus PCI" the dmg installs. It connects seamlessly to my OpenWRT gateway and to a La Fonera 2.0 private signal.

Clicking noise in the hard drive workaround

The drive clicks a lot, as if it were all the time starting/stopping. I had seem it before[in Ubuntu]. Aggressive APM settings shorten the life span of the hard drive.

Fortunately, the workaround for Mac OS X is the same as in Linux; I found[a port of hdaparm to Mac OS X], and installed it by copying hdapm.list to /Library/LaunchDaemons and hdapm (the executable) at /usr/local/bin. I also applied the same workaround in Linux (see below)

Installing software

One of the points of this installation was testing if the computer was able to run Xcode Indeed. The IDE can be installed seamlessly by downloading the .dmg from the Apple Developer Connection Even better, wxWidgets is installed by default in Mac OS X, so easy cross-platform GUI programs can be done. It is remarkable how the Apple guys make the transition from GNU/Linux or BSD (or any other POSIX system) to Mac OS X a paved road for the Unix developer. You can just fire a Terminal ( being the Mac OS X equivalent of Unix's xterm , and you have all the familiar tools, including the whole GNU toolchain (Xcode's Objective C compiler is GNU cc). After all, it is Unix

Upgrading to Mac OS X 10.5.7

Reboot with -x (no drivers) switch, and install:

To install it, select both .kext files inside and drag and drop them to the Kext helper application. If you do not have the Kext helper application, you can download it from here

Ubuntu 8.10


A standard Ubuntu 8.10 installation was performed on /dev/sda4, making an ext 3 filesystem on it. Rebooting it, WiFi does not work (driver does not come in the Ubuntu 8.10 CD), but ethernet does. Upgraded the distribution.

Triple Boot

Ubuntu detects the Windows XP partition and the first recovery partition and adds them to the GRUB menu, but it did not detect the Mac OS X installation. I removed all the entries Ubuntu installation made in /boot/grub/menu.lst and replaced them with this four, enabling the boot of

title		Mac OS X 10.5.6
root		(hd0,2)
chainloader	+1

title		Ubuntu Linux 8.10
uuid		c67c0b63-d3bb-4144-a80b-3e5d6a57d00c
kernel		/vmlinuz root=UUID=c67c0b63-d3bb-4144-a80b-3e5d6a57d00c ro quiet splash
initrd		/initrd.img

title		Windows XP
root		(hd0,1)
chainloader	+1

title		Windows Recover Utility
root		(hd0,0)
chainloader	+1

Added also a pretty splash image (a bit of eye candy) found here by adding this to /boot/grub/menu.lst


Mac OS X was made the default booting option by saying 'default=0' on top of the menu.lst

Clicking noises (again)

Fixed by adding

hdaparm -B 255 /dev/sda

in /etc/rc.local

Ethernet nightmare

The ethernet driver for Realtek 8168 has an issue when dual booting from windows (or Mac OS X, as it seems). more information.

To boot in Ubuntu and get ethernet to work after running Windows or Mac OS X there is a workaround:

Powering down the machine completely, unplugging the power supply, *removing the battery* (this was not in the post above) for 10 seconds before booting Linux.

Some ajkessel here points that disabling the auto-negotiation feature (negotiate 10/100/1000 Mbps link with the ethernet switch) fixes the problem

But it does not. In the end I figured out why for some time it did work and now it does not:

The driver works with the kernel package 2.6.27-7 (the one installed from the CD) but not with the 2.6.27-11 (the one upgraded), so i rebooted using the old kernel to just...

Install the WiFi driver

The Ralink RT2700E does not work out of the box on Ubuntu 8.10

Compiled the driver following this link

apt-get install module-assistant
m-a prepare
[get things needed to compile]
apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.27-11 linux-headers-2.6.27-11-generic
cd /usr/src
tar jxpvf 2008_0918_RT2860_Linux_STA_v1.8.0.0.tar.bz2
cd 2008_0918_RT2860_Linux_STA_v1.8.0.0
vi os/linux/
[ Added =y to the two WPA supplicant options]
make install

Then rebooted with 2.6.27-11 and redo the above operation. Added rt2860sta to /etc/modules, so it is loaded on boot.

A good work from the Ralink guys having their source readily compilable from their source tarballs.

Getting Windows XP back (recovery tool)

With [ACPI] and [onboard memory] enabled in BIOS (which I did the first), windows did not boot. I disabled the options and now it works. The good part of the failure is that I tried to restore it using one of those infamous "recovery partitions", and found something interesting.

Windows can be reinstalled using the MSI utility in the first partition, surprisingly without breaking GRUB and without overwriting the Mac OS X or Linux partitions. It is the first time i see this. The recovery option in HP laptops wipe out the entire drive, removing any linux or other partition that was there.

For anyone out there trying to reproduce this setup, *please note* that I did not touch the first two partitions. I do not know if, i.e. resizing them will end up with the recovery tool whipping out your entire hard drive. I just tested without touching them and using the free original D: partition. Your mileage may vary.

Pablo Martin