Acer Aspire One (A150X) is now officially a Mac!
Running Leopard 10.5.6 at full speed now! My first hackintosh attempt. The Acer A150 makes a great 900g Mac. And it did cost 400 CHF (265 EUR) and a only a few hours to setup. It be will around an hour if you follow these steps, since you save the trial and error (and geek fun) part. Everything is working more than fine except Wifi for now (just needs the hardware replaced but the right wireless card is on its way, details below).
After a few failed attempts with different distros, for this specific netbook it’s quite easy to turn it into a Mac. Here we go: (Full instructions)
0) Disclaimer: I don’t take any responsability if you render your netbook useless or something wrong happens. If you want to mess around with it it’s obviously your call. I won’t be full time managing questions and comments on this post. There’s plenty of info online for procedures and fixes after everything is done. You can always use the recovery to get bac to your Windows factory setup (aaargh). I just want to help people with the same model of netbook to avoid wasting lots of hours with defferent distros and settings that will not work as I did when starting this weekend project. It works for A150, but might work also for any Aspire One series netbook. As soon as Apple puts a decent (not the MacBook Air) netbook out, I’ll definitelly buy it. I already own an iMac and a MacBook Pro 17″. They are both great, but the MBP17 is in my opinion a transportable, not portable. Apart from heavy it’s huge and even if it’s great for real work, it’s overkill for conferences, weekend occasional web use when not at home or during holidays. This netMac (or whatever) will be great for those and some other scenarios.
1) If you want to dual boot Windows/Mac as I left mine setup for precaution and in case some mac-allergic friend wants to use MSN messenger IN Windows, just use any partition utility (Partition magic / Acronis / Whatever) to create some unused space partition. Be sure it’s a logical partition and set as primary. This way you can keep (and boot to) the original XP installation that comes with this netbook. The Acer recovery partition remains intact too. I only left a tiny space for Windows since I don’t use it at all for a few years now, but be sure to distribute partitions to your needs. You can also create a partition to share between OSes in FAT32. You can also triple boot Linux/Windows/Mac. You can even skip the partition part and just install Mac OS X. That’s all up to you.
2) Get the iDeneb 1.4 (10.5.6) distro. This is a hacked version of Leopard DVD to work with the PC hardware. You have to download “somewhere” the ISO image and burn it into a DVD. I wasted most of my time in failed attempts trying to boot from an USB disk drive with different distros. All of them failed mid-installation! As soon as I did it booting from an external USB DVD player (cheapo DVR-RW) it all worked fine.
3) Boot from the disc above (F12 during boot and select it from the list). After the first installation steps, and as soon as you see the system menu on the top, click Utilities in that menu. Open Disk Utility. Select the partition space you created and format it (erase) as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Quit Disk Utility (that will be Alt+Q on this netbook).
4) Open Terminal (geeky) in the Utilities menu and type “diskutil list” (obviously without the quotes). Take note of the disk number and partition number you just prepared. Now type “fdisk -e /dev/rdiskX” where X is the disk number you just took note. Now, type “p“. You’ll see the list of partitions on that disk. If the one you just prepared is marked with a * it’s already set as active and you’re done. If not, type “flag X” where X is the partition number on this list. Type “exit“. Quit the Terminal (Alt+Q).
5) Continue with the installation, select the disk and when you see the Customize button in the bottom left click it. In the customizing options choose only the iDeneb Essentials and Netbook > Acer one options. Continue and finish installation.
6) Now, I got stuck in here for a while because I thought I was done. There’s still a small step (and simple). After you restart, press any key on the bootloader to be able to add boot parameters. If you fail (you know that if you get stuck on the apple grey screen with the welcome music playing) you can just rebbot again. Type “-X” at the Boot: prompt. You will load safe mode. It will ask you for basic information. When it asks for name, etc, just click Continue in the popup dialog. You can register (or not) later. It will also ask you your keyboard setting and to setup your user account and password
7) In another computer, load Diablo’s iDeneb 1.4 Tools in a USB key (search for it also “somewhere”). In the netbook, in this safe mode, insert the USB key. Install the DoNotSleep and the GMA950 packages (just click them). Reboot. You will now reboot for the first time in normal mode in full resolution.
8) Also from the Diablo’s tools files, copy the folder ShutdownSound into /Library/StartupItem in your disk. Still from the tools, open OSX86Tools and enable Quartz GL and reboot (if it asks to fix something, hit FIX). After reboot, open OSX86Tools again and do the Fix Permissions procedure. You’re done!
You have now a fully working small and light (and cheap) Mac. Wireless is not working yet but you just need to replace the Wifi card with this one. This netbook has no Bluetooth but you can use any Mac compatible dongle.
Now, there’s a few fixes you can apply (or not, if you don’t bother). I won’t go in details in here since there’s plenty of info out there. Google is your friend. Don’t be a selfish bastard and feel free to contribute with some fixes / links / suggestions in this post’s comments! :)
I will be going over all this again for a friend so I might add some step-by-step pictures to this post very soon. I will also post the Wifi card replacement procedure (with pics) as soon as the new one arrives.