Adventures in Snow Leopard

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Overall, I’m impressed with Snow Leopard. I waited a while before upgrading as I wasn’t too much in a hurry to upgrade everyone in my house to the next “service pack” (as those Windoze fanboys call it.) That changed of course when I downloaded the newest iTunes v9. I couldn’t browse the iTunes store without upgrading my main machine to at least OS X 10.5.8 and Safari 4. I decided that if I was going to go through the effort I might as well go with the latest and greatest.

I was able to upgrade all the MacBooks and my wife’s MacBook Pro over several nights. I did one a night and got everything updated — went up to 10.6.1, upgraded iTunes, drivers, etc. Easy peasy. Really no surprises. Even got back a few gigs on each machine. I’m hoping that the upgrade will fix some of the weird issues my wife has been seeing on her machine.

Then came time to upgrade of the Dell Mini 9 and my big hackintosh machine…not so easy

FIrst up: the Dell Mini 9. I headed over to the one and only mydellmini.com to see if the brilliant people over there had perform the dellmini92.png upgrade yet. Sure enough, they already had a solution. They even have a special forum to track Snow Leopard discussions. The solution they came up with is to uses a program called NetbookMaker. Link to the How-to. in a nutshell, the steps have you put an image of Snow Leopard on a USB and then run NetbookMaker against that USB. Then simply boot the Dell Mini 9 to that USB stick and perform the upgrade. Remove stick, reboot, and basking in Snow Leopard love.

To upgrade to 10.6.1, I used the following guide. It’s a bit more detailed but spot on.

Not as easy as upgrading a Mac, but pretty damn close. Everything works on the Dell that I can see — and you get some disk space back! Which when you have 16 gigs to start with, any savings is a good thing.

Of course this gave me a sense of confidence that the big hackintosh would be just as easy. HA!

A little background on my current rig here and here. It was built using Kalyway 10.5.1 and then upgraded over the last year and half to 10.5.7. Now that I decided to perform an upgrade, I thought that with all of the upgrade black magic that one has to go through to upgrade a hackintosh, I wanted some easier. No, that didn’t mean that I was going to buy a real mac — but I was going to try to upgrade the rig to a “vanilla” installation using the retail version of Snow Leopard.

The primary benefits of using this method is that I can use the software update without any major concerns. The other side benefit is that it would force me to clean up my hard drive of all the crap I’ve installed over the last year and half playing around with this and that.

However since I’ve come to rely on this machine so much, I really didn’t want to be out of commission for too long so I thought I should back everything up. Just in case. So I fired up my trusty Acomdata drive and started the SuperDuper! backup process. This took a LONG time – I guess that its always longer when you are waiting for a backup to complete. I think its a collary of the watched pot never boils. In the end, this was a very wise decision.

Now as the machine was backing up, I used the newly upgraded Dell Mini to research the methods for upgrading, or in this case, installing Snow Leopard on a hackintosh. It basically came down to two different methods. The first method that sounded promising was documented by a person named blackosx on the InsanelyMac forums. Brillant stuff. Really. You’ll be familiar with InsanelyMac if you’ve done any research on hackintoshes. I read and read, printed and read some more. I was spending a lot more time than I thought or wanted to. Sorry blackosx – great guide however.

happymac.jpgI ended up using another method… one out of Lifehacker written by Adam Pash. Here is a link to article that I used. If you have the same equipment as Adam, see his other article he wrote two weeks later that makes the process even easier. I, however, do not have his hardware so I used his first article. In short, it wasn’t nearly as easy as any of the other installs, however, the install was a lot easier than when I built the machine the first time.

My next article I’ll detail the issues I ran across and where the machine stands now.

-JT

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