Netbooting MacBook Air

MacBook AirI had assumed that the driver for the USB Ethernet adapter was loaded at boot time, and not available to EFI. This would mean that you would not be able to NetBoot using the USB Ethernet adapter.

I assumed wrong.

While I don’t yet have a MacBook Air-compatible NetBoot (or NetInstall) image, the MacBook Air does attempt to NetBoot over its USB Ethernet interface:


Feb 15 09:53:10 xserve06 bootpd[1411]: BSDP DISCOVER [en2] 1,0:1e:c2:fb:b0:26 arch=i386 sysid=MacBookAir1,1
Feb 15 09:53:12 xserve06 bootpd[1411]: BSDP INFORM [en2] 1,0:1e:c2:fb:b0:26 arch=i386 sysid=MacBookAir1,1
Feb 15 09:53:12 xserve06 bootpd[1411]: NetBoot: [1,0:1e:c2:fb:b0:26] BSDP ACK[LIST] sent 172.30.160.46 pktsize 339
Feb 15 09:53:20 xserve06 bootpd[1411]: BSDP INFORM [en2] 1,0:1e:c2:fb:b0:26 NetBoot195 arch=i386 sysid=MacBookAir1,1
Feb 15 09:53:20 xserve06 bootpd[1411]: NetBoot: [1,0:1e:c2:fb:b0:26] BSDP ACK[SELECT] sent 172.30.160.46 pktsize 396

This is good news for our deployment – eventually we should be able to image MacBook Airs just like any other Mac.

Netbooting MacBook Air

9 thoughts on “Netbooting MacBook Air

  1. Dan says:

    I have a NetBoot and NetRestore imag made from 10.5.2 MacBook Pro 15″. Do you think it will work with the MacBook Air?

    I loathe having to build a new image for the MacBook Air!

  2. I’m pretty sure it will _work_. I wonder if there might be some issues, though. An approach that has a better chance is to start with the MacBook Air media and update it to 10.5.2…. I’ll be trying both approaches this week.

  3. Dan says:

    I will have a MacBook Air today.

    I will try my current NetInstall set and my current NetRestore master image and see what happens. If it looks questionable, I will build new image(s) from scratch. Good thing I am starting to leverage OD/MCX for Mac policies – less stuff to build on a monolithic image that gets stale.

  4. I put my 10.5.2 install built on a Mac mini onto a MacBook Air today. It booted and mostly worked, but the fan ran full speed all the time and I had a kernel panic when I opened Photo Booth. So next I’m going to try the other way: build an install set from the MacBook Air + 10.5.2 update and try that on the Mac min (and other Intel Macs).

  5. Phil N says:

    I put the MacBook Air + 10.5.2 update install on a Mac G5 Tower and it would not see or boot it?
    Any thoughts?

  6. More details?

    We’ve got an install made from the MacBook Air install + 10.5.2 update running on a variety of machines, including four or five PowerMac G5s.

    How did you get the install on the G5s? Did you somehow format the G5 disks as GPT instead of APM?
    We built an ASR image and use NetRestore to get it on the various machines.

    -Greg

  7. Phil N says:

    I cloned the Macbook Air image to firewire drive then tried to boot from G5 with the external drive.

    I was able to boot the Air with a regular 10.5.2 image for now and mult touch works and Wireless DVD also not sure about some new Mac Pros 3.0 which I will try tomorrow

  8. If the FireWire drive was formatted and partitioned as a GPT drive, the PowerPC Mac would not be able to boot from it. If, instead, the FireWire drive was formatted and partitioned as an APM drive, both PPC and Intel Macs _should_ be able to boot from it…

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