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How to Install Mac OS X on a PC (Without Using a Mac)


by Jorge Sierra on Jun. 1st, 2010

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Download award-winning app to clean from iPod to iTunes. For PC and Mac There are many great tutorials on the web for using a Mac to install Mac OS X Snow Leopard on a PC. Unfortunately, you may be unable to follow such tutorials if you do not readily have access to a Mac to perform the preparation necessary for the installation. Great progress has been made in hacking PCs to run OS X, and it is now possible to install Mac OS X without a Mac. Thanks to some great tools put together by some brilliant hackers, it is also much easier and does not involve nearly as much time and effort as was once required.

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Step 1: Getting The Hardware Ready


I recently purchased the following set of hardware for the purposes of building a Hackintosh (often PCs running Mac OS X are referred to as such):

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Intel Core i3-530 Clarkdale 2.93GHz Gigabyte GA-H55M-USB3 Motherboard 4 GB DDR3 1333 RAM (2 x 2GB) DVD Burner MicroATX Computer Case 585 Watt Power Supply 4-pin to 8-pin Power Adapter The motherboard has an 8-pin power connector on it, and although it is possible to connect a single 4-pin connector to it, you may encounter odd issues running with just a single 4-pin connector. To ensure that you provide sufficient power to the board, you should purchase the 4-pin to 8-pin power

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adapter. Alternatively, you could purchase a power supply with 3x 4-pin connectors (1 for the 20+4pin main connector, and 2 for the 8-pin connection) or an 8-pin connector. I did not purchase a hard drive or video card, as I used some I already had from another PC, but you will need those items as well. As of the time this article was written, you can get a 1TB drive shipped for $75 and an NVIDIA GeForce 9500 GT video card for $65. I also purchased v10.6.3 of OS X Snow Leopard retail DVD for a mere $29 (was about $35 with shipping & handling). All-in-all, the full system (without monitor) will run you around $600 (you could also add a 22 monitor for $170). You could certainly try doing it even cheaper with different hardware, but youll need to figure out the appropriate changes to make in the BIOS and boot loader installation. I did my best to put together a fairly modern system for a very reasonable price. Having used this set of hardware, I can affirm that it runs OS X Snow Leopard very well. Without a doubt, $600 $800 is a far cry from what you would spend on an equivalent Mac from Apple. Granted it wont be as compact or pretty as an iMac, but it will be just as functional.

Step 2: Putting The Hardware Together


If you purchase the hardware I used, along with a hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce video card, you should be able to follow the instructions exactly as Ive laid them out. If youve never built a PC before but are willing to give it a try, youll definitely want to check out The Idiots Ultimate Guide to Build Your Own PC. It is a step-by-step guide to building your own PC, with plenty of photos to help you out. You can try following this tutorial with existing hardware you have as well, although you may need to make adjustments when configuring the BIOS and installing the boot loader. The more modern your hardware is, the better the chances are it will work for you. It would be best if you have a 64bit Intel dual-core (or quad-core) processor, although an older CPU might still work as well. I would recommend NVIDIA GeForce video card, but ATI cards should work too.

Step 3: Prepare The Boot Disk


In addition to the hardware and a retail copy of Mac OS X Snow Leopard, youll also need a blank CD. You may want to use a rewritable CD if youre using a different hardware configuration, just in case the first one I recommend doesnt work for you. There are two boot disk images that will allow you to install OS X directly from the installation DVD:

iBoot (by tonymacx86 and MacMan) Empire EFI (by Prasys) I successfully used both of them with my hardware setup. However I recommend you try iBoot first, as it is a bit leaner and doesnt take as long to boot. If youre using my hardware configuration, be sure to download the iBoot Supported disk image. If you use Empire EFI, download the Empire EFI v1.085 R2 image. You can use one of many free programs to burn CDs if you dont have one. Be sure to use the disk image burning mode in your CD burning software. Do not just simply copy the disk image file to a blank CD. I like InfraRecorder, because it makes this very easy. All you have to do is click the Write

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Image button, select the image, and burn it. Once again, you may wish to use rewritable media if youre using a different hardware configuration than mine.

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Step 4: Bios Configuration


Fortunately, the Gigabyte GA-H55M-USB3 does not require a lot of configuration to run Mac OS X. When you first turn on or reboot the machine, press the delete key to enter the BIOS setup. You can just load the Optimized Defaults, and just make a few changes within three sections of the bios: Advanced BIOS Features, Integrated Peripherals, and Power Management Setup.
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4.1 First, go to Advanced BIOS Features and set the First Boot Device to CDROM. I have my USB drive as the second drive and then Hard Disk as third you can configure yours the same way if you wish to ever boot from a USB drive. Just be sure that Hard Disk is the Second Boot Device or Third Boot Device.

4.2 Next, configure SATA to run in AHCI mode in the Integrated Peripherals menu. Youll need to set both PCH SATA Control Mode and Onboard SATA/IDE Ctrl Mode to AHCI.

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4.3 Finally, go to Power Management Setup and set the HPET Mode to 64-bit mode.

Step 5: Installing Mac OS X


5.1 Insert the iBoot (or Empire EFI) boot disk. 5.2 When you see screen below, eject the disk.

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5.3 Insert the Retail Mac OS X Snow Leopard DVD, wait a few seconds, and press F5. 5.4 When you see the screen below, select Mac OS X Install DVD (it should already be selected) and press Enter.

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5.5 If all goes well, you should eventually see the language selection screen for the installer. If all did not go well and you do not make it to the language selection screen, try downloading a different version of iBoot or Empire EFI. 5.6 Select your language and click the arrow to proceed. 5.7 Next, you need to partition your drive. Click on Utilities > Disk Utility. 5.8 Select your disk drive. 5.9 Click Partition. 5.10 Select 1 Partition for the partition scheme. Note: If you have a drive that is larger than 2 TB, do not create partitions larger than 1 TB. Split the drive into multiple partitions, and be sure the main installation partition is 1 TB or smaller. 5.11 Enter a name for the partition (I used Hackintosh). 5.12 Select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as the Format.

5.13 Click Options, select GUID Partition Table, and then click OK.

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5.14 Click Apply. 5.15 Quit Disk Utility and proceed with the installation. Install on the Hackintosh partition.

Step 6: Installing the Boot Loader


Do not fret when you reboot after the installation and get a boot error, as you will need to first boot the machine with iBoot (or Empire EFI). Eject the Mac OS X Snow Leopard install DVD, put your boot CD back into the drive, and reboot the machine. Now when you boot up, you should see a second choice for your installation partition (Hackintosh if you named it that way). Select the Hackintosh partition and press Enter to boot into OS X. Once youve completed the first-run setup, open up Safari and download Multibeast. Multibeast is another superb tool by tonymacx86 and MacMan that makes it stupid easy to install the boot loader, along with all the drivers necessary for your Hackintosh to function properly. In addition to downloading Multibeast, you will need to download the DSDT for the Gigabyte GAH55M-USB3 and copy it to the desktop. Be sure to save it as DSDT.aml. Launch Multibeast and make the following selections (your choices will differ if you have a different motherboard/hardware configuration):

UserDSDT System Utilities Advanced Options > Kexts > Audio > LegacyHDA > ALC889 Advanced Options > Kexts > Graphics > NVEnabler Advanced Options > Kexts > Network > RealtekR1000SL Advanced Options > Patched Kernels > 10.3.1 Supported Kernel

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After MultiBeast finishes installing, eject the iBoot CD and reboot the system. You should be able to boot right up from the hard drive, and all your devices should work just fine.

Step 7: Getting Started with Your New Mac


So what now? Most certainly youll want to check out 5 apps to get more out of your new Mac as well as 15 must-have apps for your Mac. In fact, you should probably just go ahead and browse the entire Mac section on MakeUseOf, as youll find a wealth of great free stuff for your new Mac in

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there. And most importantly make sure to download MakeUseOfs getting started manual for Mac. Highly recommended for switchers. If ever you encounter into problems with your new Mac, you can always seek help from MakeUseOf Answers. If you have any problems installing Mac OS X on your PC, just post a comment right here and well do what we can to help. Just be sure to provide as much information about the hardware youre using:

Motherboard make and model (i.e. Gigabyte GA-H55M-USB3) CPU model (i.e. Intel Core i3-530 ) GPU model (i.e. NVIDIA GeForce 9900 GT) I never managed to get sleep to work. When I try to put the computer to sleep, it sort of goes into a coma. The fans never shut down and the machine doesnt wake up when you press the power button. If you manage to get sleep to work with my hardware configuration, please do feel free to share your solution in the comments on this article. There are also many great forums and sites out there that provide a lot of information and assistance with running Mac OS X on PC. Here are just a few you may want to check out:

tonymacx86 Forum InsanelyMac Forum Hackint0sh Prasys Blog OSx86 Project If you do seek assistance from any of these or similar resources, be sure to search for your problem before posting it. You will be flamed to no end if you ask a question that has already been answered. Another tip for posting in these forums: never call it a MAC (in all caps) instead of a Mac, or you will solicit many abusive responses. Mac is an abbreviation not an acronym. Here are a few more links that provide tools and files to help you set up a Hackintosh on hardware other than what Ive mentioned here:

myHack Another bootloader/kext installer, similar to Multibeast Kexts.com A good resource for downloading Kexts (device drivers) Kext Helper A tool that makes it easy to install new Kexts Kext Utility A tool to ensure proper kext installation Chamelon Boot Loader The boot loader that pretty much all the boot disks out there use (including iBoot and Empire EFI). netkas PC EFI Used in combination with Chameleon to provide maximum compatibility for booting OS X. Most boot disks use this as well. BootCDMaker (French) Utility (for Mac) to create your own custom boot disks

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A million thanks to tonymacx86 and MacMan for developing iBoot and Multibeast to make installing Mac OS X Snow Leopard on PC a piece of cake. Enjoy your new Hackintosh and let us know what you think of it! Disclosure Statement: Please note that the links to the hardware in this article are affiliate links. MakeUseOf will earn a small commission on any purchases you make. Commissions earned will support the staff of MakeUseOf and allow us to continue to bringing you more great articles. Disclaimer: Please note that running Mac OS X Snow Leopard on hardware other than a Macintosh is against the Mac OS X End User License Agreement (EULA). If you have concerns about this, you may wish to read Is Making Your Own Hackintosh Legal? By installing Mac OS X you are in breach of a contract (breaking a contract is not the same as breaking the law). As long as you own a legal copy of the software, you are not in violation of copyright law.

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118 Comments

(By) Jorge Sierra, a geek of all trades. Be sure to check out his blog, GeekLad

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Tank 7 months ago


Could thise be used as a process to install it on a laptop rather than a desktop?
3 people liked this. Like

GeekLad

7 months ago

in reply to Tank

You could certainly try it on a laptop. One of our writers did attempt to use this method on a Toshiba Satellite A105-S4074, but did not have any luck getting the Boot CD to properly boot the OS X installation DVD. She will likely have to use the USB installation method for OS X as described by Lifehacker.
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Arjun Bajaj 7 months ago in reply to GeekLad


i tried to use the usb boot method on my ibm r51 laptop but then i didn't get how to put my SATA control method to ACHI....

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Can i do something to put mac on my laptop???? thnx....
Like

GeekLad

7 months ago

in reply to Arjun Bajaj

You'll need to look in your BIOS to see if there is an AHCI setting for the hard drive controller. The key to get into your BIOS may not be delete, it could be F6, F12 or something else. You may wish to consult your laptop's manual for instructions on getting into the BIOS settings.
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Arjun Bajaj 7 months ago in reply to GeekLad


hey geeklad, i know how to go in the bios.... but i cant find any place where there's an option to put the sata mode to achi.... thats the only problem...... and i also tried iDeneb but that also didn't install on my laptop
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GeekLad

7 months ago

in reply to Arjun Bajaj

You may not be able to install it without setting AHCI, I'm not sure. I would suggest digging in the tonymacx86 and InsanelyMac forums for any tips on your particular system.
Like

GeekLad

7 months ago

in reply to Tank

You could certainly try it on a laptop. One of our writers did attempt to use this method on a Toshiba Satellite A105-S4074, but did not have any luck getting the Boot CD to properly boot the OS X installation DVD. She will likely have to use the USB installation method as described by Lifehacker.
Like

Kim Sharma 5 months ago in reply to GeekLad


Hi, thanks for the detailed description! I bought the exact mobo + a corei5 650. I looked at the lifehacker guide - since I dont have a CD / DVD drive... is there a way to combine iBoot on the same bootable USB (a la lifehacker) so I dont need a separate CD + DVD step? Thanks. Never mind- I found it... you can make iBoot via USB. looking here: http://www.tonymacx86.com/view...

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(Edited by author 5 months ago)
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GeekLad

5 months ago

in reply to Kim Sharma

You won't be able to do it without a CD / DVD drive. The iBoot disk image must be placed on a disc.
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Geoff 7 months ago


Nice tutorial, but I think dual boot is a lot more simple, I can imagine trying this and it going pear shaped half way through :P
3 people liked this. Like

Wing 7 months ago in reply to Geoff


What do you mean by going "pear shaped?" Also, I am not familiar with all of the hardware listed in the tutorial. Is there an online list of any easy to hack intel-based computers by simply using iboot or some other program and the necessary blank disc, snow leopard dvd, etc.?
Like

GeekLad

7 months ago

in reply to Wing

Try the OS X HCL (hardware compatability list) to see if your hardware is listed. http://wiki.osx86project.org/w...
1 person liked this. Like

Martin 7 months ago


Will this work with any other GPU or does it have to be a Geforce 9500?
3 people liked this. Like

GeekLad

7 months ago

in reply to Martin

Should easily work with any GeForce GPU. I did it with an old GeForce 6600 GT and it works great. I just picked the GeForce 9500 card I did because it was a decent price/performance alternative, and had 1GB of memory on it.
1 person liked this. Like

IM581 7 months ago


Any Hack to run on VMWare
8 people liked this. Like

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