Hackintosh success, Dell Inspiron 530, Mac OS 10.5.6
Today is a happy Mac day, for I have successfully installed Mac OS 10 on my Dell Desktop. Many folks have achieved this before me, so I’m not claiming to be some sort of amazing talent, but considering how non-obvious the process was, I’ll put down some notes here for you to peruse at your leisure.
Last Updated on 5/10/2013.
This is all essentially irrelevant these days, as the folks over at TonyMac have made setting up a Hackintosh on mac-like hardware trivial. I’ll leave this post as is just in case any of it remains helpful, but I strongly advise anyone interested in building a Hackintosh ignore the long process below and follow the guides at TonyMac. I’ve built three Hackintoshes following the CustoMac buyer’s guide, and the process was relatively simple and problem free.
Being the sort who likes to do The Right Thing, I first attempted to use Boot-132 (following the guide here) to install from my retail Leopard disk. Alas, despite my trying valiantly, and losing a more than a bit of hair, I was not successful.
I’m reasonably sure that my failing point was actually just a missing driver, and if I was so inclined I could probably install “vanilla” Leopard from the retail disk now, but as I have a working system by other means at this point, I’m not going to bother.
This is what I *think* one must do to get this working with the retail boot disk:
- Download the boot CD image from the post linked here. (Download .ISO Original with project kexts link)
- Open the iso with some kind of iso editor. I used Magiciso in Windows.
- Grab the initrd.dmg out and open it in the same editor (or on a Mac).
- Within, you will find a folder Extra\Extensions. In that folder you should put a “decrypter.” kext. The one I suggest is appledecrypt.kext. I don’t think I can legally provide this file. (sigh) Google will find it for you very quickly, though, so all is not lost.
- You’ll also need to put any drivers that are required to boot your Mac in that folder. I needed the Intel SATA drivers, for example. InsanelyMac’s forums will provide links to any drivers you might need. Grab the drivers you need for booting only, you don’t need to go for 100%.
- Close the dmg and update the one in the boot iso with your changed version.
- Burn the iso to a cd.
Now, all you need to do is boot from the “boot” cd, and when you see the darwin prompt, swap in your Leopard DVD and hit enter. Hopefully you’ll be able to boot and install. However, as I said earlier, I could not. I got an X on top of the Apple logo after many minutes of trundling. Instead, I took the semi-dark path of grabbing a pre-patched iso from a torrent site. Now as I own a “family” version of Leopard, I don’t feel bad about this. But I suppose it is technically illegal. Bleh.
Anywho, the one I used is called “iATKOS 5i” which is based on 10.5.5. The nice thing about this particular variant is that it is designed to make an install that can in future be updated using the standard Software Update app, just like a Real Mac(TM).
iATKOS has some fairly decent docs that I suggest you read before you start. Also, read the page on preparing an updatable system. The key items that I missed on my first (few) attempts are that you really do need to install “drivers” for your hardware. Even if similar models appear in Real Macs(TM). For example, I have an NVIDIA 8600 GT, and so does at least one Real Mac(TM) I can think of. However, I was silly and didn’t include the nvidia “drivers” and my machine hard locked after the spinny thing below the apple logo spun a bit.
Drivers is in quotes because the ones I used aren’t really drivers. (most aren’t) They “inject” the necessary vendor and device IDs into the existing Apple drivers (not exactly as described, there’s magic here I’ve not looked into) so that they can support models that don’t have the approved Apple values.
Now you might think that you can install these drivers after you’ve installed the OS itself. That might be true in some cases, but at least for me, my machine wouldn’t even boot without NVIDIA and Intel SATA drivers. So if you have similar hardware, be sure to select these. There isn’t too much harm in having drivers for hardware you don’t have (with a few exceptions, and the docs mention them), just like in Windows or Linux.
But first, you’ll need to partition the drive and format a partition for Mac OS. You have two (well three, but one is pretty useless) options for the master partition table. If you want to keep Windows or Linux bootable, you’ll want to use MBR, but that has a caveat in that you won’t have success unless you mark the boot partition bootable (particularly if you are coming from Windows). Naturally you can’t set this flag with Disk Utility, at least any way I could find, so you’ll have to use something else. I suggest cfdisk from your friendly knoppix rescue disk. If you don’t have one, make one! They are highly handy, and terribly terrific.
Now, I backed everything up before I started (you did too, right? Right?!?), so I just let Leopard have it’s way with my drive using the fancy GUID based table, with a single partition. The iATKOS wiki has a guide to set up dual/multi boot. I didn’t try it, so I have no idea if it works. But there it is.
If you can’t figure out how to partition using Apple’s friendly disk utility, you probably shouldn’t be trying to set up a Hackintosh. Or maybe you are GUIphobic, in which case there is always the previously mentioned cfdisk.
Once you’ve partitioned things, you’ll want to start the install proper. Click through (slowly!) until you see a customize button at the bottom left. You will need to make some tweaks here, so don’t miss it!
For my Dell, I left all the defaults (it is important you do this if you want the the install upgradable via Software Update) and added:
- OHR, which fixes shutdown/restart issues
- Intel SATA (the non ACPI version, thanks to a tip in the InsaneMac forums)
- nvkush (I started with nvinject, but that left me without hardware acceleration. I switched to nvkush post install and all was well. You get to avoid my trial and error. Aren’t you special?)
- ntfs (for read/write ntfs support, if you want it)
Now obviously you won’t want to follow my list if you have different hardware, but I think having the list will give you the right idea as to what things you should pick.
At this point I was able to boot to a desktop. I ran Software Update and let it do its thing. It worked! Hooray! YMMV.
My Dell’s built in NIC and built in audio were not supported by any of the drivers included, so I had to get them after. I’d researched this, though, and had the NIC drivers ready on a flash drive for convenience. If you have the 82566DC Intel NIC I have, you can grab the kext here. Because I’m lazy, I also grabbed kext helper to make the many kext installs I was sure to need easier. It is a great tool and I suggest you grab it.
Update (2/6/09): The kext that I mention above appears to have significant issues with bridged networking mode in VMWare Fusion 2.0. I was never able to get it to work and worse, switching from NAT to bridged and back a few times could reliably cause a kernel panic. To resolve this, I picked up the Netgear GA311 from Best Buy for $35. It has native support in Leopard, supports gigabit ethernet, and works perfectly with VMWare. I suggest you grab one and skip the community provided driver for the built in NIC.
The audio was actually the trickiest. Success required a bit of dancing around. First, I nabbed a copy of AppleHDA patcher from its forum post. Using this tool requires a “codec dump” from Linux, and the post has a link to tons of them. They have vendor/model IDs in them, which will help you find your model, as the same “reported” model number (like ALC888, for example) actually has a handful of variants.
Once you find the matching file, just drag it onto the patcher tool’s icon, it will trundle, and then suggest you reboot. I did, and had working sound. At that point, all my hardware was working. Everything is stable so far, too. I wrote this post in Ecto on my new Hackintosh.
I hope this helps you on your quest to a cheaper or custom Mac. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I will try to answer questions. Feel free to leave a comment. Also, please feel free to correct me if I did (and I’m sure I did) something less than ideal. Good luck, and remember that if you can’t get it to work in the end, there’s always Ubuntu!