I am extremely new to OS X and even newer to Hackintosh. I have been a windows user all my life. Mac OS with its complex file/directory structure and UNIX based command system is still quite alien to me. Even so I, with little struggle managed to pull off what many people might consider quite tricky tasks. This is my very fist post on this forum and the purpose is to share my experience of getting my Hackintosh to work the way I wanted so that others might benefit in case their hardware and specific requirements happen to match mine.
In this post I shall talk about 1) My hardware 2) Brief background 3) My requirements - what I wanted to accomplish 4) What I did and where I found help.
I would like to remind that I am not technical at all when it comes to OS X.
Processor: Intel Core2 Duo 2.33 GHz
Motherboard: Intel DG43NB
Audio: Motherboard built-in
Ethernet: Motherboard built-in
RAM: 4 GB
Display Card: EVGA Nvidia 9500 GT (I use DVi output)
Monitor: ViewSonic LED 22” 1920 x 1080p
Three Western Digital SATA hard disks 500 GB each
One Western Digital USB external hard disk 500 GB
One Samsung SATA DVD Writer
On one of the three SATA hard disks I have Windows 7 64 bit up and running. This hard disk has three NTFS partitions which hold my operating system, installed software and all my data. For the purpose of this post we shall call it disk 1.
The second disk is used for storage of large media files, such as music, songs, movies, etc. I access this disk very often. This disk has only one NTFS partition. For the purpose of this post we shall call it disk 2
The third disk is dedicated just for MAC OS X. In fact it was bought last year especially for this purpose since I did not want to risk ruining my data and existing windows installation. This disk has two MAC partitions. For the purpose of this post we shall call it disk 3.
The external USB hard disk is used simply to move large files from home to work and back.
Earlier I tried several methods of installation but the degree of success varied. Installation of Snow Leopard from retail DVD failed despite trying through several bootloaders. There is no point in discussing those “experiments” in details. I will get right to the point and talk about my current system and how I got it working.
What I wanted was simple. Complete migration from windows 7 to MAC OS X if I wanted. This means:
1. Network, Audio, and Graphics drivers properly installed and configured
2. Ability to freely download, install and run any software on MAC
3. Ability to read from and write to all the disks from MAC such as disk 1 for my data files and disk 2 for large media files.
4. Being able to boot into either windows 7 or MAC OS X easily and effortlessly.
HOW I MADE IT HAPPEN
The following steps summarize different stages of the process. Most of the information came from reading through different posts and forums. Some came from experimentation.
First I Downloaded iPC OSx86 10.5.6 Universal distro. It was an ISO image file which had to be burned on a DVD. I burned it on the DVD at the minimum speed since this what is recommended on several threads I read.
Then I completely disconnected my disks 1 and 2 which had my Windows 7 and all my data. So the only connected drives were disk 3 which is for Mac and my DVD drive.
Went to BIOS setup and changed the hard disk mode from IDE to ACHI. Also set the DVD drive as first boot device.
Turned the system on with iPC distro DVD inside and the installer started from the DVD.
Did two partitions from the Disk Utility and selected the appropriate drivers and options from the long customize list. This step requires a lot of trial and error and patience. In my case my display driver (9500 GT) and my audio driver were not listed so I didn’t select any of those drivers. My Network driver was listed which I selected. I don’t recall all the options that I checked but as I said, this requires trial and error. On first attempt the installation gave an error after about 80%. Tried again with disk verification option and it worked.
Restarted and I was inside MAC OS X. First milestone achieved!!
Looked for endless resources and threads to get help on display drivers. Downloaded Nvidia 9000 series. And followed the following post that made my display work perfectly. To test I installed and ran Final Cut Pro and it ran flawlessly which means that display drivers are installed properly. Since I don’t know how to install kexts manually I use OSxTools which is extremely useful tool to do a lot of things for new people like myself:
For Audio I installed AppleHDA.kext, HDAEnabler.kext and AppleAzaliaAudio.kext. I still don’t know which one of these actually worked but now at least I can get audio output. However inputs are still not working. This is one thing which I’d say is still not perfect but it works for me since I don’t need inputs at this time.
I discovered that mounting any dmg file that I download from within OS X crashed the system. However dmg files downloaded elsewhere such as from Windows or another Mac mount without problem. It turned out that my system either didn’t have seatbelt.kext installed or it had wrong version. I followed the following post and it instantly solved my problem. The trick was to get and install the right version of seatbelt.kext
The next task was to be able to easily boot into either Windows 7 or OS X, i.e. dual boot. This seemingly simple thing turned out to be a nightmare to solve. By now I had put back my other two hard disks that I had disconnected at the time of OS X installation. For windows I had to go to BIOS, change the drive mode to IDE and set my disk 1 as first boot device. For OS X I had to go to BIOS, set the drive mode to AHCI and set my disk 3 as the first boot device. I figured it wasn’t the ideal way and too much of a hassle. I couldn’t boot into both operating systems using a single drive mode (IDE or AHCI). With AHCI windows would not boot and with IDE OS X would hang and give the all time cursed “still waiting for root device error”. Following few posts I tried to install some kexts but the error remained. The only way I could boot OS X was using AHCI mode. I gave up. Instead, I tried to find out how to boot windows 7 using AHCI rather than boot OS X in IDE mode. This was much simpler. With a change of value of a singe entry in Windows registry I was able to boot Windows 7 in AHCI Mode. Several forums and guides on the web provide information on this issue. Then following these posts I installed EasyBCD for dual booting.
I added an entry for MAC OS which created a startup menu. However there was no way in EasyBCD to tell in which of the three drives to find the OS X. The startup menu appeared. Selecting Windows booted into Windows. Selecting Mac OS X would give a list of drives to choose from. When I Chose the OS X drive it wouldn’t boot up. After several experiments I figured out that it has to do with the order of hard disks physically connected to SATA ports. My OS X disk which is disk 3 was connected in SATA port 1. I reshuffled the connections and connected disk 3 (OS X disk) at SATA port 2. So now Disk 3 was the last in the port order. Disk 1 on port 0, disk 2 on port 1 and disk 3 on port 2. Then I restarted and selected Mac OS X from startup menu I got the same list of drives but this time selecting the OS X drive booted up properly and perfectly. Also all the drivers loaded properly.
At this point my OS X was running perfectly. No issues with network, sound and display. Dual booting worked perfectly. All applications running smoothly and robustly. Inside Finder I could see all the installed hard disks’ partitions. I could open all any file from any drive. However I could not write or change anything on NTFS particions which were on my disk 1, disk 2 and external USB hard disk. OS X Leopard doesn’t allow writing on NTFS volumes. This meant that I couldn’t completely migrate from windows 7 to OS X in case I had to work on the files on NTFS drives. I looked for the solution. I came across some third party drivers that allowed OS X to write on NTFS partitions but I didn’t like the idea because these drivers are reported to have caused data corruption. I don’t want to lose any data so I had to find a better way. I found the solution in networking. I figured If somehow I could fool OS X into believing that my NTFS drives are on the network then using file sharing I can read and write from within OS X. The answer was in using virtual machines. I installed two virtual machines: Virtual Tools and Fusion. First I tried to install Windows XP on Virtual Tools but it didn’t load the installation DVD so I gave up. Then I tried installing Win XP on Fusion and it installed effortlessly. However, Win XP running as a virtual machine did not show any of the physical drives of the system. Then I noticed that Fusion also allowed using Boot Camp as virtual machine, which means I could boot up my already installed Windows 7 64 bit as a virtual machine. It worked but I had to switch on some setting for virtualization from BIOS setup of my system. When I booted up Win 7 in Fusion I could see the physical disk running windows 7 which in my case is disk 1. I could see all the three partitions. I shared all my data folders from windows with read/write permission and viola…..they became available in OS X in network. So now I could read and write on one of two NTFS drives from OS X.
Still disk 2 which is my large media storage disk wasn’t showing in Fusion so it couldn’t be shared. I tried to find how to access a physical disk from Fusion and the following posts helped:
These post describe in details how to make Fusion see the physical (or raw) drives on the host system. It took me a while to make this rather simple thing work but it worked eventually and at last I could read and write on any physical drive from OS X. So now I am ready to completely migrate from Windows to Mac if I wanted to.
The above process took me weeks of reading and experimentation and there were moments of frustration as well. If your situation is similar to mine then I hope my post help you speed things up.
Best of luck!
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