Q. What is OS X 86 all about?
A. This project is all about running Apple’s OS X on non-Apple hardware. There are various caveats in place to restrict the use of the OS on non-Apple hardware, this project aims to circumvent those restrictions to enable the full use of the OS running natively on the hardware, i.e. not running in a virtual environment.
Q. Great, so can I install OS X on my PC/Laptop.
A. Probably, is the best answer here if you are using modern hardware. Using an AMD processor or a 32 bit intel you can (currently at the time of writing this) only run 10.6.8. If you have a 64bit Intel processor you can run Lion.
The installation, for all extents and purposes, is ‘the easy bit’. It is not particularly hard to install OS X on non-apple hardware, though getting all devices i.e. USB ports, Firewire, WiFi, Bluetooth, Trackpad, Keyboard etc working can be quite a challenge in some cases.
For this reason it is advisable to consult the HCL (Hardware Compatibility List) prior to building your PC (where possible)/attempting to install OS X.
Q. Ok, I think I want to give it a go. I’m pretty happy with everything so far. What’s next?
A. Backup everything of value. If possible clone your existing hard drive to an external drive.
Investigate your hardware in terms of OS X. A good place to start is by googling ‘Your hardware OS X’.
Download and burn to disk/USB a few boot disks. Nawcom’s ModCD is a good place to start.
Get a retail copy of Snow Leopard 10.6.3. and give it a go. There are plenty of installation tutorials on the web. Just make sure you follow instructions for a retail install.
Q. What is a boot disk?
A. A boot disk contains a bootloader which loads the operating system. You need this as Darwin (the native apple bootloader) will not boot the OS on non-Apple hardware.
The boot disk also contains .kext files.
Q. What are kexts.
A. The windows equivilent would be ‘drivers’. These are found in /System/Library/Extension (from here on referred to as /S/L/E, and Extras/Extensions (from here on referred to as /E/E *
(* only in Snow Leopard, Lion only uses /S/L/E)
Q. So how do I boot the installation DVD?
A. Insert the boot disk and turn the PC on, boot from CD (either modify your BIOS settings or use the boot menu, normally F12).
When you see the boot loaders graphical user interface (from here on referred to as GUI), eject the boot disk and insert the installation DVD.
(You may have to press a key to interupt the boot process and another key to rescan for install media. These are normally F8 and F5 respectively but they may differ depending on bootloader/boot disk. In any case on-screen instructions are usually provided.)
Q. It wont boot!
A. You may need to edit your BIOS settings, common settings are to:
Set HDD to AHCI or if unavailable, RAID (do not configure a RAID array).
Set HPET to 64bit (if available)
Enable USB Legacy support.
Q. It still wont boot!
A. At the booloader GUI type:
This ‘flag’ enables ‘verbose mode’, this will print the boot process to the screen (this may be happening by default depending on boot disk).
Create a topic in the relevant sub-forum asking for help. When doing so, provide as much information about hardware and the problem as possible.
Q. Well I’ve got to the installer and installed using <insert tutorial of choice here>, what next.
A. Now you need to use the boot disk to boot the fresh installation on your HDD.
Once you are into the OS you need to install a bootloader to the HDD, this will allow you to boot without the boot disk. There are a few .kexts that are necessarry to boot any OS X installation such as fakesmc.kext.
You will also need a smbios.plist and com.apple.boot.plist (revised to org.chameleon.boot.plist in later revisions of chameleon) these are placed in /Extra/ (from here referred to as /E/).