This guide will discuss the process of getting OS X Mavericks or Yosemite to run on Vostro 3450 / Inspiron N4110 / XPS L702x using UEFI Clover, no other discussions please.
I should start by saying that I'm not responsible for any bricks that may happen if you follow this guide and I'm not saying I will be updating this with every bit of changes I do to my personal system after every minor OSX upgrade. Though, with this kind of setup you shouldn't have to lift a finger after installing OSX updates... Also, don't mirror my files!
This is your goal:
I'm sure if you ended up here you probably know the majority of limitation that Phoenix SecureCore Tiano firmware applies to this system, but I'll mention them none the less:
- Can't boot GPT formatted disk with legacy bootloader such as XPC, Chameleon, Chi*mera
- Can't boot UEFI OS or bootloader as UEFI is locked down from the factory
- Cardreader is not bootable
- Secondary disk installed in place of DVD drive is not bootable either
- BIOS doesn't let you disabled Turbo Boost or Hyper Threading
So, let's get to the point, shall we?
1. Flashing a UEFI-capable modified BIOS
BIOS images are meant only for Dell Vostro 3450, Inspiron N4110 and XPS L702x (both Intel model and AMD/nVidia models) and no other! Vostro 3350 and 3550 use AMI Aptio BIOS, not SecureCore Tiano!
Modified BIOS images includes the following changes:
- Unlocked write access to MSR 0xE2 - credits to RevoGirl;
- Unlocked Advanced Setup options (includes UEFI Boot option) - credits to jkbuha, HairyCube and myself;
- CPUID 206A7h microcode updated to V28 - credits to jkbuka (again) and Florin9doi;
- Video BIOS for Intel updated from 2098 to 2170 with GOP protocol support (bring 1366x768 resolution to GUI) - credits to Ash;
- BIOS DSDT modified to fix Dell's ACPI syntax screw-up while checking for MBT (media buttons) - credits for PhoenixTool fix in 2.14 to AndyP.
In order to flash the modified BIOS image you have to obtain it first. Make sure to read the enclosed readme.
- Vostro 3450 A13-C4: LINK
- Inspiron N4110 A12-C4: LINK
- XPS 17 L702x A19-C4: LINK
Use WinFlash method if you are on stock DELL BIOS.
If you already have UEFI capable BIOS I recommend using PFlash method to prevent BIOS settings from being reset.
When you are done flashing go to your BIOS Setup and navigate to Advanced tab, go to Boot Configuration section and enable UEFI Boot.
2. How to install OSX
In case you want to boot Legacy Windows from primary HDD (because let's face it, Dell made it pretty hard to use UEFI Windows with all the freezing issues caused by their proprietary software while having a UEFI installation) and you have a caddy in place of your DVD drive with a disk you want to dedicate to booting OSX simply put you can't do that by default BIOS means as caddy is not bootable. You can only make it bootable as a UEFI medium and there is why this guide was even put together. Also I should mention that booting Legacy Windows from UEFI Clover is a big no go with Tiano firmware, so don't expect that. The only way to access Legacy Windows is to either use F12 and choosing Hard Disk or exiting Clover.
Now go ahead and download Clover bootloader that you will need for this guide :
Required Pre Installation files: LINK
2.1. You have to have a flash drive prepped with UEFI Clover (no need to prepare it in some weird way, just copy the files to it). Just format the flashdrive to FAT32 and put the contents of "UEFI Clover USB" onto it.
N.B. Make sure to rename EFI/CLOVER/config-17 or config-14 (depending on the computer model) to just config.plist, EFI/CLOVER/ACPI/patched-17 and patched-14 to just patched respectively!
2.2. You need a second flash drive as well as an access to a genuine Apple computer (or a VM) that is capable of accessing Mac AppStore in order to download the free Mavericks installation app. Then, using DiskMakerX application you have to make a bootable OSX drive.
2.3. When that's done use UEFI Clover USB drive to boot your OSX medium and partition your HDD in the DVD caddy as you desire, but make sure partition map is GPT. You can then install OSX to that target disk while you are at it. The installation process is usually subdivided into 2 stages.
3. Post installation
I've put together a convenient installer that allows you to put some needed finishing touched to your OSX installation on your supported DELL laptop.
Go ahead and download the installer (only OSX 10.9 & 10.10 is supported):
When you run the installer you will need to select the destination disk you are installing it to. Please note, the files will be copied to EFI System Partition of active boot disk.
- Select laptop model
- Select motherboard type
- Select daughterboard type
- Select wireless module (limited support available)
- Select "About This Mac" customizations for either Vostro, Inspiron, XPS
- Select applications to install
If you are installing Support Package for the first time new serial numbers for MBP8,1 model identifier will be generated automatically, if you are reinstalling and already have your config in EFI partition serial numbers will be retained. The installer will put CLOVER onto your system partition and install all the necessary kernel extensions (preconfigured) to support your hardware.
4. Adding Clover to your F12 Boot Manager
When you have installed the Dell SCT OSX Support Package package remove your Clover USB drive, reboot your laptop and boot into Clover GUI, press F3 and start the Shell entry that has appeared. While in shell you first need to determine what is the number of file system of the EFI System Partition on your DVD caddy drive. Perform the command:
The ESP on the GPT disk will be marked as GPT,1 and is usually either fs2 or fs3. Let's assume fs3 is ESP. We don't want the BOOT folder as it won't ever be bootable with HDD sitting in DVD caddy, so we get rid of that:
fs3: cd \EFI rm -r BOOT
Then, to add custom Clover Boot Manager entry you need to do the following:
bcfg boot add 3 fs3:\EFI\CLOVER\CLOVERX64.efi "Clover"
We used 3 here as by default in BIOS 0 is diagnostics, 1 is Bios Setup and 2 is Boot Manager. Now, go to your BIOS Setup and just for emergency set the boot order as follows:
- USB - CD/DVD Drive - Clover - Hard Disk - eSata - Network - Removable Disk
Having this boot order configuration first off will be as a precaution if something ever happens and you can't start the laptop normally, so USB as the first device will allow you to boot a crisis bios recovery PFlash.efi with a BIOS capsule. Also, this kind of boot order will allow you to boot legacy Windows installed on your primary HDD by just exitting Clover, so there won't be a need to go to boot menu (F12) to select HDD when you need to boot Windows.
You can add Shell binary to boot menu the same way, you just have to point it to the other EFI application:
bcfg boot add 9 fs3:\EFI\CLOVER\tools\Shell64U.efi "Shell"
That's it. If you followed the guide at this point you should have a fully working OS X Mavericks installation.
5. Known issues
If anyone has any insights on fixing these remaining problems on this range of machines I would be very grateful. So far the problems are as follows:
1. Wireless interface toggle hotkey (Fn+F2) doesn't work in UEFI mode and causes system to freeze, hence it was disabled in OSX ACPI using a custom patch. This is caused by a buggy UEFI implementation by DELL, which is the reason they originally locked it down from the factory. Use software toggles to control status of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
2. HD3000 still has the ability to utilize VGA port with some minor annoyances, namely - no hotplug support. You have to connect the monitor before you start OSX and when you unplug the monitor in running system, OSX will still think it's connected until you reboot.
3. No support for docking mode for HDMI connector (works ok with VGA), meaning if you close the LID when HDMI screen or projector is connected laptop will enter sleep.
4. Having HDMI screen connected during shutdown and restart will cause the system to stall. Turn of the screen and unplug from laptop before shutting down or restarting.
5. On XPS L702x HDMI connector is physically linked to NVIDIA chip and therefore will not work in OSX due to Optimus being unsupported. DisplayPort connector is linked with Intel graphics and is known to work.
6. Soft rebooting from Windows into OSX will leave the headphone socket non-operational until you cold boot OSX.
Credits to @Dokterdok for providing detailed research and solution for Handoff & Continuity support. Tested with BCM943225HMB card.
Table design courtesy of OSX Latitude. I hope they are ok with me borrowing the canvas.
Updated - 14th Feb 2015:
- DELL SCT OSX Support package updated to v1.1.2
Updated - 28th Sep 2014:
- DELL SCT OSX Support package updated to v1.1.1
- No reports from L702x Optimus users to this day...
Updated - 5 Sep 2014:
- DELL XPS 17 L702X Optimus support added
- Major update to SCT OSX Support package bringing it's version to 1.1.0 (active testing needed!!)
Update - 26 Jul 2014:
- DELL SCT OSX Support Package updated to v1.0.4, includes Yosemite Beta support
Update - 1 Jul 2014:
- DELL SCT OSX Support Package updated to v1.0.3
Update - 8 Mar 2014:
- Mandatory BIOS updates have been posted. See enclosed readme for changes and installation information.
- DELL SCT OSX Support Package updated to v1.0.2
Update - 3 Mar 2014:
- Clover updated to 2638
- Post installation files packaged into .pkg installer v1.0.1 for convenience
- Guide partially rewritten to be less confusing
Update - 25 Feb 2014:
- Clover updated to 2608
- Updated grand majority of kernel extensions
- Added fully remapped keyboard profile, all the keys can now be toggled to either use Fn or not .. straight from OSX (kudos RehabMan)
- Added memory compartment temperature monitoring sensor
- Added subtle brightness control using ACPIBacklight, levels adjust gradually and not in rough steps (kudos RehabMan, again)
- Added fan control profiles - choose between automatic, audible (~3000 rpm) or passive modes from HWMonitor menu
- Got rid of IOWMIFamily for display backlight control, now VoodooPS2 handles these too (1.8.11 and later)