image via Nerdtrek

Sheesh, this post is at least 6 weeks overdue so I’m going to try my best to recreate the thoughts and feelings I had when finishing up the Hackintosh. Sorry for the delay.

I knew that the software setup and installation of OS X would be the tricky part, and it was. Or at least it didn’t work on the first try, and I had to get a little help from Bill and the Internet. But in the end I got it.

Error Message
This is what an error message looks like. Not very helpful, actually.

Before I attempted to set up this new computer as a Mac, I first installed Windows to make sure the hardware working. I had an old Windows 7 CD knocking around and so this was fairly straightforward. Unlike the Mac, Windows didn’t fully function properly until I installed the drivers for my video card, after which it was smooth sailing. I watched a few YouTube videos to make sure the sound was working and soon set my sights on the Mac.

First step in all this was to create an installer on a USB thumb drive, following the directions on TonyMacX86.com. This required me to run a quick bit of software on my existing Mac which utilised the download of OS 10.8 which I had purchased on the App Store. This was probably the easiest step, actually, because I did it all from an actual Mac, so there’s really no guess work.

Getting to the Mac OS installer didn’t happen on the first go, as I hoped it would but realistically knew it wouldn’t. In using a UniBeast USB drive installer, there are a series of arguments which often help users like me reach the installer. It was a matter of trial and error to determine which ones I needed. Turns out that I required both “GraphicsEnabler=No” and “PCIRootUID=0”. Safe mode didn’t affect the process, I think.

But it still took me a while to reach the installer because the system kept getting caught up somewhere in the boot process. I couldn’t figure it out, but figured that it was a hardware conflict. I started disconnecting extraneous drives and trying different USB ports, and Bill provided the helpful tip that I remove the wi-fi card that comes with the motherboard. Apparently those things don’t yet work on this Hackintosh environment. In the end, with the Superdrive and secondary hard drive disconnected, and with the USB drive plugged into the back of the system on one of the USB 2.0 ports, I was able to reach the installer … and to install the OS. Success!

Error Message
Hardware conflicts lead to stalls in the booting process

Error Message
Tough to tell what, exactly, is the problem.

With the OS installed, I could boot as a Mac, but not without the use of that same USB drive as a loader. I needed to install the Multibeast software to create a fully self-sufficient Mac. The only trick here is that each installation of Multibeast needs to be configured for your specific hardware. Instinct didn’t serve me in this case, as I couldn’t quite find the exact combination of options that would lead me to a self-booting machine. In the end, Bill pointed me to a link where Tony posted a screenshot of a very similar hardware configuration. Acknowledging that I am totally outgunned in terms of nerdness, I copied his installation options and boom, we’re in business.

The settings used which finally granted me success

That’s a screenshot of OS 10.8 running and my installing Multibeast.

Looking back, the installation wasn’t that bad. I had help from someone who’d done it before, and the feedback of a community who is going through it too. But for a minute there I was a little flustered in not knowing what to do next. Everyone who considers himself a computer geek has been through it before, and this wasn’t nearly as stressed as I have been in times past, like, say when you’re trying to get a DOS application to work and there’s an IRQ conflict on your sound card (circa 1996, of course). That is some fucking stress, people.

System Profiler
My system settings. Yep, it’s a Hackintosh.

System Running
Here’s a photo of my Hackintosh running OS 10.8. It’s aliiive.

This saga requires one more chapter, but one I can’t write for a while longer: living with a Hackintosh. Believe it or not I still haven’t switched over to my Hackintosh full-time. This is for two reasons: first, my Mac Pro — which I thought was ready to die at any moment — continued to work fine. With my continued workload during mid-late summer, the time never seemed quite right to shut down completely for several days while I rearrange my room and reinstall all my software, etc. Second, I’m moving very soon. The move seems like a great excuse to start fresh since I’ll be packing everything up anyway. So very soon my Hackintosh will become my primary machine. Reports will follow.