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back to article Run Mac OS X on a PC

Want to run Mac OS X on a PC? Perhaps you don't want to pay the premium for Apple's hardware - or Apple doesn't make the kind of computer you need, such as a netbook. Because of its native roots in Motorola and PowerPC code, this has traditionally required instruction level emulation. Two things have changed. Apple based Mac OS …

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Pirate

Got the t-shirt

Tried it a few times on different hardware but never got more than 70% of it working. Like the author says you eventually get bored trying to get everything to work. Still it is fun tinkering like back in the good/bad old days. At least for a while anyway.

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A top end hackintosh for less than £360?

Very easy if you buy the correct hardware. Just visit the wiki, look at the compatibility list and start buying. I brought all the components below, picked the correct DVD download for my hardware, and it installed 1st time out the box with just a small tweak to get the sound card working.

Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-G31M-S2L

Memory - OCZ 2GB Kit (2x1GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 CL 4-4-4-15 PLATINUM

Processor - Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz 1333FSB Socket 775 4MB Cache Retail

DVD - Optiarc AD-5200A-0B 20X DVD±RW/DL Int IDE Bare Black Drive

Graphics - MSI 8600GTS Heatpipe Edition 256MB DVI HDTV PCI-E Graphics Card

Hard Drive - Seagate ST3500320AS 500GB Hard Drive SATA II 7200rpm *32MB Cache*

Monitor - LG W2242S 22" TFT Monitor 1680x1050 8000:1 300cd/m2 5ms

£357.12 from ebuyer. Nearest Apple equivilent iMac is £1150

This kit works out of the box, i know as I just built one.

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Pirate

Erm, is this not piracy?

Is this article not encouraging the yoof to download a hacked pirate version of Leopard?

seems naughty!

great trick though, i have a dual boot system with OS/X and it's slick :)

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Jobs Horns

/Waits for the take down notice

but in the meantime will take copies of the pages here for "archival purposes"

In all honesty (seriously!) I would be tempted with *buying* OS X if Apple made it available to PC users as I would quite happily play around with a dual-boot scenario... in the meantime I'll have to discover my masochistic tendencies once more and get down and dirty ;)

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Jobs Horns

Only one reason to do this

You like OS X and want a form factor Apple don't do (e.g. netbook).

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Linux

Obligatory "Just install Ubuntu comment"

Bet I won't be the last

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Boffin

If you really want the Mac experience, then buy a Mac

Forgive me, but well .... duh!

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So what we really want

Is for this to run inside VMWare or VirtualPC.

Any pointers?

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Gates Halo

VMware

Is it possible to run this in VMware or on Virtual PC?

Tempting as it is, going back to XP from Vista Betas caused enough BIOS related headaches for me.

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Anonymous Coward

Wacketywack don't talk Mac

Two things - firstly, there's an implication in the sentence about EFI that it's an Apple specific thing, rather than an Intel standard (albeit one more commonly used in Itanium servers than desktop computers).

Secondly, most x86 articles remind the end user that (even if using a Torrent to save on hacking things themselves) they should really have a purchased OS X disk (as this takes you out of the realms of copyright violation towards EULA violation vs personal rights). It is widely thought that Apple don't have a leg to stand on in terms of restricting personal use of purchased OS X disks, but certainly do for dubiously acquired ones.

Not that I expect anyone is really going to do this as much more than an intellectual exercise, or that anyone THAT committed is really going to respect Apple IP, but as it stands, this is a bit like doing an article on 'How to download the new Madonna album for free' without putting in the bottom-covering 'copyright infringement is quite bad' clause.

Of course, it's only bad when it's people infringing the GPL!

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Happy

Here's one I prepared earlier...

Nice write-up.

I also had an attempt at this in June, and was a PITA to get working but was successful, finally.

However, 400 euros for a 4GB RAM Hackintosh is not too bad. The main problem I had was finding an ethernet driver that worked reliably -- had to use the 'cpus=1' hack as a workaround for the concurrency problem related to the ethernet driver. At least my USB worked (for digital photo transfer). The machine was in fact my ZFS fileserver's backup machine, repurposed for the duration of the experiment.

http://breden.org.uk/2008/05/18/mac-on-pc/ (brief description and hardware used / prices)

http://breden.org.uk/2008/03/02/a-home-fileserver-using-zfs/ (if ZFS interests you)

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Boffin

Is there a legal way to do this?

I really wanted to try out OS X, so I bought copy for £85 from Amazon, with the intention of installing on a separate hard disk, or a VM or something. But...it seems to be impossible to install unless you already have an OS X installation - i.e., it's not a boot disk. So the only option seems to be download some dodgy install of a earlier version of OS X and the upgrade to the retail - not something I'm going to do.

Shame, because I'm not going to buy a Mac without playing extensively first...so I guess I stuck with Vista.

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Paris Hilton

Isn't MacOS just Linux anyway

with a barstewardised GUI ? No wonder you have to muck around so much. Just install Windows and you can run anything Apple does but better and more stable.

Paris = MacOS. Easy on the eyes, nothing in the working department.

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Interesting

Interesting... although now I'm not surprised that Apple won't invite you to launch events.

I think the AC above has a good point - making a PC from scratch with an Intel chip and equivalent hardware to a Mac probably makes the whole prospect easier and much more likely to work. I'm considering buying a Mac Pro at the moment, but now I'm tempted to match like-for-like and build a Mac Pro hackintosh for around £1000 rather than £2-3000.

This also seems like a better solution than the hardware widget that you reviewed before - I forget what it was called.

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Yes, this works

I've done this on a Gigabyte mobo with an E6600 C2D CPU and it works a dream. The only thing which was unreliable for me was sleep mode, it wouldn't sleep so I had to shut down at the end of a day.

But apart from that, I'd challenge anyone who knows OS X to use my PC and not know it wasn't a real Mac. The only downside was the work that was needed when updates came out regarding whether they'd work straight away or needed any tweaks.

I went into the experiment with an open mind having never used OS X before. After about six months of using a hackintosh I bought a Mac Pro, the first and only time I've ever bought a pre-built computer. Fantastic piece of kit, I wish I'd done it earlier. I no longer have any Windows machines in the house.

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"Everything except USB worked."

So that'll be like using Windows 95 then?

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Flame

MacOS X != Linux

No, AC, Mac OS X isn't Linux. Mac OS X is fully certified BSD Unix - just like Solaris. It's a fully Posix compliant OS (just like Linux, just unlike Windows) which means that porting from another Posix OS is seldom more complicated than rebuilding the source. In short, if you want a compatible, non-lock in, OS - get Posix. Any variety, Mac OS X included. Of course, only a coder would really understand the importance of easily portable source.

If you want you want to be locked in a cabin on a sinking ship, Vista is the only way to go.

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@Isn't MacOS just Linux anyway

"Isn't MacOS just Linux anyway"

No. I really wonder where the heck these ideas come from. Darwin is Mach, not Linux. The Unix (Unix is NOT Linux) emulation comes from BSD.

There seems to be this odd idea that Linus invented Unix, rather than hacking up a version of Minix (Andrew Tannenbaum's Mini-Unix). An entire generation seem to have no idea about the history, or the technology. Mach is not a Unix kernel. Without the Unix emulation layer it provides no specific Unix functionality. Standard Unix or Linux kernels do not provide Mach functionality either.

Odd comment in the article about GUI design principles - that if there is only one option you don't provide a choice. The example has two choices - they are: 1. Install, 2. Go back. You need number 2 because, as had been described in great detail, there is a very good chance the hardware might not have been recognised, or you have not correctly partitioned the disk. So skipping this step because it found only one valid disk drive/partition simply means that it will install on whatever drive it finds, even if it wasn't the one you intended. Not smart at all.

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Happy

@Reg Skelton and ?legal way

Yeh there is - buy a Mac. And I'm not being flippant, when I was considering making the switch a few years back I just bought a Mac Mini (£350 ish at the time) reckoning I could experiment with OSx and if I didn't like it just Linux it or similar.

(Turns out I loved OSx and I've been a complete convert ever since.)

I can understand people doing this sort of stuff, as an experiment more than anything else, and 10 years ago I might have done it myself, but I dunno, nowadays I'm less interested in hacking about with stuff, I just want my stuff to work... and you defo get that with Mac, so I don't mind paying slightly through the nose for it.

(IYAM Apple has the right business model in only supporting approved hardware that they know will work properly, which is arguably the biggest problem Windows/Vista had - trying to support billions of different components, each requiring drivers etc. etc.)

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Pirate

@ Mark Brew

yeah it's piracy, but it's smartly done... the author points out how hard it is, and the crap results divert your attention to the easier Linux and Windows... or buying a Mac.

a more fitting title to this article would be... "Why not to use Pirated OSX"

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re: Isn't MacOS just Linux anyway

It is always puzzling how many fools believe (and brainlessly repeat) a bunch nonsense if the nonsense in question is repeated often enough. NO, OSX is not Linux, never has been.

OSX is a hybrid of Mach and BSD, with the NeXT API and Apple's Aqua GUI added. Mach is a microkernel originally developed at Carnegie Mellon University, BSD is a Unix derivative originally developed at the University of Berkeley, the NeXT API was originally developed by NeXT Inc, which was acquired by Apple in 1996.

Linux on the other hand is a monolithic kernel, originally developed by Linux Torvalds of Finland. Linux based operating systems (distros) typically use the GNU user environment developed by the Free Software Foundation and either the KDE or the Gnome GUI.

The only piece of software Apple could be accused of having borrowed/plagiarised/stolen (take your pick) from GNU is the gcc compiler. But then again GNU has borrowed/plagiarised/stolen the NeXT API (released as GNUstep), so the two might well be considered even when it comes to borrowing from each other.

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Yes, you can install in VMware

I've done it using the hacked disks that you would use to install on a PC. The only issue (that was unsolved as of a year ago) is that there is no VMware tools for it, thus, the mouse response sucks, there is no sound, and a few other annoyances. There may be an update now that VMware Fusion can succesfully and officially run OS X Server (and runs it very well).

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The value of Time

I'm always amazed that the Do-It-Yourselfers spend enormous amounts of time in trying to circumvent certain manufacturers and build, in this case, a Hackintosh.

Perhaps I'm just strange. My time has value! At my current billing rate to my clients (USD $87.50, €64.78, £50.03), if I were to spend, say, 15 hours assembling, building, installing a pirated copy of Mac OS X, testing, having the install blow up, re-installing Mac OS X, having the install blow up again, doing more research, re-installing Mac OS X, testing, etc., etc., etc, and then having a System that still doesn't work 100% - it'd be well worth my time to just purchase a Mac from the get-go. [A Mac can be had for less than £400, €513]

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Stop

'Hackintosh'

I'm sure some people enjoy spending hours faffing about trying to get software to run. But I like to think that I have a life, therefore the whole arsing-about-with-hardware-and-drivers-and-configuration-and-worrying-about-updates-breaking-my-system thing is one of the main reasons I choose to use a Mac: I want to USE the computer to get some shit done, not waste time configuring and fixing it!

The snazzy OpenGL shizzle isn't the only nice thing about owning a Mac, you know. I hate to regurgitate a line spewed from Apple's PR machine here, but it is true - "it just works"!

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Flame

"It just works"?

Then why do sites like macfixit exist?

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Joke

Mac: Crash Different

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7148748849652085555

enjoy ;-)

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Go

@Dru + doctorflam

Some people like to just use computers and some like to build, repair and generally fiddle with them. Just like some people like to drive cars and some people like to build, repair or restore them. To the later group spending hours making things work is an intellectual challenge and not an amazingly pointless waste of time and money unlike the hours you spend playing golf, watching football or whatever other mindless pursuit it is you consider "having a life".

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The easiest solution...

If all you're looking to do is have a play around with OS X and don't want to fork out the price of a new computer (Apple's models aren't that dissimilar in price to their contemporaries), just buy a second hand Mac. You can pick up old Graphite G4 towers for around 50 quid (or less) on ebay with anything up to their maxed-out 1.5Gb of RAM and enough space (if you get hold of a Mac version of a PCI IDE bus card) for as many as 7 hard drives inside. I used to run one of these as my main server - fantastic bargain. They're PPC and only run at about 400MHz (equiv to about an 800MHz-1GHz P3), but for 50 notes you can't go wrong for messing about with it.

If you spend a little bit more you could get one of the newer 'quicksilver' models (700Mhz upwards PPC) and get a bit more out of the experience.

My sis is using an old 400MHz tower that I grabbed second hand to replace their dead PC and has no probs with it speedwise (she just does average browsing/mailing/office stuff/iTunes) - given enough RAM they're nearly as nippy as even the last of the G4 machines for most day to day tasks. But you might wanna look at a decent AGP ATI video card, b4ecause the original ATI Rage Pro 128 is only a 16Mb card and you need at least 32Mb for the Quartz Extreme stuff of later years.

Anyway - that's a much easier option than banging your head against kext customisation ;)

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Pirate

OS X in a VM

I have succesfully run OS X in VMware since 10.3

The install process is similar to the one mentioned in this article (quite annoying). The other option is to just download the already functioning VM in its entirety (saves you the messing around).

That said, if you do purchase OS X, and install it in a VM you are probably within your legal rights, even if you violate the EULA.

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Anonymous Coward

VMWare

@ Eddie Edward:

I believe i have seen vmware installs on a certain bay of pirates - havent tested them though

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Wow

The author tries to make such a strong point against OS X on non-Apple hardware. And what's with the pseudo-advertisement ending? Here's my experience of installing 10.4 on a rather old P4 system:

1. Create a partition for OS X (shrink existing partitions with PartitionMagic if necessary)

2. Install OS X from DVD.

3. Install a modified kext for sound.

4. Enjoy OS X.

My full-time OS X-using friends have similar experiences.

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Jobs Horns

Why would anyone want this?

MAC OS is one of the biggest disadvantages of macs, along with their ugliness, overpriced hardware and marking you out as an apple fanboy.

If you want to go 'hey look I'm not running Windows LOL', install Linux.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mac:Crash Different

Jason, you do know that the video is 10 years old talking about Mac OS 9?

That's the Mac equivalent of Windows 98.

Except, unlike Windows, OSX has absolutely no connection with earlier versions of the OS.

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J
Pirate

@The value of Time

Good point, at least for people whose life's main purpose is money.

I value knowledge higher than money though, so I would one day try this -- if I didn't think OSX is horrible. I did install Ubuntu on a friend's Mac laptop (don't remember which type of Mac exactly). Piece of cake, even wireless worked immediately, I didn't expect that...

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IT Angle

macs

I own three macs, mini g4, Intel macbook and new iMac, varying ages but this sounds like fun might give it a try.

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Audio driver

Just because the audio doesn't work at first boot, doesn't automatically mean that a complete OSX re-install is required. My Biostar P35D2-A7 main board includes a Realtek ALC662 audio chip. In order to have working audio: required obtaining a sound codec from an Ubuntu 7.9 "Live CD".

Then another program called "HDA Patcher" used that Linux audio codec to enable audio under OSX Leopard.

All USB ports work fine. My ICH9 chipset does not include any AHCI bios option. The author should maybe have also mentioned that, for best results, you should probably choose ONLY an Intel CPU with SSE3 support.

AMD CPU's require too much extra "baby sitting" to be very worthwhile. Also best to only use USB keyboard & mouse, since PS2 peripherals can be problematic.

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Anonymous Coward

Or you could just get an EFI-X

http://gizmodo.com/5049756/review-efix-dongle-perfectly-transforms-pc-to-mac

www.tomshardware.com/reviews/efi-x-efix-leopard-usb,2021.html

A $155 USB dongle that plugs into your motherboard and allows an install staright off a retail version of OS X.... rather simpler.

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One reason

There's only one reason why I'd install OSX instead of Ubuntu.

Logic Studio!

Funnily enough I got this installed last night on my laptop. Next step is to build a quad core with 8Gb of RAM. Mmm, tasty.

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Stop

@ AC

"No, AC, Mac OS X isn't Linux. Mac OS X is fully certified BSD Unix - just like Solaris."

Actually, while Darwin & Solaris are both certified "UNIX"'s, Solaris hasn't been based on BSD since the old SunOS 4.x days. Solaris (eg, SunOS 5.x) is SysV-based.

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Quad core mac

I have a macbook pro (which is forever going back for repairs to the optical drive, audio board and replacement of poor quality casing.).

I also have an MSI Wind 'netbook' which is running kalyway updated to 10.5.4

I most recently built a quad core desktop mac: http://www.esrun.co.uk/blog/quad-core-mac/

I recommend downloading ideneb 10.5.5 rather than kalyway 10.5.2 because then you're already on the most recent updates!

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Linux

OSX, why?!

I had a new 500GB hard drive arrive yesterday which left me with a free 160GB to play around with, I managed eventually to get Kalway 10.5.2 installed on it, no networking however and got stuck in the silly welcome loop.

/sbin/fsck -fy (fy? fy2!)

/sbin/mount -uw /

touch /var/db/.AppleSetupDone

passwd root

reboot, and straight in, downloaded "drivers" for my network, got that up and running, downloaded Opera (kextload nForce.kext or something). I now have a fully functioning OSX operating system, and am using Vista.

Seriously, what is the point of OSX? There is none! If you want a system to play the latest cutting edge games, you can a) get a PS3/360 or you get a Windows based PC, not a Mac. if you want a development system, you either use Linux or Windows with Visual Studio, if you want a fully functional sytem with lots of security features, you get Linux, if you want an OS that comes with a ton of software out of the box, you get Linux.

Mac OSX isn't for gamers, OSX isn't for the security minded, it isnt even for office workers, its a fancy pile of junk basically. Sure I'll play with it now it is installed, only I have Farcry 2 arriving tomorrow, so can't play with it on that right? I'll also install Server 2008 for development work (gotta love Dreamspark)

It kind of sits in its own niche market "OSX, for those that want to pay for form over function, an OS that does less, and over-priced hardware".

Anon because Mac fanboys are worse than animal rights activists!

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Joke

And El Reg wonders...

...why it doesn't get invited to Apple events!

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Stop

POSIX?

"It's a fully Posix compliant OS (just like Linux, just unlike Windows)"

Um, you sure about that? Windows has actually been POSIX compliant for ages.

No, I'm not joking.

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@AC

MacOSX Why?

MacOSX is for people who want just a computer that works without hassle.

Ask any media professional whether Final Cut is a "fancy pile of junk". By the way, from the height of your superior knowledge that allows you to dismiss MacOSX as a pile of junk, have you ever tried to have a look at the Cocoa APIs, like Core Image, Core Data, Core Animation? Have you ever had a look at the Quarz Compositor, the WM of MacOSX and made the comparison with X11, which is the only real pile of junk?

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Jobs Horns

POSIX compliance

POSIX compliance, oh yeah, that's what I need. I've been laying awake at night, wondering what's missing from my life - and now I know.

POSIX compliance

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Jobs Halo

Hackintrash

This guide was mode for those too poor to afford a REAL mac. Losers!

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Boffin

Re: two things have changed

> Apple based Mac OS X on NeXT code, which could run on Intel.

Circa 1992 a reliable source told me that Apple had Mac OS running on Intel.

My source claimed there were two reasons why they didn't bring it to market: 1) to many variables in the hardware -- they couldn't possibly hope to qualify it on all the different PCs out there, and 2) they're a hardware company and they want(ed) their margin.

Ironically in the same ecosystem Micro$oft managed to make billions while Apple settled for considerably less.

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@AC re: "OSX Why"

Wow, you installed a new OS (a hacked together version at that) and used it for one day and now you think that you know what it's all about? That really is pretty pathetic. Why don't you actually learn something about the OS before you make another lame judgement.

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VMWare

Make it run on VMWare 'hardware' without any expert knowledge required - then I will try it!

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