Snow Leopard on Hackintosh Guide
28th March 2010 – This install guide has been replaced by Snow Leopard On Hackintosh Second Method. The new install method is simpler and faster than this guide, but uses a boot CD that may not be compatible with all hardware.
Released on the 28th of August 2009, Snow Leopard is described by Apple as ‘Better.Faster.Easier.’ It’s a fairly accurate label, and once I got over my initial problem upgrading my Macbook the new operating system has been stable, fast, and a pleasure to use. The Family pack I bought from the Apple Store allows installation on five computers, so this covers my Macbook, original hackintosh, home cinema hackintosh (HTPC) and the Intel Atom server I recently built. I know the EULA doesn’t allow for installation on non Apple hardware, but I paid my £39 so I’m as legit as is currently possible.
Before I start listing the steps I took to get Snow leopard working on my original Hackintosh, it’s worth mentioning backups again. During the install I tried things that screwed up Snow Leopard and stopped it working correctly. Having a full backup meant it was easy to reinstall and restore user data. My recommendations for backup software are SuperDuper, which I bought a couple of years ago, or the excellent donation-ware Carbon Copy Cloner. If you intend to use Carbon Copy Cloner with Snow Leopard make sure you have the latest V3.3 beta 5, as I had major problems with version 3.2.1. Superduper version 2.6.1 is described as compatible with Snow Leopard, my testing has shown no problems so far.
Backups done, on with the install. I used a separate hard drive for my Snow Leopard install, and the first part is done from my existing 10.5.8 installation. There’s a great 10.6 Generic Retail Guide at Insanelymac that lists three methods of installing Snow Leopard on non Apple hardware:
- Chameleon bootloader with a hidden EFI partition
- Boot-132 Disc with a patched boot file
- Chameleon v2 RC1 USB bootloader with Netkas PCEFIv10.1 patched boot
It’s worth explaining a little about booting Mac OS on a hackintosh. A bootloader is required to get the process started but modern bootloaders are evolving to do much more than that. The Chameleon V2 bootloader that I use offers a graphical OS selection screen as well as the option to load required files from an Extra folder on your hard drive. In the past for Leopard I installed my required kernel extentions (kexts) into the System/Library/Extentions folder using kext helper or OSX86 tools. Every time a system update is installed the new files needed to be replaced with my older modified versions to get sound etc. working again. By using an Extra folder the bootloader will use these instead of the ones in System/Library/Extensions (S/L/E from now on) meaning you can install system updates without overwriting your kexts and other required files.
I chose the first method listed above, using the Chameleon bootloader with a hidden EFI partition. This hidden partition is automatically created whenever you format a Disk using Mac OS, below is a screengrab from Disk Utility running on my hackintosh.
The partition of interest is disk2s1 on the 500.11Gb drive. This is where the bootloader creates an Extra folder, the destination for the modified kexts as well as several other files I will cover later. You could have an Extra folder on you Snow Leopard partition (snow in the image above) but I like the idea of a hidden partition that is not normally accessible.
Before listing the steps I took to get Snow Leopard working it’s worth listing my hardware. This guide works on my hardware, the principles for other similar (i.e. Intel based) systems are the same but I cannot comment on any other required files for different hardware. My system comprises:
- Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R motherboard
- Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor
- 4Gb Kingston DDR2 800 memory
- Palit 9800Gt Nvidia graphics card
- Pioneer DVR-215 SATA DVD writer
Steps for installing Snow Leopard 10.6
1. Use Disk Utility from the existing 10.5.8 installation to create a single partition on another hard drive, using the GUID partition table.
2. Insert your 10.6 disk. open a terminal window and type (or copy and paste) this command:
cd /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\ DVD/System/Installation/Packages
The backward slashes are used to allow spaces in the path. This command will take you to the installation packages, enter the this into the terminal to start the install:
Using the OSInstall.mpkg allows installation to another drive, I selected snow as shown in the images below:
Click Customize to select installation options
Once you have selected the options, complete the installation.
3. I followed the 10.6 Generic retail Guide by noob766 at Insanelymac.com for initial setup. Grab the following files first:
Unzip/tar the files to a folder on your desktop, then run Chameleon-2.0-RC2-r640.pkg.
Use Change Install Locations to select the Snow Leopard drive
Continue, then select Customize to choose install options as shown
Make sure the Extras and Options boxes are unticked then Install
4. Open a terminal window and type diskutil list. This is the output from my hackintosh:
The Snow Leopard drive is mounted under /dev/disk2, and the EFI partition I would mount and modify is disk2s1. This may be different depending on how many hard drives are in your system, so change as necessary. Type these commands into the terminal window:
mount_hfs /dev/disk2s1 /Volumes/EFI
You should now have an EFI drive visible from the Finder, mine is shown here:
Before going any further it is important that we protect ownership on the EFI drive. Show Info for the EFI drive, then ensure the Ignore Ownership on this Volume box is NOT ticked.
5. On the EFI drive are two things, a boot file and an Extra folder. Replace the boot file with the one we downloaded from Insanelymac earlier, the file was called Chameleon_RC3_boot.zip. Then copy into Extra/Extension all the kexts downloaded earlier.
6. Some other files need to go into the Extra folder, depending on how you are patching your install for sound/GFX/ethernet. I use a modified com.apple.Boot.plist file for graphics and ethernet under 10.5.8, so I copied this into the Extra folder on the EFI drive. A dsdt.aml file is recommended which is patched to fix a bug in Snow Leopard that corrupts your motherboard CMOS. Many guides already exist for this, such as the ones at Infinitemac (step3) or Insanelymac. I used the iaslme tool downloaded from mediafire to decompile the dsdt.aml file from my 10.5.8 install, fix the bug in textedit then compile the new dsdt.aml. It’s fairly straightforward, I will write a guide if requested. While I was fixing the CMOS bug I also patched the dsdt file for sound from the 889a audio on my motherboard following the guide by aschar1 at Insanelymac. The 889a.kext from the guide was added to the EFI Extra/Extentions folder.
7. I also copied the AppleSMBIOS.kext to the Extra folder since I had a problem under 10.5.8 with iMovie/iDvd using disk images. There are guides at the usual forums on editing this file to correctly recognise certain hardware. Another file recommended in some guides (and missing from others) is PlatformUUID.kext. I’m not sure if this is required or not, but I edited both AppleSMBIOS.kext and PlatformUUID.kext to contain the correct Universal Unique Identifier. To do this, open Disk Image, select the Snow Leopard drive and click Info. The Universal Unique Identifier is in the list as shown:
Copy your UUI then right click on AppleSMBIOS.kext and select Show Package Contents. In the Contents folder is an info.plist file that can be edited with textedit. Search for UUID-key as shown below and replace the characters between <string> and </string> with your UUI.
Save the file and repeat for PlatformUUID.kext searching for <key>PlatformUUID</key> this time.
8. At this point I had the EFI drive ready for use, the contents of the drive looked like this:
I recommend making a backup of all the files in the EFI drive for security, then unmount the EFI drive and remove the /Volumes/EFI folder using
umount -f /Volumes/EFI
rm -rf /Volumes/EFI
Reboot the system and select the snow Leopard Drive. You should see the Chameleon bootloader screen, select the Snow Leopard drive and allow to boot. There are differing opinions on using flags on first boot, many people recommend using -x32 to force 32 bit mode. I didn’t use these and have seen no problems from not doing so but your requirements may vary.
The Mac OS setup wizard runs on first boot as usual, My first mistake was to import my user account and applications from 10.5.8. After much testing I found the user account was fine to import either during initial setup or using the Migration Assistant. The applications caused ethernet to stop working so I have now reinstalled my required apps and used this as an opportunity to not install those that don’t get used.
By using the hidden EFI method you can erase your Snow Leopard drive and reinstall the OS, and the boot files/kexts are still in the EFI partition. I have also upgraded to 10.6.1 using the downloaded installer and have had no problem so far.
9. Just a couple of things to do once Snow Leopard is running. I could not get sleep to work, so thanks to KELVIN88 in the Insanelymac forums for reminding me to select ‘Start up automatically after a power failure’ in the Energy Saver System Preferences pane.
The other issue I have found was an error message when using Disk Utility to repair permissions on the Snow Leopard drive. The message
Error: No installer packages can be found for this disk
was fixed by reinstalling the BSD.pkg on the Snow Leopard disk from Snow Leopard. This package is in the same directory as the OSInstall.mpkg used to install Snow Leopard earlier in the guide, so follow those instructions.
Snow Leopard has so far been very well behaved on my Hackintosh, so the next step it to install on the other two machines. The HTPC is mostly used for running the Plex media centre which currently has some issues with Snow Leopard, so that install is on hold until Plex is updated. The Atom server hard drive contains all my shared files so I am looking to upgrade that drive. I use the Carbonite backup service and so far have 42Gb backed up off site so I’m not risking a fresh install being seen as containing new files. It took 10 days to backup 42Gb so I really don’t want to do that again. Another post will be made once that is done.
Please leave a comment if you find any errors or typo’s in this guide, it took around four hours to write so I’m off for a rest. Happy hackintoshing.
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