Are you not looking forward to Windows 8? Perhaps you’re jaded by Microsoft’s decision to kill of Windows Home Server? Are you maybe tired of Windows Media Center being treated like a second class citizen? Have you got some extra PCs lying around and wish they were as awesome as your Mac? Welcome to the world of Hackintosh. Now let’s turn your PCs into Macs – Mountain Lion roaring Macs, no less.
It’s so tragic that I have to say this, but if you’re here to troll and tell the world how terrible Macs are, kindly go away now. Users doing so will have their accounts deleted or their IP banned.
You Will Need:
- A Mac, with a purchased copy of Mountain Lion already running – I won’t be showing you how to pirate OSX.
- A fairly recent PC with a compatible motherboard.
- An 8GB USB thumbdrive.
Figure Out Your Hardware
The method we’ll be using to ensure your Hackintosh has the appropriate drivers is called User DSDTs. This is a collection of pre-configured settings files that tells the post-installation exactly what your system needs to make everything work as it should.
To figure out which is appropriate to you, you’ll need to know the exact make and model of your motherboard. Go to TonyMacX86 and create a new user account – it’s free.
Once logged in, choose Resources -> DSDT from the menu and select your motherboard brand and model from the drop down box. In some cases, a certain revision or BIOS version is needed – often indicated by an F number. If you’re not sure, it’s worth checking out your manufacturers site for an updated BIOS first.
Note that this is only going to work for brand name motherboards. If you bought a complete system, you may have a custom motherboard that isn’t compatible. Sorry about that. Build a new PC, or consider upgrading your motherboard to something that is compatible. My first ever Hackintosh used a 2 year old Asus motherboard I bought off eBay for less than $50.
Even if your Mac is running Mountain Lion already, the installation file is no longer present on your system. Head in the App Store, purchases, and click download. This will place the installation file back into your Applications folder. You can delete it after completing this tutorial, but if you’re planning on installing a few Hackintoshes it may be best to keep it around, just in case. It’s only 4GB.
Prepare your 8GB USB drive by formatting it with one partition as Mac OS Extended, Journaled; and also select Master Boot Record from the Options. This will ensure it’s bootable on a PC.
Next, head back to TonyMacX86 and go to the Resources -> Downloads section. Grab Unibeast for Mountain Lion. If your Gatekeeper settings are still the default, Mountain Lion won’t actually let you open the app. To solve this, right click on the file and select open. Bypass the warning.
If you get an error about not having the installation application for Mountain Lion, it’s because you didn’t go into the app store and download it again. Do that. I’m going to assume we’re installing on a recent desktop, so when it comes to the installation options, just leave them all off. If you’re attempting to install on a laptop – well, good luck for a start – but also make sure you enable laptop support, obviously.
On the PC side, open the BIOS and ensure the drive controllers are set to AHCI mode (not IDE/SATA) – this is essential. Now boot from your Unibeast USB. You may need to adjust your boot order so that it doesn’t skip the USB and go straight to the hard disk. On a gigabyte motherboard, you can hit F12 to choose the boot device.
Quick tip: this may not be the same for you, but my USB drive was listed under HARD DRIVES, not USB-FLOPPY, USB-HDD or USB-CDROM. So you may need to adjust the hard drive boot order, and not the actual boot device.
You should see a screen similar to the following – I already have a working Lion installation, which is why two OSX icons are shown. Select the icon that shows the name of the USB drive, and hit enter.
Fairly soon, you should be in the standard Mountain Lion installation. If not, you may have to use some boot parameters:
- Asus Motherboard + NVIDIA Graphics – type PCIRootUID=0
- Unsupported graphics or NVIDIA 6xx Series – type GraphicsEnabler=No
- Boot in Single-user mode – type -s
- Boot in Verbose mode – type -v
- Boot in Safe mode – type -x
Use Utilities -> Disk Utility to prepare a suitable partition to install OSX on. Ensure it’s set with GUID boot parameters, and formatted as Mac OS Extended, Journaled. The full install should take about 30 minutes.
Booting & Customizing
We’re not done just yet. In order to boot into your new Mountain Lion installation, you’ll need to use the Unibeast USB boot again – this time selecting the hard drive you installed too.
Once into a working system, place your user DSDT file onto the desktop, and run Multibeast, the post installation utility. Download it directly on your new Mac if the network is working already, or copy it from another machine. Run the app, and choose the UserDSDT option. In addition, you may need to install extra drivers – this is something you’ll need to research for yourself (chances are that someone out there has already done it with your hardware). Install with just the UserDSDT file first, then figure out if something – usually sound or network – isn’t working.
If not, the TonyMacX86 support forums are a wealth of information. If something worked for OSX Lion, there’s a good chance it’ll work for Mountain Lion too. Just Googling the motherboard model + multibeast will likely turn up some solutions, though you may find some specific hardware functions simply aren’t supported by your board.
However, bear in mind that it’s still early days for Mountain Lion hackintoshes, so there will be some kinks to work out with the drivers and installers. If you want an easier time, consider installing Lion instead.
Many thanks to the TonyMacX86 site, Unibeast and Multibeast utilities, I’m now the proud owner of 2 more Mountain Lion machines! How about you? Will you be trying out a Hackintosh this summer?