Thursday 21 February 2013

Hackintosh installing Lion on Mini-ITX DFI P55-T36

As the proud owner of a relatively older Hackintosh (2010 era Intel Core i7 860 on a DFI Lanparty MOBO P55-T36) I had sort of reluctantly accepted that perhaps this machine was just made to run OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard and nothing further. I had tried to install Mountain Lion relatively early on in my ownership of this system but noticed that the Unibeast installer would just kernel panic instantly and I quickly gave up since i wasn't in the mood to sift for hours through forum after forum for clues and answers. Snow Leopard on the other hand just installed within seconds and nothing major to configure.

As time wore on and my optimism for this system dwindled I finally got some time to try baby steps and attempt to install 10.7 Lion first.

Problem number 1. Lion isn't available for purchase from Apple anymore. Okay this is no problem as anyone who's ever heard of torrents would surely tell you its only a click away. Thats exactly what I did and had it in no time.

I quickly downloaded unibeast for Lion from tonymac's website and was ready to get the show on the road…  but there's just one thing.  All the torrents i could find were merely a InstallESD.dmg file, but unibeast is looking for an app in your /Applications folder called 'Install OSX'

Okay after some brief youtube skimming I learned you can fake this setup by simply unpacking the InstallESD.dmg file,  finding the 'Install OSX' file at the root of the dmg and merely dragging it into your /Applications folder.  At this point you need to 'show package contents' of that .app file and create a subfolder called 'ShareSupport' and simply drop your original InstallESD.dmg in there and bam you've recreated the purchase from the app store.

I launched unibeast and low and behold it found my valid installer file in /Applications I carried on with the app and then POW, unibeast install fails.  At this point my blood was boiling with this hunk of frustration so i decided to pull up the osx console to look at the logs..   blah blah lots of technical babble of the failure which I googled and after much sifting (of course) almost every result was relating to why 10.8 Mountain lion fails in this scenario because there is a special folder missing called _MasReciept and in this folder is a unique id that proves that you've purchased the OS legit from Apple… /insert record scratch..   okay wtf,  you're telling me this Hackintosh God TonyMac is implementing DRM in his app to ensure Apple is properly compensated for their software but who gives a fuck if they don't get hardware purchases from the millions of hackintoshes he helps build.  okay then..

I then spent a good amount of wasted time trying to implement this _MasReceipt voodoo into my torrented Lion only to eventually discover its Mountain Lion specific and does not apply to Lion.  For Lion all you have to do is simply download an older version of Unibeast which predates this DRM crap.  That version is Unibeast 1.2.0

After a quick google search I was happily rapidshare downloading this vintage piece of software and what do you know?  it happily accepts my fake Lion purchase setup and FINALLY gets me a USB key of 10.7 installing goodness.

So now it was time boot into my unibeast Lion installer and….  Kernel panic. Great after everything i've just been through its behaving exactly like Mountain Lion installer did a few months back. Okay this wasn't completely unexpected so I tried booting again using the boot flag -x in order to boot with safe mode. This did not kernel panic which was a good sign, however; it did leave me stuck at the white apple symbol screen until eventually a circle with a line across it came up which reminded me of older mac OS's when the computer couldn't find a bootable volume. The next course of action was to boot with -x -v so that i could have a safe verbose boot and see what the logs had to say or clues as to why the it was hanging. The last message in verbose mode before it stopped was 'waiting for root device' and it seemed to imply what i had figured, which was that it couldn't exactly find the volume it needed to boot which in this case was my USB key.

Time to waste more time sifting through forum posts and eventually I came across a post about using the boot flag PCIRootUID=1 during boot,  but this didn't do anything for me and neither did a bunch of other boot flags.  It wasn't until more forum sifting eventually revealed to me that one of the first course of actions with unibeast booting problems is to ensure that your USB key is plugged into the back of the computer (directly connected to the motherboard) instead of using front panel USB ports which are controlled by a different controller.  Often times thats all it takes. So I plugged it into the back of the computer and got the same kernel panics, however it made me revisit all of the boot flags that didn't work previously.  After some trial and error it turned out that the magical combo while plugged into the back of the board was boot flag PCIRootUID=0

PCIRootUID=1 which I had tried previously turned out to be a default parameter and thus adding it did nothing,  and adding -x for safemode PLUS PCIRootUID=0 nullifys your PCIRootUID statement because in safemode certain drivers are not loaded which makes PCIRootUID useful.  Exactly what the hell PCIRootUID statement is doing I have no idea,  but it was the magic that was required to get Unibeast booting on the DFI P55-T36 Mobo along with moving the USB key to the back of the computer.

Once fully booted into the installer it was smooth sailing,  the install only took like 10 minutes and as soon as I booted off the HD and got Multibeast running I simply chose the Easybeast method and the Intel Driver for Intel 825xxx series cards so that my NIC is useful after Multibeast install.  I should also point out that for a video card i'm using the Nvidia GT220 which is fully osx compliant out of the box and my audio is provided by an M-Audio fast track USB device.  I never tried to get the onboard audio working with this motherboard but I know it was possible under Snow Leopard so I don't see why it wouldn't also work for Lion or even Mountain Lion.

One last important comment i should make is that its very important to do a clean install of Lion once you have the unibeast installer booting.  You'll also want to avoid restoring data with migration assistant from older accounts too.   I spent too many hours trying to bring back data with migration assistant only to have it bring back some kind of old kexts which would then get my computer all corrupted and kernel panic'ing again.  Instead what I ended up doing was just mounting an old time machine volume and then just manually pulling the data back that I needed piece at a time.   Its not as elegant as i'd wanted but on the plus side at least its lightening fast and stable.

UPDATE** --  I recently released I forgot to mention something about the P55-T36 Motherboards Networking card and Multibeast.   Multibeast includes an Intel IntelE1000e.kext which IS NOT 100% compliant with the P55-T36 and will only intermittently work (on initial power up wont work but if you instantly reboot the machine it will then work).   Instead what you MUST do is download an older version of this kext specifically version 1.0.3.   This older kext is 100% compatible with Snow Leopard and Lion (i haven't tested Mountain Lion but i'm sure it works with it also)

UPDATE UPDATE***  In multibeast you also have to set the GraphicsEnabler=No boot option, otherwise it will boot to a white screen.

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