When Hackintosh Only Boots in Safe Mode

This is a common scenario, you tinker around with your hackintosh, hit restart, keep your fingerst crossed and your system stalls at the Apple logo.

The reason this happens is because you’ve done something that the system didn’t like. If you can still log in using Safe Mode this is a good sign since you can still try to undo the changes that lead to the problem.

If you installed any kexts, remove them from /System/Library/Extensions and use Kext Utility to repair your permissions and rebuild caches, then reboot and keep your fingers crossed things will look good.

Safe mode is your system’s minimum working configuration. This means it’ll rely on the basics to get started.  If it successfully booted into safe mode, the feature causing the issue is not crucial to the basic operational features of your system.

Try using SuperDuper to clone the bootable configuration of your system. That way if things go really bad you can go back a couple of steps without reinstalling your full hackintosh configuration.

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How To Streamline Post-Installation | Hackintosh GA Z77X-D3H

After successfully running my 10.8 hackinstosh installation for a couple of days I attempted a few more tweaks that broke it. Reinstalling was troublesome for one reason or another.

Back Up

After a little bit of thinking I realised I could use Time Machine to back up my system configuration so I can go back to it in case something goes wrong. This was a bad idea though since Time Machine will only copy Mac OS X’s own system details but not my hackintosh tweaks.

So what you can do in order to save yourself some gray hair is get hold of SuperDuper. This is a very efficient tool that will let you save a bootable copy of your system on another drive/partition. Although, the process slows you down and is a bit daunting but when your system fails to boot up this will save you from re-installing everything from scratch.

The good news is that you can select to only update the change files in your backup copy to speed up the process.

Repair Permissions

You need to repair permissions every time after you run MultiBeast. Failing to do this may cause login issues.

You can use Disk Utility which is a part of Mac OS X. But on a hackintosh it’s probably better to use Kext Utility that will perform a few additional tasks especially useful after installing new kexts.

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Hackintosh Builds Available on eBay

A lot has been said about the legality of hackintosh computers here, here, here and here.

Hence, I was really surprised to see this eBay shop selling quite a selection of hackintosh builds. I checked out their website and there doesn’t seem to be a lot on it. I also dropped them an email regarding the “MAC OS X Mountain Lion – Pre Installed, Fully Compatible” part of their item description and how it works with software updates. No reply as of yet though.

I can’t see their business has grown extremely popular, definitely not with the hackintosh community whose free software they undoubtedly use.

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TRIM Enabler for Hackintosh

TRIM technology has been put in place specifically for Solid State Drives. Without going into too much detail it is used to let your system know which part of the hard drive is actually empty, e.g. when you have deleted a file. Without TRIM, when your system tries to write to a part of a disk that was previously used by a file that was deleted, it has to go through a long-winded process that lasts considerably longer than if that part of your SSD was TRIMmed. If you’re interested in the nitty-gritty, go ahead and read the Wikipedia article.

Apple started supporting TRIM since Mac OS X 10.6.8 and it’s interesting that in Macs TRIM is only supported with Apple branded hard drives. Hence, even if you own an actual Mac and  replace your hard drive for a non-Apple one, TRIM will not work. And in hackintosh computers we all use unsupported SSDs anyway.

Fortunately, we’re not doomed forever in our DIY underworld. There is a free utility called Trim Enabler developed by Oscar Groth, that will replace the Mac OS X native TRIM functionality on your hackintosh (or your Mac with an unsupported SSD for that matter).

When to use TRIM?

In many cases TRIM can considerably speed up your system especially if you work with large data files on a daily basis. Apparently, with time your SSD writing times are bound to lengthen if you don’t use TRIM (boohoo).

TRIM comes at a price though since once the content of your Trash is removed you can never hope to get it back (boohoo again). Unlike with non-TRIM drives where the data isn’t actually deleted and your system is simply being made aware what files should no longer show on your computer and may be overwritten should the space be needed for another file.

So to minimise the risks and increase the speed of your SSD you can actually run Trim Enabler periodically, say every two weeks or once a month. As far as my system goes, I’ve had my SSD for about two months now and have just installed Trim Enabler. I can’t see any difference at all.

When not to use TRIM?

It turns out some SSDs don’t appreciate TRIM and can actually slow down rather than speed up your hackintosh. A company called SandForce manufactures such SSDs (no, I’m not suggesting they’re low quality).

In any case, as always with freeware software use it at your own risk. What works for one may be less useful for another. But knowing TRIM exists may be useful when one day you notice your SSD isn’t as fast as it used to be. In which case TRIM can be your option before re-installing Mac OS X.

Related articles:

TRIM Enabler 2.0 for OS X Lion Released

TRIM Wikipedia

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Power PC Case Mod Part 1

I had a good look around for a case prior to starting my project. I knew what a Power PC case felt like and that it was sturdy and made of aluminium which is a noble metal after all. I was after aesthetics too so looked for something that was at least as good as Apple’s.

I’m not a modder, never really put a single computer together before in my life so found it a bit disappointing that there are hardly any aesthetically interesting cases available on the market today. I mean, if you know of any do let me know ‘coz I may be putting another hackintosh together in the future.

Some of the ones I found were either plain and square, others looked like they came straight from Star Trek (which I’m not a big fan of by the way), some others were plain ugly and/or over the tome. Take a look at these ones for example:

On the other hand, I found a handful of cool custom made cases that I was intrigued with. Check these out for example:

I particularly fancy the kick drum one but only found it after I acquired my G5 case. Next time maybe.

So here’s what I did with this case of mine to make it compatible with my standard PC parts.

powermacg5v2

First of all, I stripped the whole thing down to the bare minimum. That was easy most of the time, although you need the appropriate screwdrivers to dismantle some of the parts. Still, it took me about a couple of hours.

2013-03-26 14.06.23

Another fairly easy bit was attaching the PSU. Again, we took a metal part that came with the Mac and using an angle grinder cut out a big whole in it to accommodate the fan. Here the fan is blocked with a sheet of paper to prevent dust from getting inside. I’m not very proud of my job but it was the first time I ever used an angle grinder. You kind of get distracted by the red hot bits of metal flying around. Anyway, I got much better towards the end of the project.

2013-03-27 12.10.45

Then, I tried to come up with a good way of attaching the motherboard to the case. This turned out to be the trickiest bit. Half way through I realised I could have used one of these trays to make my life easier without really increasing the cost.

Lian Li PC60 ATX Motherboard Tray

Lian Li PC60 ATX Motherboard Tray

It took us at least a couple of futile attempts until we decided to reuse a part of metal sheet that came with the case. Also, my cousin kindly provided an old ATX case and we ripped out the motherboard mount. We also bought an aluminium angle profile to join the two parts together. Basically, we made a replica of Lian Li tray from leftover parts.

This is currently still work in progress so I’ll keep you posted on the final outcome.

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Google Nose Beta and Hackintosh

Hey everybody, just noticed Google released a beta of Nose which apparently is able to transmit scents by “temporarily re-arranging molecules” near your display.

Check out Google Nose!

The first thing I thought of was were they able to re-generate the smell of a hackintosh. Apparently, not yet an interesting concept nevertheless.

The reason I was interested was because if Google can smell my hackintosh so can Apple and the cops!!!

 

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Configuring Booting

Now that I’ve my Mac OS X running on my PC I’m trying to get the boot look as close to a Mac as possible. Here’s some options:

Edit the org.chameleon.Boot.plist file and add <key>Quiet Boot</key <string>Yes</string>

If you wish to get rid of your Gigabyte motherboard logo, look up this thread.

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