Software Update Broke My Hackintosh
My homemade Hackintosh was working great until the automatic software update popped up while I wasn't around. If this had been a real Mac, clicking OK would have been no problem, but since this is a Hackintosh, it meant trouble. When I got home, the Mac side had gone bye-bye, and only the Windows side was working.
I tried everything I knew. I read up at the blog and forums. Nothing worked.
I tried starting over, but I couldn't boot from the original DVD install disc. If I booted from the Mac OS X install disc, I would see the spinning wheel of death. Eventually I ran out of time and ideas, and my Hackintosh became a Windows 7-only PC.
For months my son had to use Windows for all his web surfing and game playing.
During all this time, I tried fixing the Mac with no luck. I managed to boot into Mac OS X, but the USB would not work, which meant that we could not use a keyboard or mouse. You cannot install software without the keyboard and mouse.
I was stumped on what to do.
In hindsight, we always had a few minor problems. Since this was a dual Mac/PC, we used the iBoot startup disc to get to the bootloader so we could chose either Mac OS X or Windows. This should not have been necessary, but we had trouble booting directly into the bootloader.
I found a new rescue disc called rBoot. Using it, I was able to reboot and then swap in the Snow Leopard DVD. Then I booted into Safe Mode by holding down the Shift key during startup. This turned extensions off.
Suddenly, I was at the desktop and the mouse was working. Now what to do?
When I stuck in a USB flash drive, the computer would crash. That meant I couldn't use a flash drive to transfer files. Safe Mode was disabling some USB features.
Now back to the forums to find out what to do.
My Hackintosh has a Sandy Bridge processor. This came out after Snow Leopard was released. Because of this, earlier versions of Snow Leopard have to be patched to work. The latest Snow Leopard version, 10.6.8, is supposed to be able to work with the Sandy Bridge processor. The advice was run an updater patch and then run the 10.6.8 combo update.
For good measure I ran some other support software and a driver updater. Then I ran the updater patch and rebooted. Everything appeared to be working.
Next I tried the combo update. This time I lost USB again. That sent be back to the drawing board. I had to restart in Safe Mode.
After a series of reboots, patches, and such, I thought that it was finally working. I turned the computer back over to my son to use with some limitations. Not everything was working smoothly, and the longer he used it, the more new issues showed up. I kept trying to fix things until it all fell apart and the USB stopped working again.
I'd had enough, and he was stuck using Windows again.
This is the frustration with working in a completely new area. You don't know when you are doing something smart or dumb. Despite knowing enough to build a Hackintosh, I did not know enough to recognize what my problem was.
Again my son asked me to fix the Hackintosh. I agreed to give it another try.
This time I remembered to use the -v (for verbose this will list everything that is happening) setting for every startup/install. Things did not go smoothly. It froze booting into Mac OS X. I added -x to boot into Safe Mode. It froze again, but with a different message. Then I added GraphicEnabler = No. Finally I was at the desktop and I could run the installer.
After getting the installer to work, I ran the 10.6.8 updater. It crashed during the install, and I had to start all over again. I was slowly learning what to do better each time.
Some error messages were useless. They told me that the computer had a kernel panic but did not explain why. Other error messages hinted that the problem was with the audio driver. I expected this, but trying to fix the audio driver before caused some of the problems with the USB not working.
After reading a few more websites, I decided to try VoodooHDA. The computer crashed after reboot. It was dinnertime, so I turned it off and had dinner.
After dinner, my son started the computer and got right into OS X. Everything was working, and we no longer needed the iBoot disc to get to the bootloader. The Hackintosh was a Hackintosh again, not just a Windows box.
I learned several big lessons. The first is that if you build a Hackintosh, turn off the automatic updater. Deal with the updates manually after you read about possible issues.
The second lesson is that Macs are great because they work. Building a Hackintosh is fun, but you have to be prepared for fixing any problem that comes along. This can be an ordeal for those of us not experienced enough to fix weird hardware and software problems.
The final lesson was that the newest hardware, like the Sandy Bridge processor, can be the most desired, but it will initially have the least support. If you can live with last year's hardware, you will have a better chance for success.
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