I’ve been intrigued by Snow Leopard (OSX 10.6) ever since it came out. Sure, many people hail it as the king of bugfixes (just like what Windows 7 is to Vista), but it does sport some pretty nifty features beneath that facade which are unseen.
Anyhow, in keeping with the times, we needed a new Mac-based machine in the office and I decided to get grimy and build one with Snow Leopard AND Windows. Yup, dual-booting it’s called. Over the weekend, I encountered numerous grey screens of death, hung computers and problems of every kind – I just could not believe how others said this motherboard was the easiest to install on. After awhile, I decided to return it to the store and get another unit, JUST IN CASE the motherboard had problems (which HARDLY ever happens, right?). Whaddya know… the install was flawless after I swapped it!
I haven’t got oodles of tips and tricks to share, but here are some of the things I did to get it going.
- If you haven’t heard of the all-time-awesome-kickass-Lifehacker-Snow-Leopard-install, then you simply must. It’s a prerequisite to building a hackintosh. Read here.
- Do as Lifehacker tells you – go prepare your thumbdrive with the install files, then come back here.
- Also, go procure your hardware – for BEST-est results, do get the Gigabyte EP45-UD3L, EP45-UD3R or EP45-UD3P motherboards. They allow you to pretty much get the retail Snow Leopard working out of the box. Any current NVIDIA graphics card will do. I got the 9400GT which has HDMI, DVI and VGA ports. As for the processor, any Core2Duo/Core2Quad ones are fine. I used a Q9400 Intel Quad Core CPU.
- Set your BIOS settings – this is important for the system to run optimally. The only settings you really need to modify are in “Integrated Peripherals” – set the ICH SATA Control Mode to AHCI [default is IDE] and Onboard SATA/IDE Ctrl Mode to AHCI [default is IDE].
- Now, proceed to boot with the thumbdrive – you have to configure your BIOS boot options to select the thumbdrive.
- Everything else is pretty dead easy (from going to Tools-Disk Utility and partitioning the hard drive), to installing the OS.
- Complete the installation process and when the machine reboots, let the thumbdrive boot again. On the OS selection screen, select the internal hard drive you installed it to. (The reason you do this is because the bootloader isn’t installed on the internal drive yet – don’t worry if you don’t understand this gibberish!).
- Now, download the file mentioned in Lifehacker (EP45UD3P Snow Leopard.pkg zip) and run it, but install it on the internal drive.
- That’s it really! If you’d like to run Software Update to upgrade to 10.6.1, you may do so (that’s the latest version as of today) – nothing adverse will happen.
If you’d like to dual boot between the Mac OS and Windows, here’s a spanner that gets thrown in.
- After booting into the installation (Step 5 above), go to Tools-Disk Utility and create 2 partitions. (Practical tip: make them slightly different sizes so you can identify them easily later in your Windows install). On one partition, set it to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and on the second, set it to FAT32. Do click on Options and set the Partition Map scheme to GUID.
- After the partitioning and formatting is done, close the window and return to the installer. You can resume with Step 7 above.
- After you’re done with the Mac OS installation, pop in your Windows DVD and change the boot sequence in BIOS. I’m using Vista (*puke*) as I’ve got a legit licence for it. Let the DVD boot up.
- Click on Repair your computer link, then click Next and select Command Prompt.
- At the black screen, type diskpart [enter].
- Then type select disk 0 [enter].
- Type list partition [enter].
- You will see a list of your partitions with numbers on the side. You need to select the one you intend to install Windows on.
- Type select partition xx [enter] (where xx is the number you identified in Step 8).
- Type active [enter].
- Return to the Windows installer and continue to install Windows on the designated partition.
- When you’re done, Windows will boot by default (hey, where’s my Mac installation?).
- Don’t worry, you just need to download a program called EasyBCD that will easily tweak the Windows boot manager. Download it here.
- Run it and go to Add/Remove Entries. Select the Mac tab.
- Select Generic x86 PC and give it a name you like – Mac OS works well. Click Save.
There you have it… A Mac and a PC cohabitating on the same hard drive. How sweet is that…? Here’s the bootloader screen that gives you the option to select your OS.
Here’s my setup before I put it into a “nicer” casing. 2 friends commented that a hackintosh is function without form – I totally agree, and think that Hackintoshes are like Frankenstein – an ugly brute with force. Macs are the princess with elegance but less power.
Now, write a comment and let me know if you’ve had success. Please don’t ask questions such as, “will this XYZ motherboard work?” – this short tutorial is solely for the EP45-UD3R and similar variants. If you want it to work, get this motherboard. I’ll try to put a video together when I work on the next installation of this setup, but it may take awhile…