Installing OS X on unsupported machines. (From restore discs that came with another system)
New member here, just wanted to get something up to try and help some people with a problem that has driven me nuts for a few days now. Not really a tutorial writer, this just made sense so maybe it will help someone else who is having the same issue. This is a collaboration of efforts made by many Mac users across the Internet, I do not claim to have come up with any of these on my own, I simply want to simplify the process as it was a pain in the a** for me to stumble through it myself.
When installing OSX 10.6 on your Mac, you receive an error “OS X Cannot Be Installed On This Machine”. This is due to using a non-retail version of OS X meaning it was part of a restore suite that came with another system. Although the disc contains the full retail version of OS X, there is a machine verification string that takes place during startup.
This is a work around so you CAN re-install OS X on your system. NOTE* I have only tried this with the 10.6.1 disc that came with my 27” iMac, and the procedure worked installing Snow Leopard on my MacBook Core 2 Duo. This should work on any Mac running 10.5 or later as Apple changed their packages to XAR from this point on.
If you are using anything other than 10.5 or later, you will need to install Darwin Ports and perform the XAR installation using the XCODE development tools. That procedure can be found on MacRumors forum which is another attempt to perform this same procdure, howerver it didnt work for me. But the Darwin Ports method may work for someone out there so here it is...
If on 10.5 or later, please continue...
First you will need to obtain a copy of Carbon Copy Cloner below,
I recommend using CCC as the Disk Utility in Snow Leopard sucks IMO, I tried to restore the “hacked” (if we are calling it that), version of the restore image and I kept getting errors about scanning the image before restore. When I “scanned for restore”, it gave me more errors about invalid arguments. Besides, CCC is a lot faster than anything else I have used so far.
STEP 1: Next you will need to make an image of the OS X Restore DVD. You can either use the disk utility, or CCC as I have stated it’s much faster for some reason and apparently a true block-level scan.
CCC is very simple to use. First select the source disk on the left, (Max OS X Install DVD), and then select New Disc Image on the right. Make sure you select read/write “sparse” image at the bottom so you can write your “hacked” distribution code back to the image when you are finished. I named my new image Custom Mac OS X Install Disc
Now sit back and wait. Depending on your drive, disc cleanliness etc, this could take a minute. Just have patience and it should complete just fine. If you get any errors during this process, its most likely due to the disc you are using being dirty or scratched.
Once the process completes, you will get a pop-up saying that it was successful and offering a donate button. If this was a simple process and you continue to use CCC in the future, which I do, I recommend donating to the authors because this is an awesome program.
The next part gets into some terminal commands. If you are uncomfortable using terminal, you probably aren’t the type of person to attempt this in the first place so the rest of you can continue.
STEP 2: You will need to enable hidden files to view all of the images contents. Open Terminal and type or past the following command exactly as it is shown and press enter
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles True
Next type this command and press enter
STEP 3: Now that we have shown hidden files and re-launched finder, we can extract the OSInstall.mpkg out of the image we previously created. You will need to mount (double click), the Custom OS X Install Disc that we made. Now open the mounted disc and you should see all of the hidden files. Navigate to the following file:
Drag the OSInstall.mpkg file to your desktop. Now create a folder on the desktop called Package.
Open terminal and type or past the following command and press enter
Now type this command and press enter
xar -x -v -f ~/Desktop/OSInstall.mpkg
This will extract the contents of the OSInstall.mpkg with the built in XAR utility. You should see a series of resources scroll by in finder and should be left with a file called Distribution inside the Package folder we created on the desktop.
STEP 4: Next we will right click the Distribution file, and choose to open with TextEdit. Once the file is opened, scroll down about ¾ of a page and you will come across a series of strings named hwbeSupportedMachines. As you can see, your system is most likely not listed here or you wouldn’t be performing this procedure in the first place. We need to add your system to the list of support machines so it will stop freaking out during the installation process.
ON THE MAC YOU WISH TO INSTALL OS X ON: To find your Hardware ID if you don’t have it, you can run the following command on the Mac you wish to install OS X on my inserting the install disc, turn on the Mac while holding down the Option Key, and selecting the OS X install disc. Once you get the normal “OS X cannot be installed on this machine” error, you should be able to select Terminal from the list of Utilities at the top.
Run the following command and press enter
This will display the Hardware ID for your machine. In my case, it gave me MacBook4,1 so this is what we will put in that hwbeSupportedMachines line in the distribution file on the other system.
After you have edited the hwbeSupportedMachines line, close the file and save the changes. We now need to inject the distribution file back into the OSInstall.mpkg. To do this, open Terminal again; make sure you are still in the desktop/package directory (cd /desktop/package), then type the following command and press enter
xar -c ./ -v -f ~/Desktop/NewOSInstall.mpkg
This should leave a file on your desktop called NewOSInstall.mpkg
Go back to the mounted Custom OS X Install DVD image, and navigate back to
This is a good time to make a copy of the old OSinstall.mpkg file and then rename the original to OSInstall.OLD
Confirm the extension change if asked and rename the NewOSInstall.mpkg on your desktop to OSInstall.mpkg, then paste the renamed file into the packages folder where the old one was located.
Now Un-mount the disc image and prepare to burn / restore it.
At this point you have a couple of options. You can burn it directly to a DL disc, but that can take even more time and you may have to try this a couple times to get it right. I opt to us a spare HDD or Thumb drive big enough to hold the 7+Gb of data. You must first format the HDD OS X Extended and make sure the portion table is set to GUID
NOTE* There are methods online to remove the printer drivers and languages to squeeze the image size down enough to fit on a 4.67Gb disc, however, I haven’t tested any of them to date. Maybe I will post something later when I get it figured out.
This is the part of the procedure that I originally ran into problems. I tried to restore the image back to a spare HDD using the Disk Utility in OS X 10.6.1 and I kept getting a bullsh*t error stating that “This image needs to be scanned for restore”. After trying the “Scan for Restore” option in the top menu and watching it fail, I remembered to use Carbon Copy Cloner. This method was very fast and worked perfectly for me.
Open CCC, select restore from image on the left and browse to find the Custom OS X install Disc we created. On the right column, find your USB HDD or thumbdrive and let it restore. You should get a green light on the right informing you that the image is “bootable”.
You can now plug in the USB HDD or Thumbdrive in the other Mac and perform the Option / Power Up sequence. This will scan the system for bootable images just like before allowing you to boot from the HDD, which should read “Custom OS X Install Disc below it. You should boot up as normal, however, you should be able to move along without the OS X cannot be installed on this machine error”.
Hope this works guys,