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    Newbie Array joshuajburris's Avatar

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    Default GUIDE w/ Pictures: Installing OS X (Non-Retail) On Un-Supported Macs

    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,

    Download Here

    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

    Killall Finder

    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:

    System\Installation\Packages\OSInstall.mpkg

    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

    Cd /desktop/package

    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
    Sysctl hw.model

    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.

    Before:



    After:



    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

    System\Installation\Packages\OSInstall.mpkg

    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,

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    Hi

    Followed your tutorial and was able to use the 10.6.3 restore Disc that came with my Mac mini to install on my 2008 Macbook.

    The only problem I've come across now is that I can't install any 10.6 updates (i.e 10.6.4 and above), I get a "Cannot be installed on this volume" error when I select my Drive. Have tried installing the combo update separately, but still no luck.

    How did you get around this issue ?

    Thanks
    Last edited by macq; 11-10-2010 at 05:45 AM.

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    I would try using Pacifist to install the OS X update, I'm not sure if this will work, but its worth a shot.

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    Default Use OSInstall.mpkg from retail disk

    OK, I know this won't be helpful to a lot of you, but I was able to take the OSInstall.mpkg from my retail disk (10.6.0) and replace the one on my Mac Pro (10.6.4) with it. This gives me a 10.6.4 disk that will boot on any machine.

    I have tried it on a number of machines and it seems to work just fine.

    Brian

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    Default Problems!!!

    Hi,

    I'm trying to follow joshuajburris' guide above, but I'm running into Terminal problems. This is because I rarely use Terminal and don't really know what I'm doing with it.
    The problem I'm having is in "Step 4". He says the following:
    "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"

    First of all I don't really understand what he means by "make sure you are still in the desktop/package directory" - is he talking about staying in that directory within Terminal? I tried typing "cd /desktop/package" into Terminal, but go the error message: "No such file or directory"

    I have entered the command "xar -c ./ -v -f ~/Desktop/NewOSInstall.mpkg" without entering "cd /desktop/package", but Terminal then created a new .mkpg containing everything on my computer.

    I hope this is not too confusing - if you need clarification on anything let me know.

    Any help here would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

    Olaf


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    Default can't find supportedmachines

    Hi,

    great thread btw

    I've done everything for the most part, up until editing the distribution file, I can't seem to find the supported machines part, I've looked through it thoroughly several times and have done ctl+f (or apple+f...) and it doesn't seem to be there. is there any other way to work around this? can i just delete the distribution file?

    thanks!

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    I followed this to the letter as I had to upgrade a clients Mac from Leopard to Mountain Lion, and WOW it worked like a dream!!!!!
    I used my disk (2011 27") on a 15" MacBook Pro and I am all smiles right now.
    I even registered on this Forum to thank you.

    Phil

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    THIS WAS AMAZING....Ran into a crisis when upgraded to IOS6 with and still have Leopard so now forced to upgrade to 10.6+ and only have the 10.6 install that came with 2009 MBP. Couldn't wait for the CD to get delivered so the 2 hours this has taken is 1000x better.

    Few things that I ran into that could save some time are the capitalizations and "/" with the Cd part finding the Desktop and Package. Also, it's possible the file has changed but in the 10.6 disc that I have, there is no: "hwbe", as indicated above, but there is a section for the checking of the correct computer. In my version, it looks like this:

    function checkSupportedMachine2(machineType){
    var wl = new Array();
    wl["iMac9,1"] = 1;
    wl["Macmini3,1"] = 1;
    wl["MacBookPro5,5"] = 1;
    wl["MacBook5,2"] = 1;
    wl["MacBookPro5,3"] = 1;
    wl["MacBookPro5,4"] = 1;
    wl["MacBookPro5,2"] = 1;
    wl["MacBookAir2,1"] = 1;
    wl["MacBook3,1"] = 1;
    if(machineType){
    if(wl[machineType] != 1){


    and the spot I changed was the MacBook3,1 above. It was MacBook4,1

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    JKA
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    Hi. First, thanks so much for this post. I'm not a programmer, but I'm pretty comfortable with computers and am decent at following instructions. Everything you said to do worked great. I messed up though... I did not have a thumb drive big enough for the custom OS install disc. I tried copying it to my external hard drive. Now I have a bunch of things on there I can't delete, and it looks like the install disc until you scroll down some. I also started to clone it to my Mac HD, then decided this might be a bad idea and clicked "stop"... now the same thing has happened to it. Is there any way to get rid of the files that are changing the appearance of these? also, is there a way to make either of these options work? I don't have 7 GB of disc space on my mac mini to even have that as an option (silly for even starting that clone process...). But my EHD has 1.1 TB left on it. SO, if I could use that it would be fantastic.

    And thanks again for posting this. Incredibly helpful and very easy to follow. Now if I can just figure out a way to use what I was able to create...

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    JKA
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    Is there anyone that knows how to uninstall the custom OS install disc from an external hard drive and/or a mac hard drive? I really need to get it off of those. If you know how to uninstall it from these, please let me know. thank you!


 

 
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