- An existing Windows computer/Mac/Hackintosh: This is the computer where you will download and set up Niresh. Either Windows or Mac OS X will work. Make sure your computer has a DVD/Bluray burner (just about every DVD/Bluray drive nowadays can act as a burner, too).
- A Hackintosh-compatible computer with an empty hard drive: This is the computer where you will install OS X Mountain Lion. It can be the same computer as the one mentioned in the previous point. If your computer already has Mac OS X Lion installed, Niresh will just update Lion to Mountain Lion normally, without deleting any of your apps or files.However, not every computer will work with Mac OS X. Be sure to read the Hackintosh compatibility guide very carefully, to check whether or not your computer qualifies. Also, Mac OS X needs its own hard drive– a minimum of 10 GB of space is required, but at least 50 GB of space is recommended. As far as we know, Niresh will not work on a hard drive where Windows is already installed.
- Niresh 10.8.2 (Free): Niresh is a “distro” of OS X Mountain Lion. I won’t go into details, but you can download it from just about any bittorrent website by using a bittorrent client (it’s a little less than 5 GB in size). The standard method of installing Mountain Lion on a PC requires you to modify a retail copy of OS X Mountain Lion with Unibeast, but Niresh already does all of this for you.
- A DVD: In this guide, you will write Niresh onto a DVD, and boot your computer from Niresh to install Mac OS X. Any empty DVD will work.
- Multibeast (Free): Multibeast is a collection of kext files that your Hackintosh will need to run properly, after the initial installation. Be sure to download the newest version 5 of Multibeast, not the older versions 3 or 4 (which are for Snow Leopard and Lion, respectively).
1. Create your Niresh DVD
Burn Niresh onto a DVD disc. You will be booting your Hackintosh from this Niresh DVD, in order to install OS X Mountain Lion. On Windows 7, burning capabilities are built-in to the operating system– just insert an empty DVD into your DVD/Bluray drive, right-click on the downloaded Niresh file, and burn it. The same advice applies to Mac OS X.
However, if you’re using Windows XP or Vista, you will need to use a program such as ImgBurn.
Depending on the speed of your DVD burner, this can take up to few hours. If you’re using Windows, I recommend that you use ImgBurn, instead of the default Windows 7 burner; in my personal experience, ImgBurn tends to be far more reliable.
2. Set up the parts of your PC
I covered these steps in my Snow Leopard guide, but they’re worth mentioning again:
- Unplug all USB-connected devices from your computer before you begin the setup (except your keyboard and mouse). A faulty external USB hard drive can cause your Hackintosh bootloader to give you EBIOS errors on startup.
- Open up your computer and unplug any extra internal hard drives that your computer has, besides the hard drive that you’re installing OS X on. (Just unplug the hard drive SATA cables from your motherboard.)
- If possible, connect your monitor to the DVI port of your computer’s graphics. The Mac OS X installer sometimes has problems with HDMI and VGA.
3. Set up your motherboard’s BIOS
The BIOS is basically a settings page for your motherboard. To enter the BIOS on my own computer’s Gigabyte P67A-D3-B3 motherboard, I have to press the delete key when it boots (before the operating system starts). Different manufacturers set different keys for opening the BIOS.
NOTE: If you have a newer Gigabyte motherboard that uses the UEFI interface instead of BIOS, check out our guide for setting up the UEFI instead.
If your Hackintosh already has Mac OS X Snow Leopard or Lion installed, the only thing you’ll need to change in the BIOS is the “Boot Device”, so that USB drives have highest priority.
If your Hackintosh doesn’t have Snow Leopard or Lion installed yet, you have to change a few extra BIOS settings. Before starting, reset all of your BIOS settings to their factory defaults. On Gigabyte motherboards, you can reset your BIOS settings to their default by selecting “Load Optimized Defaults” on the main page of the BIOS. Once your BIOS is running on its defaults, you need to change these three settings:
Boot Device – Change the boot device of your computer so that “USB-HDD” is first. You need to do this for Niresh to work. After you finish installing Mac OS X, you should change this setting back to default, so that “Hard Disk” is the first boot device (this optional, but it will speed up your boot times).
HPET – Change this to 64-bit.
SATA Control Mode (your BIOS might call this a different name) – This will probably already be set to “SATA”, “IDE”, or “RAID”. Change it to “AHCI”. Mac OS X only works with AHCI.
Keep in mind that the BIOS on most motherboards do not support using a mouse, so you’ll probably have to navigate through the BIOS with the arrow keys on your keyboard. Press “Enter” to change a selected option in the BIOS. On my Gigabyte motherboard, I have to press F10 to save my changes.
4. Boot into Niresh
Insert your Niresh DVD into a USB 2.0 port on your computer’s DVD drive, and restart your computer. If things go well, your computer will boot into Niresh instead of booting from your normal hard disk. You will then be able to view the black-and-white Niresh menu.
If you do not manage to reach the Niresh menu, check your motherboard’s BIOS settings to make sure that the changes you made in Step 3 were properly applied. If they were, but you still cannot boot from Niresh, go back to Step 1 of this guide and try again with a DVD (preferably using ImgBurn).
At the Niresh menu, press the enter key (or return key) to start the OS X Mountain Lion installer. If you are trying to install OS X Mountain Lion on a computer using an AMD or Intel Atom processor, you’ll have to type the boot flag “amd” (without quotation marks– for AMD) or “atom” (without quotation marks– for Atom).
In the worst case scenarios, instead of loading the Mac OS X installer, you may end up at a dark gray screen that tells you to restart your computer (a kernel panic), or you may end up with a small crossed-out sign (a loading error). If you get a kernel panic/loading error (or if the Mac OS X installer simply won’t start within 10 minutes), you’ll need to enter some boot flags. To enter boot flags, manually restart your computer by pressing your computer’s power button. Then, once you’ve booted back into the Niresh menu, try typing any necessary boot flags before pressing the enter/return key. Check out this list of common boot flags for reference ( PCIRootUID=0 and -x are two popular boot flags).
If you’re installing Mountain Lion on a computer that has never been turned into a Hackintosh before (i.e. doesn’t already have Snow Leopard or Lion installed), the hard drive selection box will be blank. We’ll have to fix that. To do this, start up Disk Utility, which is located under the Utilities menu in the top bar.
You need to use Disk Utility to erase a hard drive partition so that OS X Mountain Lion can install itself on it. In the sidebar of Disk Utility, choose the hard drive where you want Mountain Lion installed, and erase it by using the “Erase” tab. In the screenshot below, my hard drive is called “21.47 GB VBOX HARDDRIVE”.
When erasing, the format should be set to “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)”. You can also partition the hard disk by using Disk Utility’s Partition tab. Mac OS X cannot boot from a partition that’s larger than 1 TB in size, so if you have a 2 TB hard drive, you will have to partition it.
On the installation page for Mac OSX, the hard disk/disk partition should now be showing up. Select it, and then click the “Customize” button on the bottom left. This is where using a distro becomes really useful: Niresh allows you to install extra Hackintosh drivers and kexts, straight from the Mac OS X Lion installer. The “Customize” page essentially does the same thing as Multibeast, though the layout (and most of the names of the options) are different.
However, choosing the right options from this page can be really tricky, so unless you’re absolutely certain about which drivers and kexts you need to install for your computer, I don’t recommend installing too much stuff from here. The default selection will enable Mac OS X to boot from the hard drive without any assistance. For most computers, that will be enough (at least for the initial installation). If you wish to install more, refer to our guide to Multibeast. Otherwise, you can figure out the rest in Step 6, where you’ll actually set up your Hackintosh with Multibeast.
After you’re done with the “Customize” page, install Mountain Lion. This will take at least 30 minutes.
Once the installation finishes, remove your Niresh DVD, and restart. At the boot screen, you’ll see an icon for the hard drive where you installed Mountain Lion. Select it (use the arrow keys on your computer) and press “Enter”. Mountain Lion will boot. Mission accomplished!
Once again, if you get a kernel panic/loading error when you try to boot your new Mountain Lion installation (or if the installation simply won’t start within 10 minutes), you’ll need to enter some boot flags. To enter boot flags, manually restart your computer by pressing your computer’s power button. Then, once you’ve booted back into the Niresh menu, try type any necessary boot flags before pressing the enter/return key. Check out this list of common boot flags for reference ( PCIRootUID=0 and -x are two popular boot flags).
Another common issue with Niresh is that it tends to lag out of the account creation process, and skip straight to the Mac OS X login screen before you can make your own account. If this happens, simply log into Mac OS X with the following credentials:
This will log you into the “root” account of Mac OS X. From here, open the System Preferences app, go to “Users & Groups”, and create your own account. (We don’t recommend that you use the root account permanently, because it is insecure.)
Multibeast is a collection of kext files that you’ll need to install for your Hackintoshes to have sound, internet, a high resolution screen, and more. Different Hackintosh builds require different Multibeast setups, though most setups are very similar. Find out what Multibeast options you need to install. If you have a Gigabyte GA-P67A-D3-B3 motherboard like me, check out my own Multibeast setup.
If you’re just updating your Hackintosh from Mac OS X Lion, you don’t have to reinstall UserDSDT, Easybeast, or Chimera in Multibeast after installing OS X Mountain Lion. Mac OS X treats Mountain Lion as just another update– this generally means that the only things you have to reinstall in Multibeast are audio kexts and ethernet kexts. You might also have to reinstall miscellaneous kexts, such as TRIM Enabler (for SSDs).
Once that’s done with, you should be running a fully functional copy of OS X Mountain Lion on your PC. Congratulations!