Friday, 26 August 2011

Installing OSX

Having failed to install OSX from the completely genuine (not really) disk image that I had obtained, I opted to shell out a few quid for a completely genuine (yes, actually) install disk. I ebayed a box set with iWork '09 and iLife '11 which came with all sorts of goodies like word processors, video editors and so on. All for £69. Microsoft, are you listening?

I then had a whole new problem when I tried to boot the system. I got a kernel error. This just froze up the whole machine when I tried to boot. I took out the PCI-E Soundblaster card, and hey presto no more kernel errors. This did not bode well though, as I did want sound eventually. Anyway, ploughing on.

I then had exactly the same bloody problem as with the previous attempt. It would freeze when starting up the installer. What to do?

The solution was actually very simple, but hideously complicated at the same time. What I had to do was to change the boot parameters for the OSX Install disk. This is like adding [nomodeset] when booting a Live Ubuntu Image with dodgy video drivers installed.

The command that I needed to add on were:


Once I did that the system was prepared to boot. However the wifi was not working. This is a pain, because part of the installation procedure allows you to set up you itunes account, and it needs a network connection for this. It WOULD get an internet connection if I booted the installer in safe mode (by adding [-x] as a boot parameter). Which is just a joy.

The next problem is getting the system to boot without using the iBoot disk. To do so I needed to use the multibeast program to install whatever magical stuff it needed to install to get the system to boot from the hard disk. The two essential parts of multibeast are EasyBeast and the System Tools. Apart from that I just selected packages to get my wireless card working. Happily once I rebooted, I got wifi working just fine. My video card was not detected though, and I put this down to getting an install disk that pre-dated (10.6.3) my video card (6850 Ati). So I then upgraded to OSX version 10.6.8. And hurrah! The video started working properly! And the wireless card was fucked.

Brilliant. I rebooted in safe mode [-x], and the kernel messages flying past tended to suggest the wireless card was detected and working, but that was all academic because the video was now fucked and showing a grey screen only.

Fantastic. It was at this point, after much searching on the internet, that I discovered that I needed to use the further boot parameters:


to get the wireless card to work with the latest version of OSX. Apparently this has something to do with how much memory your system has. All I needed to do was to pop those parameters into the /Extra/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ file:

<key>Kernel Flags</key>

<string>arch=i386 max_valid_dma_addr=1024</string>

Having stuck those settings in I now have a machine happily booting OSX 10.6.8, with fully working video up to 1080p resolutions, and with fully working wifi. Sound, no so much. The Soundblaster card I have is working after a fashion, but it is unusably crackly. I need to try a variety of the VoodooHDA drivers to find the best one. Alternatively, I need to try it without the card to see if it will output sound over the HDMI cable from the Graphics card. At one point it had detected that as a possible audio out option, but I couldn't connect it up to a receiver at the time to find out if it was actually working.