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October 22, 2013

How to install OS X Mavericks on your PC with Unibeast

If you're interested in running Mac OS X, but you don't want to pay ridiculous prices for a normal Mac, then a Hackintosh just might be for you. Right now, the newest iteration of OS X is 10.9, known as Mavericks. Installing Mavericks on a PC is pretty much the exact same as installing Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion). This guide will follow tonymacx86's standard Unibeast method, except that we try to cover the process with more detail (and pictures!).

  • A compatible computer: Not every computer will work with Mac OS X, even with the help of tools like Unibeast and Multibeast. Be sure to read the Hackintosh compatibility guide very carefully, to check whether or not your computer qualifies. The hardware requirements for OS X Mavericks are identical to those for OS X Mountain Lion; AMD processors and older 32-bit Intel processors (such as Pentium M) are not supported. If your computer already has OS X Mountain Lion installed, Unibeast will just update Mountain Lion to Mavericks normally, without deleting any of your apps or files.

  • A separate hard drive: 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). Unibeast will not work on a hard drive where Windows was installed first. You can bypass this requirement by applying the MBR patch to Unibeast (the process for Mavericks is the exact same as for Mountain Lion).

  • Unibeast (Free): Unibeast is a Mac program that modifies the official OS X Mavericks installer, and writes it onto a USB drive. You can then use this Unibeast USB drive to run the Mavericks installer on a PC. Unibeast works with Mac OS X Snow Leopard and newer; registration on is required to download Unibeast. 

  • A Hackintosh with Snow Leopard/Lion/Mountain Lion already installed, a real Mac, or a Mac OS X virtual machineUnibeast is a Mac app, so you need a computer with Mac OS X to run it. You could use a real Mac, if you own one. Alternatively, you could install Mountain Lion on a virtual machine, and run Unibeast on there instead. Be sure to install the Virtualbox Extension Pack to view USB drives from your virtual machine.

  • OS X Mavericks (Free): The method used by this guide requires that you download a free copy of the Mavericks installer app from the Mac App Store. Though the Mac App Store is included in Mac OS X 10.6.6 and newer, you have to be running 10.6.8 to download Mavericks. (you might be able to circumvent this requirement by spoofing your system version).

  • An empty USB drive (8 GB or larger): The USB drive used for Unibeast must be at least 8 GB in size. Since Unibeast will erase all of the files on your USB drive, make sure to back up its contents first. You can reuse this USB drive for normal stuff after you finish installing Mavericks.

  • Multibeast (Free): Multibeast is a collection of kext files that your Hackintosh will need to run properly, after the initial installation. Download it onto a USB drive. Be sure to download the newest version 6 of Multibeast, not the older versions 3, 4, or 5.

1. Format your USB drive for Unibeast
Plug your USB drive into Mac OS X, and open Disk Utility (located in the Utilities folder in the Applications folder). Select the USB drive in the sidebar of Disk Utility, go to the "Partition" tab of Disk Utility. Click the "Options" button, and check the partition scheme: it should be set to "Master Boot Record" by default.

Then, create a new partition layout with 1 partition. Set the format to "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)". Name the new partition whatever you want (I named mine "Cheesecake"), and click "Apply". 

This will erase and reformat your USB drive so that it's ready for Unibeast. The process should only take a few seconds to complete.

2. Run Unibeast
Download Unibeast and run it. Make sure that the OS X Mavericks installation app from the Mac App Store is inside your "Applications" folder of Mac OS X.

Select your USB drive as the installation destination (mine is named "Cheesecake").

Click through the pages in the Unibeast installer, until you reach the following selection page. Choose the "Mac App Store Mavericks - 10.9" option. In addition, there are two extra options you might want to select: "Legacy USB Support" and "Laptop Support". Select the first option if you use a first-generation Intel Core processor; these are Intel Core processors with 3-digit model numbers, such as the Intel Core i7-960 or i7-875K. Select the second option as well if you're installing Mavericks on a laptop. If neither of these options apply to you, simply click "Continue".

You'll come up to the installation progress bar. Chances are, Unibeast will look like it's stuck at the "Running package scripts" stage. Don't panic! This is normal-- during the "Running package scripts" stage, the progress bar is counting the number of files copied, but Unibeast is copying some really big files, so it takes forever for the number of copied files to increase.

Though Unibeast is supposed to only take 10-15 minutes to run, it may take up to an hour, depending on how fast your USB drive is.

3. Set up the parts of your PC
Before you begin your Mavericks installation, make sure to follow these procedures:
  • 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 your computer uses a discrete (separate) graphics card, unplug that card from your computer motherboard and use the integrated graphics on your CPU instead (assuming your CPU actually has integrated graphics). Doing this will reduce the number of possible points of failure in the guide-- Mac OS X tends to have a lot of problems with discrete graphics cards during the setup process. 
    • If possible, connect your monitor to the DVI port of your computer's integrated graphics. The Mac OS X installer sometimes has problems with HDMI and VGA. 
NOTE: If you're installing Mac OS X on a computer that already has Windows installed on a separate internal hard drive, you may have to enable AHCI for Windows beforehand. Otherwise, Windows won't boot afterwards. Also, after installing Mac OS X, you should also sync your clock on Windows with Mac OS X.

4. 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. New motherboards with the LGA 1150 socket (the boards that support Intel "Haswell" processors) generally don't need much tweaking at all.

If your Hackintosh already has Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Lion, or Mountain 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 any version of Mac OS X 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 Unibeast 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.

5. Boot into Unibeast
Restart your Hackintosh, and plug in your Unibeast USB drive. If things go well, your computer will boot from the USB drive instead of booting from your normal hard disk. You will then be able to view the Unibeast menu.

If you do not manage to reach the Unibeast menu, check your motherboard's BIOS settings to make sure that the changes you made in Step 4 were properly applied. If they were, but you still cannot boot from the Unibeast USB drive, unplug your USB drive, and go back to Step 1. Reformat your USB drive with Disk Utility and try again. If all else fails, try using a different USB drive for Unibeast.

At the Unibeast menu, select the name of your Unibeast USB drive, by using the left/right arrow keys on your keyboard, and then press the enter key (or return key) to start the OS X Mavericks installer.

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 Unibeast 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).

6. Install Mavericks
Continue, and you will eventually come up to a page that asks you for a "destination" for your Mac install. Select the hard drive that you want to install OS X Mavericks on, and continue.

If you're installing Mavericks on an empty hard drive, the hard drive selection box will be blank. You'll have to erase that hard drive with Disk Utility first (check out Step 4 of our Snow Leopard installation guide for more details).

Otherwise, select the hard drive you want to install OS X Mavericks on, and click "Install". Mavericks will now install itself. This will take at least 30 minutes.

Restart. If your Hackintosh already had Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Lion, or Mountain Lion installed beforehand, you can unplug the Unibeast USB drive. Otherwise, keep the USB drive plugged in. At the boot screen, you'll see an icon for the hard drive where you installed Mavericks. Select it (use the arrow keys on your computer) and press "Enter".

If everything works properly, then Mavericks will boot. Mission accomplished!

Once again, if you get a kernel panic/loading error when you try to boot your new Mavericks 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 Unibeast 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).

7. Multibeast
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 Snow Leopard, Lion, or Mountain Lion, you don't have to reinstall UserDSDT or Easybeast in Multibeast after installing OS X Mavericks. Mac OS X treats Mavericks 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).

To run Multibeast in OS X Mavericks, you have to go the "Security" section of System Preferences in Mac OS X, go to the "General" section, and check "Anywhere" in the "Allow applications" section. After running Multibeast, you'll also probably want to change your BIOS settings back to normal (from Step 4).

Once that's done with, you should be running a fully functional copy of OS X Mavericks on your PC. If you plan on updating Mac OS X in the future, check out our guide to updating your Hackintosh. Congratulations!