Monday, 25 July 2011

Now for the best way to install Lion on unsupported hardware...

Looks like there's been a lot of interest in these installation methods and now that Lion has been released to the public, many people are suggesting that the best way to install Lion on an upgraded older Intel Mac is as follows (Edited to include correct target, as shown in comments):
I'd like to chime in and say that the best way of doing this is *definitely* to use a Lion-approved system, buy Lion from the App Store and then install onto the Macmini1,1 using Target Disk Mode.

Once you've installed onto your Macmini1,1 internal drive, boot your other Mac (the one you've used for the install) normally and add:


to the appropriate place in 
/Volumes/<name of target drive>/System/Library/CoreServices/PlatformSupport.plist I would advise not deleting the file; always best to work with the software, rather than binning something it's expecting to find.

Also, ignore all the comments about the 32-bit kernel being a problem. The MacPro1,1 is a supported system which also uses the 32-bit kernel, as (I believe) does the MacMini2,1. If you're having problems, the kernel is not the issue. Make sure you're using a genuine copy of Lion which you bought from the App Store, make that one change to PlatformSupport.plist and you should be fine.
Thanks to the commenter who suggested that and thanks to everyone that has commented on the blog so far. I'm still going to hold off installing Lion again on my Mini until the issues I was having with waking it with the Apple Remote and using WOL are sorted out (hopefully in 10.7.1).

However, this probably isn't much good to you, unless you have access to another Mac to do the update on! In that case, you could always try the original method and see how you go with it. (Some commenters are saying they are finding no problems with it). As always, when trying to circumvent Apple restrictions, your mileage may vary!

I'll probably be using this new method when I install Lion again on my Mac Mini. The only problem is that In order to make it look as neat as possible in my media centre, I plastered the cables into the wall. That's going to make using it in Target Disk Mode a problem, because the power cable is stuck in the wall!

Look ma, no cables!

So it'll be a case of dragging the iMac into the living room and doing the install from there. Ah well, something for the weekend, I suppose.

Thanks again and good luck with your newly Lion-ised systems! :)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Lion maybe doesn't work so well on older hardware...

I was browsing around and found this comment on another forum:

123 Mac Mini
Ok, I did test this with macmini and here are the results:

The short answer: you cannot run 10.7 Lion on your 'C2D upgraded' macmini.

The long answer is that yes, you can install it using the hacked Lion installer but there are things you cannot change:
due to EFI (BIOS replacement) being 32-bit only your kernel gets booted in 32 bit mode, too despite having 64-bit capable CPU.
That leads to all kinds of bad situations: you cannot install any updates nor programs designed with Lion in mind (they fail on the install). for example, you cannot install Java on it. The only thing did get installed was the new 10.4 iTunes since it was released for SL, too.

So, given what I've learned with this little experimentation I'll be reverting my macmini back to SL and start saving to buy this new'011 beast
I must admit that I was running the Lion GM for a couple of days before the official release. I didn't try any software updates. Whilst the Mac Mini seemed OK, there were a couple of issues with it not waking from sleep (I use it as a HTPC, so I need to be able to wake with the remote or on a schedule to record programmes). I reverted to Snow Leopard and was forced to do a format and reinstall when the downgrade didn't go so well (I thought I'd be able to just install 10.6 over 10.7. I thought wrong!)

Unless anyone reports any major progress with Lion on an older Mac, I think I'd be ending my experiment here. Snow Leopard is running mighty fine after a reinstall and I have no major need for the Lion multitouch features as I tend to use it in full screen with a remote control from the sofa anyway (Whilst I'm here, can I heartily recommend EyeTV and Plex if you watch TV on your Mac). Those 2011 Minis look pretty nice as well...

Thanks for all your comments and do let me know if you have any further success with Lion on an older Mac.


Sunday, 10 July 2011

HOW TO: Install OS X Lion 10.7 on an UPGRADED Core Solo or Core Duo Mac

EDIT: It may be better to boot the unsupported Mac into Target Disk Mode and install Lion from another Lion-capable Mac. See this updated post for more information.

If, like me, you took the plunge with your early Intel Core Solo or Core Duo Mac, and upgraded the processor to a Core 2 Duo, you'll no doubt be disappointed that your machine is not supported by the latest version of OS X Lion 10.7. However, the enterprising KingFlathead has come up with a way of getting it to work on these unsupported machines.

With the processors upgraded to a Core 2 Duo, the earlier Intel machines are perfectly capable of running Lion, but as Apple expects users not to open up their machines and tinker with the guts, they block the installer from working on any machines that aren't 'officially supported'. (I'll let others argue as to why that is.)

In any case, the following machines are supported by this method:

  • Mac-F4218EC8 - iMac4,2 - Mid 2006 iMac
  • Mac-F42786C8 - iMac4,1 - Early 2006 iMac
  • Mac-F4208CC8 - MacBook1,1 - Early 2006 MacBook
  • Mac-F42DBEC8 - MacBookPro1,2 - Early 2006 MacBook Pro
  • Mac-F425BEC8 - MacBookPro1,1 - Early (Earlier?) 2006 MacBook Pro
  • Mac-F4208EC8 - Macmini1,1 - Early 2006 Mac Mini
Please note, if you have one of these machines you will still need to upgrade the processor to a Core 2 Duo. This method will only help to get the installer to run. The machine will fail to boot if you don't have the right processor. This can be a fairly involved task, so make sure you are confident working with your machine. Fortunately, these processors can be found reasonably cheaply on eBay.

Acquiring the modified version of OS X Lion

As with any OS upgrade, the first thing to do is make sure you have a full backup of your system, in case things go wrong. Carbon Copy Cloner and SuperDuper! are both excellent tools allowing you to boot and restore from an external hard drive if there is a problem.

In my case, my machine is the 2006 Mini which I upgraded from its original 1.5 GHz Core Solo to a 2 GHz Core 2 Duo, following these directions. As you'll probably know if you're viewing this page, if you try to run the standard installer, you've get a message telling you "This version of Mac OS X 10.7 cannot be installed on this computer."

However, there is a workaround for this using a modified version of the Lion GM if you do a search online. (If you download a torrent, please ensure you do the honest thing and buy a copy of Lion when it is released).

Extracting the installer

Once you've acquired the file you'll need to extract it from the slightly unusual .7z archive. If you are using OS X, the free Keka archiver will be useful for this. Once extracted you will get a folder with a .iso of the installer and a folder called 'Educational Materials'. These are the files that were modified to allow Lion to install on unsupported machines. They are not needed for the install, but are useful if you want to see how the installer was modified.

One thing I noticed was that there was no read me in the folder, however I did a quick search online and was able to find this document, which I found really helpful.

Burning the Disk Image

Unfortunately, I found that the installer didn't work on my Mac Mini. In any case, KingFlathead recommends that you boot your Mac from the disk image to ensure the installer works properly. To do this, use Disk Utility (in your /Applications/Utilities folder, if you are using a Mac) and burn the image on to a DVD or USB Drive.

Make sure you mount the image first, then select the 'Mac OS X Install DVD' installer, rather than the .iso file. Then drag the blank DVD or USB Drive into the destination. Once you click 'Restore' it will take a few minutes for the installer to be restored to your DVD/USB.

I'd recommend using a USB drive rather than a DVD, as the installation will be much faster. If using a USB drive, make sure it is at least 8GB.

Booting from DVD/USB

This was the part that caused me the most headaches. As you probably know, you can hold the Option key when you boot a Mac to select a disk to boot from. However, my Mac Mini would ignore my key presses and boot straight into the default OS.

After some searching around, I found that there was an issue with the wired Apple Aluminium Keyboard not responding to any key presses during the boot sequence on the Mac Mini. Eventually, I had to use a different keyboard and the rEFIt boot menu to allow me to select my USB drive. (Depending on your machine, you may have more success, but I think mine was the worst case scenario).

Running the installer

Once I had booted into the installer, the installation itself went like clockwork. It took
somewhere in the region of 35 minutes to install over my current system (did I mention making a backup?!)

Unfortunately, it was getting quite late and I fell asleep during the install! However, when I woke up I was greeted with the welcome screens for setting up a new user. I was a bit concerned because it looked as though I'd lost my user account and was starting from scratch (although, of course, I had my trusty backup to rely on... ahem).

However, when I tried to create a new account with same name as my old account, the installer wouldn't let me, so it appeared that my account was still there. I went ahead and created a new account (although I probably could have rebooted my machine and booted straight into my existing account. Had I not fallen asleep, I'd have probably had a better idea!)

Anyway, once I'd finally booted in to my existing user account, everything was as it should be and I now have a perfectly functional copy of Lion on my unsupported Early 2006 Mac Mini 1,1

I hope you find this guide useful. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to get in touch.

Enjoy Lion!