There’s nothing more satisfying than building a hackintosh, i.e. installing Mac OS X on a non-Apple machine. Although it isn’t as easy as it sounds, but the end result is worth the effort. Building a PC with specific components and installing Mac OS X on it can save you thousands of dollars you might spend on a real Mac. And now, it’s time to step into the portable world. Today we will show how you can turn an HP ProBook (or any compatible Sandy Bridge laptop) into a 95% MacBook Pro!
Why should (or shouldn’t) you do it?
Let’s clarify whether or not it should be done. Firstly, we all know Apple makes awesome laptops. The design, build quality, and the aesthetics (not to mention, the glowing Apple) would make you crave for one. Secondly, all these Apple laptops are bundled with Mac OS X, which (for some people) is the most user-friendly and annoyance-free operating system. Digital artists, musicians, video editors, they all prefer Mac for a reason. So the verdict is, if hardware design is what you really look for, you should get a real Mac, and we are not at all stopping you from doing so. But if you’re only concerned with the OS (and saving a few bucks in your pocket), you may consider giving this a shot. But remember, it may not perform as good as a real Mac does. The results vary, so hope for the best, and proceed with caution.
Why HP ProBook?
If you’re familiar with hackintoshing, you might know that the hackintoshing methods devised by tonymacx86 are the most ‘legal’ ones (since they do not involve piracy, while most other methods are based on piracy). And if you remember, we have already showed you how to install Mac OS X Snow Leopard or installing Mac OS X Lion on a custom-built computer using the tonymacx86 methods. Recently, one of the members of the tonymacx86 community, named ‘BlueKing’ discovered that the HP ProBook (especially the 4530S) is one of the most compatible laptops for running Mac OS X Lion or Snow Leopard (not to mention it resembles a MacBook Pro as well). As you might’ve read in the hackintoshing basics post, it’s all about the motherboard, and the HP ProBook seems to have a hackintoshable motherboard. Apart from that, it has to be a Sandy Bridge processor. The reason is simple, Sandy Bridge processors have built-in graphics support, which means you can get full graphics acceleration (QE/CI) in Mac OS X by slightly tricking it, and you won't need a dedicated graphics card. So if you are an existing ProBook owner, see if your machine is compatible or not. Finally, there’s one more thing that you need to check. If you want to use Wi-Fi in OS X, your laptop should have an ‘Atheros’ Wi-Fi module. But if you’ve just purchased a ProBook and don’t have the required card (you might have a Broadcom or Ra-link instead), you can buy the Atheros card from eBay for pretty cheap. Be sure to order the right one, HP branded card, part number 593127-001 (just search on eBay for HP Atheros 593127 and you’ll get it). Then just take the old one out, and replace it with the new one. Now that you’ve got all the required items, we’re ready to go.
If you have any other Sandy Bridge (core i3 or above) laptop, you can try this method anyway, just be sure to search the tonymacx86 forums for your particular laptop to see if someone else has already tried hackintoshing it. You can also install Mac OS X Snow Leopard on your ProBook or any other laptop (instead of Lion) as described in the iBoot+MultiBeast method. The following procedure is a detailed explanation of the Lion install guide by BlueKing (for snow leopard installation, you may also refer to this guide).
There may be two situations now. Either you’ll have Windows (or any other OS) already installed on the hard drive, or it might be empty. Either way, we want it to be formatted on GPT (so you might have to reformat it if Windows is already installed). Backup your data before you proceed. We will use the UniBeast method. Start off by preparing the UniBeast USB drive. We have a detailed guide on that, so you definitely need to check it out. Explaining the whole thing will take time. But in short, buy the OS X Lion app on a Mac, attach a USB of 8GB or more capacity, format it as Mac OS X Extended, download UniBeast from tonymacx86, run it, be sure to select “Laptop Support” when you run it, wait, voila.
Once the USB is ready, attach it to your ProBook, and turn it on. Be sure to have the optimum settings, and for that, the simplest way is to restore your BIOS to defaults. Also note down the BIOS version, since we will need that later. Boot from the USB into the installer (press F9 when you turn on your ProBook), let it load, select a language, and click Next.
Then on the menu bar, click Utilities> Disk Utility. Now, assuming you want to have a dual-boot system, we will create 3 partitions; One for Mac, one for storing your data, and one for Windows. You can make even more (or lesser) partitions if you want to. In Disk Utility, click the Partitions tab. Create 3 partitions, label them Lion, Empty (or whatever you want), and Windows respectively, and adjust their sizes accordingly (you may or may not create the ‘Windows' partition, it depends if you want to create a dual-boot system later). Click the Options button, click ‘GUID Partition Table’, and click OK. Make sure the Windows and Empty partitions are formatted as MSDOS and the Mac OS X partition is formatted as Mac OS X Extended (Journaled). Click Apply, and then click Partition to partition the drive.
This screenshot is just for reference, actual results may vary. This one is just to give you an idea of how it would look like. You may notice that the ‘Windows' and ‘Empty' Partitions aren't labelled here, but you get the idea.
Once you've done partitioning, quit disk utility. If you want to dual-boot with Windows, it is usually recommended to install Windows first, and then install OS X. But since you have made it half way through the installer, going the other way would take more time, so we will install OS X first. Continue with the installer. Select the Mac partition as the destination (whatever you named it, Lion, or Mac HD), and let it install. It takes about 15-30 minutes, depending on your configuration. When it's done, you'll be informed that Mac OS X Lion has been installed, and will be prompted to restart your computer. Do so by clicking the restart button.
When it restarts, you'll need to boot from the installer USB again. This time, you'll have 2 choices. Either to boot into the installer again, or to boot into OS X that you just installed (and that's what you need to do). Use the arrow keys to select the drive named Lion (or whatever you named it) and press enter. You'll be on the desktop in a few seconds. And yes, you might get a prompt to attach a keyboard at first boot, this is a one-time process. Attach a USB keyboard to the laptop and the prompt will disappear, then you can unplug the keyboard.
There's one more thing left to do before you can fully enjoy using Mac OS X on your laptop. Since this project of hackintoshing a ProBook was started by a member of the tonymacx86 forums, he also developed a special installer, specifically for the ProBook. If you remember, it’s important to run MultiBeast after you install OS X on a custom-built PC so that you can ensure the operation of all the devices, such as sound, and other functions like sleep. And if you’ve been following this guide for any Sandy Bridge laptop other than a ProBook, you have to use MultiBeast now (read how to use it). But in this case, the specially designed HP ProBook installer is what you need. First, register on the tonymacx86 forums (and it is recommended so that you can ask for help there if you come across any problem). After registering, download the installer attached at the end of THIS post. We are not authorized to redistribute it, so you'll have to go and get registered, and download it. And if you're installing on a different laptop, use MultiBeast.
The next step is the simplest. Download the installer and run it. There are a couple of selections you need to make. Select your BIOS version (you probably would’ve noted it down earlier, so refer to that). Then select what to install. Select the OS X version that you’ve just installed (in case of Snow Leopard, upgrade to 10.6.8 before running the installer). Also select Ethernet Kext Installer, Chimera (bootloader), and the appropriate SSDT if you’re on an i5 or i7 CPU. Finally, the most essential thing, select the appropriate DSDT. First, identify which version of ProBook you have, whether it is the one with built-in graphics support (HD3000), or one with dedicated graphics (Radeon), or the 4730S. Click the arrow besides the name to expand the items under that category. Then select the BIOS version that you noted down earlier. Also check out the Extra Tools and see if you want to install any of them. The following screenshot shows how the selections looked like on my ProBook.
Once you've made your selections, click Install, enter your password, and wait for the installation to complete. When that's done, you can test if everything is working. Remember, you can run the installer any time again, if you need to. It means if something stops working, you can run the installer again to re-enable it. According to most people, HDMI out, VGA out, sleep, audio, full graphics, Wi-Fi (if you have the Atheros card), webcam, in short, everything works. The tonymacx86 community is now working on bringing multi-touch gestures to the trackpad (although two finger swipe/scrolling works perfectly).
Now if you're happy with how your ProBook is running OS X, you can continue using it. If you want a dual boot system with Windows, boot using the Windows DVD, and install Windows on the partition that we specified using disk utility (you can format the Windows partition as NTFS from the Windows setup, and the empty partition as FAT32 after you install Windows, so that both Windows and OS X can read/write data on it). Once Windows has been installed, you'll notice that you can no longer boot into OS X. This is normal because Windows has replaced the chimera bootloader. To fix this issue, boot into OS X using the installer USB (select the Mac partition when you boot from the USB). Run the ProBook installer and install chimera (select chimera from the list of items to install). Once that's done, restart your laptop and you'll now have the chimera bootloader, which will give you the option to boot into OSX or Windows. There you go, you have a (non-Apple) laptop running OS X and Windows, the best of both worlds!
If you have any questions after installing, check out the FAQ. Also, you can head over to tonymacx86 forums and ask your question there, you’ll definitely get answered. There's a dedicated forum section for the HP ProBook, so go ahead and check it out. Also, avoid using the default ‘software update’ on your hackintosh laptop, or it may break your installation.