Welcome to Testing Grounds. This website will help you discover new ways of looking at the ordinary things around you. Whether it is a dusty old computer you have in the corner, or a coke machine down the street, Testing Grounds will show you how to do things you didn't think were possible. Enjoy!

What to look forward to:

Coming up on Testing Grounds, I'll show you how to do the following:

How to Install/Reinstall Windows Vista to Improve Performance

How to Backup DVD's: Defeat Any DVD Protection Including Sony and Disney

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Leopard OS X 10.5.6 On Your PC

This post covers how to install Leopard 10.5.6 on your PC using the iPC release. This release has a MASSIVE amount of hardware support. It is truly staggering. So as to not make you scroll for a straight minute, here is a thumbnail you can click on for the full version. Yes, you are allowed to drool.

Massive, Massive List

The above pic courtesy of the folks at iPC

By the way, I am only writing a tutorial for how to do this. I take absolutely no credit for the spectacular job the people at iPC have done in making this distro of Leopard. You can visit their site here:


So a little background of OSX86 in general is needed:

In previous posts I showed you how to install Tiger and Leopard on your boring PC and cut its chains of slavery to Windows operating systems. Installing Tiger involved quite a bit of work, and may have taken someone with advanced knowledge of computer software an entire weekend to perfect. Drivers were hard to come by, and it was largely luck of the draw if you were able to get your particular hardware to work with Tiger. Leopard was an evolutionary step forward, automating much of the process and having great compatibility with PC architecture. More modern devices are supported automatically, both through default Leopard software, and from the lovely folks who compiled these hacks in order to liberate OSX for the masses.

OS X Leopard was cracked for PC consumption the day of its release. This was mostly accomplished because Leopard was meant from the beginning to be used on computers with the x86 Intel architecture. The roadblock keeping OS X from naturally running on any pc is something called EFI, or Extensible Firmware Interface. The EFI that Leopard uses is only tooled to work with Apple hardware, which means that it needs to be patched. The original method of patching was to use a thumbdrive attached to the computer and utilize the terminal to transfer files from the thumbdrive to the operating system files of Leopard. Compared to installing Tiger onto a PC, this method was ridiculously easy and was all that was required to have a successful boot of Leopard. But a better solution is now available, one where no thumbdrive is required and installation is streamlined and so easy that nearly anyone can do it.

OK, first thing's first.

This is a set of guidelines for installing OS X Leopard onto a PC. What you choose to do with this information is up to you, and I am in no way responsible for whatever happens to your machine.

The things you need for this project are as follows:
  • High Speed Internet Connection (Useful if you want the disk image before the end of time)
  • Blank DVD-R
  • ISO Recorder (Free software, can be found here: http://isorecorder.alexfeinman.com/isorecorder.htm)
  • A BitTorrent program such as BitComet, Vuze, or Transmission
  • A computer with the following attributes:
    • Processor with either SSE2, SSE3, or SSE2/3 capabilities.
    • at least 512 MB RAM
    • at least 9 GB of free disk space
    • A DVD drive for installation
Now that all of the essentials are taken care of, we can get to the nitty gritty. In my personal opinion, this is one of the easiest installations of any operating system that I have ever had experience with. If all of your devices are supported, and your system has reasonable specs, you may expect to be cruising on your new Leopard in under and hour and a half. If you have just the bare minimum system requirements, it may take considerably longer.


In order to install Leopard, you first need to get the Leopard OSX86 installation disk. Now, the legality of this is somewhat questionable. The general consensus is that there are three ways to go about this, and I will order them in the most painful to least painful:
  • Become an Apple developer. After several years or decades of convincing Apple Corp. that it would be a great idea to open up their kick ass operating system to the public for use on PC's, you can probably install the now defunct and outdated leopard onto your PC free of legal worries.
  • Buy a Leopard License, and then go and download Leopard from one of a plethora of Torrent websites. So that way at least your giving your money for a Leopard license and choosing to use it on a computer. Even though the license agreement specifically states that you cannot use OS X on anything but apple hardware. Oh well, it happens.
  • Who cares, just download it. This is the most common method, and also the least legal.
For the two practical options, you need to download the latest and greatest OSX86 distro. At the time of this articles conception, the latest and greatest would be a release from the lovely people at iPC and it would be version 10.5.6. Now, it is important to note that there are several versions of iPC 10.5.6 floating around on the less than legal side of the internet. You need to look for one that says "final" and/or "PPF5" with the newest upload date and is more than 3 GB in size. If you find one thats less than that, it is probably a patch of some kind meant for eariler versions of iPC's distro. Unless you have a crazy good connection, expect to wait upwards of 2-3 days for the whole thing to download. It is a large file and will take a considerable time to acquire.

Then you need to burn the .iso file to the blank DVD. Recently I have lost my love of Nero, that is why I have linked above a free utility that burns .iso files to disks. Free software is nice.

If you’ve never booted from a CD or DVD on your system, then follow the outlined steps. If you already know how then just skip the next paragraph.

Insert the dvd into your dvd drive and shutdown the computer. Then whenever the computer boots up, pay attention to if it says anything about boot sequence or BIOS setup in the first few seconds of booting. For most Dell systems that I’ve come across the Boot Sequence option can be reached by hitting F12 at startup. For HP it is usually F2. Other BIOS’s might be Del or any of the F keys. Then select your CD/DVD drive, and the computer will boot from it after hitting enter.

Here is what a Dell Dimension 3000 BIOS boot selection screen looks like:
(The CD/DVD drive is highlighted)

Boot Selection Screen

And now the possible difficulties begin. If you wait a while and let the DVD boot up, it will eventually say something like "Press any key to begin or F8 for options . . ." (I know it isn't exactly that, but it is similar), if you press any key the next screen pops up:

White Apple Screen

Now, if your CD/DVD drive is still spinning at this point and the light is working, than chances are you are perfectly fine, nothing to worry about. If however it becomes stuck then you obviously have a problem. It is almost guaranteed that this problem stems from a hardware compatibility of some kind. I myself have seen this problem with newer hardware. I solved my problem by using Verbose mode at the F8 startup screen. This gives a diagnostic of each and every single step the OSX86 bootloader is going through in order to start the installation. You can then Google the last thing that happens in this diagnostic and hopefully find out what your problem is and solve it.

My problem was with a Dell Studio 540. I found that if i booted with the flags "-v cpus=1" then I would not have any problems. With some quad core machines this "cpus=1" may be a vital missing component.

Dell Studio 540 Booting up:

Studio 540

Here is a screen that might tip you off that you have a problem with your hardware:


And this is what -v does (otherwise known as diagnostic mode)

FAIL Part 2

If you are having trouble booting, please visit the InsanelyMac forums:


I cannot help you, they can.

Now, lets get back to the happy case where there are no boot problems.

After all the thinking, your computer will actually furnish you with a cursor and screen:

Pinwheel screen

Followed quickly by the same pinwheel cursor and the Leopard background:

Pinwheel w/Leopard Background

Then the Language Selection screen comes up. Needless to say, choose your language and continue:

Language Select

Installation Preparation:


Welcome Screen with the Macintosh toolbar at the top. Pay attention to the options you have at the top, you will be using some of them shortly. Hit continue.


You are presented with the "Software License Agreement" for this particular distro of Leopard. Instead of simply skipping through it like you would normally do with every single other software license agreement you have ever met, it might be good to actually read this one. Its not an agreement, rather it is the features that this distro has. It has useful information if you find you cannot get your install to work.

For instance it says to use the boot flag -f to load all the kexts on your first boot. This is important, we will get to it later.

License Agreement

After "agreeing" you will come to the Select Destination screen. Unless you already have a Macintosh hard drive partitioned correctly, your screen should look like this:

Install Location Blank

Well, that doesn't really give you many options does it? Don't worry, now is when you use the menu bar at the top. Go to Utilities -> Disk Utility and click it:

Disk Util Menu Bar

Now you will find the Disk Utility application:

Disk App

If you are doing a fresh install with a blank hard drive, click on the hard drive (NOT any partitions) and then click on the Erase tab. Where it says Volume Format choose "Mac OS Extended Journaled". You may be able to use another type, but I know for a fact that that does indeed work. Then name the partition whatever you would like, I'm partial to something plain like Leopard.

Once that is accomplished (It may take some time depending on your hard drive size and system configuration) click the red x button to exit the Disk Utility and return to the Select Destination screen. Only this time it will not be blank, it will have a volume you can choose:

Choose Volume

Click Continue and the Install Summary Page will show up:

Install Summary


You MUST Click Customize!! If you do not, your install will not work. The Customize screen will show you several options that you will need to select or de-select based on your own hardware configuration. If your first install does not work correctly, chances are you need to choose different options in the Customize screen:

Install Summary

Click on the arrows to see all of the lovely options you can choose from:

Install Options

Notice how that list continues? It continues for a long long time. Remember that thumbnail I had at the top of this article? Click it for detailed info. Yup, thats a lot of stuff isn't it? The folks at iPC have really outdone themselves.

The number one reason for failed installs is that you do not have proper hardware support. This is hopefully fixed by choosing the correct settings at the above screen. If you cannot find the correct settings, PLEASE VISIT THE INSANELYMAC FORUMS! The threads there are priceless and will lead you in the right direction.

After choosing the correct options, accept and return to the previous Install Summary screen:

Install Summary

The disk will now check itself for errors. You may want to let this run for the very first time. At this point you will find out if your disk is too scratched, burned incorrectly, or downloaded incorrectly. But if your install failed and you are forced to install again, you probably don't need to check your disk again, you can hit cancel.

Checking Disk

After the disk check the Installation will begin. Cross your fingers:


Once that is done hopefully you are greeted with the encouraging green checkmark:

Checking Disk

If not, well you tried. Install again, if that doesn't work then check the InsanelyMac forums. Notice how I say to check those forums a lot? You really should.

Now your machine will restart. When it gets to the Darwin bootloader hit any key and type in the following boot flags:

-v -f

This will put it in verbose and force a consolidation of Kexts. Kexts in OSX86 are sort of like drivers.

-v -f

If you needed to put in "cpus=1" in order to get your install disk to boot, you may notice infinite restarting at this point. In the Customize Installation screen a few pics ago there was a cpus=1 fix that would have been nice to check. You can still type it every time your computer boots, but that will get annoying fast. You may want to either re-install or customize your installation when you are finished to include that automatically.

If you didn't need the cpus=1 fix and it is rebooting itself anyway, well you have a hardware problem. You know how to fix hardware problems? InsanelyMac. Nuff said.

If you don't have any problems, it will look like you do have a problem. When you type in -f the kextloading causes the screen to look very much like one of the Matrix movies:

Mmmmm Matrix

But don't worry, this is supposed to happen.

After the kext loading, you will come to the normal diagnostic page:

Checking Disk

And then a nice video will play:

Video Start

Video 2

Video 3

After the video plays you will be greeted with a Welcome Screen. Pick your country:


Then select your keyboard:

Keyboard Select

The Do You Already Own A Mac? Screen. Chances are you just want to say No to this one:

Already Own A Mac?

The next screen prompts you to enter your Apple ID. You may or may not have one, so don't worry if you don't.

Enter Apple ID

Then the Registration screen. You may or may not want to enter false info here:


Create your local account. This will be your user count when you use Leopard:

Create Account

Try Mobile Me? Probably not:

Mobile Me?

And Finally the Thank You Screen:


You are now done, congratulations!

That is if all of your hardware is supported. If it is not, I suggest checking out these sources: