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How to Install Mac OS X Lion on Your HP ProBook (or Compatible Laptop)

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).

The procedure

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.

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  • Published 05/29/12

Comments (22)

  1. FreaqyGeeq

    “Digital artists, musicians, video editors, they all prefer Mac for a reason.”

    Sorry, this statement is untrue. I am all three of these things, and I prefer Windows. I may be in the minority, but we don’t “all” partake of the Cupertino Kool-Aid you know.

  2. InT0xEd

    +1 for Freaqy.

    I design with illy and photoshop and Windows has done just fine. Now when Linux can run these two natively and awesome-ish, See ya.

  3. thegeekkid

    +1 @ FreaqyGeeq.

    I am a audio and video engineer, and I do all of my work on Windows… and love it! :) I have an IT background as well as AV, so I know how to fine tune Windows. Once it is fine tuned, it runs much faster than a Mac. (Specs to Specs.) I have done the testing on this, and it actually even preformed better than a Mac with better specs. And besides, most video editors started using Macs because of Final Cut. Now that Final Cut is no longer Final Cut (it’s just iMovie X), I think there is very little reason for most video editors to stay with Macs, except personal preference. (Just my opinion.) :)

  4. Usman

    FreaqyGeeq is very right indeed. It was just a rough statement, because I’ve seen most video editors, musicians use Macs, so it was just a deduction! It doesn’t mean people don’t (or shouldn’t) use Windows or Linux based computers for such purposes, lol !

    Let’s change the topic, shall we? :)

  5. deno

    Folks,

    Hi, Is there a way to install mac os x lion on a dell inspiron 5050 (n). Please advise

  6. vance

    @deno:

    PC makes/models range from not really conducive to hackintoshing to very conducive to hackintoshing. Do research on your Dell model, and you will find out whether or not it is not really or very, etc.

    @everyone else:

    Take very serious note of the following… ” 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). ”

    If you do not find the exact correct wireless NIC card, you are NOT going to be using this over a wireless connection. Check that you can buy the correct wireless NIC card before buying one of these PCs with the intent of hackintoshing it. You’ve been warned…

  7. Nathan

    Now the prices on ebay for the 4530S will jump :)

    Great article. I may have to try this (See above).

  8. Usman

    Deno, as mentioned in the post, you can head over to the ’10.7 laptops’ section of the tonymacx86 forums (http://tonymacx86.com/viewforum.php?f=170) and search if someone has tried installing Lion on it. Personally, I believe it is the predecessor of the Dell N5110, which is hackintoshable. So this one might also be, so keep your fingers crossed !

  9. Usman

    @Vance: Yep, we warned everyone, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t ever be able to use Wi-Fi while you’re running OS X on your ProBook. We can easily replace the Wi-Fi module of the HP ProBook. There are no screws to be unscrewed or anything like that. Just 2 latches, and the back cover comes off. Take out the old card, put in the new one, put the cover back on. Doesn’t get simpler than that!

  10. RacerMaster

    NOTE: If your laptop has a Centrino WiFi module, there’s a huge chance you won’t be able to replace the WiFi card. Why? Because most laptops with a Centrino WiFi card have a locked down BIOS. It has a whitelist of WiFi cards. If the card isn’t the original, it will refuse to boot. Unfortunately, my HP dv7 has this problem, so I’m forced to stick to ethernet.

  11. Thomas

    MacBook laptops are well designed and beautiful devices but as the OS I absolutely prefer Windows. It’s really very flexible and has thousands of programs. I think every geek choose Windows for geeking purposes :)

  12. dave

    Don’t bother, Lion sucks. Stick with Snow Leopard. I’m sorry I upgraded. Samba doesn’t work, the rest of my house hold is using Windows and I have a Linux based server. I can’t get to any them. The whole scrolling thing is bassackwards, it’s like learning a new system all over again.

  13. Usman

    Backwards scrolling can be turned off from System preferences, it’s not a bug!

  14. Karthik

    I don’t have a USB keyboard.And according the below FAQ on tonymacx86 thread.

    If you can’t get a keyboard, then you may boot after your install with -s. Follow the two commands listed, and then type nano /System/Library/CoreServices/Setup\ Assistant.app/Contents/Info.plist and edit out(you will have to scroll down) :
    DeviceSection
    KeyboardTypeSection

    Then hit fn + o, enter, and fn + x. Then hit exit.

    I didn’t quit understand what to do! I have now installed Lion and I’m stuck at the “attached the keyboard prompt”

    Was I supposed to type the command before installing Lion or can I still Do it now ? How do I enter the singleuser ( -s stuff )?

  15. eelektro

    OK but I have a one BIG question …. HOW to create USB bootable MAC OS X from Windows Or Linux ???????? and that’s the main problem for me

  16. vipin kumar

    I spend lot of time and money to install mac in my dell inspiron 1545, but i failed, if you have any trick or idea then please share with me.

  17. Usman

    @Karthik: When the bootloader shows up, press – and then press ‘s’, press enter, and you’ll boot into single user mode.
    @eelektro: You NEED to have access to a Mac to create the USB, otherwise get an install DVD of Snow Leopard and install it on the laptop, upgrade it to 10.6.8, buy OS X Lion from Mac App Store, create USB, and install Lion over the Snow Leopard installation.
    @vipin kumar: Search on the forums, as guided in the post, somebody must’ve tried hackintoshing this laptop.

  18. Noor

    Dear All,
    i have HP-G60-235DX .. from where i downlaod the MAC windows and it will work for me ….???
    waiting for response

    thanks in advance

  19. RacerMaster

    @everyone who doesn’t have a Mac: Install Snow Leopard on your ProBook using the Snow Leopard retail DVD and the iBoot boot CD. Then update to at least 10.6.6 to get the App Store and download Lion. Then create a UniBeast installer USB. Just install to your Snow Leopard partition and it will upgrade it to Lion.

  20. RacerMaster

    @Noor: First of all, it has an Intel Pentium processor. This may be able to run OS X but it may be too weak. Also, it has an Intel GMA 4500, which is horrible for OS X. OS X will not have full resolution and you will not have QE/CI (graphics acceleration). You will not be able to play games and watch videos. OS X will also be pretty slow.

  21. Parys Waicis

    Windows doesn’t deserve to be called an Operating System. All Windows versions have one in common – they provide a GUI to interface with old and archaic DOS. As a matter of fact a “command line shell” didn’t change since old broken Windows 3.1. It doesn’t really matter if one is well versed in IT or not – Windows sucks big time. The more applications are installed, the slower the system is: “DLL hell”, unable to delete files “in use”, viruses (thanks to no separation of user’s space and kernel space), archaic filesystem architecture, dependency on old and broken BIOS – just to name a few. Linux, on the other hand is an excellent OS for servers, however it isn’t ready for the desktop (and probably won’t be ready anytime soon). Now, Apple fits this niche perfectly – it is based on Unix and has very robust user interface – no need to look any further.

  22. TheVinci

    @Parys: Are you kidding me?! Linux isn’t ready for desktop? SINCE WHEN! I replaced my windows desktop years ago with Linux. I do graphic design, audio recording/editing, video editing, surf the web, PLAY GAMES! All of the necessary things you need for a “proper desktop”. The only times it gets buggy and imperfect, is when Itry pushing it too far or I muck stuff up in the settings, because I’m experimenting and tinkering. The average user will never need to “look under the hood” of linux, so will therefore not mess it up. Its been ready for desktop use for some time now buddy. The only reason I’m looking in to hackintosh stuff is just simply so Ican say I did it. I’m perfectly happy with Linux.

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