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Beginners Guide to using OC Auxiliary Tools App (Also known as OCAT)

trs96

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In this thread, OpenCore bootloader will be referred to as OC.

OCAuxiliaryTools will be shortened to OCAT.

Icon.png

What exactly is OCAT ?

OCAT is an app like Hackintool that serves various functions to help you build, edit and maintain your OpenCore EFI folder. It's primary advantage over manual EFI creation is that it gives beginners a graphical user interface that is easy to navigate. It greatly reduces the amount of time it takes to produce a custom, working EFI folder.

Now that anyone can download and use this app, there is no reason for beginners to copy and paste someone else's outdated EFI folder. You'll produce your own custom EFI in just a few minutes and then modify it to work with your specific hardware. You will still need to have a basic understanding of how OpenCore works to have success with OCAT. You will edit the config.plist, add kexts and drivers etc. View a video demo of this in Post #4 of this thread.

As you will see in the video, OCAT doesn't do all the work for you. It's not like copy/pasting a perfectly configured EFI folder from a Golden Build. You will still have to make plist edits, add certain kexts and drivers to make your USB installer bootable with no kernel panics. This requires research on your part to know what to do.

See post #2 for more info in the OpenCore documentation. OpenCore Reference Manual and links

When the time comes to upgrade your version of OpenCore, OCAT will make that a routine process that only takes a small amount of effort to accomplish. This app has made a lot of progress over the past few months and is now ready for use by everyone in the greater hackintosh community.

I've heard that configurator apps can corrupt my config.plist. Does OCAT suffer from that problem ?
You need to make sure any app you use is for the same release version of OC that your config.plist was made with. When you start fresh with a new EFI folder generated with OCAT this won't be a problem. The OpenCore version will match.

You can now do nearly everything, except making your custom USBPorts kext, with the OCAT app. You can use Hackintool for making that kext and for gathering other system info that you'll need.

Don't use multiple apps to edit your EFI folder. The Dortania guide suggests using ProperTree and other apps, which are ok to use with each other. Don't use them combined with OCAT. It will probably cause problems and errors. If you do need a standalone plist editor, I'd suggest using: https://www.fatcatsoftware.com/plisteditpro/

How do I get started using the app ?
At first glance, how to use the OCAT app may not seem obvious. This post will cover what you need to get started.

Who is the author of this app ?
The primary OCAT developer is ic005k. Have a look at his Github Repo: https://github.com/ic005k
Gabriel Luchina originally created the EFI repo. 5T33Z0 used his Intel base configs as a starting point for creating the Intel config templates you will find in the database. Fabiosun created the AMD templates.


Six Step Introduction to OCAT Basics
1. Download the latest release from Github. There are Linux, Mac and Windows versions.

This intro guide will showcase the Mac version of OCAT. The Asset is titled: OCAT_Mac.dmg

Screen Shot 2022-12-31 at 9.05.35 PM.png


2. Open up the app by right (or ctrl) clicking on it and choosing Open. May take a few tries. Also make sure to give Macserial permission to run (Allow Anyway) via the Security and Privacy tab in System Preferences.

Screen_Shot_2023-01-12_at_8_56_26_AM.jpg


You'll see that it is set to OC version 0.7.8. You'll want to click on the Upgrade OC icon shown below.

Screen Shot 2023-01-01 at 7.29.40 AM.png


Click on "Latest Version" at the top of the menu. It's currently 0.8.8 in January of 2023. When you click on "Get Opencore" in the next step, it will download the newest OpenCore version in the repo.

Latest Version.jpg

___________

3. Next click on Get Opencore and then you will be updated to the newest available release.
Get OpenCore tab.jpg

The following video will demonstrate steps 1-3 and show some other important OCAT features.


4. Open up the Database and generate a custom EFI folder to start working with.

See this page on Github for more details about these EFIs.

Database.jpg

Here's an example of a choice for a tenth gen Intel desktop system with a Core i3, i5 or i7 CPU.
Tenth gen example.png

5. The OCAT menu corresponds to the order of your Config.plist

Here's how a config.plist looks when opened up with a plist editor. Note the eight separate sections.

Screen Shot 2023-01-07 at 5.09.26 AM.png


You can then see that OCAT puts these in the same order along the sidebar.

Screen Shot 2023-01-07 at 5.10.52 AM.png


To begin editing your new EFI with OCAT, open the EFI folder that has appeared on your desktop and double click on the config.plist that you'll find inside the OC folder.

It will then give you the option to make changes to your new config.plist and even generate your unique Serials and a SystemUUID. You'll need to add those to the config.plist before you can boot with your macOS USB installer drive.

You will also likely be adding custom kexts (USBPorts.kext) and SSDTs to the appropriate folders. See this section of the Dortania guide for details. https://dortania.github.io/OpenCore-Install-Guide/ktext.html#firmware-drivers

See the video tutorial in post #4 for an example of editing your EFI's config.plist and adding kexts/drivers etc.

6. When finished editing and adding your kexts/SSDTs make sure to save and check for errors/omissions.

Diskette.png


Next click on the "checkmark in a circle" icon and then find out if everything is OK with OC Validate.
If you've done everything correctly, OC Validate should tell you that there are no issues.
Screen Shot 2023-01-01 at 8.30.51 AM.png
 
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trs96

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Does this app spare me from having to read the Dortania OpenCore guide ?
How about the 118 page OpenCore Reference manual PDF ?


Not really. You should still refer to those as needed to fully understand OpenCore settings and configuration. The PDF is attached below and you should bookmark the pages on the Dortania site that apply to your specific motherboard.

For example, if you have a 10th gen Intel motherboard bookmark this page:

Those with 8th/9th gen Intel motherboards would bookmark the Coffee Lake section of the guide.

You can learn how to make your own custom USBPorts kext right here on tonymacx86.

Those new to the hackintosh community should also read and bookmark the following page:

OpenCore Auxiliary Tools does reduce the amount of apps that you'll need to download. You won't need ProperTree or GenSMBIOS. You'll use OCAT to edit your config.plist and generate serials. You can also use OCAT to mount the EFI partition of your hard disk or USB flash drive.

Mount ESP icon.png

You can read a more in-depth description about features and functions of OCAT on Github.

Here's a direct quote from 5T33Z0
The manual "method" is old-fashioned, anachronistic and feels disconnected from the aspirations of the OpenCore project: at the top, you have this self-proclaimed gold standard, always-on-the-edge-of-technology Boot Manager which is steadily improving. At the bottom, users have to deal with a plethora of disconnected, "low-tech" tools that make them jump through hoops, following outdated, user-unfriendly procedures for updating OpenCore and maintaining the config.plist.

It will also be a good idea to download the Hackintool app which you'll need to create your custom USBPorts.kext when mapping your USB ports. Download Hackintool
 

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This looks a like nifty tool with great upsides. It greatly shifts user emphasis of work to create and maintain configs away from myriad details of Dortania, towards a more canned approach.

But it's maybe less targeted towards new builders than this above into makes it seem.

The OCAT README presents a workflow that's more oriented to experienced OC developers management the steady releases of OC plus key kexts/ACPI (OC+modules) than being a vehicle for canned configs.

Clearly, being able to quickly create an original EFI from boilerplate is enormously helpful and there are several major timesavers in this OCAT approach, such as:
• Download OC+modules to a local config work area
• Mount and syncing with drive ESP/EFI
• Absorb an existing drive ESP/EFI into the work area,
• Auto-generate serial# config,
• Auto-run ocvalidate to sanitize existing config and updates
• Switch between DEBUG and RELEASE versions of OC modules
• Update OC+modules to new releases
• Aid version reckoning across OC+modules
• Organize presentation of config.plist Quirks per OC release via auto introspection of OC

Plus more.

This seems like a good toolset to ease chores for any experienced OC user, and helps bootstrap new users.

But it also raises zillions of questions about how to fit in user-specific config, how the local work area is maintained, user workflow, and dependencies.

Something conspicuously missing from the OCAT README is any mention of the database of boilerplate board configs. If OCAT succeeds at radically easing the chores of launching a new config and trending OC, then the new concern is how the board database is maintained to make it easier to find and update baseline config.

Will OCAT offer integration with a curated library of board EFIs? Will it have its own internal knowledge of sane config? Will it ease the sharing of EFIs on the forums?

It seems like the forum Golden Build becomes a proof of concept for a generation of kit, while OCAT+somethingnotyetdiscussed can aid conglomerating board-specific details of a generation for easy-access.

I am doubtful of any centralized capacity to maintain such details, partly because the community is a herd of cats, partly because of the large amount of work involved with no obvious incentives, and partly because this whole way of living seems to be headed for the edge of the Apple cliff.

I could go on an epic rant about how unnecessary the entire OC world might be if users were trying to build out OS kit they can freely access rather than cling to access of a highly proprietary exclusive garden of unearthly delights run by a corporation that wants in every way to control and mike your access to your own tools and data in order to turn you into D-cell batteries in their matrix, but i will forego such diatribe.

I'm interested to see OCAT advance. But also mystified about who it's intended to aid and why, whether it will be maintained, or if it will be necessary going ahead?

At a higher level, I wonder about this new age of independent authors hosting their repos and building-in community dependencies on Github. That service is owned by Microsoft for the purpose of enslaving millions of programmers, harvesting their work without respect for the IP rights that made Microsoft rich beyond imagination, using the captivated work to train their AI, and regurgitating that captive work as code pellets, to feed it as kibble back into the workforce. No good can come of this! And you can wake up on any morning to find you're being charged to access our own code stored in Mocrosoft owned repos. Or the Microsoft just abandoned the whole service and took all your data with it, much as trend-setting Google is well known to do.

—I hope I am coming across as a hard-headed realist and not a crank or bigot. I find much of this scene to be oxymoronic, but I also am grateful that a world that makes no sense implies leaving enough room for me.
 

trs96

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A Video Version of Steps 5-6
Once you've completed everything from steps 1-4 in post #1 of this guide, you're now ready to edit your config.plist with OCAT. You'll also need to add the kexts and drivers into your EFI folder. These are specific to your unique hardware configuration. For example, if your board has an Intel LAN chip, then you need to add the IntelMausi ethernet kext. If you want to hear the chime at boot up, you'll need the AudioDxe driver for that, etc. Refer to the OC configuration manual for all the details.

The following video demo is for a tenth gen Gigayte B460 motherboard. Graphics used are UHD630 on an i5-10500 CPU. The LAN chip is Intel and the Audio Codec is Realtek ALC1200.

The macOS versions you could install with this hardware and EFI folder are: Catalina, Big Sur, Monterey and Ventura.


Important: If you will be editing an EFI folder you didn't generate with OCAT, make sure it's using the same version of OpenCore that OCAT is. You can use Hackintool to determine which OC version is in use. Click on the BOOT tab.

I've attached some relevant dark mode screen shots for those that prefer dark mode. Download the Zip file and have a look at specific OCAT features.
 

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trs96

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New release came out just hours ago. Have a look. Especially if you are using the Linux version of the OCAT app.


Here's how you would update to 0.8.8 with your existing 0.8.7 version of OCAT.

When you open up OCAT you should see this message:

Screen Shot 2023-01-05 at 9.46.52 AM.png

Click download and then reopen the app when finished.

Now open up your config.plist with the updated 0.8.8 OCAT. Go to Sync OC and select the checkboxes for all kexts. Click on "Check for Kext updates." You'll see in red that kexts and drivers need to be updated too. Click Update Kexts and then the Start Sync tab, then they'll all turn green. Obviously, your USBPorts custom kext won't have an update.
Sync OC.png

Save your changes by clicking the blue diskette icon and then make sure there are no problems with OC Validate.
 
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Fantastic post thank you for providing such useful information- this app could be the missing link for a lot of users.
 

trs96

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Fantastic post thank you for providing such useful information- this app could be the missing link for a lot of users.
With a new version of OpenCore being released every month, this is a great tool to help users stay up to date. It's also very easy to use for those just starting out with OpenCore. Reduces much of the searching around the internet to find all the apps and files needed.
 
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This is a GREAT tool and has massively simplified my use and upgrading/maintaining of my Hackintosh. Sincere congrats and thanks to the team behind it.

A warning to anyone downloading - if you go to the project's home page on github (link below), do NOT just download using the 'code' button on upper right as you might with other resources. (You will get the code and resources and not the app)
https://github.com/ic005k/OCAuxiliaryTools [repeat, DON'T download the code from the code button here. You can read the text though]

Download from here instead (or from that project home page, click the 'Releases' button) - obviously choosing the appropriate platform eg macos or linux):
 

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This is a GREAT tool and has massively simplified my use and upgrading/maintaining of my Hackintosh. Sincere congrats and thanks to the team behind it.

A warning to anyone downloading - if you go to the project's home page on github (link below), do NOT just download using the 'code' button on upper right as you might with other resources. (You will get the code and resources and not the app)
https://github.com/ic005k/OCAuxiliaryTools [repeat, DON'T download the code from the code button here. You can read the text though]

Download from here instead (or from that project home page, click the 'Releases' button) - obviously choosing the appropriate platform eg macos or linux):
which is also mentioned in post 1:
1. Download the latest release from Github. There are Linux, Mac and Windows versions.
 

trs96

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Sincere congrats and thanks to the team behind it.
The primary developer and maintainer is ic005k and Gabriel Luchina created the EFI folder repo that OCAT uses. I agree that they've done some very good work. :thumbup:
 
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