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Make an Online OpenCore USB installer in Windows 10

trs96

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Introduction

If you want to try out macOS for the first time and have no access to an Apple built, Mac Computer, it's the old Chicken and the Egg dilemma. You have no Mac so how do you create your macOS USB installer and install macOS without one ? If you use Windows 10 and install Python, it's relatively easy to do this with the help of gibMacOS. "Online" means that after you boot from the USB, an internet connection is required to download macOS Catalina from Apple servers. The same as if you were re-installing that OS on a Mac after booting into macOS Recovery.

This guide is primarily intended for desktop owners. If you have a laptop, please follow the excellent guide by feartech that is posted in the Big Sur section of the Laptops forum. That covers laptop specific matters you'll need to know about.

Before you decide whether to attempt this, make sure to read post #2 regarding support and specifics on which hardware will work with this guide and Catalina.

Why use macOS Catalina ?

When you are making a recovery "online" installer via gibMacOS, Catalina is the latest available version for download. You will want to use that first anyway, so you can create your custom USB ports kext. The XHCI port limit patch has stopped working since Big Sur 11.3 so it's better to start with Catalina. It's rather easy to perform an in place upgrade to Big Sur or Monterey after you have Catalina installed. If you have older hardware and want High Sierra or Mojave instead, you can use those too. This guide will only demonstrate the steps to make a Catalina installer.

What you'll need
  • 4GB or larger USB flash drive
  • A PC running Windows 10
  • Python installed
  • gibMacOS script
  • Rufus
Download links

Python: https://www.python.org/downloads/release/python-3105/

Screen_Shot_11.jpg

gibMacOS: https://github.com/corpnewt/gibMacOS

Click the green "Clone or download" button and then choose Download as Zip.

Rufus: https://rufus.ie/downloads/


Install Python for Windows

Before installing make sure to check the box that says: Add Python 3.xx to PATH

Python Download.JPG



Format your USB flash drive

This step will "clean up" your USB drive to prepare for creation of the installer USB later on. Rufus makes this very easy. Make all the selections that you see in the following screenshot. Back up any important data on the drive first. As always, you alone are responsible for any data loss incurred when following this guide. Take time, read carefully.

rufus.JPG
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Screen Shot 19.jpg

Click START

When it finishes, you should then see that your drive has the letter E: or F: associated with it.

Extract the gibMacOS-master.zip file and leave the folder on your Desktop

Inside the gibMacOS-master folder, find the gibMacOS batch file (.bat) right click and Run As Administrator.

.bat gibmacos.JPG


Here's what you'll see in the command prompt window. Don't download these. We need to toggle Recovery first.

Screen_Shot_20.jpg

Next type in the letter R and enter. This shows the Recovery options for download.

Now type in the number corresponding to the 10.15.7 FULL INSTALL (in this case it's 15.) Press enter/return

gibMacOS_recovery_download.jpg


The download may take a few minutes so be patient.

If you want High Sierra or Mojave instead of Catalina, you can also download those. Scroll down the list to find them.

HS_recovery_copy2.jpg


Now we have the files we need, we can create the USB. Right click Makeinstall.bat in the gibMacOS folder and Run as Administrator. This will download a small file and you will be presented with the following:

installer.jpg


My 4GB drive is called Sabrent TF USB Device 3.97GB (Removable). Yours will be different.
I want to use OpenCore, so I typed in 2 and the letter o (2o) not the number 20.

Erase USB.JPG

Next type in y and hit enter/return. If you have selected your USB correctly, this will format the drive.

Now we will need to copy the path to the Recovery Package file.

Navigate back to your gibMacOS-master folder and go to the macOS Downloads folder that was generated when you downloaded the recovery above. Navigate through the folders until you find RecoveryHDMetaDmg.pkg file.

HDMeta DMG.jpg


Hold the shift key down and right click the .pkg file and choose "copy as path" Then right click in the cmd window and the full path to the file will be pasted there.

extract recov pkg.JPG


Then press enter and wait for the files to be copied to your USB.

may take time.JPG


We've now finished with this gibMacOS tool and can close the Windows cmd shell.

Delete the EFI folder that was created on your USB installer and replace it with one that works for your specific hardware. In Windows, zipped files must be extracted first and then you'll copy that EFI folder to the USB.

Delete EFI.JPG


First double click on your zipped EFI folder. Then you'll see the following:

extract EFI explorer.JPG

Highlight the EFI folder then click on Extract all.

Save the EFI to your desktop so you can find it easily.

Capture9.JPG


Drag and drop your completed/working EFI to the BOOT USB installer drive.

Copy EFI to BOOT.JPG


If you don't already have a complete EFI for your system, make it yourself by following the OpenCore install guide. You can see which Apple desktop models have Catalina support below in post #2. Use an SMBIOS that has Catalina support and that matches your hardware as closely as possible.


Make sure that your Ethernet cable is plugged into your PC. If you don't have internet functional, Catalina cannot be downloaded for the installation to your main system disk. Using ethernet instead of Wifi is preferred.

Boot from your USB installer, then format your System Disk in Disk Utility to prepare it for the Catalina install.

Click on Sidebar drop down view and then show all devices. Highlight the root of your System drive.

Screen Shot 2022-06-27 at 6.19.35 AM.png


Make certain that the SSD or HDD drive you will install to is selected on the left sidebar in Disk Utility.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 11.40.52 AM.jpg


Erase the drive and Format it APFS and Partition GUID as shown below.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 11.45.49 AM.png


Follow the standard instructions for installing macOS. If you've set your BIOS correctly and made the OC EFI folder with the right OC quirk settings, kexts, drivers and SSDTs the install should go smoothly. After Catalina has fully installed and boots correctly, you can make your USB Ports kext: https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/the-new-beginners-guide-to-usb-port-configuration.286553/

Here's the view of Catalina Island you'll see when you reach the macOS Catalina desktop.

Screen Shot 2022-06-26 at 6.39.26 PM.png


Generate your unique serial numbers and SmUUID for your hackintosh. Doing this will let you use Apple services such as iCloud when you sign in with your Apple ID. Use the same SMBIOS as you have in your config.plist.


Copy and paste your EFI folder from BOOT to the hidden EFI partition of your System Drive. I used the EFI agent app to mount the EFI partition on my Lexar SSD. https://github.com/headkaze/EFI-Agent/releases

Remove your USB drive and then try rebooting directly from the HDD or SSD. Keep the USB drive you've made as a rescue disk if booting Catalina ever fails.

If you will upgrade to Big Sur or Monterey a few months or even a year after this, you'll likely need to update OpenCore and your kexts to the latest versions.
 
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Posting your Support Questions
This guide is not for specific trouble shooting of your custom OpenCore EFI folder. The one that will only work with your unique hardware configuration. Post in the Desktop Support forums to get help with those matters.

Who is this Guide Not For ?
AMD RX 6000 series graphics cards will make this guide un-usable for those with an 11th/12th gen system and an incompatible Intel iGPU. macOS Catalina does not support any of the RX 6000 series cards.

One solution is to temporarily install a GT 710, AMD RX 560/70/80 or other Catalina compatible card. Then you can switch back to your AMD 6000 series card once you get upgraded to Monterey or Ventura.

If you have one of these newest AMD cards and an 8th, 9th or 10th gen Intel build, use the UHD630 integrated graphics for the install of Catalina.

Other Intel iGPUs that are fully supported are HD4000, HD4600, HD5000, HD530 and HD630.

Many older Kepler based cards are fully supported in Catalina and Big Sur. See the following:


To see which Macs are supported by Catalina click this link: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210222

There are many choices of desktop Mac SMBIOS that you can use with success.

In general, if it's a 2012/13 or newer Desktop Mac it is supported by Catalina. Late 2012 Mac mini (6,1 or 6,2), Late 2012 iMac (13,1 or 13,2) the 2013 Mac Pro (6,1) and the 2017 iMac Pro (1,1).

The 2020 iMac is supported. (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2020)
Even the 2019 Intel based Mac Pro has Catalina support.
 
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