How to enable Intel HD4600 natively on your Hackintosh

If you’re Hackintosh has an Haswell CPU you’ll have by 70% of chances an integrated graphic card, the Intel HD4600. This GPU works perfectly with OS X because its present in some real Macs, like the MacBook Air and the entry level iMac, and you can use it with your Hackintosh without adding any modified or extra kext to the system. To use it you’ll only need to enable it with Chameleon or Chimera, that’s it.

Those two boot loaders in fact have a feature called “GraphicsEnabler” which, if enabled in your org.chameleon.Boot.plist file in your Extra folder, will automatically search and set the “Device properties” parameter for you to make your GPU recognized by OS X which will then load the proper kext according to the GPU model. But, since GraphicsEnabler is a completely automatic feature it has a few downsides. First of all GraphicsEnabler can increase boot time since it needs a few seconds to correctly identify your GPU using a few tests, second it can be wrong sometimes and/or with some particular GPU models, third your GPU could be recognized correctly but Quartz Extreme and Core Image graphics acceleration could not work.

Note: If you’re not a “pro” Hackintosh user and GraphicsEnabler correctly recognize your HD4600 already you won’t need to change anything since everything is working fine for you.

So, is there a way to enable the Intel HD4600 without using GraphicsEnabler? Yes, just follow those steps.

You will need:

  1. Download and extract all the applications
  2. Copy Chameleon Wizard and EFIStudio to your application folder
  3. Open the Terminal
  4. Paste this line in the Terminal window and press Enter
    ioreg -lw0 -p IODeviceTree -n efi -r -x | grep device-properties | sed 's/.*<//;s/>.*//;' > device-properties.hex
  5. With this terminal command a file named device-properties.hex have been created to your home folder, like in this picture:
    giuliolombardo-14
  6. Open EFIStudio and select Open Hext File… from the File menu
  7. Select the device-properties.hex and press Open
  8. Now you’ll see an “Editor” window with all the GPU informations, click on Hex String to Clipboard to copy the string, like in this picture:
    Editor_e_EFIStudio-6
  9. Open Chameleon Wizard and go to the org.chameleon.Boot tab
  10. Click on the Paste button in the Device properties section to paste the Hex string, like in the picture below:
    Chameleon_Wizard-5
    Note: EFIStudio will always copy a few spaces along with the Hex String, this isn’t always a problem for Chameleon and it should recognize your GPU anyway but, to be sure, delete all the spaces after the Hex String.
  11. Click on save to save the org.chameleon.Boot.plist file in your Extra folder.
  12. Reboot

How to update your Hackintosh to 10.9.2

Apple finally released OS X 10.9.2, the second major update to OS X Mavericks. When a new incremental update to OS X comes out, the question is still the same: How can I safely update my Hackintosh?

First, this is the official change log for 10.9.2:

  • Adds the ability to make and receive FaceTime audio calls
  • Adds call waiting support for FaceTime audio and video calls
  • Adds the ability to block incoming iMessages from individual senders
  • Improves the accuracy of unread counts in Mail
  • Resolves an issue that prevented Mail from receiving new messages from certain providers
  • Improves AutoFill compatibility in Safari
  • Fixes an issue that may cause audio distortion on certain Macs
  • Improves reliability when connecting to a file server using SMB2
  • Fixes an issue that may cause VPN connections to disconnect
  • Improves VoiceOver navigation in Mail and Finder

If you want [or you’re really curious about 10.9.2] you can read the full change log here.

To safely install 10.9.2 on your Hackitonsh follow those steps:

  1. Repair permissions using Disk Utility [repair them twice just to be sure]
  2. Update OS X using the Mac App Store or by downloading the combo update here
  3. Once installation is completed re-install your audio drivers [only] using the latest version of MultiBeast, which you can find here
    [Note: If you’re having boot problems after the update try booting using the ” -x ” flag]
  4. Reboot
  5. Repair permissions again using Disk Utility
  6. Done.

Note: If you’re using MultiBeast 6.1.0 (or lower) do not install other drivers and/or any other thing beside audio drivers since 10.9.2 also updates graphical, storage and other drivers, replacing those drivers with MultiBeast can break your setup since the included drivers are for 10.9.1 and prior.

Note 2: If you use the Chameleon bootloader be sure MultiBeast won’t install Chimera or your Hackintosh setup will 100% break since some boot flags are different.

Note 3: You will also need to check if TRIM is still enabled as this OS X update will disable it, if you need help with TRIM follow this guide.

How to speed up Google Chrome by disabling useless plugins

Google_Chrome_icon

Google Chrome has quickly become the most used internet browser surpassing Firefox and Internet Explorer and its user base grown seems unstoppable, and it deserves it. It’s a fast, safe and extensible internet browser compared to the second most used, Internet Explorer.

But, like any other PC and Mac software, it can become slow and unresponsive over time. Luckily there are a few ways to speed it up again and the most effective is by disabling installed plugins you don’t need.

When you installed Chrome on you computer for the first time there weren’t many plugins installed other than Chrome’s default ones but third party software [for example Adobe Reader, Quicktime, VLC Media player, etc.], already present on your computer or which you installed in a second moment, tends to install new plugins to better integrate with your browser without asking and, while this is a good thing for safe and good softwares its not so good with bad ones like viruses, adwares and/or plugins you don’t need.

You can think of plugin like toolbars, the more you have the slower your browser will be.

So how can we disable those plugins? It’s a simple thing to do, just follow those steps:

  1. Launch Google Chrome
  2. Once it’s launched type [or copy and paste] this in your URL bar and press Enter:
    chrome://plugins
  3. Now you should see a list of the currently installed plugins, you can safely disable the ones you don’t need by clicking the Disable link under them.

I suggest you to disable third-party plugins like:

  • Windows Media Player Plugin
  • Microsoft DRM
  • DivX Web Player [If you already have VLC and/or you never used it]
  • iTunes Application Detector [100% useless]
  • Chrome Remote Desktop Viewer [If you don’t need remote support]

Careful: Do not disable Default Browser Helper and/or Native Client or Chrome won’t work.

Chrome_Plugins

How to enable TRIM on SSD drives on Mac OS X

Trim

Note: If you bought your Mac with an SSD already installed this tutorial post is not for you, in fact Trim is already and automatically enabled by OS X for you since you’re using an original Apple SSD. If you bought a Mac with an Hard Disk Drive or a SSD and you replaced it with a third-party SSD, or you have an Hackintosh, follow this post and we’ll get Trim fixed!

Before we begin, I know you heard somewhere that Trim is great for SSD performances and that it can increase the durability of them but, do you know what Trim actually is?
If not:

Because low-level operation of SSDs differs significantly from hard drives, the typical way in which operating systems handle operations like deletes and formats resulted in unanticipated progressive performance degradation of write operations on SSDs. Trimming enables the SSD to handle garbage collection overhead.

If this simple definition is still not enough for you, jump over to Wikipedia where you will find a lot more.

So how do we being? First download Trim Enabler, an application developed by Oskar Groth, and place it in your Application folder, launch it and then follow those steps:

  1. Once Trim Enabler has launched click on the main switch to make it On
    Trim_Enabler
  2. Restart you Mac when asked in order to enable Trim
  3. Open Trim Enabler again and navigate to the Settings tab
  4. Enable the switch named “Check for Trim support on boot
    [In this way an alert will be shown if Trim will be disabled in the future]
    Trim_Enabler_2
  5. Done

Choose the best model number on your Hackintosh for correct power management

SMBios

Choosing the model number for your Hackintosh setup is not a cosmetic reason, not the only reason at least. In fact the model number it’s a crucial parameter which “tells” to the operative system what type of computer you’re using. On a regular PC, with Windows or Linux installed, this is done automatically for the user during the OS installation based on a few conditions like: “Is this a Desktop or Laptop computer?”, “Which CPU and GPU model it has?”, “Is the GPU integrated or not?”.
The same thing happens on a real Mac computer but the only difference is the fact that when OS X is being installed instead of “asking questions” it simply reads the answers which are contained in the EFI portion of the Mac, and, since there are only a few fixed types of Macs [iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro and Mac Mini], this is a simpler process compared to ordinary PCs.

While this is a straight-forward process for a real Mac it can be a problem for Hackintoshes since there are not fixed types of computers and anyone can built it’s own setup with different components like a normal PC. Another problem is that OS X’s power management is completely based on the model number parameter and, as you can easily understand, if it is wrong it will be wrong too.

So, how can we fix this problem? By using the SMBios.plist file.

This file, contained in your Extra folder, holds many informations about your system such as its serial number, BIOS version and the one we’re looking for: the model number.

Note: The SMBios.plist is a really [really!] important file and you cannot simply change it without knowing what you’re doing. Remember that the system uses this file to initiate and pass data to system kexts as needed.

To edit the SMBios.plist we will need Chameleon Wizard, download the latest version available here, install it by dragging it to your Application folder and then open it. Once Chameleon Wizard is launched click on the SMBios tab and then click on Edit

Chameleon_Wizard_SMBiosNext, select you model number from the drop down menu according to your hardware specifications

Chameleon_Wizard_SMBios_2

You could ask: “Which model number should I choose?”, answer: the one with the most similarities with your build with CPU at the highest priority. For example if you have a Haswell CPU choose a model with Haswell CPU [desktop or laptop depending on your system], if you have Ivy Bridge select a Ivy Bridge model an so on.

In my case I have an Intel Core i5 4570S and I have chosen the iMac 14,2 model number since it has the same CPU [as you can see here] so power management will work perfectly.

If you can’t find any model number similar enough you can try using MacPro 3,1, it’s the most flexible model number and it can work sometime with unsupported hardware.

Remember: Chose your model number based on your CPU, if you need help with Mac models you can use the Apple official tech specs websiteEveryMac.com, or Wikipedia

How to use Google DNS to access blocked websites

Google_DNS

Recently various famous file hosting websites like Rapidgator.net, Uploaded.to and P2P torrent trackers such KickAssTorrent and ThePirateBay have been blocked and made unaccessible from various countries due to copyright infringement. While I understand and respect the reason who led to this strong decision made by numerous countries and I am totally not against copyright laws I want to share with you a completely legal way to access those websites even after the block by simply using Google Public DNS.

Note: Google Public DNS was not made for this reason in mind and Google is not against countries decisions, but since Google can bypass those blocks using crawlers and they don’t depends on any country decisions because it’s a multinational company we can use it for our purpose.

Before we begin, do you know what a DNS address is? Google explains that perfectly in the Google Public DNS official website:

The DNS protocol is an important part of the web’s infrastructure, serving as the Internet’s phone book: every time you visit a website, your computer performs a DNS lookup. Complex pages often require multiple DNS lookups before they start loading, so your computer may be performing hundreds of lookups a day.

Google DNS comes in two version, one for IPv4 and one for IPv6:

IPv4

  • Primary DNS: 8.8.8.8
  • Secondary DNS: 8.8.4.4

IPv6

  • Primary DNS: 2001:4860:4860::8888
  • Secondary DNS: 2001:4860:4860::8844

To start using Google DNS all you need to do is to insert it in your network preferences. I will show you how to do it with OS X:

  1. From the Apple menu, click System Preferences, then click Network.
  2. Select the connection for which you want to configure Google Public DNS.
    DNS_Tutorial_1
  3. Select the DNS tab
  4. Delete any listed addresses by clicking “” and then click “+” to add the Google DNS addresses [Choose the IPv4 or IPv6 according to your IP version]
  5. Click Ok and then Apply
    DNS_Tutorial_2.png
  6. Done.

Now you will be able to access blocked websites.

How to block ads and malicious websites using the host file

We all hate ads, don’t we?

Luckily nowadays there are many browser extensions like AdBlock and his brother AdBlock Plus that lets you block ads on the web using blocklists like EasyList. They do a great job and get better and precise in every new list and extensions updates, for example now both extensions can block ads in a page even before they get downloaded to help you save bandwidth and time since the page will load faster. But those are extensions of your web browser so they will need some RAM memory to work and also they could make your browser run slower, especially if you do some intense browsing and you have multiple tabs loaded.

Is there a way to block all possible ads, like AdBlock and AdBlock Plus do without extensions? The answer is: yes [of course] and you don’t need any additional software we just need the already present host file.

For the one who don’t know a host file is a file present in all OSs in which there is a list of websites who the user won’t be able to access. This is a [empty] host file:

So, for example if I don’t want the user able to access the New York Times website I just need to add it like this in the host file like this:

127.0.0.1            www.nytimes.com

and the website will be blocked. This principle can be used to block ads websites and already know malicious one [full of malware, viruses, etc.] but to be sure to block all of those sites you will need to add every single one of them to the host file and, trust me, there are a lot of them.

Luckly MSMVPS already did the job for us creating a host file with all those websites and they also update it once a month with newly discovered bad-websites and all the ads stuff. Here you can download the latest version:

http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.zip

There are 3 different ways to install it, based on your operative system:

  • Windows:
  1. Right click and select “Run as Administrator” on the mvps.bat file
    It will do the job for you renaming the old host file to host.mvps for backup and replacing it with the new one.
  2. Reboot
  • Mac OS X:
  1. Copy the HOST file and replace the one in private/etc/
    [If you need help to 
    reach this folder press Command+Shift+G and write “private/etc/”, then press Ok]
  2. Open the Terminal and paste this text to flush the DNS Cache:
    dscacheutil -flushcache; sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
  3. Reboot
  • Linux:
  1. In the Terminal run:
    vi /root/update_hosts.sh
  2.  Fill the file with:
    #!/bin/bash
    cd /tmp
    wget http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.txt
    rm /etc/hosts
    mv hosts.txt /etc/hosts
    cat ~/.etchosts >> /etc/hosts
  3.  Make the script is executable:
    chmod +x update_hosts.sh
  4.  Close the Terminal and re-open it and paste this:
    crontab -e
  5. Enter this:
  6. 59 23 * * * /root/update_hosts.sh
  7. Done.

There you have it, now your OS will block those noisy ads for you and you won’t need any AdBlock extensions, also this will also add an extra layer of security to your system.