How to install operating systems on a new machine without OS

Download OS X

You can install OS X Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, or El Capitan into a virtual machine on your Mac computer. Before you get started with the download method, you need to grab a copy of the OS X installer from the App Store.

To do this, open the App Store and download your version of OS X. In my example, I am running El Capitan, so that is what I will download. It’s listed on the right hand side in the list of links.

Click the Download button and the install app will be downloaded to your Applications folder in OS X. The download will be several GBs in size, so it could take a while for the download to complete.

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Step 5: Set Up Your Motherboards BIOS

The BIOS is basically a settings page for your motherboard. To enter the BIOS on my own computer’s Gigabyte P67A-D3-B3 motherboard, I have to press the delete key when it boots (before the operating system starts). Different manufacturers set different keys for opening the BIOS. The initial screen is shown in the first picture.NOTE: If you have a newer Gigabyte motherboard that uses the UEFI interface instead of BIOS, check out my guide for setting up the UEFI instead (I will post a guide about motherboards with UEFI soon). If your Hackintosh already has Mac OS X Snow Leopard or Lion installed, the only thing you’ll need to change in the BIOS is the “Boot Device”, so that the iAtkos installer has highest priority. If your Hackintosh doesn’t have Snow Leopard or Lion installed yet, you have to change a few extra BIOS settings. Before starting, reset all of your BIOS settings to their factory defaults. On Gigabyte motherboards, you can reset your BIOS settings to their default by selecting “Load Optimized Defaults” on the main page of the BIOS. Once your BIOS is running on its defaults, you need to change these three settings:Boot Device – If you’re using an iAtkos USB drive, change the boot device of your computer so that “USB-HDD” is first. If you’re using an iAtkos DVD, change “CDROM” to first. You need to do this for iAtkos to work. After you finish installing Mac OS X, you should change this setting back to default, so that “Hard Disk” is the first boot device (this optional, but it will speed up your boot times) (this step is shown in the second picture).HPET – Change this to 64-bit (this step is shown in the third picture).SATA Control Mode (your BIOS might call this a different name) – This will probably already be set to “SATA”, “IDE”, or “RAID”. Change it to “AHCI”. Mac OS X only works with AHCI (this step is shown in the fourth picture). Keep in mind that the BIOS on most motherboards do not support using a mouse, so you’ll probably have to navigate through the BIOS with the arrow keys on your keyboard. Press “Enter” to change a selected option in the BIOS. On my Gigabyte motherboard, I have to press F10 to save my changes.

2. Use Terminal

Once you have your bootable installer ready, it’s time to move to the next step. Connect the USB flash drive to the computer you wish to install macOS. Choose ‘Finder’ then select ‘Go’ from the menu bar. Click ‘Utilities’, then ‘Terminal’.

In the next step, you’ll enter a command in Terminal. The command differs, depending on the macOS version you’re going to install. With each command, it’s assumed the installer is located in your ‘Applications’ folder and ‘MyVolume’ is the name of the USB flash drive. Change the name in the command to match your settings, if necessary. 

For macOS Big Sur, copy and paste the following into Terminal: 

For macOS Catalina:

For macOS Mojave:

For macOS High Sierra:

For OS X El Capitan:

How to install macOS on the PC

You’re now ready to begin the installation. Let’s continue:

10. Plug in the USB stick on which you installed Unibeast and restart your PC. It should now boot into Unibeast and give you the option of which drive to install from. Use your PC’s arrow keys to navigate to ‘External’ and press ‘Enter.’ The macOS installer should now start.

11. When it comes to selecting the drive on to which you want to install macOS, there may be no options to choose from.

If that’s the case, click the Utilities menu and, when Disk Utility opens, choose the hard drive you want to install macOS on and click the Erase tab. Make sure Mac OS Extended (Journaled) is selected and the Scheme is set to GUID Partition Map, then click Erase. When the drive has erased, quit Disk Utility and the drive should be available to select from the installer.

12. Select the drive and step through the installer until macOS starts installing itself. After half an hour or so, it will finish. When it’s done, restart your PC, with the USB drive still plugged in. This time, the Unibeast boot menu will display the macOS boot disk. Select it and your PC will boot into macOS.

Once it’s installed, launch Multibeast and configure your settings.

Installing macOS on a PC is a hack, hence the name Hackintosh. As such, it’s not officially supported by anyone. The guide above will work in most cases, if it doesn’t, you can find help here.

Step 1: Requirements

An existing Windows computer/Mac/Hackintosh: This is the computer where you will download and set up iAtkos. Either Windows or Mac OS X will work. If you’re using a Windows computer, it needs to have a DVD/Bluray burner (just about every DVD/Bluray drive nowadays can act as a burner, too). – A Hackintosh-compatible computer with 10 GB+ of free space: This is the computer where you will install OS X Mountain Lion. It can be the same computer as the one mentioned in the previous point. If your computer already has Mac OS X Lion installed, iAtkos will just update Lion to Mountain Lion normally, without deleting any of your apps or files. However, not every computer will work with Mac OS X. Be sure to read the Hackintosh compatibility guide (will be posted soon) very carefully, to check whether or not your computer qualifies. Also, OS X Mountain Lion takes up about 10 GB of space on its initial installation, so the computer where you install Mac OS X must have at least 10 GB of space in its hard drive. However, that’s only the bare minimum; if you plan to install Mac OS X for day-to-day use, I recommend allocating at least 50 GB of space. It’s preferred that you use a completely empty hard drive for this, but if your computer already has Windows installed on your hard drive, be sure to create an appropriate hard disk partition for OS X Mountain Lion beforehand (by following Step 1 of my guide to MBR partitions) (will be posted soon). – iAtkos ML2 (Free): iAtkos is by far the most popular distro of OS X Mountain Lion. I won’t go into details, but you can download it from just about any bittorrent website by using a bittorent client (it’s about 5 GB in size). The standard method of installing Mountain Lion on a PC requires you to modify a retail copy of OS X Mountain Lion with Unibeast, but iAtkos already does all of this for you. In this guide, you will write iAtkos onto a USB drive or DVD, and boot your computer from iAtkos to install Mac OS X. This guide describes how to install iAtkos ML2. You can also use iAtkos ML3, an updated version that only works with motherboards with UEFI (a guide regarding motherboards with UEFI will be posted soon). If you’re not sure which version to use, just use ML2. – A dual-layer DVD, Bluray disc, or empty USB drive (8 GB or larger): If you are setting up iAtkos from Windows, you have to write iAtkos onto a dual-layer DVD or Bluray disc (normal DVDs don’t work because iAtkos is slightly too large). However, if you’re setting up iAtkos from Mac OS X, you can use a 8 GB or larger USB drive instead of a dual-layer DVD. You will need to erase all of the files on your USB drive beforehand, so make sure to back up its contents first. You can reuse this USB drive for normal stuff after you finish installing Mountain Lion. You cannot write iAtkos onto a USB drive from a Windows computer. If you really want to use a USB drive from Windows, install Mountain Lion on a virtual machine (a newer guide for this will be posted soon) and set up an iAtkos USB drive on there instead. Be sure to install the VirtualBox Extension Pack to view USB drives from your virtual machine. – TransMac ($48, 2-week free trial): If you’re using a Windows computer to set up iAtkos, you need to use TransMac to write (“burn”) the iAtkos disk image file onto your dual-layer DVD or Bluray disc. You don’t actually need to purchase TransMac; the free trial works fine. – Carbon Copy Cloner ($40, 2-week free trial): If you’re using a Mac to set up iAtkos, you need to use Carbon Copy Cloner to write the iAtkos disk image file onto your USB drive. You don’t need to actually purchase Carbon Copy Cloner; the free trial works fine. – Multibeast (Free): Multibeast is a collection of kext files (will be mentioned later) that your Hackintosh will need to run properly, after the initial installation. If you’re using a Mac to set up iAtkos, you will also need Multibeast before the initial installation. Be sure to download the newest version 5 of Multibeast, not the older versions 3 or 4 (which are for Snow Leopard and Lion, respectively).

Installing or upgrading Windows

To start the Windows install or upgrade process, you need to configure your computer to boot from a CD or DVD before booting to the hard drive. Changing the boot process forces the computer to look for the Windows installation disc before booting from the hard drive.

  1. Open the CMOS setup.
  1. Change the computer’s boot order. Set the CD, DVD, or disc drive as the first boot device if you are trying to boot from a disc. Or, set the first boot device to your USB drive if you’re trying to boot from a USB thumb drive. If the drive is not shown, keep the disc is inserted and reboot the computer. With the disc in the drive, BIOS should recognize and include it in the list.
  2. Save the settings change and exit BIOS.

Once you have updated the boot order, you can begin the Windows installation process.

  1. Place the Windows disc in the CD/DVD drive or USB thumb drive into the back of the computer.
  2. Turn on or restart the computer. As the computer starts up, it should detect the installation disc or drive and show a message similar to Press any key to boot from CD. Press any key on the keyboard to have the computer boot from the Windows disc or drive.
  3. After the Windows install begins, there are several prompts that you need to answer. Select either Yes or the appropriate option to install Windows.
Install Note

Make sure you select the Full Install option and not the Repair or Upgrade option.

Upgrade Note

If you are upgrading to a newer version of Windows, select the Upgrade option instead of the Full Install option.

  1. When asked which partition to install Windows onto, select the main partition, usually the C: drive or one labeled "Unallocated partition". If upgrading Windows, select the existing installation of Windows on the hard drive.
  2. You may be asked if you want to erase all contents on the hard drive, then install Windows. We recommend you choose this option, as it also formats the hard drive to allow the Windows operating system to be installed.
Tip

You can use the erase all contents option to uninstall an existing version of Windows on the hard drive, then install Windows again.

  1. The computer may need to restart several times during the Windows install process. The restarts are normal and if prompted to restart, select the Yes option.
  2. When the install process is nearly complete, the Windows configuration option screens are shown. On these screens, you may be asked to select the time zone you live in, your preferred language, and the account’s name you use to access Windows. Select the appropriate options and enter the appropriate information on each configuration screen.

The Windows install process is completed when the computer prompts you to log in or when it loads into Windows.

Configure PXE server

To boot from LAN, you need to have a PXE server, a DHCP server, and a server to share files. You just need a computer to do all this.

AIO Boot uses Tiny PXE Server to create PXE server and DHCP server. Run AIOCreator.exe, select Run PXE and select mode to run Tiny PXE Server.

AIO Boot uses iPXE as boot loader, which supports
AIO Boot uses iPXE as boot loader, which supports both legacy BIOS and UEFI (32-bit and 64-bit) modes.

Tiny PXE Server will run and be preconfigured.

If the configuration is not correct, reconfigure it.

  1. Option 54 (DHCP Server): The IP address of the computer running Tiny PXE Server. This list contains the IP addresses of network adapters (including VirtualBox and VMware). You need to select the correct IP address in the same local area network of the clients.
  2. Filename: Boot file of iPXE, you can choose another boot file in the /AIO folder if the current file does not work on the client.
    • Legacyundionly.kpxeundionly.kkpxeipxe.pxe and intel.pxe.
    • UEFI 64-bitipxe64.efisnponly64.efi and intel64.efi.
    • UEFI 32-bitipxe32.efisnponly32.efi and intel32.efi.
  3. After reconfiguring, click the Offline and Online buttons for the changes to take effect.

For Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, I use FreeNFS to create NFS servers. You do not need any further configuration.

Install Windows 7

Install Windows 7.

Windows 7 is one of the easiest-to-install Windows operating systems. You’re only asked a few important questions during the installation—most of the setup process is completely automatic.

Like with other versions of Windows, the "clean" or "custom" method of installing Windows 7 is the smartest way to go, compared to an "upgrade" install or the less common "parallel" install.

This 34-step tutorial will walk you through every individual step of the process.

How to create USB for clean install of Windows 10

You will need a USB bootable media to perform a clean installation of Windows 10. You can easily create one using many tools, including the Microsoft Media Creation Tool and Rufus.

Create Windows 10 USB with Media Creation Tool

To create an installation media using the Media Creation Tool, connect a USB flash drive of at least 8GB of space, and use these steps:

  1. Open the Windows 10 download page.
  2. Under the “Create Windows 10 installation media” section, click the Download tool now button to save the file on the computer.
  3. Double-click the MediaCreationToolxxxx.exe file to launch the tool.
  4. Click the Accept button to agree to the Microsoft terms.
  5. Select the Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC option.

    Source: Windows CentralSource: Windows Central

  6. Click the Next button.
  7. (Optional) Clear the Use the recommended options for this PC option.
  8. Select the correct language, architecture, and edition of Windows 10.

    Source: Windows CentralSource: Windows Central

  9. Click the Next button.

    Source: Windows CentralSource: Windows Central

  10. Click the Next button.

    Source: Windows CentralSource: Windows Central

  11. Select the USB flash drive (or click the “Refresh drive list” option to make it available).

    Source: Windows CentralSource: Windows Central

  12. Click the Next button.
  13. Click the Finish button.

Once you complete the steps, the tool will download the files and create an installer with the latest installation files, which you can then use to start the device and configure a fresh copy of Windows 10.

Create Windows 10 USB with Rufus

Alternatively, the Rufus tool can help you create an installation media for computers with UEFI or BIOS firmware.

Rufus is a free tool with many options to help you create a bootable media of Windows 10 faster. However, it’s important to remember that it’s a third-party option, which Microsoft does not support. As a result, use it at your own risk.

To create a Windows 10 USB installer with Rufus, connect a USB flash drive of at least 8GB of space, and then use these steps:

  1. Open the Rufus download page.
  2. Under the “Download” section, click the link to save the latest release on the computer.

    Source: Windows CentralSource: Windows Central

  3. Double-click the Rufus-x.xx.exe file to launch the tool.
  4. Click the Settings button (third button from the left) at the bottom of the page.

    Source: Windows CentralSource: Windows Central

  5. Under the “Settings” section, use the Check for updates drop-down menu and select the Daily option.

    Source: Windows CentralSource: Windows Central

    Quick tip: These steps are necessary to enable the option to use the tool to download the ISO file of Windows 10.

  6. Click the Close button.
  7. Close the Rufus tool.
  8. Relaunch the Rufus tool.
  9. Under the “Device” section, use the drop-down menu to select the USB flash drive.
  10. Under the “Boot selection” section, click the down arrow button on the right and select the Download option.

    Source: Windows CentralSource: Windows Central

    Quick tip: If you already have an ISO file, click the Select button, choose the Windows 10 ISO file, and continue with step 24.

  11. Click the Download button.
  12. Use the “Version” drop-down menu and select the Windows 10 option.
  13. Click the Continue button.
  14. Select the 21H2 (Build 19044.xxx – xxxx.xx) option to download the Windows 10 November 2021 Update.

    Source: Windows CentralSource: Windows Central

  15. Click the Continue button.
  16. Use the “Edition” drop-down menu and select the Windows 10 Home/Pro option.
  17. Click the Continue button.
  18. Use the “Language” drop-down menu and select the installation language.

    Quick tip: In the United States, choose the “English” option, not “English International.”

  19. Click the Continue button.
  20. Use the “Architecture” drop-down menu and select the 32-bit or 64-bit (recommended).
  21. Click the Download button.
  22. Select the location to download the ISO file.
  23. Click the Save button.
  24. Use the “Image option” drop-down menu to select the Standard Windows installation option.
  25. Use the “Partition scheme” drop-down menu to select the GPT option.
  26. Use the “Target system” drop-down menu to select the UEFI (non CSM) option.

    Source: Windows CentralSource: Windows Central

    Quick note: If the computer includes a legacy BIOS, select the MBR option for partition scheme and BIOS (or UEFI-CSM) option target system.

  27. Under the “Show Advanced drive properties” section, don’t change the default settings.
  28. (Optional) Under the “Volume label” field, enter a descriptive name for the drive — for example, “win10_usb.”
  29. Under the “File system” and “Cluster size” sections, don’t change the default settings.
  30. Click the Show advanced format options button.
  31. Select the Quick format and Create extended label and icon files options.
  32. Click the Start button.
  33. Click the OK button to confirm.
  34. Click the Close button.

After you complete the steps, Rufus will download the ISO file from the Microsoft servers, and it’ll create the bootable media to perform a clean install of Windows 10.

How to complete setup after installation of Windows 10

Once the installation is complete, it’s also good to check that Windows 10 isn’t missing any critical updates or drivers and is properly activated.

Install updates

To download and install the latest updates, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Update.
  4. Click the Check for updates button.

    Source: Windows CentralSource: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, any available updates will automatically download and install. Also, a restart may be required to complete the update process.

Check missing drivers

To determine whether drivers are missing on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Device Manager and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Confirm that none of the devices has a yellow or red mark, and make sure nothing is listed as unknown.

    Source: Windows CentralSource: Windows Central

If some hardware has problems, you may need to manually install the latest drivers from your computer manufacturer’s support website. You can use this guide to install device drivers on Windows 10.

Install missing drivers

On Windows 10, drivers can also be part of the optional updates. If the computer doesn’t have all the required drivers, you may be able to download them from Windows Update.

To download missing drivers on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Update.
  4. Click the View optional updates option. If the option isn’t available, it means that Windows Update doesn’t have any driver updates for the computer.

    Source: Windows CentralSource: Windows Central

  5. Click the Driver updates section.
  6. Select the missing driver.

    Source: Windows CentralSource: Windows Central

  7. Click the Download and install button.

After you complete the steps, Windows Update will download and install the missing drivers automatically.

Confirm activation

To confirm Windows 10 was activated correctly, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Activation.
  4. If Windows 10 is activated successfully, you will see one of these messages:

    • Windows is activated with a digital license: The installation has been activated, but it isn’t linked to your Microsoft account.
    • Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account: The installation has been activated, and the license is linked to your Microsoft account.

    Source: Windows CentralSource: Windows Central

In case Windows 10 didn’t activate, the device will try to reactivate at a later time. If you’re still having issues after a couple of days, you can use the Activation Troubleshooter to activate.

Restore files from backup

The last thing left to do is to restore your documents from backup. If you previously configured file backup with OneDrive, the data should already be available inside the OneDrive folder, but if the app didn’t configure automatically, you can use this guide.

If you have a backup of your files on an external drive, reconnect the storage to restore the data into the default folders (Documents, Downloads, Pictures, etc.).

To restore files from backup on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Under the This PC section in the left pane, select the external drive with the file backup.
  3. Select the folders with the file to restore.
  4. Click the Copy to menu from the “Home” tab.

    Source: Windows CentralSource: Windows Central

  5. Select the Choose location option.
  6. Select the destination to restore the files — for example, the Documents folder.
  7. Click the Copy button.

After you complete the steps, the files will restore to the new location.

Although you can start a clean installation using the Media Creation Tool without a USB media and even the “Reset this PC” option from the recovery settings, these methods have their limitations and do not always work as expected. The bootable media is the alternative if you want the best possible clean installation method.

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