Hac Snow Guide for Dell E520

| by Ken | in Technology Add comments

Here’s my guide for how I set up MacOS X Snow Leopard (and Vista) on my Dell E520 Hacintosh. Primarily, I followed blkhockeypro’s E520 guide and used the files he references in his guide. And as he says at the start, this is only for a Dell Dimension E520 of a certain vintage, only for when Autodetect/ATA is set in the BIOS, only for using a retail copy of Snow Leopard, and only for a setup where the primary drive is wiped out or new (e.g., no leaving a Windows Vista partition working elsewhere on the drive though if you want Vista on the drive when you are done, that’s an option at the end of this guide). Detailed specs of my E520 are below so you can compare your chip details to see if this guide would work for you. And be sure to take a look through the Gotchas before attempting to use the guide.



  1. Boot the E520 from boot CD (if necessary, use F12 on boot to boot from CD).
  2. When you see the picture of the CD with the up-pointing-arrow, eject the CD from the drive and put in the Apple Snow Leopard retail install DVD; hit the F5 key to refresh the bootloader and when you see “Mac OS X Install DVD” hit enter to boot from the install DVD.
  3. Select a language and click the continue arrow to continue.
  4. From the Utilities menu, choose Disk Utility, choose your disk on the left and create a partition if there is not already one or choose the existing partition and erase it. Name the partition something useful like “MacOS X 10.6”. The Format should be “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” and the disk should show a “Partition Map Scheme” of “GUID Partition Table”. Quit Disk Utility.
  5. Click “Continue” to begin the setup. Agree to the terms, select the install disk, and click Install. Wait. It takes about 25 minutes. (It will tell you that it takes a half hour and then with 10 minutes left, it will tell that you more than 20 minutes remain – don’t sweat it, just look at the time when you start and add about 25 minutes.)
  6. When the screen switches to the console view of white text on a black background, you’ll see “MACH Reboot”. That’s a sign that the computer is ready to reboot. But it can’t do it on its own because we haven’t yet installed the kext that fixes the shutdown/restart so you need to force the reboot. Hold down the power button on the front until the computer powers down – about 5 seconds. (You may see some text about sleep being prevented and that’s okay – just the hardware trying a sleep signal before it gets to a full power-off.) Then press-and-release the power button to turn it back on.
  7. As soon as it starts booting up, hit the F12 key to get ready to boot from CD. But before you tell it to proceed with the CD boot, remove the Apple install DVD and put the E520 Boot CD back in the CD drive. Then proceed with the CD boot. You’ll see the same kind of screen you saw last time except you’ll now have two choices for boot source. Move the up-pointing-arrow (using the arrow keys) to the hard drive that contains the new Snow Leopard install and hit enter to boot up. You are now done with the E520 Boot CD and can remove it from the drive. (Though you will want to save it should you ever need to reinstall!)
  8. After the Welcome video, choose country, choose keyboard layout, select transfer option (for these instructions, I’ll assume no transfer of info – the last option), enter your Id (or Continue to skip), enter your reg info (or Continue twice to skip), enter your account info, tell Apple you don’t want MobileMe (if asked), pick your location, and then “Go”! (If you have a non-Apple keyboard you may need to do the additional step of helping it figure out your keyboard.)
  9. Note that at any time from here on, you might get Software Update popping up telling you that there are new updates to install. Don’t do it yet. Just quit the dialog and we’ll get back to the updates later.
  10. Insert the USB drive (or CD) where you saved the file you downloaded for the Post Install process. Unzip the file and go to the unzipped folder contents.
  11. Copy the file named DSDT.AML to the root of your Snow Leopard partition. (And it’d be nice to do a chown/chgrp on it to root/admin but doesn’t appear to be necessary.)
  12. Run the “Post Install” application to setup the bootloader and click Continue and then Install. Enter your password and when it finishes, close the installer.
  13. Install the 2 additional kexts in the S/L/E folder and the other 2 kexts you downloaded at the beginning. (I found that I needed the EvOreboot for the E520. I also needed “NV Enabler 64” for my NVidia 8400GS but you may or may not need the “NV Enabler 64” depending on your graphics card – you’ll need to work out the graphics issues independent of the E520 issues; good luck with that.) Use one of the kext tools to do the installs or do it the old-fashioned manual way, if you prefer. (Note that you may get a note about a new network adapter – that’s showing a successful result to the application of the Intel kext but it’s okay if that doesn’t come up right away too.
  14. Restart the computer. Note that you should not need to force the restart because the kext you installed in the previous step should now be working – assuming that the kext cache was cleared and rebuilt properly. Also, make sure that you’ve taken all CDs out of the CD drive at this point.
  15. Check for video working (and QE/CI, as appropriate).
  16. Run Software Update (from the Apple menu is easiest). After it finishes checking, click on Show Details. It will tell you a bunch of stuff needs updating. I like to go slow and just do the Combined Update alone. Pick that and Agree (twice), enter your password, and tell it to restart.
  17. Run Software Update again and do the rest of the updates. (And there will be additional ones this time too.)

Optional Vista Dual Boot

If you want a to add a partition for Vista as I did, complete the steps above first. Then proceed with the following additional steps.

  1. Use Disk Utility to create a second partition. Set the second partition format to “MS-DOS(FAT)” and name it “VISTA”.
  2. Insert the Vista install DVD and reboot the computer booting from the CD. Reformat the VISTA partition as NTFS and install to that partition. During the install you’ll see that the computer reboots directly into Vista – that’s okay, we’ll fix the boot sequence in the next two steps. Finish the install, log in, make any Vista changes you want, then proceed. Reboot an extra time into Vista, just to make sure it has finished its business.
  3. Remove the Vista install DVD and put in the original E520 boot CD. Restart computer and use F12 to boot from CD. It should show you two options for booting in addition to the CD. Choose the MacOS partition and boot up.
  4. Open terminal and “cd” to the location of the Post Install application that was downloaded for the steps above. Then change to a directory inside the application package with this command:
    cd Post\ Install.pkg/Contents/Resources/boot
    Then execute the following command:
    sudo fdisk -f boot0 -u -y /dev/rdisk0
  5. Continuing in the terminal window, type the following commands:
    sudo fdisk -e /dev/rdisk0
    flag #  
    (where # is the MacOS/HFS+ partition number)
  6. Restart the computer and you should see that the MacOS is the default OS to boot but if you hit any key, you’ll see that you also have the option to select Vista.


One place where I got really hung up was working with my video card. The original 10.6.0 install worked fine from the retail CD using blkhockeypro19’s guide but after the update to 10.6.2, I got a kernel panic. Since 10.6.0 worked, I assumed that the update process was broken with this install but it turned out that 64-bit support for my particular video card, NVidia 7300GT-256 had been removed from 10.6.2. To resolve the problem, I could have either copied the files from 10.6.1 and held on to them to reapply after each subsequent upgrade (unlikely that if support was removed that it would restored later) or I could set a boot flag to boot up in 32-bit mode. I went with the third option which was to replace the video card – easy to do, actually, since I had a donor computer standing by with an NVidia 8400GS-512. (I’ll worry about getting the donor Linux computer working with the 7300GT at a later date.)

Although the guide above doesn’t describe it, I did transfer my stuff from my 10.5 hard drive. (I had done the install on a new drive so that I’d have access to the original for this purpose.) And that caused two additional crises. The first was that the old MacFuse and NTFS-3G applications did not get along well with 10.6. And worse, they were so old I needed to do a lot of digging to find info on how to delete them. I eventually found a thread on the MacFuse site that detailed how to get rid of both: to get rid of ntfs-3g, I went to the original package (that I had fortunately saved) and found a command shell script in there to remove all the files it added; and to get rid of MacFuse, you go to the uninstall script is located in the installed package: /System/Library/Filesystems/fusefs.fs/Support/uninstall-macfuse-core.sh. I did the uninstalls on the 10.5 disk before doing the final migration to the new 10.6. Then in 10.6 I installed new versions of NTFS-3G and MacFuse. NTFS-3G is still available though the creators are now pushing the commercial version. And MacFuse hasn’t been updated in a while and doesn’t work with the 64-bit Snow Leopard so you need to get a specially compiled version – big thanks to Tomas Carnecky for compiling it though as he writes, it may not be rock-solid.

The other big holdup for me was a failure when Chameleon ran after the Post Install step. I was getting a “boot1: error”. I went back and did the install without importing my stuff and it worked. So what about my files would cause the Chameleon bootloader to fail!? The answer was that the Post Install program had failed to install the “boot” file at the root because there was already a directory there named “Boot” that contained a bunch of junk. I have no idea where the directory came from (perhaps from the original Kalyway install?) but that was the culprit. I removed that directory and then re-ran the Post Install program and then Chameleon worked fine. So if you are seeing a boot1:error, make sure that your boot file was able to install at your root.

Edit: One additional gotcha hit me when I tried to repeat this process with Windows XP instead of Vista. The Win XP Service Pack 3 install failed complaining about disk space. Apparently, something about the way the the drive was partitioned confused the installer. I found a fix at Windows Reference that was super simple and effective: Create a new reg key named “BootDir” at “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup” and set the value to “C:\”. Problem solved.


Many thanks to the insanelymac community and blkhockeypro19, in particular, for his great guide and files and willingness to answer questions! Also, thanks to the Chameleon bootloader – a PayPal payment is on its way to you shortly. And here are some links I used to piece together the guide above.

Systems Specs

  • Dell Dimension E520
  • Computer – ACPI x86-based PC
  • Processor – Intel Core 2 Duo 1.87Ghz (Conroe E6320)
  • RAM – 3 Gbyte
  • Storage Controller – Intel 82801HR/HH/HO SATA RAID Controller
  • System
    • Intel 82801 PCI Bridge – 244E
    • Intel ICH8 Family PCI Express Root Port 1 – 283F
    • Intel ICH8 Family SMBus Controller – 283E
    • Intel ICH8DH LPC Interface Controller
    • Intel P965/G965 PCI Express Root Port – 29A1
    • Intel P965/G965 Processor to I/O Controller – 29A0
  • Display Adapter (onboard, disabled)
  • Display Adapter – NVIDIA GeForce 8400GS-512
  • Network – Intel 82562V 10/100 Platform LAN Connect (onboard, enabled)

4 Responses to “Hac Snow Guide for Dell E520”

  1. […] more Hacintosh post before I resume normal programming here. As I described in my E520 guide, I relied heavily upon work done by others both in the way of instructions and files created and […]

  2. […] impacts on things I just got working. But it happened again. Only a couple weeks after I had gotten my Hac working with 10.6.2, Apple released 10.6.3. Being the smart chicken I am, I held […]

  3. […] guide is a combination of many different guides – most notably my own previous install guides (1 | 2), blkhockeypro19’s E520 guide, and anguish’s triple boot guide (at MyDellMini.com). […]

  4. […] when I bought the Dell Optiplex 9020.  And I got MacOS 10.9 running on it in a manner similar to my past Hacintosh builds.  But my plan all along was to wait for MacOS 10.10 and start with that.  Historically, I know […]

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