There’s been a running debate in the CNET forums about whether it’s legal to run OS X on a PC, and if it isn’t should it be allowed as a discussion. It certainly seems to violate the EULA, but I believe it should be allowed to be discussed. I tend to put the burden of proof in speech maters on the party who wants to restrict speech. I don’t have a lot of faith in EULAs, and as long as you’re not pirating OS X, why shouldn’t you be able to run it on a machine of your choosing. However, not everyone agrees with me and I see their point too. But should a software maker be able to restrict what you do with software if it doesn’t break any other laws?

In any case, all this discussion got me motivated to try running OS X on a PC. I plan to shoot a video on it for CNET. Here’s the script in progress outlining the steps I took.

What, this? It’s OS X runnig on my ThinkPad. Well, I mean, OS X runs on Intel now, so why not? Actually there’s a reason. I’m Tom Merritt from I’ll tell you how I did this, and tell you why you might not want to, on today’s Insider Secrets.

So yes this is really OS X. I know I’ve showed you how to make Windows LOOK like a Mac before but this is the real thing, see.

There’s a group of hackers called the OSX86 project at who have a whole wiki about how to run OS X on an Intel machine.

Before we get to the how part, let me remind you this WILL break your EULA. And so it remains murky as to whether you’re allowed to do it or not. Apple’s mostly concerned with manufacturers not being allowed to pump out PCs with OS X, but be forewarned.

This is a pretty nice bit of hackery, but you should know you risk really messing up a computer if you don’t know what you’re doing. So don’t try this at home.

So when you’re not trying this at home here’s what you need.

A hard drive,

A LEGITIMATE copy of OS X. NO piracy. THAT my friends is most DEFINTELY illegal.

And a couple of downloads I’ll show you along the way.

The first one of those is called MacDrive 7. This program lets your PC read the Mac files on the CD.
Move the files from the CD into the root directory of your C drive.

I’ve created an IMG of the OS right here.

Next you’ll need Forensic Acquisition Utilities from This is pretty powerful tool we’re going to use for a mundane purpose. Writing the OS X IMG to a hard drive in such a way that it’s bootable.

You’ll unzip the FAU files to the C drive as well.

Now here’s what I’m doing.

I’ve got a ThinkPad hard drive here in this case. I’m going to use DD.exe from the FAU to image this hard drive as a bootable OS X.

Then I’ll put the hard drive in this ThinkPad here and boot it up.

I need to make sure I know the actual fphysical drive address of this drive in order to use DD.exe.

So I downloaded WMI tools from Microsoft. And I’m using WMI Object Browser to determine that the E drive is actually Physical Drive 1. See that string there. That’s what I need to remember.

Now I’ll call up the command prompt.

I type in dd if for input file dd if=c:\tiger-x86-flat.img and then of fro output file and the physical address of my external drive of=\\.\PHYSICALDRIVE1 then finally because it’s a local drive I add the switch –localwrt

When I press enter, the drive begins copying the image to the external drive.

Drag and dropping it won’t make it boot right so you have to do it this way, bit by bit.

Once I’ve got it copies, I take the drive out of the case.

Put it in the ThinkPad.

Boot Up

And voila, here’s OS X running on my ThinkPad.

WiFi doesn’t work but Ethernet does and it’s a little sluggish because it’s an old machine.

But the fact of the matter is, it’s OS X on a ThinkPad.

The osx86 project has a wiki where you can check on the device compatibility.

A quick shout out to where I cribbed the steps when I tried it the first time, and to all the folks out there that hacked away at making this work in the first place.

Worth reminding you again, it’s a nifty trick but it does break the EULA, so be warned.