Boot Flags for Hackintosh

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The downside of having a Hackintosh is that when things go horribly wrong, you must fix it yourself. In this guide, I will attempt to go through the basic process to go through when your Hackintosh isn’t functioning as it should.

Your bootloader, be it Clover, Chameleon or Chimera, will have certain flags or special instructions that tell it how to properly boot the computer. In this section, I will go over some common boot flags and their uses.

If your computer hangs on a specific line of the verbose output, you can Google that line for more information about it. If you are asking for help because your computer will not boot, it is good practice to take a picture of your verbose output and post it along with your question.

1 -v | Verbose Mode

This flag will cause your computer to boot in verbose mode. It will print information to the screen as it boots up, rather than displaying the apple logo. This is the go-to method for determining why your computer hangs at the apple logo, and many advanced users prefer to boot this way normally.

2 -x | Safe Mode

If you have experience with Windows, then you’ll already know more or less what safe mode is. It boots your computer with only the essential drivers (kexts) required for the computer to work. This is useful for 2 main reasons. First, if your computer does not boot up in verbose mode and you cannot figure out why safe mode can deduce whether or not it is an issue with your computer’s core functions. Secondly, safe mode can be useful for recovery purposes. If you install a kext that breaks your system, you can boot into safe mode and remove it. If you are having issues booting your computer, you should generally try safe mode just to see if it works, and because debugging a running computer is a lot easier.

3 darkwake=0

This flag disables an advanced power management feature of OS X, which allows some parts of the computer to wake from sleep, but this can mess up sleep on Hackintoshes. Try this flag if your computer cannot sleep, or cannot wake from sleep. Alternatively, darkwake=1 can enable the feature. Note: your computer must be able to sleep through a DSDT or native means before this will make any difference.

4 PCIRootUID=1/ PCIRootUID=0

This flag can help fix hangs at boot. PCIRootUID=0 generally is needed if you’re using an AMD graphics card. Note: this flag solves issues related to graphics cards so you may have to use it upon initial installation or after changing GPUs.

5 npci=0x3000/npci=0x2000

If your computer hangs around the line [PCI Configuration Begin], try both of these flags. 0x3000 is the standard fix, but 0x2000 can be tried if the first option fails to solve the issue.

6 dart=0

This disables some older visualization technology, VT-d. This can fix some motherboard issues, and will not inhibit applications like Virtualbox or Parallels as these applications use VT-x instead.

7 cpus=1

This flag can be used to boot with only a single core of your processor. It can be useful for getting some unsupported cpus to boot the installer. you may need this in a HP laptop with insyde Bios.

8 arch=i386 / x86_64

These flags boot your computer into 32-bit mode (i386) and 64-bit (x86-64), the default for 10.6+ This mode may help with compatibility on some older computers.

9 GraphicsEnabler=Yes/No

This kext enables many partially supported graphics cards through injection. It is not needed for 7xx and 6xx Nvidia graphics cards, but most others will need it too.

10 IGPEnabler=Yes/No

This is an alternative to Graphics enabler. It can be used if you wish to use integrated graphics in conjunction with an Nvidia 6xx or 7xx card.

11 UseKernelCache=No/Yes (10.8+)

The kernel cache is disabled by default, but can be used to speed up boot times by loading your kexts from a cache. If this doesn’t work properly, OS X can boot extremely slowly. Note: for before 10.8 (lion) use -f

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