Straight forward 10.6.3 upgrade guide

I’ve written a simple and pretty straight forward upgrade guide on how to successfully upgrade from 10.6.x to 10.6.3. I’ve made sure that everything works and I’ve made it simple for everyone to understand.
More after the jump

Prerequisites  :-
These articles are important to read as its important to understand few key aspects before reading this tutorial. You’ll then begin to see that a pattern emerges out this when there is a major upgrade
[TUTORIAL] Upgrading to OSX 10.6.2 | Prasys’ Blog (to understand the basics of upgrading)
Empire EFI | Prasys’ Blog (as a bootable disc just incase if something goes bad)
Creating a Recovery USB Drive for OSX86 Snow Leopard | Prasys’ Blog (your own a la carte restoration disk)
Mac OS X v10.6.3 Update (Combo) or Mac OS X v10.6.3 Update (if you’re upgrading from 10.6.2)
Legacy Kernel (10.6.3) or Legacy_Kernel (10.6.3) Installer (required if you’re using Intel Pentium 4/D , Intel Atom , Intel Core i3 series and mobile and other variants of Core i series and as well as for AMD Users) or (recommended) (Needed if you want Sleep working)
QE CI Exotic cards 10.6.3.pkg (For ATI users) (obtained from netkas)
Important Notices and Known Bugs with 10.6.3 and Hackint0shes
Its important to read this as there will be known bugs with 10.6.3 and few other stuff. My Guide takes care of them but its my duty to notify you and how to fix them :-

  • AppleHDA Issue (Only applicable if you’re using native Apple Audio  Driver ) – Apple has removed support for a variety of ALC codecs such as ALC888. So if you’ve been using native audio driver. You’ll have to use drivers from 10.6.2 or earlier. Alternatively you may want to try VodoooHDA. VodoooHDA users are unaffected by this. So if you’re using VoodooHDA , you don’t have to worry about this
  • Intel GMA Issue – Apple has also removed 64-bit drivers for Intel Graphics. If you were on x86_64 OSX86. You might have to revert back to 32-bit version or use your old 10.6.2 kexts
  • Sleep/Wake Issues – Some users have also reported that when OSX wakes they lose sound , usb and couple of other things. The exact cause for this is still unknown , however I’ll update it once I manage to trace it
  • Fix USB Issues – For some motherboard (especially if you’re using an AMD Chipset or the newer boards with USB 3.0) this update breaks USB 2.0 support. The only way to fix it by using an older version of IOUSBFamily.kext (which is from 10.6.2 or 10.6.1)
  • Graphics Performance Issues – It seems that a lot of folks do complain the graphics performance has significantly dropped from 10.6.3 to 10.6.2. You may want to use older drivers , however its not recommended. This applies to both nvidia and ati graphics card

How-To :-
1. First thing first , download the combo updater or delta updater. Do not bother to use Apple’s auto updater functionality , it just breaks couple of things. Its recommended to download the dmg and run the pkg manually.
2. Once you’ve downloaded. You’re required to remove SleepEnabler.kext. This kext can be located either in your /System/Library/Extensions folder or /Extra/Extensions or your EFI partition. Once you’ve removed this file kindly rebuild your extensions by either using Conti’s pfix (bundled with myHack) or Kext Utility  or via Terminal. Reboot your Hack once you’ve done that
3. Now in a clean state be sure to backup your /System/Library/Extensions by duplicating it . In other words simply Copy and paste the folder in another location. In this case I’ve pasted within the Library Folder. This is important as OSX 10.6.3 breaks a lot of stuff , for instance native sound driver and USB 2.0 compatibility on certain motherboards . Its important for us to have our last known working extensions.

Screen shot 2010-04-03 at 8.16.17 PM
Duplicate your working OSX extensions as its vital to get some hardware working with 10.6.3

4. Run OSX 10.6.3 Combo Updater or Updater once you’ve finished copying everything. (Note : If you’re using a patched kernel , the Combo updater may not run , giving you an error. To fix this you must get modbin’s test7 kernel. You may simply google for this)
5. Once you’ve done installing , DO NOT RESTART. Rather run pfix again and be sure to include the new SleepEnabler.kext . Once you’ve done that you may restart. However if you’re running this on Intel Atom/Pentium D (and other unsupported processors) and AMD processors 0 you may want to replace the patched kernel otherwise you’ll be stucked in an infinite loop . For ATI users you may have to install netkas’ exotic package before restarting and if you’re using Intel graphics with 64-bit kernel , you may have to boot into 32-bit
6. Just pray that everything works and everything is in place. Suppose if something is broken there are couple of ways to fix. The important part is that the system boots and you’ve GUI and your stuff there.
7. To fix issues such as with applehda and usb issues. Simply go to your 10.6.x Extensions folder and copy respective files such as IOUSBFamily.kext (for USB) and applehda.kext (for apple native audio driver) and place’em back in Extensions folder and be sure to run pfix or Kext Util once you’ve done that and it should be working. Alternatively you may want to navigate to to find if there are any patched kexts for 10.6.3 !
I wish you all the best in this upgrade process !

42 thoughts to “Straight forward 10.6.3 upgrade guide”

  1. Great guide!
    in my case, i made another partition on my hd, and made a backup of SL to it using disk utility and Carbon Copy Cloner.
    it did helped me, and when i finished updating i deleted that partition.
    easy! 🙂

  2. Morphey , thats another method. If you’re comfortable with that – go ahead and make another partition. its your call. But the general idea is to back it up !

  3. Hello Pradeesh!
    I have an Intel DG41TY board with a Nvidia 9400 GT video card but I just use the apple updater and everything went ok after reboot no kernel crash or other issue. The only problem I steel can´t solve is the audio in or mic that is not working since I install OSX for the very the first time, my audio chip is ALC888VC audio codec. I hope you can give me a hand with that.
    Greetings from the middle of the world! QUITO-ECUADOR!!!

  4. I have been doing this long enough that I should know better than to just run Software Update but I somehow see it as part of the “Mac experience”. To that end, I run on some pretty standard hardware and I don’t bother with sleep on my desktop. Everything seems to be running as well as it was before. It’s a testament as to how well Chameleon works. Of course, a good backup can always give one a sense of confidence.

  5. Just bought a XFX 9800GT from LY. Plug into my 10.6.3 and able to boot into OSX. The monitor turn into safe mode by itself. Any idea how to solve this? My monitor accept HDMI or VGA port. My XFX 9800 only has DVI and HDMI. DVI-to-VGA adapter is not supported with this card.

  6. Hello Pradeesh. I have an AOD150 and i followed your easy guide step by step, but unfortunately i didn’t know i had to update IOATAFAMILY.kext to 10.6.3 version, so now i’m stuck in a “waiting for root device” hell on restart. Is there way to solve this without reinstalling? I have no USB installation device or a way to make it, i only got a SL DVD and an Empire EFI CD. Maybe is there away i can access to the system thru these and correct the problem? Thanks a lot.

  7. Hi, first of all, I want to say thank you for this guide and Empire EFI. OSX 10.6 worked perfectly on my system, so I decided to upgrade to 10.6.3. The upgrade was successful, and everything works apart from the sound. Previously, I was using VoodooHDA, and in this guide you said that VoodooHDA users are unaffected, however, I have no sound since installing 10.6.3. I’ve looked everywhere for drivers for my ALC888s sound card. Please help! 😀

  8. @paskan – i need more info
    iisbosshog – if you’ve backed up your old IOATAFamily , you may restore them back to /S/L/E and it should fix it
    @R762 – PM me with umm your codec dump from Vodoo. If you dont know how , kindly just drop me a mail !

  9. Hi Pradeesh,
    Can you please advise whether the GTX 285 2GB card is supported in 10.6.3?
    I just couldn’t find an answer elsewhere.

  10. Pradeesh :@paskan – i need more infoiisbosshog – if you’ve backed up your old IOATAFamily , you may restore them back to /S/L/E and it should fix [email protected] – PM me with umm your codec dump from Vodoo. If you dont know how , kindly just drop me a mail !

    unfortunately, i’ve got the same problem with “waiting for root device” error. copying over the backed up IOATAFamily kext doesn’t solve the problem, also copying the new AppleIntelPIIXATA into /extra/ext… doesn’t help (with booting -f -v). copying the AppleIntelPIIXATA kext into the available 10.6.3 IOATAFamily kext into the plugins directory doesn’t help either. any help on that?

  11. 10.6.3 + IOATAFamily.kext = KP
    myHack has this listed on their site:
    I upgraded as well before finding this out and got my system back up and running by deleting IOATAFamily.kext, replacing it with AppleIntelPIIXATA.kext, and recompiling my two extensions.mkext files.
    The downside is that only two SATA ports will work (the whole reason we’re using IOATAFamily.kext instead of AppleIntelPIIXATA.kext). If you followed Pradeesh’s guide for the install you should still have a usb drive or external somewhere which you could boot from which only has those very basic kexts which included AppleIntelPIIXATA.kext.
    We’re basically suck with this until someone comes up with a fix for IOATAFamily.kext.
    My Hardware:
    Asus P5K SE/EPU
    PNY nvidia 8800 GT (working with efi string)

  12. I’m using a GTX 260.
    In 10.6.0, NVAResman Kext caused the display to go into Power Save mode after booting. Removing this kext per these instructions fixed the problem:
    With the upgrade to 10.6.3, however, the machine goes back into Power Save mode after booting, and NVAResman does not appear to be causing the problem (the kext no longer exists).
    Any thoughts on which kexts to remove/disable in order to get 10.6.3 up-and-running with a GTX 260? I’m on a UD-7 mobo.

  13. i was silly, my monitor actually has DVI port. So I just buy a DVI cable and plug into the monitor and it works! Read from insanelymac, a lot of people has this nvidia black screen (power save mode) problem when using HDMI cable (happened to DVI2HDMI dongle too).

  14. Quick follow-up note: Upgrading from 10.6.1 to 10.6.3, NVDAResman.kext is definitely present — I missed it in my earlier post. This kext is also definitely the one that’s causing problems. I’m on a UD7 mobo with a GTX 260 video card.
    I’ve added my device ID to the Info.plist within the kext, and to the various NVDAHal kexts, but that didn’t fix the problem — instead of going into PowerSave mode, it now freezes on the grey startup Apple log screen.
    I’ve tried everything — NVEnabler, EFI Strings, Multibeast, patched kexts from, the works. I just can’t get everything to function properly at native resolution.
    Also, I STILL can’t get sound to work. I’m aware Apple removed support for the 889 codecs in 10.6.3, that you need to reinstall the AppleHDA.kext from 10.6.2 or use VoodooHDA or try modifying your DSDT file or…
    I’ve spent every night for past couple of weeks on TonyMac’s site, OSX Project, InsanelyMac, InfiniteMac… all the usual suspects. I’m at the end of my rope. Argh!

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  16. Hi. Thx for the excellent guide and the tools. I did the upgrade accidentally twice, the first was a succes the second gave kernel panic. There are few points one need to pay attention:
    1. Legacy kernel Installer installs a new patched kernel called “legacy_kernel” to the root, however, does not remove the vanilla “mach_kernel”. Accordingly the system boots the older kernel giving errors after upgrade. Therefore, let the installer install the new kernel, but thereafter before reboot modify your “” using e.g. terminal and pico and change the name of the kernel from “mach_kernel” to “legacy_kernel”
    2. SleepEnabler messes up the extensions, remove the SleepEnabler.kext, however installs the new kext to the root (where the legacy_kernel is) not to the /System/Library/Extensions. This causes kernel panic. If you, however, use SleepEnabler.kext 10.6.3 and install it using e.g kext.utility or terminal, everything goes smoothly.
    And of course, this is for Intel D945GCLF2 board with Intel Atom 310 processor.

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  20. Hello, it is time to change!
    I would like to install mac on pc
    My hardware:
    Codename Agena
    Specification AMD Phenom(tm) 9650 Quad-Core Processor
    Package Socket AM2+ (940)
    CPUID F.2.3
    Instructions sets MMX (+), 3DNow! (+), SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSE4A, x86-64, AMD-V
    Northbridge NVIDIA MCP61 rev. A3
    Southbridge NVIDIA MCP61 rev. A2
    Memory Size 4096 MBytes
    Memory Frequency 334.8 MHz (3:5)
    video geforce 9500gt
    audio realtek
    which distro do you recommend to install??
    PS: sorry my inglish im italian!

  21. Hey,
    I saw your post. I want [to express some words. This is a component level hardware compatibility list. It has no atom support though and its all still hacked together from 10.6.1 kernels.
    Photo recovery

  22. I successfully installed 10.6.2 into my acer aspire 5741 laptop and would like to update to 10.6.3. I tried updating and after a successful upgrade, the installer requires a reboot – can get to switch to run pfix. How can I work around this?

  23. What do you mean by “replace the patched kernel” when mentioning the unsupported processors? How and what do i replace?

  24. Greetings! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects? Thank you so much!

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