Running macOs Catalina on unsupported Macs – MB 2008

Working with older pre-metal gpus macs, High Sierra has been the way to go – even on machines that do not support it natively like this 2008 Unibody Macbook with GeForce 9400m, a patched install provides perfect graphical acceleration, while Mojave and Catalina require more invasive patching and tinkering to use the fallback legacy renderer. Also, well-written software will expect metal when running on Mojave and later, crashing when run in the patched OSes while running fine on High Sierra ( like Zoom – fixed using this version ).
UPDATE: a good list of issues and solutions running new OS on non-metal hardware can be found on the dortania OCLP guide, wich is the new method designed to run even Big Sur and Monterey on 2008 and newer Macs.
But in late 2020, High Sierra security support is ending and there are some apps that will work fine on patched Catalina while refusing to install on HS, so i decided to run Dosdude latest patcher.

The system disk was not booting and probably running some very old CatOs; i installed El Capitan with the USB key on a newly-installed SSD to make sure the bootrom was updated to the latest version ( i think it’s MB51.007D.B03 – that’s what i got ). I came across the usual error – ” macOS could not be installed on your computer ” ” The installer resources were not found ” ” This copy of the Install OS X El Capitan application can’t be verified. It may have been corrupted or tampered with during downloading. ” ; this is solved solved by going to terminal and typing ” date 0707070717 ” before starting the install – info found here.

After the patched MacOs install, every network i tried to connect was giving me ” The network could not be found ” error. I tried to remove the files in /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ as in this guide without success. The soultion that worked for me was to create a new location on the network preferences – position box on top.

This machine can only run DDR3 PC8500s wich is very expansive in 4gb sticks – i need to learn how to flash memory modules in the future – so i just updated to 2x2gb. To ensure that the system does not take it all at boot, i ran my debloating script – i will try to write a full guide on the subject soon.

I tried to install Photoshop 2021 – an app that is not avaiable on MacOs High Sierra – but it failed because of lack of SSE 4,2 support on the CPU, so i went with the latest 2020. I hope removing support for pre-sse4,2 systems is improving performance in PS – as in macOs, it can be extremely laggy even on top end machines with 128gb of ram and 18 cores.

I installed LibreOffice and Firefox with FoxPEP .

The machine feels a bit less smooth (gpu animations) than High Sierra on the same gpu/cpu combo, but it’s definitely on the usable side and will be able to run the latest SW for a longer timeframe.