As of this point, I don’t even know if this is going to work. I want to install SSH on the AppleTV so I can then add an external USB drive as the primary source of storage. This is being documented so that someone can learn from my mistakes, to ease out the documentation out there that is a bit rough around the edges, and finally to guide someone who is willing to help find any stupid mistakes I made along the way…let’s get started…

This is the main source I am using for installing SSH from an external USB drive to my AppleTV:

Here are the steps I have made so far:

1. Formatted my drive using Disk Utility as a GUID Partition Table – else you won’t be able to install OS X Intel on the external drive:


2. Installed OS X 10.4
3. Enabled SSH and Remote Desktop
4. Updated to OS X 10.4.8
5. Rebooted
6. Repaired Permissions

I then booted from another OS X drive, and from within this drive I carried out the modifications detailed here (on from step 7)

7. Using terminal, I renamed mach_kernel on the external USB drive to foo
8. Downloaded the revised kernel from this link (complete mirrors found here)
9. Copied the modified mach_kernel to the root of the extrenal USB drive (where the old one used to be) using cp command

Note: at this point, mach_kernel is visible in the Finder, dunno if this is expected:


10. Now here is the tricky part. You need to modify the USB drive’s boot.efi with that of an AppleTV, but alas – we have no access to the AppleTVs drive at this point (chicken and the egg problem). After googling a bit, I found that you can get what I assume is a workable Apple EFI file from the following URL:

The boot.efi file found in /Volumes/OSBoot/System/Library/CoreServices/ matched the MD5 sum from this page:

sabors-MBP:/Volumes/TV sabor$ md5 /Volumes/OSBoot/System/Library/CoreServices/boot.efi
MD5 (/Volumes/OSBoot/System/Library/CoreServices/boot.efi) =
11. I unlocked the boot.efi file from the USB device and deleted it
12. Using the cp command, I copied the boot.efi file from the mounted image (path is above) to the following path of the USB boot drive: /System/Libary/Coreservices/
13. I locked the newly copied boot.efi file
14. I ran the bless command:

sudo bless –folder=/Volumes/TV/System/Library/CoreServices/ –file=/Volumes/TV/System/Library/CoreServices/boot.efi –setBoot
(TV is the name of my external USB drive)

15. Removed the Nvidia ktexts

This pretty much narrows down “Step 1″ from the Enable SSH Without Opening the Apple TV Wiki.
16. I added the new text detailed on Step 2 of the same page
17. Carried out step 3 of the same page

Some notes on this step. When I entered the command gpt remove -i 2 /dev/disk6, I was immediately greeted with this message (ignore it)


Finally I take the drive to the AppleTV, plug it in, press menu + “-” and the AppleTV boots from the external drive. I see the gray background with the dark grey Apple and the spinning progress-like star. After about 1 minute, I get this nice icon displayed and nothing happens:


Oh boy, time to seek help…

UPDATE: The solution was found here. Basically, you have to do this before you run the series of commands (16 , 17 above):

Delete /Volumes/YourExternalDisk/System/Library/Extensions.mkext and Extensions.kextcache if they exist

After that OS X booted on the damn thing from an external drive…brilliant. I hooked up as USB hub, keyboard, and mouse and joined the wireless network. From there, I followed the well documented instructions here to enable SSH and it’s all good to go now.

christian says:

Yeah, that happened to me as well. Thing is when you reboot your AppleTV, your /Volumes/YourExternalDisk/System/Library/Extensions.mkext and Extensions.kextcache files are created again, and this causes the “do not” icon t show up.

When you are booted on your external drive and you are about to reboot, make sure you delete these files. If you do and you boot from the USB drive again, you won’t have that problem.

Hope this helps!!

OJ says:

Interesting. These instructions worked, but only once. When I was shutting down, I saw the machine sit there with an empty screen the blue color of the background for some time, and finally after about five minutes, I just pulled the plug. Next boot, it was giving the “do not” icon (what *is* the name of that thing?!?).

Anyway, I can’t imagine what to do next.