Bootable MacOSX 10.6 Snow Leopard emergency USB flash drive boot disk

Discussion in 'OS X' started by timelessbeing, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2009
    I want to create a minimal recovery boot disk for SL. I've followed how-to's on creating one for 10.4 and 10.5, but so far it I couldn't get it to work with 10.6.

    If you have successfully done this, or can point me to a pre-made image or how-to, it would be much appreciated.
  2. macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2010
    Manchester, UK
    I have done it once, but failed on many attempts because my USB Stick was not big enough. I heard you can make bootable images with SuperDuper.

    Also if you want bootable USB Snow Leopard do this:

    1. Get a Snow LEopard DMG or ISO or DVD
    2. Open Disk Utility and select the Flash Drive
    3. Select the Erase tab on the right and then set Format to Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Name the partition you’ll be creating Snow Leopard or OS X Install so you can keep track of your installation device. After you’ve done this, click the Erase button.
    4. After Disk Utility finishes erasing your old data on the flash drive and setting it as a new partition, it will be ready for the Snow Leopard install files. Select the Restore tab at the top and then drag the Snow Leopard DVD to the Source field. Select your USB device for the Destination file. Click Restore and wait for the restoration to finish (about 20 minutes).

    Make sure that your USB is formatted as GUID so it will be bootable.

    Hope it helps
  3. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2009
    sup3r1or, you are describing how to create a MacOS install disk which has very limited functionality. It will only allow you to run disk utility and a few other things.

    I'm interested in a fully functional OS with Finder and the ability to run any app.
  4. macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2006
    West Plains, MO USA Earth
    In that case connect your usb drive and put in the SL DVD and install to the usb device. A 16 gig unit should work just fine.... You should be able to adjust the install to leave off some parts of languages and such, not too sure on that.

    If I had the time I would then delete from that install safe items to make it smaller... like run monolingual. Then use CarbonCopy or SuperDupper to clone the now smaller device to an 8 gig usb stick.

    Others may have less OCD solutions so stay tuned.
  5. timelessbeing, Sep 10, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2011

    thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2009
    Following a guide I found for making a 10.5 boot disk, I opened the packages on my SL install disk, and only installed CoreServices, Essentials, and Migration Assistant. Then I removed Asian fonts (~100MB). I end up with an OS that's less than 2GB. The disk boots, gets past the Apple logo, and then I get a grey screen with eternally spinning beachball.

    I understand that as a last resort, I can run the OS installer the normal way, and then choose minimal components, and end up with a bloated OS. But like I said, I'm trying to get it nice and tight if possible.

    I was able to pare down my Mac OS to 3.5GB. Then I tried using disk utility to shrink the partition size to "fit", but the smallest it would let me go is 8GB which is more than double. It would be nice to be able to make a bootable 4GB DVD.

    I know it's possible, because my bootable Coriolis iDefrag volume is 1.87GB.

    Any idea how to get a partition size down to, say, 4GB?
  6. Moderator emeritus


    Jun 15, 2000
  7. macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2007
    Any luck on this?

    I'm trying to do the same thing, and I assume you're using something like the Brad Bergeron how-to for 10.4, then trying to extrapolate for 10.5 & 10.6. My guess is we need another installed package than just the 3 you listed. I'm also curious as to the best way to update to the latest version (currently 10.6.5) w/o injecting a ton of bloat that we worked so hard to avoid during initial install. Any ideas there?

  8. macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2008
    please tell me how to shrink it to 3.5GB.
  9. timelessbeing, Dec 30, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2011

    thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2009
    No luck yet, Fred. But I did find this
    Maybe we should skulk around in the OSX86 forum a bit. I'm sure those folks know the OS inside and out.

    Easy. Install with minimal components, then remove fonts that you don't need. Remove the hibernation file and disable.
  10. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Any progress on this? It would be quite handy.
  11. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2009
    Gents, if you don't mind, please start a different topic for your Lion discussion. I prefer to keep this one Snow Leopard only.

    I recently found this by the OSx86 folks from 2009:
    It's a live DVD. Their goals were a little different (make it work on a computer without a hard drive) but I still wonder if it could be done with 10.6. It looked a bit intimidating.

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