"Install Mac OS X Lion" versus "InstallESD.dmg"

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by mekkon, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2004
    I recently bought Lion, and am upgrading my machines. I have an iMac which isn't connected to the internet that I want to upgrade. (It is located in a camp where internet isn't available...)

    I read all about how to do it after I purchased Lion on my macbook pro, by using the same install file. However, there seem to be two competing ideas out there. After downloading Lion, I saved the "Install Mac OS X Lion" app that is placed in the Applications folder. I also unpacked it and saved the InstallESD.dmg file seperately. I've burned both to DVD.

    Which one should I use, and what are the differences or implications of using either? From what I've read:

    • Install Mac OS X Lion - This is the exact file downloaded from the App Store, and may or may not include personal information in the attached files.
    • InstallESD.dmg - This is the file packaged within the above. It is the actual installer, and is identical to what anyone who has installed Lion uses. It can be burned to a DVD to create a bootable copy, and (maybe?) for a fresh install on a blank drive.

    From my research - and various threads here - it seems as though either of them can/should be copied to my iMac's Applications folder and run from there. But which is best, and why? Or can I update directly from the bootable InstallESD DVD? Thanks!
  2. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 9, 2003
    Erie, PA
    You can use the bootable disk you made to do the install on your other machine.

  3. macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2010
    If you will upgrade, copying Install Mac OS X Lion.app to other computer and running it is the best solution.

    If you will clean install, burning InstallESD.dmg to DVD or a USB stick is the best solution.
  4. macrumors 68030

    Taz Mangus

    Mar 10, 2011
    The difference between the two is that after the "Install Mac OS X Lion" has completed it erases itself. Hence, you will loose the ability to do another Lion install unless you re-download it again.

    I keep the "Install Mac OS X Lion" around on my Applications folder. I also made a bootable drive using InstallESD.dmg. I have three Mac computers so having the bootable Lion install drive makes it easy to install/re-install on all Mac computers.

    I keep the "Install Mac OS X Lion" as another backup copy just in case I need InstallESD.dmg again.
  5. thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2004
    So can the InstallESD.dmg be used to update a Snow Leopard machine to Lion, or can it only do a clean install? And can it be run from the disc, or must it be copied to the Applications folder like the "Install Mac Os X Lion" installer?
  6. macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    I made a post about this exact topic. Read to learn how to use InstallESD.dmg.

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