Boot iMac from an OS X Live DVD or USB thumb drive?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by GameGuru38, May 13, 2016.

  1. GameGuru38 macrumors regular


    Sep 7, 2009
    With Linux I love that I can boot from disc or USB so I can do some tests on the internal HDD and wondering if there is a way to do this with OS X so I can run a diagnostic on the HDD before attempting to install to it?
  2. redheeler, May 13, 2016
    Last edited: May 13, 2016

    redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
  3. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005

    You can use the Apple tool at this link to make a recovery USB key. This is not a full OS installer, but just a small recovery utility that you can use to access things like Disk Utility and Terminal for troubleshooting.
  4. abhibeckert macrumors regular


    Jun 2, 2007
    Cairns, Australia
    USB drives are damaged whenever you write to them, so it's not recommended to run a full OS X install on one.

    It will work, but only for a while then you'll have to buy a new thumb drive. According to Wikipedia, how long it will last varies from "a few days" to "several hundred years" depending on your usage pattern.

    Booting a normal OS X is probably closer to "a few days", which is why you should only really use the recovery feature - that is designed for thumb drives and won't wear it out too badly.

    If you're frequently doing diagnostics/etc you should use a proper HDD or SSD in a USB enclosure. Or even better, thunderbolt.

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3 May 13, 2016