[GUIDE] USB recovery disk for MacBook Pro Retina, Late 2013 (or any special build)

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by alek2407, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. alek2407, Dec 23, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014

    alek2407 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    #1
    The MacBook Pro Retina 2013 uses a special build of OS X 10.9.1. This means the installer downloaded from the Mac App Store or from a friend's computer will not work. The built in Recovery HD partion has a bootable recovery disk already on it, but we need to get the computer to download the "payload" (so it doesn't require a future internet connect).

    Start by mounting the built in Recovery HD using terminal and the invisible BaseSystem.dmg using terminal.

    Code:
    diskutil mount readOnly /dev/disk0s3
    hdiutil attach "/Volumes/Recovery HD/com.apple.recovery.boot/BaseSystem.dmg"
    Run the Install OS X Mavericks app. Use a GUID HFS+j formatted external disk (unfortunately, it requires a disk larger than 8GB, so you might have to use a different one than the one that will eventually become your recovery USB Disk). It will verify your computer, and start the download. The download is big, so it might take a while.

    Here is the tricky part, you have to make sure that it does not restart the computer. If it restarts you have to sit through the install process, and start over as it deletes the files. To make sure it doesn't auto restart you can open up a document with the old Save/Save As options and start writing in it (MS Office or Photoshop work).

    Once the download finishes, force quit (must be force quit) the Installer. Look at the external disk and find InstallESD.dmg (it may be buried in a folder). Copy InstallESD.dmg to the desktop. If you open it, you will just see a folder named Packages. This is the "payload" of the install, but it is not a bootable disk.

    Make sure that you still have BaseSystem.dmg mounted. Open Disk Utility.app and restore the image to your USB Disk (the one you plan on using as the recovery disk, must be GUID HFS+j and at least 8GB). Eject the BaseSystem.dmg to prevent confusion in the next step.

    This creates the bootable disk, but it has no "payload" to deliver. Open the OS X Base System on the USB Disk and look into /System/Installation. Here you see a shortcut for Packages, but not an actual folder. Mount InstalESD.dmg and copy the Packages into OS X Base System and replace the shortcut.

    You are done! Feel free to rename the USB Disk as you wish.
     
  2. eww7633 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    #2
    If you get the file from your friend, and he doesn't have a Late 2013 rMBP, the build isn't going to match, and you won't be able to install it. The Late 2013 rMBP has a different built for 10.9.1 than every other Mac. I've seen this before, and I'm not sure why so many people need an installer on a thumb drive. Are you really concerned your SSD with recovery partition is going to die, and then you'll have no internet to run internet recovery?
     
  3. alek2407, Dec 24, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014

    alek2407 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    #3
    When I say "friend" I mean a certain Swedish friend. As far as I understand there is no legitimate way to get 2013MBPr from Apple (as it is not downloadable from the Apple store).

    Now (after a bit more research) I realize that this is probably because of the build issue you mentioned. This sticks out to me though because it kind of doesn't make sense I guess. It seems more like a soft limitation that could be worked around (by someone smarter than me).

    I want the installer on a thumb drive just for my own security. Not having a hard copy of the OS just kind of concerns me because of principle. With the MBPr this is even greater as there is no CD drive and not even an ethernet port. I could easily see myself in a situation where I needed to do something with the disk and not have WiFi. I also have a few older macs which I manage and they have hard drive issues where I'd had to replace them and start from scratch often enough where it came in useful. I wouldn't want to have to reinstall Snow Leopard on them and then upgrade on up. I guess this is less of a concern for the MBPr as if the SSD breaks then it's irreplaceable anyways.
     
  4. monkeybagel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Location:
    United States
    #4
    It is not an imposed limitation - it is more of a technical limitation.

    In the past, Apple generally builds custom OS versions for hardware that is newly brought to the market to support the most recent technology in them. Generally after one or two .1 releases, the additional drivers and changes merge into the same OS X build.

    Either way, you should be able to do an Internet recovery now - the recovery partition should fetch the correct version of OS X for your computer. It is only that the App Store will not fetch it.

    If you are dead set on getting the shipping version of OS X that came with the machine, you would need to prepare to do a recovery and after the file downloads quickly copy the file off to another drive before the installer completes. This will require you to have some Terminal knowledge, however.
     
  5. tywebb13 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2012
    #5
    This reminds me of when I got my 2011 mba. It came with 10.7. I made usb installers for 10.7, 10.7.1 and then 10.7.2 and all subsequent versions for lion, mountain lion and now mavericks.

    But 10.7 and 10.7.1 ones will not boot up the mba. They boot up some of my other laptops though, so the installers are not faulty. I could not get my installers to work on the mba till 10.7.2 because the mba had special versions with different builds than the mac app store builds for 10.7 and 10.7.1.

    I suspect the same is happening now with your mbp. Maybe you should wait till 10.9.2 is released publicly. Maybe then a usb installer for 10.9.2 will work on your mbp.
     
  6. jbarley macrumors 68030

    jbarley

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    #6
    In the interim until you sort this out, why not just make a bootable cloned copy of your system to a USB thumb drive, this will give you instant access should you need to do disk maintaintence etc, plus you could do a full recovery should the need ever arise, such as having to replace the SSD.:eek:
     
  7. alek2407 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    #7
    Do you have any knowledge of how I could do that? Does the online recovery even download a file which could be used for a recovery USB?

    I'm fairly comfortable with Terminal, but I would need an explanation to do it.
     
  8. monkeybagel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Location:
    United States
    #8
    Try referencing this hint. I have not tried it with 10.9, but it has worked on 10.7 on machines in the same support scenario that your machine is in.

    http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=20110831105634716

    Or this:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20120522083550/http://www.afp548.com/article.php?story=getting-lion-installers
     
  9. Ai-apple macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2013
    #9
    You can download the latest version of Mavericks by going to the App Store. Then hold the <option> key on the keyboard and click on Purchases on the App Store. From there you can download Mavericks and use it to make a bootable USB disk.
     
  10. alek2407 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    #10
    The App Store version does not support MBPr late 2013
     
  11. monkeybagel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Location:
    United States
    #11

    Did you get anywhere trying those hints?
     
  12. zorinlynx macrumors 601

    zorinlynx

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #12
    Just hold tight. :) your machine will be fine for the few weeks it takes 10.9.2 to come out, and you'll be able to make a working boot USB from that.

    I'm in the same boat. I don't mind; the machine is brand new and if something goes wrong, I can always attempt internet recovery or just go to an apple store. In a couple of weeks I'm sure I'll have my working install image.
     
  13. AirThis macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2012
    #13
    I think the command line intimidates people. ;)

    For fun, I followed the hints and got the installer from the recovery hd on my 2012 rmbp. I then created bootable media with no problems. I'm pretty sure the same should work for the 2013 late rmbp.
     
  14. alek2407 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    #14
    I tried it, and managed to grab the InstallESD.dmg from the download. Mounted it, and it only has the folder "Packages". Restored it to a GUID/HFS+j USB Drive, and the system does not recognize it as a bootable disk (it doesn't even show up during startup). Do I need to "bless" it or something?

    I tried copying the packages folder onto my other OS X Base System drive (the one that works on all the other macs), but when booting I still get the cross in circle.
     
  15. AirThis macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2012
    #15
    Alek, did you try following Apple's procedure for the boot disk? It assumes the installer (the actual .app file) is in Applications, so you might want to copy it there for simplicity.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5856
     
  16. dirtnnasty macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2013
    #16
    Same Issue..

    @AirThis

    We downloaded not a .app... It is just a package-folder
     

    Attached Files:

  17. AirThis macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2012
    #17
    When I attached the BaseSystem dmg, using the command below, a Window popped up similar to the one attached with this post. That's the app file I'm referring to. Edit: From there, you just follow the instructions in the Apple link I gave you (copy the Installer app into Applications for simplicity purposes).

    Code:
    hdiutil attach "/Volumes/Recovery HD/com.apple.recovery.boot/BaseSystem.dmg"
     

    Attached Files:

  18. dirtnnasty macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2013
    #18
    I downloaded another ISO File of Mavericks and there is this "Install Mavericks" App, but I think this ISO and the file from the MacStore are not compatible with the actual rMBP
     
  19. AirThis, Jan 3, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014

    AirThis macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2012
    #19
    Can you mount Base System dmg and get the installer off there? Because that should contain the Installer (located on the recovery HD) which is for your specific 2013 rmbp.

    After running the commands below, check if you don't have a dmg on your desktop called "OS X Base System". If so, open it. It should look like the screen shot I gave above. You can then copy the Installer into your Apps folder and try using the Apple instructions I gave for creating a bootable Mavericks USB stick.

    From the macworld hints article:

    Code:
    Open the Terminal, and type this command to list all partitions on your hard drive or SSD: 
    
    diskutil list 
    
    Look for 'Recovery HD' in the list, and note its identifier. It will be something of the form diskXsY, where X and Y are numeric digits. (On my machine, it's disk0s3).
    Type the following command to mount the recovery HD: 
    
    diskutil mount readOnly /dev/[identifier] 
    
    Replace [identifier] above with the identifier from step 2. So on my machine, I typed: 
    
    diskutil mount readOnly /dev/disk0s3 
    
    The disk image inside the recovery HD is invisible, so use the Terminal to mount that too: 
    
    hdiutil attach "/Volumes/Recovery HD/com.apple.recovery.boot/BaseSystem.dmg" 
     
  20. alek2407, Jan 3, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014

    alek2407 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    #20
    Okay, managed to figure it out. Thank you everyone for helping! here is a complete guide:

    The MacBook Pro Retina 2013 uses a specific version of OS X 10.9.1. This means the installer downloaded from the Mac App Store or from a friend's computer will not work. The built in Recovery HD partion has a bootable recovery disk already on it, but we need to get the computer to download the "payload" (so it doesn't require a future internet connect).

    Start by mounting the built in Recovery HD using terminal and the invisible BaseSystem.dmg using terminal.

    Code:
    diskutil mount readOnly /dev/disk0s3
    hdiutil attach "/Volumes/Recovery HD/com.apple.recovery.boot/BaseSystem.dmg"
    Run the Install OS X Mavericks app. Use a GUID HFS+j formatted external disk (unfortunately, it requires a disk larger than 8GB, so you might have to use a different one than the one that will eventually become your recovery USB Disk). It will verify your computer, and start the download. The download is big, so it might take a while.

    Here is the tricky part, you have to make sure that it does not restart the computer. If it restarts you have to sit through the install process, and start over as it deletes the files. To make sure it doesn't auto restart you can open up a document with the old Save/Save As options and start writing in it (MS Office or Photoshop work).

    Once the download finishes, force quit (must be force quit) the Installer. Look at the external disk and find InstallESD.dmg (it may be buried in a folder). Copy InstallESD.dmg to the desktop. If you open it, you will just see a folder named Packages. This is the "payload" of the install, but it is not a bootable disk.

    Make sure that you still have BaseSystem.dmg mounted. Open Disk Utility.app and restore the image to your USB Disk (the one you plan on using as the recovery disk, must be GUID HFS+j and at least 8GB). Eject the BaseSystem.dmg to prevent confusion in the next step.

    This creates the bootable disk, but it has no "payload" to deliver. Open the OS X Base System on the USB Disk and look into /System/Installation. Here you see a shortcut for Packages, but not an actual folder. Mount InstalESD.dmg and copy the Packages into OS X Base System and replace the shortcut.

    You are done! Feel free to rename the USB Disk as you wish.
     
  21. raw8725 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    #21
    I just wiped my MBP 13" Retina because it was cluttered. Now I'm stuck with a grey no entry sign every time I try and install with USB Bootup.
     
  22. tywebb13 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2012
    #22
    If you used the normal way to make it, it won't boot up your computer because it has special builds for 10.9 and 10.9.1.

    So either use alek2407's method to make the bootable usb for the special builds, or else wait till 10.9.2 is released before making the usb.
     
  23. raw8725 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    #23
    Can I ask you mate when you go in to your "Booting" choices (by pressing option) How much free space does your 650mb partition have? Mine has 98mb free.

    The reason I ask is, because I think I have extra files in here that shouldn't be there. I previously had a tonne of bloatware on the machine. Thanks
     
  24. tywebb13 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2012
    #24
    It's hard to compare my system with yours because I'm actually using the developer preview of 10.9.2. And you have a special build for the late 2013 mbp. I don't even have that build.

    But I doubt if there is anything in your recovery partition that shouldn't be there. How could extra stuff get there? The partition is invisible to your main system by default (even to disk utility) unless you force it to become visible.
     
  25. dirtnnasty macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2013
    #25
    You are my hero!!!!

    Final question: Can I add a custom-folder for some additional files I need on a fresh system?
     

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