How to build a bootable USB Installer

Dalton63841

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Nov 27, 2010
1,449
5
SEMO, USA
I was asked to build this. I could have sworn it used to be done the same way, but whatever. Here you go:

1. Show hidden files by opening /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app and typing the following:
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
killall Finder
2. Right click Installer.app file and click Show Package Contents, Open Contents folder, then look in SharedSupport folder. You will see InstallESD.dmg.
3. Mount InstallESD.dmg.
4. Copy the BaseSystem.dmg file out to somewhere convenient.
5. Do not mount BaseSystem.dmg. Just open Disk Utility and restore it to a flash drive.
6. When that's done look in the flash drive you just restored to and go to /System/Installation/. In that folder you will see a white icon with an arrow called Packages. That's a broken alias. Delete it.
7. Now go back to your InstallESD.dmg file. Inside is a folder weighing in at about 4.5GB called Packages. Copy that folder onto the flash drive in place of where the alias was.
8. Go ahead and hide the hidden folders again by going back to the Terminal and typing:
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
killall Finder
9. Done. Boot from the flash drive and get to work.

As per usual, don't blame me if you screw up. If you somehow need these instructions simpler don't be afraid to ask. Lots of smart people around here.

Here's a video tutorial courtesy of mmomega:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSfMX8M9Qsw
 
Last edited:

ssn637

macrumors 6502
Feb 12, 2009
414
37
Switzerland
Awesome! Still no solution on the Developer Forum. You just saved me a bunch of time on a clean installation. Thanks so much.
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,089
4
Sol III - Terra
...
As per usual, don't blame me if you screw up. If you somehow need these instructions simpler don't be afraid to ask. Lots of smart people around here.
Did you use an SD card or a USB Thumb drive? Also what size do you recommend? It sounds like 8GB is needed, but I wonder if it would be better to get 16GB to allow for future growth.
 

Dalton63841

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Nov 27, 2010
1,449
5
SEMO, USA
Did you use an SD card or a USB Thumb drive? Also what size do you recommend? It sounds like 8GB is needed, but I wonder if it would be better to get 16GB to allow for future growth.
Either one will work. 8GB is plenty.

Leopard Installer: 8GB
Snow Leopard Installer: 7.5GB
Lion Installer: 5GB
Mountain Lion Installer: 5.5GB
Mavericks DP1 Installer: 6GB

I have a 64GB flash drive with every OS X Installer from Leopard to now on it. Each time a new OS comes out I make another 8GB partition on it.
 

robertpolson

macrumors regular
Feb 24, 2011
140
98
I don't see "BaseSystem.dmg" anywhere. The only files inside OSX Install.dmg are

BaseSystemBinaries.pkg
BaseSystemResources.pkg

I am currently copying Restore - "OSX Install ESD" to my USB drive. Lets see if that works.

Edit: That did not work.
 
Last edited:

vickysud

macrumors member
Jun 13, 2012
87
9
Can anyone post a video on how to do it. When i mount InstalESD.dmg i only see packages folder. There is no BaseSystem.dmg file
 

robertpolson

macrumors regular
Feb 24, 2011
140
98
Found the solution.

To see BaseSysemt.dmg, you need to

1. Open terminal

2. Enter "defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES"

3. Hold Alt keyboard button and click on Finder - choose rellaunch finder.

4. You will then see hidden files and BaseSysemt.dmg
 

vickysud

macrumors member
Jun 13, 2012
87
9
Found the solution.

To see BaseSysemt.dmg, you need to

1. Open terminal

2. Enter "defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES"

3. Hold Alt keyboard button and click on Finder - choose rellaunch finder.

4. You will then see hidden files and BaseSysemt.dmg
followed your steps sadly cannot see still. copy and paste ""defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES" (without quotes) after pressing enter i don't see anything

mount instalEsd.dmg again and still cannot see.
 

Dalton63841

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Nov 27, 2010
1,449
5
SEMO, USA
Found the solution.

To see BaseSysemt.dmg, you need to

1. Open terminal

2. Enter "defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES"

3. Hold Alt keyboard button and click on Finder - choose rellaunch finder.

4. You will then see hidden files and BaseSysemt.dmg
Editing first post to make step 1 simpler.
 

jonlon15

macrumors newbie
Mar 4, 2010
3
0
This method does not create a recovery partition.

Does anyone know how to make a bootable drive that will install Mavericks AND a recovery partition?
 

hoosier205

macrumors newbie
Jun 11, 2013
27
0
I have the beta dmg file. I want to upgrade my 10.8 install to the beta without losing data. Is that possible or only a clean install?
 

w0lf

macrumors 65816
Feb 16, 2013
1,233
73
USA
I have the beta dmg file. I want to upgrade my 10.8 install to the beta without losing data. Is that possible or only a clean install?
You can upgrade without losing any data.




For me it appears as if

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
and
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

take effect without restarting finder (you do have to refresh the window though, going to a new folder and back for example)
 
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candrist

macrumors newbie
Mar 8, 2012
3
0
Circle With Slash

I am able to build a bootable usb drive. It boots, I get the apple logo, and then eventually I get a circle with a slash.

Anybody else run into this.

Regards,

Chris
 

tehjak3

macrumors newbie
Jun 11, 2013
1
0
I've followed your guide, and it's worked great to create the bootable USB but I'm currently having some problems with the installation. I get to the point where I choose what disk i'm going to install to, and then it just comes up with "Signing into the App Store" which I've provided an image of below. Any ideas?

http://i.imgur.com/s0rrqG0.jpg
 
Last edited:

Dalton63841

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Nov 27, 2010
1,449
5
SEMO, USA
I am able to build a bootable usb drive. It boots, I get the apple logo, and then eventually I get a circle with a slash.

Anybody else run into this.

Regards,

Chris
Same happening here on 2012 MBA
Can you upload a screenshot of a Finder window that shows the file structure of your usb installer in list mode?

This is not what the file structure should look like, but this is an example of the screenshot I need to see. http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=17390685&postcount=113

I've followed your guide, and it's worked great to create the bootable USB but I'm currently having some problems with the installation. I get to the point where I choose what disk i'm going to install to, and then it just comes up with "Signing into the App Store" which I've provided an image of below. Any ideas?

Image
Mine never did that. I have no idea why it would.