How to force OSX High Sierra USB install with no internet connection?

Discussion in 'macOS High Sierra (10.13)' started by serr, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. serr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    #1
    Is it possible to install OSX 10.13 from a prepared USB installer but with no internet connection?

    The patched USB installer still normally requires an internet connection and an update from time.apple.com.

    Is it possible to give a couple terminal commends to bypass their required connection which gives you the updates beyond the base 10.13.1 system and just install the base system from USB?
     
  2. Kingcr macrumors member

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    Feb 1, 2018
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Maybe I don’t fully understand the problem you’re having, but I do fresh installs from usb all the time without any internet connection. As for the “base” install vs updates, if you only have a 10.13 usb installer, you can download the 10.13.4 (or whatever) combo update and apply that later, also offline.
     
  3. serr thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #3
    Hi Kingcr, Thanks for the reply.

    Can you share how you run the installer in "base" mode please?
    Normal operation requires an internet connection and the installer connects to Apple's install server for the updates beyond the base install. If you have no internet connection, the installer complains and will not let you install at all. If Apple's server crashes (like at present), it tells you to try connecting later.

    How do you either run a USB 10.13 installer in "base install only" mode or how do you prepare/patch an alternate installer from the full downloaded .app file to accomplish that?

    Thanks!
     
  4. Kingcr macrumors member

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    UK
    #4
    Just disconnect your machine from the network entirely. I just have WiFi turned off on my MBP from the beginning of the installation and do not connect even when prompted. If you’re using a wired connection, unplugging would yield the same results. Never had the installer refuse to install.
     
  5. serr thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #5
    Well, now you know. It very pointedly refuses to run with no connection to Apple.

    When you click the install button on the first screen, there's a pause while it connects to Apple and then the license agreement screen comes up if it connects successfully. If you turn airport off and/or pull ethernet, it immediately tells you it needs a connection at that point and stops. If Apple's server is down (like it's been for over 24 hours now), you get a "please try later" notice and the installer will not run.

    So I'd like to learn how to either modify or "trick" this USB made installer to at least do a base system install. If you DO have a USB installer you made that can be run 'offline', can you tell me the method you used to create it please?
     
  6. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    #6
    I suspect that you have an installer that simply has the base install. Most refer to that as a "stub" installer. It runs, but downloads virtually everything. That would definitely require an internet connection to run.
    I don't know how to determine which installer you get, but you can easily check that the size is correct. The full installer app for High Sierra (10.3.4) is more than 5.2GB. If yours is significantly less than 5GB, then you need to try downloading High Sierra from the App Store (again)
    I did just test this by booting to my High Sierra installer partition, with my router turned off. No argument at all, it began installing on a blank partition that I had ready for that. No question at all about needing an internet connection.

    As far as the "method" - I have used 4 different methods. Terminal commands, and 3 different installer partition creator apps: DiskMakerX; Boot Buddy; and Install Disk Creator. I think the bootable that I used this time was made with DiskMakerX, as that is one that I use most often. There shouldn't be a difference, if the original installer app is OK, and the destination partition is working well. I will mention that older flash drives, or those that have been erased a few times, seem to work really slow, the "createinstallmedia" process appears to work a flash drive pretty hard while the installer files are copied (I guess...)
    I wonder if the App Store downloads different versions of the installer (stub, or full), depending on what country you are located?

    Finally - what do you mean by "base system install"? There's really no options at the beginning the install. You simply get what is on the installer.
     
  7. serr thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #7
    Hi DeltaMac,

    Thanks for the guess but that is incorrect.
    I have the full downloaded installer and already have it properly installed on a USB drive. Further, I've used it a number of times before. It contains the base system and many firmware updates. It does in fact do the update to the current revision after the initial base install. (By "base install" I mean the initial 10.13.1 system with no newer revisions.) It installs 10.13.1, then checks for firmware updates for the model and installs them if needed, then downloads the latest revision from Apple (currently .4) and installs that.

    The problem is it checks the connection with Apple before running the base install. The installer would be able to install 10.13.1 if there was a way to avoid or spoof the initial handshake with Apple.
     
  8. Kingcr macrumors member

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    Feb 1, 2018
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    Ok, firstly let's tone it down a little.

    Secondly, I as I said, I do this all the time. I created my usb installer using the official createinstallmedia method a la https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201372. A typical installer is simply a single version of macOS without any of the additional updates which are delivered via the App Store thereafter, so perhaps the better question is, how did you create your installer?
    --- Post Merged, Apr 13, 2018 ---
    Ok, I may have managed to replicate your issue using an ISO I created for High Sierra in a VM rather than my usb installer.

    Is the message you get "The recovery server could not be contacted"?

    If so, there is a fix. Open Terminal from the initial menu in the installer and then issue:

    ntpdate -u time.apple.com

    Close Terminal and try installing as usual from there.
     
  9. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    #9
    Why not make this process a bit simpler by re-doing your USB installer with an up-to-date version of the installer app? It would be a quicker install, without needing much for updates. All it takes is another 5GB+ download from the App Store.
     
  10. serr thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #10
    Thanks again for the reply!

    That's the message, yes!
    I know that terminal command (time update) as a required step for running this installer at all. And it has worked in the past. (And I'm sure will work again when Apple comes back online.)

    What I'm looking to get around is the need to be connected. (Either because I choose not to or if Apple goes offline.)

    Not much more I can break it down...
     
  11. toru173 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    #11
    I've had success in the past by forcing the correct time and date using the
    Code:
    date
    command. Is the error because your date and time are incorrect, or is it trying to contact the update server for another reason?
     
  12. Kingcr macrumors member

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    UK
    #12
    Ok then I think there’s something weird with your installer. My standard installer does not require the date updated nor any internet connectivity. As I said I could only replicate this using the ISO created from the installer app using non-official methods.

    Most likely @toru173 is right in that you can just update the date manually instead of using NTP but none of this should be necessary. I’m still interested in how you created your installer?
     
  13. deepakvrao macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2011
    Location:
    India
    #13

    Here is a really simple method. Just did it on two Macs.

    https://www.macworld.com/article/32...otable-macos-high-sierra-installer-drive.html
     
  14. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    #14
    @serr - why don't you just download the current High Sierra installer, erase your existing USB installer, and make a fresh bootable installer for your use.
    That would be much less hassle than what you are trying to do now.
     
  15. jbarley macrumors 68040

    jbarley

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    #15
    The term "Masochism" comes to mind here.:D
     
  16. serr thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #16
    That would be great if Apple's server were online!
    Heh. I sense a rushed .5 coming soon.

    So, no one knows how to do this eh? Oh well.
    Thank you all for the replies.
     
  17. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    #17
    hmmm... I don't have any problem downloading the installer app from the App Store!

    What happens when you try that? Maybe it is your location? Where do you live (what country?)
     
  18. flowrider macrumors 603

    flowrider

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    #18
    I have never installed an OS or an OS update with an internet connection. I really don't understand how that could possibly cause a problem.

    Lou
     
  19. serr thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #19
    Madison, WI

    I haven't tried re-downloading and re-making the installer yet. (The need to do so would suggest my installer could somehow be altered? I suppose the USB drive could be experiencing corruption... that doesn't give me any other weirdness or error... seems like a stretch.) I'll try that anyway in a bit today when I get back to this project.

    I downloaded the full installer with the help of the High Sierra Patcher Tool from: http://dosdude1.com/highsierra/
    I created two different patched installers. One with the dosdude1 script (only works on some models) and one manually (covers the rest). Manual patch was this:
    sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Untitled
    Browse to Contents/SharedSupport/ and delete the file named InstallInfo.plist

    Instructions to run either patched installer start with this:
    Connect to internet.
    ntpdate -u time.apple.com


    All was happiness and light. One or the other worked depending on the model.
    re: the "Masochism" comment. This isn't me choosing to run the installer with the multi step thing. It's how it's written to work by Apple. And it's actually a convenience to get an up to date install in more or less one step. When you can actually connect to the Apple server anyway...

    I also had a machine running 10.13.3 that I connected to the app store to download an update for it that way (normal SOP). It would download the latest iTunes but not the 10.13.4 revision. It went through the motions but the part where it restarts to the installer screen (apple with remaining time text under it) just paused a moment and the machine quietly restarted with 10.13.3 revision still current. Repeated this to verify the pattern too.

    Their server is saying "try later" with using the installer and just quietly skipping the .4 revision with the SOP update.

    If I'm being stupid here somehow (always a risk of that), I don't see where yet. I really haven't changed anything. If this is Apple detecting me downloading an update too many times and blocking me or some such... that seems like a stretch too. Looks for all the world like they realized the bug with their errant default selection of Filevault enabled in the installer startup script and it bricking people's 10.13 install after the .4 update and just shut their server down until they could release a fixed update. I can only speculate.

    I'll have to try downloading again and then hacking around if nothing has changed. I know just enough about what I'm doing to be dangerous... It should be technically possible to coax this installer into at least a 10.13.1 install with no Apple server connection though.
     
  20. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    #20
    Oh, OK.
    I did not realize that you meant an actual "patched" installer, with the DOSdude mods. That would change the rules, I suppose, as it would change the installer itself. Maybe that's the difference with the need for the internet connection - the default macOS install doesn't generally need that connection until later on when the install is ready for a user setup, and certainly doesn't ask for a connection at the beginning, at least in my experience.
     
  21. serr thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #21
    I have the opposite experience actually.
    The dosdude1 patch only installs 10.13.1 and doesn't query Apple for updates.
    The manually created and patched version is the one that connects to Apple (between the first splash screen and the license accept screen). It doesn't start downloading revisions until after the base 10.13.1 install but if it can't connect to Apple's update server at that initial screen it stops and gives you the "try later" message.

    The specific problem today is installing to a 2011 machine that isn't supported by the dosdude1 patch and must use the other version. Moving forward, seems like an 'offline' hacked version of this would be important to have.

    Note that this is all stuff I've done successfully many times. No new variables or models I haven't worked with before.
     
  22. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    #22
    There is an update for the DOSdude patcher from yesterday (April 13), and you would download the High Sierra app directly from the App Store. You would then have that updated 10.13.4. That is also likely a reason for the update released for the DOSdude patcher.
    In fact, from the DOSdude website changelog for version 2.6.1 patcher
    And, notice the prior version 2.6.0
    hmm...
    That might be worth re-doing your patched installer after getting both the update for DOSdude, and the 10.3.4 full install through the App Store.
    And, use the un-patched installer (not modded) for your 2011 Mac (which would work with a native macOS install)
    USB flash drives are cheap! :cool:
     
  23. serr thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #23
    OK, that's a solid clue and tip. Thank you DeltaMac!
    (And a cool sanity check as well.)

    I'll report back.
     
  24. serr thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #24
    Looks like Dosdude1 is on the case! :)

    I was able to download the new changed full installer with the Dosdude1 utility.
    Curiosity #1: The installer (as the .app file) verifies with the Dosdude1 utility. It however, fails verification with the createinstallmedia commend! (At least under OSX 10.13.3. I'm going to follow up and try running it with other systems.)

    The good news is the new Dosdude1 patch doesn't seem to miss any models like the earlier version (again, so far) so hopefully this is now the "grand unified" 10.13 installer.

    Curiosity #2: I noticed that the wi-fi service is disabled on the startup screen of this patched installer! Avoiding the handshake with Apple at this step apparently. Interesting...

    Curiosity #3: This 10.13.4 installer (that's the 'base install' with this new build) leaves the target SSD formatted HFS+! Giving up on APFS are we?! Now, I started with an HFS+ formatted SSD per the last SOP where the installer required it. (It would fail if started with an already APFS formatted drive.) I'll follow up and try an install to an already APFS formatted drive for an experiment and see what it does.

    Very telling data point: I see the errant default selection to enable Filevault in the initial new account startup script has been removed! (Not sure if this is Dosdude1's or Apple's work.)
     
  25. toru173 macrumors regular

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    Apr 5, 2007
    #25
    From memory, most 2011 machines didn't have SSDs. Only the MacBook Airs came standard, the rest were CTO options. Maybe Apple is whitelisting against machine configuration now, rather than checking the hardware directly?

    I always create a 10.X.0 installer when the OS update first comes out, then download the latest combo update to apply after the fact. I know you've managed to get a working solution, but it could be worth trying something like that in the future - if you're the sort to muck around with OS re-installs frequently
     

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