Install OS X *to* USB Drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by guru_ck, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. guru_ck macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    Hey Guys,

    I want to install the bare OS X 10.6 essentials to a 4GB USB Drive that I have. I need to boot off of it so that I can run iPartition and resize my active OS X drive. I found some instructions on the web but they were written for 10.4 and many of the steps are not relevant for 10.6. How would I accomplish this?

  2. upaymeifixit macrumors 6502a


    Feb 13, 2009
    Just in case you didn't know this, there are some basic partition functions in Disk Utility and linux's GParted.

    I think you can run applications from terminal on the Snow Leopard disk. You would mount the flash drive in disk utility and then open terminal. The command would look something like this if your flashdrive's name was 8GB FLASH and the file name was Application stored in the first directory:
    open /Volumes/8GB\ FLASH/
    If you don't want to do that you can try installing it to the flash drive.
    I installed Snow Leopard to a flash drive a while ago and it was a nightmare. I don't remember exactly how I did it, but I think if you don't have a U3 flash drive you will need a custom bootloader which you can find somewhere on Then you would go about installing Snow Leopard normally, but when it asks what volume you want to install it to you would select the flash drive. I'll let you try to figure it out, if you can't let me know and I'll look into it more.
  3. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Even 8GB drive is a bit cramped.

    Get a 16GB or larger. They are cheap.

    You should get a faster thumbdrive too if you plan to boot off it often.
  4. gman34 macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2009
    Get the iso of Snow leopard...
    extract it,
    Delete all the printer drivers and all other drivers you won't need...

    It should come to around 3 to 4 gbs. than use disk utility or whatever and re create it to an iso or whatever and throw it in your flash drive.

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