Is there a simple way to downgrade to Mavericks without Time Machine?

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by d_gomaiste, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. d_gomaiste macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2016
    I know this has been beaten to death, so please excuse my unfamiliarity with the subject.

    Most of the threads I've read through are a few years old — I'm wondering if anyone has recently found a way to downgrade to 10.9 without Time Machine?

    I understand that in order to install Mavericks from Yosemite or El Capitan, the Macintosh HD volume must be wiped clean first. I also understand that in lieu of a Time Machine backup, the only other option is to create some other sort of backup and manually replace everything post OS installation.

    I wouldn't mind doing that, BUT I would love to have some kind of backup where all of my applications and their respective folder structures and file paths are kept intact. The one thing I'm dreading about reverting to 10.9 is having to download and re-install everything; most of the applications I use for work depend upon a host of third-party plugins and scripts, and many of their folder structures/file paths have remained the same since much earlier versions of OS X. It'd be really cool if I could simply copy and paste from an external drive, as having to reinstate all of this would be a nightmare.

    Again, pardon my inexperience here, and thanks in advance for any suggestions!!
  2. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2015
    I am curious why you don't have a previous backup of your Mac?

    Also is there some specific reason why wish to downgrade?

    As for the question I don't think its possible to automatically revert to previous OS if you don't have Time Machine or Clone in external drive. Another complication is that even with Time Machine backup restore won't always work if the disk contains backups from newer OS than what is restored...

    I "downgraded" to Mavericks some months ago and did it manually because of switch to another Mac and I wanted to spring clean my installation. It took about 3 hours and it was piece of cake (only because I know what I'm doing).

    It depends on the software in question and how they are developed, most can be simply copied over without problems but if the licensing scheme is strict you have to use original installers and provide licensing information.
  3. captainparanoid macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2010
    I have a similar question.

    I have a 2008 iMac 2.4Ghz Core 2Duo running Mavericks and I am finding it much slower than mountain lion.
    I have backed up my Hard Drive onto an external usb (With Mountain Lion) using Time Machine.

    Can I wipe my hard drive re-install Mountain Lion and use the external copy to revert to my old set up?

  4. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2015
    In theory it should work but its safer to create Mountain Lion install media just in case the restoration won't work. Instructions are here.

    However I also recommend making clone of your current Mavericks installation to external drive first with Disk Utility or other such software because you should always have a bootable drive to fall back to in case of problems in the Time Machine restoration. I'm not trying scare you but if restore fails and you don't have a bootable drive or install media you will have a hard time getting your Mac back to working condition.

    Also make sure you test Time Machine drive with Disk Utility before you wipe your internal drive, if Disk Utility finds errors correct them first or you have nasty surprise waiting for you... :D
  5. captainparanoid macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2010
    Hey Thank you for the swift reply :)

    one thing that may be relevant... The iMac I have now came with Maverick installed.
    I then cloned my old mac (Snow Leopard) directly onto it.

    The back up I made with Time Machine was onto an external USB with Mountain Lion installed
    so I haven't actually used Time Machine with any OS other than Maverick
    ( if that makes sense? )

    One further question how do i make a clone of my current maverick set up using Disk Utility?

    Thanks again
  6. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2015
    I'm not sure if I understand correctly.

    If you already have a clone of previous Mac with Snow Leopard then you can boot iMac from it (assuming its in a external drive).

    On the other hand if you used migration assistant when you started using the iMac then you don't have a clone and you should made one just in case.

    Since the iMac has Mavericks easiest way to create clone is to boot into Recovery by pressing Command-R while the Mac boots, release them once you see Apple logo.

    When Recovery screen appears open Disk Utility and select iMacs drive on the left side. Then click Restore tab and drag iMac hard drive into source, Destination should be your external drive. Make sure you select correct drives, if you mix them iMacs drive will be overridden by the external drive! External drive should be empty because its contents will be replaced with the iMac drive. Then click Restore and confirm the choice, it will likely take hours depending on how much data the drive contains...
  7. captainparanoid macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2010

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