Mac Pro 5.1 - High Sierra - HFS+ - WIN 8.1/10

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MikkelAD, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. MikkelAD macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2018
    Hey !

    Currently in the proces of experimenting with HFS+ and APFS for my bootable drive with High Sierra.

    I have looked at numerous guides like this:

    I want to make a fresh install of High Sierra without having to do the "cloning" proces. At the moment my two Samsung EVO 850's are connected by the regular SATA ports. Thought it would be smart to make one of the discs my "High Sierra installer disc" for fast install speed instead of a USB drive.

    If the drive I want to install High Sierra on is called "HD50" shouldn't it be possible to install High Sierra from the terminal when booting up with the following line?:

    "/Volumes/Install macOS High" --volume /Volumes/HD50 --converttoapfs NO

    I really want this to work in some way since the "cloning" method and installing old OS X (upgrading to High Sierra and running terminal from desktop) aren't optimal solutions in my eyes...

    Thanks in advance!
  2. MikkelAD thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2018
    I really really want this to work so windows 10 will be available for me but if nobody has ever managed to succeed installing High Sierra without APFS convert from scratch it looks kind of uphill :(
  3. skizzo macrumors regular

    Apr 11, 2018
    so when I updated to High Sierra it did not convert any of my HDD to APFS on my 4,1 with flashed 5,1 firmware. I then installed a SSD afterwards and I just selected HFS+ as the format. I then installed HS onto the SSD, and then removed the volume/partition I had of HS on the HDD. Not once has it asked to convert the SSD to APFS. Perhaps that is normal behavior, but I was under the impression I HAD to use APFS on the SSD if it were to be a boot volume. I am not sure if I am providing any real usable info here but I am getting the impression you want to install HS and NOT have to use the APFS format on an SSD? So if that is the case, that is how I unknowingly went about doing so
  4. MikkelAD thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2018
    Well sounds like you somehow managed to skip the APFS converting because you installed from a HDD that had the HFS+

    Did you install HS on the SSD from the desktop (terminal) or by booting from some kind of drive?

    I read somewhere that it's actually possible to install a "fresh" HS without the APFS converting to a another drive in your computer if you run HS installer from terminal (desktop). But that is by no means practical if I want to use the other of my two drives for windows. It won't be very future proof in terms of reinstalling and so on...

    But yes it's because I need my HS installation to be HFS+ so it will work probably when I install windows 10 on the other SSD...
  5. skizzo macrumors regular

    Apr 11, 2018
    So this might be a much longer or ridiculous process than needed to achieve the same results, but here is what I did

    I was going from Snow Leopard 10.6.8 to High Sierra 10.13.3 (I am now on 10.13.4 and still works well with a HFS+ SSD)
    So I made a partition to update to El Captain on my Snow Leopard bootable HDD (lets call this HDD "A")
    I put El Captain onto the same HDD as Snow Leopard, but separate partition/volume
    From there I could download the High Sierra installer and updated to High Sierra onto a separate HDD (lets call this HDD "B").

    Please note I still have not physically installed the SSD at this point in time

    I then made a Time Machine backup of my High Sierra HDD ("B") to a DIFFERENT HDD (lets call this HDD "C")

    At this point in time I physically installed a new OWC SSD into the 4th SATA bay. I format it to HFS+ and did note that it had the APFS formats as options.

    So I boot up holding the option key for the boot menu and I select the HDD ("C") that has my High Sierra Time Machine backup on it. It goes fine and when I was prompted to select a destination disk for the High Sierra install I selected the SSD.

    I checked afterwards thinking after it was all setup it would prompt for a HFS+ to APFS conversion, but it did not. My SSD is still in a HFS+ format

    So again I likely am giving more info that was is pertinent. But my guess is the key part is first making an install onto a HDD, then making a time machine backup, then install that time machine backup onto your SSD. Perhaps also not having the SSD physically installed until later was a key too for all I know?
  6. MikkelAD thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2018
    I could be wrong but what you are describing is just a variation of the "cloning" method where you use a timemachine back up...

    Another more knowledgeable person has to confirm that :)
  7. skizzo macrumors regular

    Apr 11, 2018
    ahh ok. I missed that detail about wanting it to be a fresh install and not be a backup or clone. (my bad!) My guess is yes I likely did a more drawn out method of cloning to avoid the APFS conversion prompt
  8. MikkelAD thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2018
    Sounds about right ;)
  9. YosemiteSam macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2010
    Southern California
    What the OP is asking is definitely possible. I did it myself on my 2010 5,1 about 3 weeks ago. My immediate location prevents me from immediately sharing the details (I will post them later!), but I wanted to chime in and say that yes, this is completely doable (and I'll be back).

    I had one internal SSD running Yosemite. I added a new SSD. I did a FRESH install of High Sierra on the new SSD, and did not use cloning to do so, rather, I used the terminal. Eventually (see below), everything worked completely, and I am running High Sierra on the new SSD in HFS+ (no APFS).

    HOWEVER- there is a catch (for some people, like me)... Some people, when they download the High Sierra installer, do NOT actually get the full installer from Apple. Instead, for some ridiculously random reason only Apple knows, Apple's download server only gives some users a small mini-installer app (I think it is 19MB or something, but that's off the top of my head). I was one of these "lucky" people (ugh). The full installer (including all components/packages/resources, and particularly including the contents necessary to run the terminal installer with the "--converttoapfs NO" flag) is at least a couple GB (can't remember if it's just over 2 or just over 4... again, away from my actual machine and can confirm later). Once a user gets the "tiny" installer from the App Store, that is the only version Apple will continue to offer them (even after deleting and re-downloading). Fortunately, there is a workaround, but you have to use a (free) 3rd party utility to download the FULL installer. It actually uses MacRumors to get the full version, if I recall. I will provide link when I return.

    My attempts to install-while-maintaiing-HFS using the "mini" installer were NOT successful (in fact, the installation would die part-way through). I was not able to successfully do a CLEAN install of High Sierra on an HFS internal SSD until I downloaded the FULL High Sierra installer.

    I'll be back to share the terminal commands (OP has it mostly right), the 3rd-party utility to download the FULL installer (unless you're lucky and the App Store has already given you the full version- it's completely random who gets which one), and the sequence/steps I used.

    Final note: It's possible to do the installation from either a pre-existing internal OSX/macOS system drive (HDD or SSD) OR a bootable USB flash drive (easy to make, as long as, once again, you make it from the FULL High Sierra Installer and not the "mini" version). In my case, I made a bootable USB drive (to have available for the future), but did my clean High Sierra install on my 2nd SSD from my 1st SSD (Yosemite).

    Have hope!
  10. YosemiteSam macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2010
    Southern California
    The steps I took below resulted in all of the following:
    • Does a new/fresh/clean installation of macOS High Sierra
    • Target drive is internal SSD, formatted as HFS+
    • Target drive remains as HFS+ after installation (no update to APFS)
    • Installation application is run from ANOTHER internal drive (SSD or HDD, connected via SATA)
    For simplicity, let's assume that before beginning this process, we have a Mac Pro 5,1 with two internal drives (connected via the original SATA drive bays). DriveA is internal (SSD or HDD, doesn't matter), and is running some version of macOS (or OS X). DriveB is an internal SSD, and is formatted as an HFS+ volume (which we'll also call DriveB). The goal is to install High Sierra on DriveB while keeping HFS+ formatting, while running the installer from DriveA.

    1. From Drive A... Obtain the full installer app of macOS High Sierra. After downloading from the App Store, quit the installer without installing. Check your installer: if your App Store HS installer download is about 5.2 GB, you have what you need. If your installer app is only 19 MB, it is only a mini-installer which will download the rest of what it needs from Apple during the installation process. Unfortunately, using the mini version means you (the user) cannot control APFS conversion (i.e. the undesired conversion will happen automatically). To avoid this conversion, you will have to obtain/download the full installer by other means (see section at end of post about obtaining the full installer). The High Sierra installer app needs to reside somewhere on DriveA. For simplicity, we will assume it is in the default location after downloading from the App Store (/Applications/Install macOS High but it can be anywhere on DriveA.

    2. Open a terminal window on DriveA. Once in terminal, you will need to use a version of the following command:
    sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ --volume /Volumes/DriveB --converttoapfs NO
    • If the location of your installer app is NOT in the default download location, you will need to replace the path and app name in the above command with the correct path and name. Remember that in Unix, you have to escape spaces in folder and file names by inserting the "\" character before each space, and also that you need to include the .app extension (even if your system is set to hide extensions from view).
    • If you don't use the "--volume" flag, High Sierra will be installed on the current drive (DriveA in this case).
    • As mentioned in Step 1, running "startosinstall" from the terminal will fail if you do not have the full-sized macOS High Sierra installer app.
    • There are other flags (some documented, some hidden) available for "startosinstall", but this is all that I needed.
    3. Let the installer do its thing- from here on it should be a "normal" installation. After rebooting, when ready for configuring, you'll be prompted by the installer for all the usual stuff (language, wi-fi, iCloud, etc.). Once completed, you should have High Sierra installed and running on HFS-formatted DriveB. Celebrate.

    It is also possible to do a clean non-APFS installation from an installer on a bootable USB flash drive. This might be desirable when your current system drive is an SSD, but you still want to overwrite it with a clean installation of High Sierra.

    How to create a bootable installer for macOS.

    To install from USB without converting to APFS:
    1. After booting from the USB installer, launch a terminal window. The terminal is available from the "Utilities" menu at the top of the screen.
    2. Use the "startosinstall" command just as above, but be sure to select the right path for your installer. Typically, this is something like "/Install\ macOS\ High\". Unless your bootable USB installer was created differently than most, your path will NOT begin with "/Applications...".
    3. In your terminal command, you will need to use the "--volume /Volumes/DriveA" flag and the "--converttoapfs NO" flag.
    4. This process will only work if your bootable installer was made from the full version of the High Sierra installer (and not the "mini" version that many users are provided by Apple).
    If your High Sierra installer download from Apple is the "mini" version (only 19 MB or so, as opposed to ~5.2 GB), then you need to obtain/downlaod the full installer. I found myself in such a situation, and the instructions listed at this link (including the download of a 3rd-party utility from worked great for me:

    How to Download a Full macOS High Sierra Installer App

    As if all of that isn't enough to deal with, 5,1 Mac Pros also require a firmware update before installing High Sierra. In my case, I launched the High Sierra installer, which then triggered the firmware update process. I followed the prompts, allowing my MP to reboot, held down the power button until it flashed, and then when the computer rebooted and the installer launched, I simply quit the installation. Firmware upgrade was successful (I checked in the System Report). I recommend other 5,1 owners similarly completing the firmware update as a completely separate step from updating the operating system. Otherwise, you are potentially juggling HS installation, a possibly-incomplete installer, the "startosinstall" terminal process, and a new SSD all at once. Just reading all that makes me wonder how on earth Apple has so drastically lost its way over the past 10 years. All that just to put High Sierra on a new drive? The process reminds me of Bill Gates' famous angry in-house email about his miserable experience trying to simply use MovieMaker on Windows.

    Further reading:

    Hope this helps.
  11. MikkelAD, Apr 30, 2018
    Last edited: May 1, 2018

    MikkelAD thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2018
    Thank you very much for your time and answers!

    I haven't read the whole answer (yours) yet but as far as I can tell you have written a more thorough guide of the section

    "Install macOS High Sierra on a Drive Other Than the Startup Disk"

    - At the bottom of this link:

    I will experiment a bit and come back to theorycraft :)

    This is from "terminal" on the desktop of a pre-installed OS X and no doubt about that will work... Guess I could buy a "smaller" SSD for the future just to have disc where I can install from...


    You describe how to do it from a bootable USB. The thing is no matter what it will be USB 2.0 speed since you can't boot from any USB 3.0 PCI-E card (got one installed). That speed is very slow and therefor I got the idea to use one of my 850 EVO's as the bootable drive to install HS on my other EVO.

    Shouldn't that be possible this way?

    If my installation disc is called "Install macOS High Sierra" (that is default when using that apple guide) and my destination disc is called "SSD 1 (OS X)"

    Can't I just write this line in terminal when booting up?:

    "sudo /Install\ macOS\ High\ --volume /Volumes/SSD 1 (OS X) --converttoapfs NO"
    --- Post Merged, May 1, 2018 ---
    I haven't used terminal a lot so this will probably take some time, but seems like "sudo" is only when on the desktop and it came up with an error about these "()" what is wrong with this command?

    If the destination disc is called "SSD 1" wouldn't this be the right command?

    "/Install\ macOS\ High\ --volume /Volumes/SSD 1 --converttoapfs NO"

    According to:

    This should be the command since my SSD with the installer is mounted at /Volumes/Install macOS High Sierra
    The name of the disc is the same so "Install macOS High Sierra" and my destination disc is called SSD 1.

    /Volumes/"Install macOS High Sierra/Install macOS High"/Contents/Resources/startosinstall --volume SSD 1 --converttoapfs NO --agreetolicense

    That doesn't work either :( Think I will wait for someone to tell me where I lost it :)
  12. YosemiteSam, May 1, 2018
    Last edited: May 1, 2018

    YosemiteSam macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2010
    Southern California
    IMHO, SSDs are WAY too expensive to be used only as long-term backup storage. Better to make a bootable USB drive for future insurance. If you *really* need your "rainy-day" bootable backup installer to be faster than USB 2.0, you can always clone the USB drive to a spare SSD at installation time should the need ever arise. But honestly, since we're only talking about future "just-in-case" situations, I'd stick with the USB drive and be done with it. Even at USB 2.0 speeds, it still won't take all that long to do a new install (assuming the worst has happened and both of your 850 EVOs have died or can no longer boot). If either of your current SSDs are booting, you can simply run the installer again from the working drive, using the same terminal command.

    Yes, using the two 850s is definitely possible (my own update was done using an 850 PRO and an 850 EVO), as long as one is a bootable source and the other is the target. Using an SSD as the source is much faster than using a USB installer, but it's not like a USB 2.0 installer takes ridiculously long. It's only 5 GB of content, and you're only having to install it once.

    Are you booting from your other source SSD? Or from USB? I'm assuming you mean from your source SSD. If that's not correct, then ignore #2 below.

    A few things:

    1. You need to escape the space characters in "SSD 1" and "OS X". You also have to escape the "(" and ")" characters. So, the properly-escaped version of your above command should look like this:
    /Install\ macOS\ High\ --volume /Volumes/SSD\ 1\ \(OS\ X\) --converttoapfs NO
    2. If this is indeed from your other SSD, your High Sierra installer is probably not located at the root ("/Install\ macOS\ High\"). It is probably at /Applications/Install macOS High (or wherever else you may have saved it after downloading). So you probably need to adjust your terminal command to show the correct location.

    3. I made a bootable USB installer in case I need it in the future, but I did *not* do my recent installation from that USB installer. Instead, I ran the installer from terminal on my first SSD (DriveA, which was and still is a full working installation of OS X 10.10 Yosemite) and clean-installed on my second SSD (DriveB). I believe this is what you are trying to do, no? If I'm misunderstanding, let me know and I'll try to help.

    Yes, I believe you are correct and that sudo is not applicable when booted from the installer. But assuming you are running the installer from some version of OS X or macOS on your first SSD, you will want to use sudo to install on your other SSD. If installing from a bootable USB installer, I don't think you need sudo in your command.

    Also, as I mention in #2 in this post, you need to escape your parentheses around "(OS X)". Put a "\" before each parenthesis.

    What drive are you currently booted into? You have two SSDs... The target SSD (the one you on which you want to fresh install High Sierra) is called SSD 1. What is your currently booted SSD called? The one you're currently booted into, running your current version of OS X (or macOS)? For a fresh install, the source and target must be two different drives (or at least different partitions). The source must be bootable and include the installer- whether it is SSD or USB (or HDD or anything else). I don't believe you can (successfully) run the terminal installer from a drive other than the one you are booted into.

    I think we're getting bogged down a bit in confusion over your two SSDs and what they currently contain. In trying to be thorough and also be of use to all readers/users, I fear my answers are longer and more complicated than they need to be to specifically help you with your situation. I can simplify this a lot (and give you better specific terminal commands) if I have more clarity about your drives. You have 2 850 EVOs.
    1. What are their names? Be precise/exact.
    2. Which is the target (the one on which you want to cleanly install High Sierra)?
    3. Which is your current system drive?
    4. Is your current system drive ALSO the desired target drive? (i.e. are you trying to replace your current OS install with a clean install of High Sierra on the same drive? If so, you will have to use either a bootable USB installer or a bootable SSD installer to achieve this.)
    Answer those 4 questions, and we'll go from there. I'll try and make it more straightforward and not cover inapplicable scenarios.
  13. MikkelAD, May 1, 2018
    Last edited: May 1, 2018

    MikkelAD thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2018
    Yes Yes I know. It's more like I want to know my possibilities, like a bit of a challenge and maybe learn something along the way :)

    I would like to know how to use one of my SSD's and an USB as the source of the installer when booting up.

    I don't need further explanation on the method where you install from one SSD to another SSD from "THE DESKTOP OF ALREADY BOOTABLE OS X" - That is not my preferred solution if I can make the one from terminal at boot-up work whether it's from an USB or a SSD...

    Yes the one SSD that I need to install HS with HFS+ on is called SSD 1, but call it whatever you want (I just realized that it of course can be changed once at the desktop LOL :))

    Right now both the second SSD and my USB is called "Install macOS High Sierra" since that is standard when using the "make a bootable USB" guide we talked about earlier...

    I deleted both my SSD's so I got nothing on them besides one of them made bootable like described above - I got no working OS X system at this moment. Just want to make a clean install of HS with HFS+ format from either my other SSD or USB.

    Well maybe I am just an odd example :)

    Yes I have two 850 EVO's and one USB :)

    1. Name of the SSD I am booting from is called "Install macOS High Sierra" - explained above
    Name of the SSD that will be the destianation is called "SDD 1" - Again I guess we can call it whatever since I will be able to change the name once on the desktop ? ? ?

    2. Guess that will be the one called "SSD 1" in this example

    3. I got no system drive at the moment only one which is bootable like my USB...

    4. No my situation is not that advanced. It's not like I have different partitions and want to replace some of it...

    I really hope that this has clarified what my situation is like and again thank you for your time!
  14. YosemiteSam, May 1, 2018
    Last edited: May 1, 2018

    YosemiteSam macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2010
    Southern California
    OK, I understand what you're saying. You are only looking to do a clean non-APFS High Sierra installation on an SSD from a bootable USB/SSD installer (and not from another OS X bootable drive). This I have NOT done, so I cannot confirm that it will work. But based on what I've read/compiled from lots of other articles and discussions, here's what I'd try:
    1. Boot from bootable High Sierra USB/SSD installer ("Install macOS High Sierra").
    2. Open the terminal from the "Utilities" menu at the top of the screen.
    3. Enter/execute the following in the terminal:
    /Install\ macOS\ High\ --volume /Volumes/SSD\ 1 --converttoapfs NO
    Please post again to let me and the forum know if it works- I'm curious myself.

    If that doesn't work, your options for doing a clean install of High Sierra on HFS+ may be limited to:

    A) running startosinstall from the terminal of a currently-installed macOS/OS X drive (which you say you've got covered)
    B) installing High Sierra on a drive (any drive) using any method you like, and then cloning (Carbon Copy Cloner, etc.) that drive to your HFS+ formatted SSD 1.

    I believe that any other method will result in SSD 1 being converted to APFS.
  15. MikkelAD, May 1, 2018
    Last edited: May 1, 2018

    MikkelAD thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2018
    Copied the line from safari at boot-up and got this sadly :(


    Sure this line just doesn't need to be fixed? with spaces and such like with the name of the destination disc...:

    /Volumes/"Install macOS High Sierra/Install macOS High"/Contents/Resources/startosinstall --volume SSD 1 --converttoapfs NO --agreetolicense
  16. YosemiteSam macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2010
    Southern California
    Hmm. Odd that it's saying "no such file or directory". I just checked my own HS USB installer, and startosinstall is still there (within /macOS High Sierra Installer/Contents/Resources). Whether or not the installer has enough of an environment configured to run startosinstall is another matter, but the file is definitely there.

    Can you confirm that your bootable installer (currently on your SSD) was created from a full-sized 5.2 GB High Sierra installer (and not the "mini" 19 MB version Apple gives some people)? The miniature version does not include the material needed to run startosinstall.
  17. MikkelAD, May 1, 2018
    Last edited: May 1, 2018

    MikkelAD thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2018
    Yes I can confirm that both my USB and SSD were "made" from a full-sized HS installer.

    As you can see on the pictures 5-6 GB is in use on each drive.

    IMG_0336.jpg IMG_0593.jpg IMG_3979.jpg

    I don't know why but I kind of feel that the path in the command line for terminal isn't right...

    To me the activation point (path) for the drives need to be incorporated:

    So for the SSD: /Volumes/Image Volume

    and the USB: /Volumes/Install macOS High Sierra 1
  18. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    To me, it looks like make things over complicated. What's wrong to run the installer from the current macOS? Making bootable USB just make things complicated. We already have a full working OS. And there are multiple bootable internal SATA ports inside the cMP. Using multiple drives, and work with them inside a full OS should be so much easier than using USB installer etc.

    Using USB bootable installer may be a good technique for those single internal hard drive Mac, or when you need to install clean OS on multiple Macs, but I can't see why it's a good method in this case.

    I never use this terminal command to install HFS+ HS. But from what I read. I suggest the following procedures.

    1) Boot from any drive (full macOS) which is NOT your target drive. It can be any internal / external HDD or SSD. Clean or not doesn't really matter.

    2) Download the full installer from appstore

    3) format your target SSD to HFS+ and name it as "SSD"

    4) run the following command in terminal.

    sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ --volume /Volumes/SSD --converttoapfs NO

    Then the installer should do the rest for you.
  19. MikkelAD thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2018
    It's because we are MAC scientists :)

    On a serious note. I simply wanted to know if it were possible either from my other SSD or an USB for the future - Avoiding to it from an already working OS X.

    You see. Right now I got no OS X installed at all. The plan is to make one of my evo's contain HS with HFS+ and the other one windows 10. If using the method you described one will be forced to have a third drive with OS X installed to sort of be the "installer drive" where you can install from to other drives.

    That is fine (if that is the way it has to be) but will require me to buy another SSD for "future resetting" and that wouldn't be necessary if we could get the other method to work...

    Yes that will probably be the way to go sadly :) But in the end it will most likely get the job done...
  20. MikkelAD thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2018
    I went ahead and installed HS to one of the drives - Downloaded full HS installer and began the proces:

    Tried it and didn't work

    Skærmbillede 2018-05-02 kl. 08.43.44.png

    Tried and this one ask for my password but doesn't work either

    Skærmbillede 2018-05-02 kl. 08.49.02.png

    Tried and it shows something about arguments - a "guide" of somekind but doesn't work either

    Skærmbillede 2018-05-02 kl. 08.52.21.png

    Of course changed the name of the SSD every time so it matched the command line for terminal all three times...
  21. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Sorry for my careless. Should be "Contents", not "Content"
  22. MikkelAD thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2018
    Same result as the last one - Showing the list of arguments

    Skærmbillede 2018-05-02 kl. 12.58.06.png
  23. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    It seems can't specify the target volume, but not sure if --applicationpath can assign the target path.

    Anyway, what if

    1) only leave a HFS+ formatted SSD installed (pull out ALL other hard drives)

    2) boot from USB installer

    3) run that command line (with the correct "Contents") but do not specify a target volume?
  24. MIKX macrumors 6502a


    Dec 16, 2004
    .. . or .. . .install to a spinner HDD .. then Carbon Copy Cloner ( also creates the Recovery disk) to your target SSD,
    Relatively painless.
  25. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    It's a known good way to do it, but OP doesn't want to clone. And would like to figure how to perform a clean HFS+ HS installation directly to a SSD. Not clone, not upgrade, not APFS.

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