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I could probably copy the contents from the package, but what is the best way to create an install Flash Drive for Mavericks?

Of course ideally the drive should be bootable.

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To reinforce certain answers below this guide maybe of assistance arstechnica.com/apple/2013/10/… –  Simon Oct 25 '13 at 11:49
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5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Currently the best way seems to be through createinstallmedia, which is also Apple's recommended method.

First create a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) partition on the USB key with 5GB or more:

8GB partition named MavericksInstall

then in the terminal use the createinstallmedia command. It can be found in the Maverick install apk. By default the path is /Applications/Install OS X Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia. Replace /Volumes/MavericksInstall with your own partition name:

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MavericksInstall --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app --nointeraction

The output should be along these lines:

Copying installer files to disk...
Copy complete.
Making disk bootable...
Copying boot files...
Copy complete.
Done.

The setup should take few to few dozens minutes depending on your USB drive.


To create a USB installer for multiple OS X versions you can to go through the following procedure:

  • Start disk utility
  • Create multiple partitions formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Give them names like:
    • OS X Lion : LionInstall
    • OS X Mountain Lion : MountainLionInstall
    • OS X Mavericks : MavericksInstall

  • Generate multiple install partitions using the createinstallmedia tool of each OX 19.9+ version and add the other install partitions using disktool :
    • restore the InstallESD.dmg from /Applications/Install Mac OS X Lion/Contents/SharedSupport to /Volumes/LionInstall
    • restore the InstallESD.dmg from /Applications/Install OS X Mountain Lion/Contents/SharedSupport to /Volumes/MountainLionInstall
    • sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MavericksInstall --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app --nointeraction
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This is a good answer. –  Eddie Kelley Oct 22 '13 at 23:36
    
@EddieKelley: Yeah I just started the install 10 minutes ago. The drive is bootable and so far everything works fine. I like it for being a one liner :) –  Coyote Oct 22 '13 at 23:38
    
since it erases the disk, is it necessary to create the partition? I already wiped the disk as you instructed before using it, so I couldn't test. –  Abhi Beckert Nov 21 '13 at 3:15
    
Yes, you have to give the path to a valid existing partition. Apart from that I'm not sure if createinstallmedia simply copies the files and makes the partition bootable or if it erases the partition prior to that. –  Coyote Dec 4 '13 at 23:27
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The absolute easiest way (Trust me on this) is to download this application LionDiskMaker and it will do everything everyone have said, only it will do it all automatically

(feel free to donate (I'm not the creator of the app, however it works perfectly))

Direct Download link!

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As it is now called DiskMakerX. –  Simon Oct 25 '13 at 11:47
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Assuming that you have a USB flash drive plugged into the computer that has the name "Untitled", my preferred method to create a bootable Mavericks install disk would probably be:

hdiutil mount "/Applications/Install OS X Mavericks.app/Contents/SharedSupport/InstallESD.dmg"

sudo asr restore --source "/Volumes/OS X Install ESD/BaseSystem.dmg" --target /Volumes/Untitled --erase

sudo unlink "/Volumes/OS X Base System/System/Installation/Packages"

sudo cp -Rp "/Volumes/OS X Install ESD/Packages" "/Volumes/OS X Base System/System/Installation"
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Why do you do it that way rather than restore it via Disk Utility.app? –  Mark Oct 22 '13 at 23:29
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I don't like to use the mouse. –  Eddie Kelley Oct 22 '13 at 23:29
    
I looked in the DMG file and it looks like that partition isn't bootable anymore, so I'm not sure if this method will work to make a bootable installer. –  Mark Oct 22 '13 at 23:32
    
The bootable image (BaseSystem.dmg) is an invisible file inside of the "wrapper" disk image (InstallESD.dmg), but the Packages folder inside of BaseSystem.dmg is simply a link to the external disk image (chicken and the egg). Imaging a drive with the BaseSystem.dmg, unlinking and then copying Packages into /System/Library/Installation/Packages results in a bootable 10.9 installer. –  Eddie Kelley Oct 22 '13 at 23:34
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Yes, the installer will place a Recovery HD partition on the drive you install on. Note: this bootable USB drive is in essence a recovery partition. –  Eddie Kelley Oct 23 '13 at 0:22
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From this Gist Creating a bootable OS X Mavericks USB installer:

  • First, plug in an 8GB (or bigger) USB drive, and use Disk Utility to erase it
  • If you use the default settings, you should wind up with a blank drive at /Volumes/Untitled.

With that volume in place, and with the Mavericks installer sitting in /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app, run the following command in your terminal to create a bootable install media:

sh sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app --nointeraction

You should see output like the following—it might take a while to finish.

Erasing Disk: 0%... 10%... 20%...100%...
Copying installer files to disk...
Copy complete.
Making disk bootable...
Copying boot files...
Copy complete.
Done.

To boot from the installer, reboot your Mac and hold down the alt/option key, and it will let you choose to boot from the USB disk.

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This is IMO the best method, but it seems you've said effectively the same thing as this answer: apple.stackexchange.com/a/106112/21050 –  zigg Oct 25 '13 at 12:27
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Just copy the installer to the flash drive. When the flash drive is mounted all you need to do is double click it to install. It will install faster if you move it from the flash drive to the /Applications folder on your boot drive. It should also clean up the installer when it is finished.

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Well this kind of works, but not if you need to reinstall from scratch, or to a new drive. A bootable flash drive is needed then. –  Coyote Oct 22 '13 at 23:41
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