Sign up ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have 2 different OS X partitions on my Mac. I use ReFit to boot them.

But since they're both the same OS, it shows the same icon for both of them, which isn't their disk icon that I can change.

Is there a way to use a specific icon for each partition? Or is there an alternative to ReFit that will let me do this?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 0 down vote accepted

(Disclaimer: I haven't tried this personally.)

If I'm understanding this page of the rEFIt documentation correctly, you should be able to take a 128x128 .icns image, name it "boot.icns", and plop it in /System/Library/CoreServices on the partition whose icon you wish to change.

(rEFIt automatically searches for .icns images named the same way as the EFI loader file. On OSX, that file is /System/Library/CoreServices/boot.efi)

share|improve this answer
This worked, thanks! – Jack Stewart Aug 14 '12 at 19:08

I, too, am dual booting 2 OS X's (Mountain Lion and Yosemite). This is because Yosemite is too heavy, so it's there only as a safety net!

If you are double booting Yosemite or El Capitan with another prior OS X, copy the rEFInd folder to this older OS X. This is because of the scheme Yosemite and El Capitan use to boot, and having the rEFInd files inside these partitions will require special installation instructions. In my case as I said, I have Mountain Lion and Yosemite, so the rEFInd folder is at the root of the Mountain Lion partition (volume).

But in the other hand if you are booting Yosemite and El Capitan (without an older OS X version as 3rd boot) then you'll have to go to the rEFInd page and read how to install rEFInd in these OSs.

This is how it's done:

  • Download the latest rEFInd from
    The latest version (0.9.2) supports .png for icons, so no need to create .icns files.

  • Configure your icons and place them in the icons older. I have made a God fearing simplistic theme. If you use it may I suggest you keep the background as a reminder of to whom one day you will answer to! Download this theme (and the binaries). It's basically my rEFInd folder zipped.

  • Configure the refind.conf file to use manual boot stanzas. These are hardcoded (in the config file, much like a grub file in linux) options so the name of the volume of your OS X cannot be changed without changing the configuration file. If you fail at this and change the volume name without updating the .conf file, that particular boot option will not be bootable anymore. But since you'll have two OS X's you can force Apple's bootmenu with Alt at the startup, boot the other volume and fix the .conf file. The proper basic necessary configuration is as follows:

    scanfor external,optical,hdbios,biosexternal,manual
    menuentry "Mountain Lion" {
        icon \rEFInd\icons\ml.png
        volume "Mountain Lion"
        loader \System\Library\CoreServices\boot.efi
        graphics on
    menuentry "Yosemite" {
        icon \rEFInd\icons\yoyo.png
        volume "Yosemite"
        loader \System\Library\CoreServices\boot.efi
        graphics on

Explanation: In the scanfor line you'll have to remove the "internal" option so rEFInd will not scan for the partition (as they are defined with menuentry) or you will have 4 boot options, the two from the scan itself, and two from the hardcoded menuentry sections. Also still in scanfor you have to put the manual option so rEFInd will read the menuentry sections. And the menu entry can be explained with this example:

menuentry "Name that Will Appear In The Boot Menu" {
    icon \path\to\the\icon.png
    loader \System\Library\CoreServices\boot.efi
    graphics on

Leave the "loader" option as it is. Because that is the default path for OX S' boot.efi (on all recent versions).

And finally the graphics on is to hide the rEFInd command like black screen when booting, so you get a nice graphical transition between the boot menu and the screen with the apple (Apple's boot screen).

I thinks this should cover. The end result should be (the at the top has this theme already) something like the following

screenshot of multiboot OS X

  • Finally set the boot to be done using the non-yosemite/ElCapitan partition (or the partition where you copied the rEFInd folder to. To do this go to: System Preferences > Startup Disk click the partition and press restart.

If things go horribly wrong and for some reason you cannot boot, try either Alt to choose a bootable partition (ie. Recovery)

Just a final note, App Store uses Spotlight indexes to identify apps, so before you launch App Store to update apps that are present on both OS Xs, be sure to unmount the Volume with the OS X that is not running so the AppS tore app can find the right one to update.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.