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So I'm trying to load a Lion DMG onto a 16GB flash drive according to this tutorial, but I only get as far as step 9. The data starts to restore to the flash drive, but right as it gets to the end, when it's only initializing, it gives me the following error: Error message

What do I do?

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I never figured a way around this, instead I installed Lion onto the drive and left the InstallESD.dmg on the filesystem as a normal file. From there I could run things as needed for installs. – bmike Jan 6 '13 at 1:15
I'm trying to install it onto a computer that is completely blank, no OS. Would that still work then? – JShoe Jan 6 '13 at 1:22
Yes - if you have installed a copy of OS X onto the flash drive, it will boot just like you had an external drive with the OS installed. It will be much slower than a hard drive, often painfully so, but you'll eventually get logged in and can run the Mac to wipe the Mac's internal drive and run the installer to get OS X reinstalled on the real hard drive. – bmike Jan 6 '13 at 1:25
@bmike So how do I install it onto the flash drive? Drag and drop the .dmg? I'm nervous to open the .app... But do I open it and choose the flash drive as the install location? – JShoe Jan 6 '13 at 1:29
up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you have not tried it yet the free Lion Disk Maker can create a bootable USB drive from the .app.

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Wow, thanks. That helped so much. I hate messing around too much when it comes to data loss, so not having to click that app or mess around with the files was a life saver. – JShoe Jan 6 '13 at 1:59
You're welcome! Since it was such a lifesaver, maybe you should throw the developer a bone :). He has a PayPal link and I'm sure he would appreciate the gesture. – Ben Mordecai Jan 6 '13 at 2:20
I know he would, but I am a broke high school student who spent all his money on two computers, a flash drive, and a copy of lion. Instead, I wrote him a very sincere thank-you e-mail and promised I would recommend this software often. – JShoe Jan 6 '13 at 2:27

If the goal is to have a USB drive that you can take to a place and install Lion, you could just install Lion onto the USB drive. Run the Install Mac OS X installer and let it format the drive, install everything and then when you create your admin account on that OS, you can copy that InstallEDS.dmg (or better the whole Lion Installer program) onto the drive.

Then, you can boot any Mac holding the option key to get into the Startup Manager and insert the USB drive.

Once that Mac boots (and it will be slow since writing and reading to a USB drive is orders of magnitude slower than a modern HDD), you can run the installer against the internal drive of your Mac that is currently booted from the USB drive.

Sorry it's not a direct answer - so you could use this if no other answer appeals to you and solved your direct problem of getting InstallESD.dmg contents as a bootable image itself.

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