I would like to make a bootable DMG or ISO file with OS X Mavericks on it. I want to then burn this file to a DVD-ROM (or, alternatively, make a bootable USB stick with it).

From what I've read, however, the file

/Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/SharedSupport/InstallESD.dmg

is not bootable. From what I understand, to make it bootable one needs to insert a file called BaseSystem.dmg inside InstallESD.dmg and then burn the resulting DMG (perhaps after converting it to an ISO 9660 file, although I'm not sure whether this is necessary) to a DVD-ROM drive.

Here is what I'd like to know:

  1. What exactly is BaseSystem.dmg?

  2. Is this file the same on all OS X systems? Will any version of this file from any OS X system do just as well?

  3. Do I need to use Disk Utility to add this file to InstallESD.dmg or can I use the command line? What is the procedure in each case?

  4. I am not root on the system. Can I accomplish this without a root password? I've heard the root password is only needed for setting file permissions. Can I get away with this, copy BaseSystem.dmg, and do the rest of the work requiring root privileges on Linux after mounting the USB key with all files on Linux?


  • I'm linking this to apple.stackexchange.com/questions/7152/… - but if you want to reopen this to focus on one of the ancillary questions, just edit out some of the basics and focus the text on the sub-question that needs a better answer. Also, asking a follow on question linking here would work very well.
    – bmike
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 14:57

1 Answer 1


The Mavericks installer comes with a tool to make bootable installer. Just use

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

  • Thank you for your answer. I've tried, however, to run the executable you mentioned from Linux, and got the following error message: "createinstallmedia: Mach-O 64-bit executable". Is there a way to run this on Linux? I would like to carry out the task without having to have administrator privileges. Thanks. Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 9:48
  • Found this link support.apple.com/kb/HT5856 . Apparently I can use createinstallmedia to create a bootable USB drive. Does createinstallmedia need any external system files from OS X? I ask because, if not, then I should be able to somehow run it on Linux. Thanks. Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 9:57
  • Hi, I've got one last question. Will this work on any Mac or just on the Mac where the "Install OS X Mavericks.app" application was downloaded? Thanks. Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 10:07
  • You don’t have to download the Installer on every Mac. Just once and than you make this installer, now you can install it on every compatible Mac. Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 12:06

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