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 Oct 30 '15 at 14:57

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

| improve this answer | |
  • 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. – John Sonderson Nov 18 '13 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. – John Sonderson Nov 18 '13 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. – John Sonderson Nov 18 '13 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. – Sebastian Semmler Nov 18 '13 at 12:06

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