I would like to be able to create a disk image (that I can transfer via Disk Utility.app to a large USB storage thumb drive) which is a multiboot installer for provisioning various operating systems from a single USB drive. I need to be able to create the image in one step to include multiple bootable OS installers (various multiple versions of OS X/Windows/Linux/Linux based Recovery Platforms), all from a single OS X machine.

I found a nice tutorial for creating a multiboot usb thumbdrive via Linux that will boot OS X on a Mac, and Linux or Windows on PCs or Macs, and obviously, if I already have a Linux virtual machine, I could use YUMI as indicated in the tutorial (and I have seen other, similar tutorials that use a similar utilities to do this from Windows like SARDU and XBOOT), but I am hoping to discover a similar OS X native method or application that accomplishes the same thing.

I am aware of and own the commercial application iPartition, and obiously have access to fdisk and gpt amongst other command line utilities available for use which likely could do the job. If I knew exactly how to set up and where to place the specific individual platform partitions, then I might be able to use one of them. I'd be relatively satisfied with an answer with suggested examples of how to set up this complex partition table, with any explanation on what is particular or different about the types of partitions needed and where they go, and maybe some example syntax for the command line utilities as well.

Adding this not to answer my own question, but to help whomever answers, and I hope with even easier instructions. Maybe it can be done another way? Maybe following a guide to create a multiboot Mac would work, except instead of using the internal harddrive, install on a USB drive as though it were the internal drive, and solve the desire to be able to do this without actually having access to Linux and Windows machines. See here, here, and here. I really want instructions my mother could follow.

  • Can multiple users offer a bounty? If so, I'm willing to offer a 50 point bounty if 5 other users do the same (to give proper incentive). The question was edited slightly, but explaining how this multi-boot partition table is set up (in any of the 3 Mac available utilities) is key to a correct answer (unless a YUMI-like do-it-all utility exists for OS X). – chillin May 14 '14 at 0:21
  • OK, the logic says, if that would be possible there would be a Start Bounty on the question that is in the bounty already. – Ruskes May 14 '14 at 11:39
  • 2
    Privileges are gained at various stages, the ones closest to you are 500 (access review queues) and 1000 (established user). As such with currently 735 Rep, you can offer almost 250 on your own without affecting your current privilege level. – stuffe May 14 '14 at 11:58
  • @Buscar웃 meta.stackexchange.com/questions/16065/… -- multiple bounties can be bound to a single question. – Ian C. May 14 '14 at 14:15
  • thx... waiting for 5 users' promises of "I'm in, let's do it" and I'll start it – chillin May 14 '14 at 15:26

The way to do this is to create multiple partitions on the USB drive. There is a Tech Republic article that gives the full details on how to do this:


In summary, TechRepublic gives the steps:

  1. Using Disk Utility, create separate partitions for each version of MacOS that will be booted. (Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format; In "Options" choose "GUID Partition Table.") It's a good idea to name the partitions for the Mac OS version you'll be booting.
  2. Copy the relevant contents to the particular partitions. This is different for different versions of MacOS:

    • Apple OS X 10.7 (Lion), 10.8 (Mountain Lion):
      a. Right-click the installer and select Show Package Contents from the context menu;
      b. Drill-down through the Contents | Shared Support directories and drag-drop the InstallESD.dmg to the desktop;
      c. Using Disk Utility's "Restore" tab, Perform a Restore into the appropriate partition, using InstallESD.dmg as the source. This takes about 30 minutes.

    • Apple OS X 10.4 (Tiger), 10.5 (Leopard), 10.6 (Snow Leopard):
      Since these were distributed as DVDs, you restore from the DVD or ISO image. (DVD restore will be much slower than the file restore method.) Use Disk Utility's "Restore" tab with the DVD or ISO image as the source.

    • Apple OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) and 10.10 (Yosemite):
      Ise the new "createinstallmedia" command. If your installer.app is not in /Applications, modify the "-applicationpath" argument appropriately.)
      For example:

      sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia —volume /Volumes/DRIVE_LABEL —applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app —nointeraction

I expect that the method for 10.7 and 10.8 will work for later versions of MacOS as well.

  • Welcome to Ask Different. While this does answer the question, it is highly advisable that you summarize the info provided in the article. Often links go stale making the answer unusable. – Allan Sep 27 '16 at 3:15
  • Sorry it took so long to do the summarizing work. Thanks for the feedback, Allan. – poetnerd Nov 20 '16 at 18:13
  • It should be --volume and --applicationpath (note the double dashes). The --applicationpath isn't necessary in High Sierra and higher... :) – jm666 Oct 2 '18 at 17:25

While Googling for the same desire (instead, I have Linux/Win as dual boot available hosts) considering to abuse Yumi for it.

I found Easy2Boot, which looks promising.

Here's a forum topic about the Easy2Boot tool including YouTube video:

I'm about to try it out.

You could use the opensouce Virtualbox to get Windows running inside OS X

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

  • Could you summarize the content of the link, just in case it gets changed so we still know what it was about. – Ruskes Sep 18 '14 at 17:00
  • Easy2Boot seems to only work with Windows, so this is not a valid option. – jamescampbell Apr 15 '16 at 16:37

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