My MBA 2012 with OS X 10.9.4 Mavericks won't boot anymore - it simply freezes after the initial jingle. I already tried resetting NVRAM and SMC, but to no avail. I don't have any time machine backups.

However, I still have a disc image of Mavericks sitting on an external hard drive, a USB stick and access to a notebook with Windows 7.

I haven't yet found any tutorial on how to create a bootable USB drive on Windows in order to reinstall OS X on my beloved Macbook Air.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  • 1
    Thanks for your response. However, the problem differs from the one you linked to since I do not want to run an OS X installation in Windows (running in bootcamp) on a Mac.
    – kinari
    Aug 16, 2014 at 8:05
  • 1
    What I want to do to is easily achievable using createinstallmedia or Disk Utility. (see macworld.com/article/2056561/…) But since I do not have access to another mac, I am looking for a way to get this done in Windows.
    – kinari
    Aug 16, 2014 at 8:22
  • The question asked is about how to create a bootable Mac installing USB in the windows embitterment. Basically your question seems to ask the same thing.
    – killswitch
    Aug 16, 2014 at 8:25
  • 3
    Yes, more or less. However, the answer provided isn't helpful in my case I'm afraid. Neither do I have a recovery partition available, nor another osx. In fact, that is exactly the problem at hand. I tried using PowerISO, but my Mac doesn't recognize the USB stick afterwards unfortunately.
    – kinari
    Aug 16, 2014 at 9:00

10 Answers 10


According to the first answer here, https://superuser.com/questions/383235/create-a-bootable-usb-drive-from-a-dmg-file-on-windows, there's a tool with a free trial called TransMac that can do it. Just make sure the USB drive is formatted with GPT and not MBR.

What might be easier, however, is that that model has support for Internet Recovery. If you boot holding Command-R and you have a WiFi connection, it can actually boot into recovery mode without a recovery partition on a drive (or even without a working drive).

Having said that, your description of a crash right after the boot chime could signify a more serious hardware problem and you may not be able to boot anything. If you boot holding the option key down, the startup disk selection screen should appear. If it crashes anyways, you may be looking at a hardware problem.


I know this question is old but it is still valid. I was never able to write a Mac installer image to my Flash Drive and have it bootable, unless I did it on a Mac. Using Michael D. M. Dryden's Link, I was able to use the Diskpart command to clean and prep a GPT partition on a flash drive for an OSX Mavericks install image.

I used TransMac on Windows 7 to restore the image file I had to the Flash Drive, it created a bootable Mac image on my flash drive. Someone had reported that the method for using DISKPART did not work, but I have done this twice and it works remarkably well, and it's the only method I could find to create a Mac-Bootable Flash. I've been trying to post this to confirm that it works for some time, I just hope it helps someone else, because it is a very easy solution.

Here are the Diskpart commands used to prep the Flash Drive, just to have them here in case my Link does not work:

DISKPART> list disk

(Find the disk number)

DISKPART> select disk x (from result of List Disk)

Disk x is now the selected disk.


DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk.

DISKPART> convert gpt

DiskPart successfully converted the selected disk to GPT format.

DISKPART> create partition primary

Note: I use "Rufus" for all other USB writing and formatting for Windows systems, it's a great app, but I had previously tried to format the drive as GPT using that, as a Fat32 partition. When I tried to inject the image, Transmac told me that the drive was "write protected". So basically, the USB drive cannot have any high level formatting, the Windows system should detect the drive as "not formatted" for this to work, which it will if prepped right with Diskpart.

  • Rufus won't make a bootable USB compatible with Mac as it cannot interpret the boot loader (at least not in Mavericks and up). Fat32 can't handle the 5+GB Mavericks image either. Not say you didn't get an older version to work, however, just to keep others from wasting their time.
    – MC9000
    Jan 5, 2018 at 20:36

In fact, there are very few ways that can be used to write DMG image file to a USB drive and have it to be bootable on a Windows computer. As far as i konw, some third party tools like Transmac, poweriso, etcher or sysgeeker's WonderISO.but none of them are free, I suggest you download the trail version and use it for 3 times without paying.


I was able to do this with Power ISO on Windows but it cost me $29.99

-- I created an ISO from the original install DVD and then went to tools => Create Bootable USB... Selected the OSX image Selected the USB drive to create the bootable image on Selected RAW mode

I popped it in my Desklamp iMac (DVD Drive busted from toddlers -- majority of OS was trashed by 5yo) and boom ready to install.


I had this problem with a friend computer, it was an old iMac and I'll tell you it is not going to be easy.
The first thing you have to do is make sure what model you have (the year when your computer has been released) then check on the official apple website to see what is the latest macOS or Mac OS X version available for you computer.
In most of the new mac computer, you can just press cmd+r while booting and the mac will automatically download everything you need to install the system, but the oldest does not have this tool.

In this case, you have to download the dmg file, that can be found on the web, for example, one websites that provides some macOS and Mac OS X is this (for El Capitan, if you need another version, I'm sorry but you have to search for it).
Here things start to get a little tricky.
First of all you have to flash the image on a USB drive, I recommend etcher, that works on everything (Mac, Linux and Windows too) it's extremely easy to use and you just need to select the drive and the image and etcher will do everything by itself, plus it's free here.

When the USB drive is ready you can plug it in you mac and press alt (option) while booting, you have inserted a firmware password, it will ask you to unlock the firmware by inserting that password, else it will take you to all the bootable drives, including your USB device.

If you see the mac logo with a stop icon over it, it means that you downloaded a too new version that is not supported from your mac, else it will start.
When it start, it won't install, saying that the system can't verify the downloaded image, that's why you have to navigate on the "utilities" menu on the top bar and open the terminal.
Now you have to choices, change the date & time, which can work, but may not.
That's basically because every image of mac has a certificate that can expire, so, if the certificate is expired you won't be able to make it work, unless you change the date (the date is different from mac version to mac version, so based on that you have to change it, usually just search for when was that version released and se the current date to that date or even one or two days later to make it work). Then try to install the system, if this does not work again, you can start the installation without verifying the image, but you should really trust the image you're using from being corrupted or modified (just to make sure the download went right, use the SHA-1 code to make the file has been downloaded right).
So, to proceed without verifying the image, from terminal, type in this command: sudo defaults write com.apple.frameworks.diskimages skip-verify true
then, start the installation. (Is possible that you won't need the sudo at the begin, in that case just remove it from the command and start from "defaults")

Now you should be able to install macOS from a USB drive...

Just a little thing, make sure to have formatted the disk before proceeding, I would recommend to make a partition that takes the whole disk in mac Journaled format, then if you want you will be able to encrypt the disk (the installer will ask you to do that later), instead, if the disk was encrypted before, you will have to insert the encryption key of the disk to continue the installation process.

Really hope this help, I spent a lot of hours to do this on a really old iMac from 2008... and now it works!
Good luck!


For those who failed to create bootable USB with TransMac, take a look at UUByte DMG Editor. I managed to create two bootable USB from macOS Mojave and Catalina DMG file and successfully installed them on respect Mac.

First, make sure the dmg file you downloaded is valid. Try your best to get it from reputable website like Apple, CNET, MacUpdate, etc. Secondly, download UUByte DMG Editor and insert a USB drive. Now, import DMG file and click Burn button to burn macOS dmg file to USB drive.

Lastly, plug the USB drive into Mac and press Option key to select the drive from startup menu. From there, you can start installing macOS from bootable USB drive.

My Testing Environment: Windows 10 Home/SanDisk USB 3.0 64G/macOS Mojave & Catalina DMG File


In my humble opinion, the easiest and a free solution for creating bootable drives is Rufus.

  • read again title of this issue "Mac bootable USB drive using Windows?" then read again and again again you ...
    – user956584
    May 24, 2019 at 11:00

I've been struggling with the same problem but this works for me:

  1. convert the .dmg image with power iso to iso
  2. put the iso on a usb stick (drag it into your mac hard drive and mount it)
  3. format your usb stick with the disk utility tool. (Make sure the usb is partitioned as mac bootable then use use the image recovery and put your mounted OS X iso into the source and your usb as the location.)
  4. restart your computer while holding down the option key
  • The problem is, Mavericks is not a .dmg file. Yes, buried within the .app file is an InstallESD.dmg file, however it alone does not contain all of the necessary files to install OS X. You used to be able to burn InstallESD.dmg in 10.8 and prior, this changed with 10.9. support.apple.com/en-us/HT201372 Jul 7, 2015 at 20:54
  • 2
    And also the question is about creating bootable USB flash from Windows. Your way is obviously for Mac. Feb 23, 2016 at 7:27

You can create bootable USB drive on Windows using POWER ISO. You will be able to download a copy of old one version of powerISO by provided links this tutorial.

You need pen drive of more than 8 GB.


  • Answers on Ask Different need to be more than just a link. It's okay to include a link, but please summarize or excerpt it in the answer. The idea is to make the answer stand alone.
    – nohillside
    Dec 27, 2016 at 9:27

I've tried many tutorials on how to create a mac bootable USB drive from Windows but none of them worked. So, I've come up with my own solution that worked fine with any DMG I've tested. Please find the details on my github page.

  • 1
    Welcome to Ask Different! We're trying to find the best answers and those answers will provide info as to why they're the best. Explain why you think the link you provided will answer the question. Links can change and become outdated so we prefer the answers to not just be a link. See How to Answer on how to provide a quality answer. - From Review
    – fsb
    Dec 27, 2016 at 5:34
  • 1
    July 2019 - link is dead.
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 17, 2019 at 16:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .