So I plan to erase my MacBook Pro completely. After I erase its drive from an El Capitan recovery drive that I have, I want to boot into Internet recovery mode, plug in another flashdrive, install Mavericks on it, and then use the recovery drive for El Capitan to install El Capitan onto my MacBooks internal SSD.

Basically, I want to have El Capitan on my internal SSD and Mavericks on my external USB drive. Is this possible at all, to have an older version of OS X installed on an external device?

  • So you have El Capitan or Mavericks on your Macbook at the moment? If it has Mavericks, are you willing to clone it onto external drive or must it be clean install.
    – emotality
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 13:24
  • As of right now, it is running 10.11.5. I can access the Internet recovery partition which is Mavericks. And yes it should be a clean install
    – user173581
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 13:25
  • You have the .app file for Mavericks? And do you have an extra usb drive to load the mavericks installation on it?
    – emotality
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 13:32
  • I do have a Mavericks installer BUT it does not work with specifically my model (Prohibited sign on boot). However, I do have the time to install of from Internet recovery mode which has worked before. I can boot into Internet recovery and install on the USB drive.
    – user173581
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 13:56

1 Answer 1


If you have the Mavericks install app:

  1. Copy the Install OS X Mavericks.app file to your desktop
  2. Insert the flash drive you want the installation files to be copied to
  3. Download this script, unzip it, then move the osx_10.9_bootable.sh file to your Desktop.
  4. Open Terminal app, then type cd ~/Desktop/ and hit enter
  5. Then type sh osx_10.9_bootable.sh and follow instructions then wait

If this was successful, restart your Mac and hold down the Option key then select the newly created installation drive to install Mavericks onto your external HDD.

Pick USB drive Select external drive to install OSX (in this case, 0553225513 is my external hdd, which will be your flash drive)

After the installation you can reinstall OS X El Capitan on your Macbook.

  • The .app installer that i have does not support my MacBook Pro
    – user173581
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 14:15
  • Well you dont have to install, the script will make a bootable drive out of it. Just do the steps?
    – emotality
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 14:16
  • I don't have access to my Mac for 2 weeks, but I have tried using my installer to make a bootable drive in the past. It has a prohibited sign when I try to boot from the flashdrive.
    – user173581
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 14:18
  • So you wanna install it to your mac but you dont have access to it? lol dafuq?
    – emotality
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 14:21
  • Lol I wanna install it when I do get it back (repairs and I'm away), I thought I'd ask my question beforehand so I would have an answer before I got back to it
    – user173581
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 14:22

You must log in to answer this question.