I'm trying to reinstall OS X on my girlfriend's Mac and when I go to recovery menu and select to install OS X from the menu, the system proceeds to start download components, which fails.

I've thought about using disk utility to delete the main drive and then mount a new one and try the OS X installation from the recovery menu again in hopes it just fails because there isn't enough space for the components. But I am afraid to try it because I worry the recovery image will be deleted as well and I won't be able to run the OS X reinstallation after I have deleted and recreated the main disk.

Is this a real risk or should I go ahead at try it? Components seems to be a lot to download so I'm thinking it probably is the OS image so me clearing the drive completely shouldn't be an issue, but I have no experience with anything Apple so prefer to have people to blame after my girlfriend asks why did I brick her Mac.


If you can boot normally into OS X then create an OS X USB Installer. See, Create a bootable installer for OS X (quoted below) or if not see, How to reinstall OS X.

Use the 'createinstallmedia' command in Terminal

  1. Download the OS X installer from the Mac App Store. Quit the installer if it opens automatically after downloading. The installer will be in your Applications folder.

  2. Mount your USB flash drive or other volume. You could also use a secondary internal partition.

  3. Open the Terminal app, which is in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.

  4. Use the createinstallmedia command in Terminal to create the bootable installer. Examples of this command are in the next section. For detailed usage instructions, make sure that the appropriate Install OS X app is in your Applications folder, then enter one of the following paths in Terminal:

Path for El Capitan:

/Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia

Path for Yosemite:

/Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia

Path for Mavericks:

/Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia


This is the basic syntax of the command. Replace volumepath with the path to your USB flash drive or other volume, and replace installerpath with the path to the Install OS X app.

createinstallmedia --volume volumepath --applicationpath installerpath

The following examples assume that the OS X installer is in your Applications folder and the name of your USB flash drive or other volume is MyVolume:

Example for El Capitan:

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume

/Volumes/MyVolume --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app

Example for Yosemite:

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume

/Volumes/MyVolume --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app

Example for Mavericks:

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume

/Volumes/MyVolume --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app

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