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I was going to install a new copy of El Capitan via my USB drive, but it turns out it's dead, it's been corrupted. I erased everything before that, so I'm stuck with the installation screen.

How can I download a new copy of El Capitan? As you know, Safari comes preinstalled. I also have a Windows computer, so I'm open to suggestions.

Here's my Macbook Air Model: MacBook Air "Core i5" 1.4 13" (Early 2014)

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  • A direct download link exists for an El-Cap.pkg (not the OSX installer.app!) but it has to be verified and hacked on a second Mac. Please add your mac model (e.g. MacBook Pro early 2011).
    – klanomath
    Jan 10, 2017 at 16:12
  • @fsb, I tried that, but unfortunately Safari doesn't connect to mac app store. It says that it can't open urls that start with "macappstores:"
    – salep
    Jan 10, 2017 at 16:15
  • Simply boot to Internet Recovery Mode (alt-cmd-R) and install the original system (Mavericks). Then - after installing and configuring Mav - download El Cap.
    – klanomath
    Jan 10, 2017 at 16:17
  • @salep, I'm the author of the question that fsb linked in his comment (and also wrote the answer) and I can tell you having just tested it again, it works just fine! Jan 10, 2017 at 16:22

2 Answers 2

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You can't really download the OS X El Capitan installer app without the App Store.app easily. You can download the raw (unverified) pkg installer though, but to verify it and convert it to a legit OS X Installer.app App Store.app and a newer OS X system is required again. So simply downloading it on a Windows system won't help.


To solve your problem simply boot your MacBook Air to Internet Recovery Mode by holding altcmdR after turning it on.

In the OS X Utility window choose "Reinstall OS X" (or similar) which will download and install the original OS X your Mac came with (10.9 Mavericks).

After configuring your system open App Store.app and download OS X El Capitan. If you haven't purchased it previously use the answer in How to download OS X El Capitan from the App Store even if never downloaded before macOS Sierra was released or purchased is grayed out.

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An bootable USB flash drive OS X El Capitan installer can be made by any of the three methods shown below. None of methods require use of the App Store.

  • If you have a Windows machine, then see this question.

  • If you have Mac that is not capable of running OS X El Captain, then see this question.

  • If you have a Mac that is capable of running OS X El Capitan, then see this Apple website. The instructions are summarized below.

    Download macOS

    The installer for OS X El Capitan downloads to your Downloads folder as a disk image named InstallMacOSX.dmg. To get the installer:

    • Download using Safari, and open the disk image on a Mac that is compatible with OS X El Capitan.

    • Inside the disk image is an installer named InstallMacOSX.pkg. It installs an app named "Install OS X El Capitan" into your Applications folder. You will create the bootable installer from this app, not from the disk image or .pkg installer.

    Use the 'createinstallmedia' command in Terminal

    1. Connect the USB flash drive or other volume that you're using for the bootable installer.

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

    3. Type or paste one of the following commands in Terminal. These assume that the installer is in your Applications folder, and MyVolume is the name of the USB flash drive or other volume you're using. If it has a different name, replace MyVolume in these commands with the name of your volume.

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

      After typing the command:

      1. Press return to enter the command.
      2. When prompted, type your administrator password and press return again. Terminal doesn't show any characters as you type your password.
      3. When prompted, type Y to confirm that you want to erase the volume, then press return. Terminal shows the progress as the volume is erased.
      4. After the volume is erased, you may see an alert that Terminal would like to access files on a removable volume. Click OK to allow the copy to proceed.
      5. When Terminal says that it's done, the volume will have the same name as the installer you downloaded, as in Install OS X El Capitan. You can now quit Terminal and eject the volume.

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