I recently set up an additional Lion partition in addition to my existing partition for development reasons.

I was in the process of installing apps on this new volume through the Mac App Store, when I realized that it would not let me install apps that I had installed on the older partition.

For instance, when I was trying to install Twitter.app, since it exists on my older partition, the App Store lists it as "Installed". This prevents me from installing it on my new partition.

Is there a hidden preference that would limit the App Store to only search the boot volume for installed apps? Is there a better way to manage installations across multiple volumes using the App Store?

3 Answers 3


At present the app isn't set up to restrict its spotlight search to any specific volume. That behavior falls as a natural consequence of "the Mac way" of letting an app reside anywhere and still run.

You can use disk utility to unmount that volume when it's time to install or update as a workaround.

  • 1
    Yes, that works! Hadn't thought of doing it that way.
    – fazil
    Nov 23, 2011 at 23:35

Press alt while clicking on the “installed” greyed button on the App Store item. This should force a redownload of the app.

  • I had tried that before, but it doesn't work.
    – fazil
    Nov 23, 2011 at 23:35
  • @fazil Ok. Keep that in mind for future questions: you'll get much more effective answers if you describe all the potential solutions you've already tried and how they failed :)
    – MattiSG
    Nov 24, 2011 at 7:34

How about deleting the package receipt that tells the system the app is installed? The receipts for everything you have installed on your machine are in (root directly) OS > Library > Receipts.

  • Danger! This will not only fail to solve the problem (Mac App Store checks if software is installed by looking for the .app itself), but could also interfere with software updates, and software installations.
    – username
    Jan 23, 2012 at 23:49

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