I am setting up several iMacs which have different hardware configurations. I would like to temporarily connect the iMacs target drive externally on my main machine and perform the initial install on it. Once the first phase is complete, I would like to install the drive back in the iMac and allow the installer to finish the second phase of the installation (after the first reboot).

I presume the first phase of the installer only copies the installation file, but the second phase performs the actual configuration of the operating system. I fear High Sierra might perform use my main machine's configuration during the first phase of the installation.

In other words, does the Macintosh use the execution environment during the first phase of the installation?

  • Can this be simplified in to "Can I Image a Mac by running the installer once and copying the system to other machines?" Also - what is the real end goal? Less network downloads? Control over the install process? Wanting to not connect to any network period?
    – bmike
    Apr 1, 2018 at 17:30
  • The hardware is different on all the machines. On Windows, the installer copies all of the files to the installation volume and installs specific files according to the configuration obtained at runtime. My end game is to have a partial install that can be completed by another user without usb flash drives, which are slow to install and prepare.
    – ATL_DEV
    Apr 2, 2018 at 1:32
  • Also, I want the person to be able to complete the install without any additional media on their own. This isn't the same as imaging where every machine has the same specs. Currently, I can create a temporary partition and install a bootable installer, but that's more convoluted.
    – ATL_DEV
    Apr 2, 2018 at 1:37


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