I need to re-install OS X Leopard on a computer that has broken DVD Drive. Also I don't have firewire cable.

So I created a .dmg file from the install disc and then copy that on a usb drive using SuperDuper. When I check my startup disks from preferences I can see the usb drive so I select it and click restart. When it restarts I just get a grey screen and nothing happens.

Also as soon as I open the computer (and desktop appears), the flash drive opens and I can click on "Install OSX", same window that pops from the DVD. It asks admin password then restart and again the same grey screen.

You think the problem is with making the bootable drive or with the .dmg file? I had to convert the installation disk from .iso to .dmg using "convert" from disk util and then renamed the destination file to .dmg> convert.

  • I would be very surprised if you could install OS X Leopard from an USB stick (in whatever format).
    – nohillside
    Jul 7, 2012 at 19:56
  • It appears there are many people doing it and there is no reason it shouldn't work. Im obviously doing something wrong. Now trying with Carbon Copy Cloner.
    – latusaki
    Jul 7, 2012 at 20:10
  • I have a very similar issue. Did the command V thing and the last thing it said was 'parent something loaded after one try' then sat there, then printed something very fast and shut down. The USB CD drive wasn't recognised at all. The bootable copy of Leopard shows up but restarts as soon as I select it and I'm suck with the same issue. Any ideas?
    – user30732
    Sep 25, 2012 at 16:56

1 Answer 1


I've done a bit of searching, and found these two articles:

The first article was written with Leopard in mind and does advocate the use of SuperDuper, much as you've done.

With that said, one of the comments notes that you need to partition your USB thumbstick with a GUID partition table, and, while not stated, I would certainly use the HFS+ filesystem for your partition. Did you do it that way? It also appears that you need a flash drive that is at least 8 GB in size.

One more thing to try:

  • Shut down your mac.
  • Hold down the option key at bootup.
  • Do you see your USB flash disk an something to boot off of?
    • If so, you can select it to boot off of it. (You can also hold down Command-V while doing so to boot in verbose mode; it should give you white text on a black background, logging details of what the computer is doing. If you can get that far and it gets stuck, can you share some of what it says, especially anything near the end or anything that looks suspicious like it may have gotten stuck there?)
    • If not, it means that your computer doesn't recognize the drive as something it can boot off of.

Here are a couple of more thoughts:

  • if you have another Mac, buy yourself a firewire cable, boot the second Mac into target disk mode (hold down 'T' at bootup), insert the DVD into it, and you should be able to boot off of the DVD through the other computer.
  • borrow a USB DVD drive, and boot off of it.

  • just a wild thought that I'll throw out, but would be more trouble than it is worth for one computer, and it well beyond the scope of what you really want to do. You could set up NetBooting to send an image file for the computer to boot up from over the network. Buy Mac OS X Server from the App Store if you are using Lion (and download Apple's server admin tools so you can run Server Admin), or try out JAMF software's NetBoot Appliance (that will run as a virtual machine, under OS X, Windows, or Linux), and (hand waving here; you might be able to use "System Imaging Utility" in the server tools) set up a NetBoot image of your installer DVD to install the software.

  • By using Carbon Copy Cloner I can now see the USB available for boot. One strange thing: At first I couldn't see it on available boot drives and while at it, I pulled out USB,but it back in and it was available. This could possible work with SuperDuper but didn't try. In couple of days I am going to do the reinstall so I will know if it really worked. Thanks for your comments.
    – latusaki
    Jul 7, 2012 at 20:53
  • ps: Apple provides a tool to create Lion boot usb using the download from apple store and its quite straight forward.
    – latusaki
    Jul 7, 2012 at 20:54

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