Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mavericks Install USB

For the past few iterations of the OS X installer, we've had to take a few steps to create a bootable usb install drive. While this process has not been difficult, it has had generated a few blog posts on the subject. Erica Sadun provides a write up of a common method used to create the external USB install here. Greg Neagle has developed a way to turn the installer into a package for deploying with other tools, which  can be found here.

In the early days of development on Mavericks, Apple changed the install app causing the previous methods to fail. Another set of blog posts emerged with details on the process, including how to copy a folder of packages after restoring the InstallESD.dmg. Dan Desilva provided this Tips and Tricks article to help others navigate the deluge of folders and create a working Mavericks install usb drive for developers.

Now, with the public release of OS X Mavericks, Apple has provided a tool to create an usb install drive. Located within the "Install OS X Mavericks.app" we can find the tool "createinstallmedia". Here's the full path (Watch for line breaks on the copy/paste):
/Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia 

Running the tool in the terminal provides us this usage statement...

Usage: createinstallmedia --volume --applicationpath [--force]

Arguments--volume, A path to a volume that can be unmounted and erased to create the install media.
--applicationpath, A path to copy of the OS installer application to create the bootable media from.
--nointeraction, Erase the disk pointed to by volume without prompting for confirmation.

Example: createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install OS X Mavericks.app

This tool must be run as root.

The binary takes three arguments when it is run, including the volume to place the installer on, the path to the installer, and the option to create it without any confirmation.

I ran the tool and, after a few minutes, was greeted by an Install OS X Mavericks drive on my desktop. Needles to say, I was giddy! It was very painless and quick, a nice change to the process I was familiar with. I can confirm that the usb installer worked on my test mini, and have no doubts about it's abilities to install the latest fresh juice squeezed from Cupertino.

Now it's your turn. Find an old USB drive and slap it into the closest Mac with the latest 10.9 install app. Fire up your terminal and make your own, you don't really need 32 gigs of fish stick recipes, do you?!

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

I love not having to open Disk Utility and copy folders around. This tool makes this admin very happy!


Mr Meehan said...

Thanks for posting. The process was easy, and I now have a handy Mavericks USB drive. I overwrote my Mountain Lion one... won't be needing that anymore!

C Wolff said...

Just one remark:
The created Mavericks (USB) installer will work on (most) pre "late 2013" mac systems, except the latest ones, like the new rMbP (late 2013), these have a specific Mavericks build!

Rusty Myers said...

C Wolff,

More specific builds! Ugh!

I assume you can download the model specific installer to that Mac and make an install USB just for that machine. Don't know if it's worth the extra work, or just holding out for the next unified OS build (10.9.1?).