How to: Create a bootable installation for OS X Mavericks 10.9 and above

UPDATE: With the release version of OS X Mavericks there is now a much easier way to create a bootable installer. Simply follow these steps.

1) Download Mavericks from the Mac App Store but do not click install. If you install then after it upgrades your machine the installer will be automatically deleted.

2) Insert a USB flash drive and use Disk Utility to format it, name it ‘Untitled’. The installer takes over 4GB so you’ll need at least an 8GB drive.

3) Open terminal and run the following command…

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

4) You’ll see some output in Terminal letting you know it’s copying files. When that’s done your USB will be ready with the bootable installer.

28 thoughts on “How to: Create a bootable installation for OS X Mavericks 10.9 and above

  1. Nick

    My installation holds up after I tell it which drive to install Mavericks on. It opens a little window that says “Connecting to app store…” and never goes past that. Any suggestions?

    Reply
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    1. marek Post author

      I think that might be because Mavericks doesn’t run inside virtual machines. I might be wrong though. Has anyone else tried installing inside Fusion or Parallels?

      Reply
      1. Tiziano Solignani

        Well, no clue. I think I had read someone onto vmware forum who managed to update a Mountain Lion image, but I did not manage to do the same, as yet. Today I will try with another image and following your tutorial with an USB disk, then I will try to build the image from that, this way I guess I will spot wether it’s an issue related to the image I’ve got or vmware’s. Thank you.

        Reply
        1. Jon Brown

          I came across this: http://pastebin.com/4kG5ChsP

          Trying it now, when I first tried the first line returned:
          hdiutil: convert failed – No such file or directory

          but I’ve copied the installer to Apps like normal, renamed the conflicting InstallESD.dmg and am trying again, so maybe it was just not liking the directory didn’t already exist.

          Reply
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  8. Bjornagain

    I have made 3 different installation sticks via differing methods and in every case I have to use the netkas IOPCIFamily.kext. Used on its own it creats a kp with backtrace every time… I therefore have to use it with a modeded AppleACPIPlatform.kext for the installer to ever get past the PCI COnfiguration Begin lockup! This has been the case since Lion,,,

    With Mountain Lion there were no issues but with Mavericks DP1… NONE of my volumes show up – therefore I have nothing to install to? I tried to partition my 32Gb USB Stick (the partition does show up) BUT… The installer fails with a minute to go,,, and The result is not bootable!

    Anyone else run into this issue? … any fix to get my drives back? They only disappear with Maverick installer. It’s like they get dropped when loading it!

    Reply
    1. Sampledi

      After replacing those two kexts on my Supermicro motherboard I have the same issue – HDDs are gone.
      Luckily I have installed Mavericks on USB drive, so I can still play with it, but we definitely need update for IOPCIfamily and ACPIPlatform.

      Reply
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  10. Sidharth

    I keep getting error – Invalid Argument, when I try restoring BaseSystem.dmg to the flash drive. Any idea why this is happening?

    Reply
  11. TheDaleks

    There’s an important step left out of these otherwise excellent instructions: before doing anything with the USB drive, you have to go into Disk Utility and partition it. Create two partitions, and click the Options button to set each partition to GUID (click one partition, then do this, then click the other partition and do this again). Both partitions should be bootable. It’s probably a good idea to make one of the partitions small (about 5 gb) and use the remainder of the capacity for the other one. I called the smaller one “Installer”.

    Then when you get to step 6 and do the restore, restore to the Installer partition. When you reboot, boot to the Installer disk, and when it asks where to install OS X, choose the second partition you created.

    If you don’t create two partitions on your USB drive, when you restart at the end of these steps, the installation routine won’t be able to set up Mavericks on the USB drive. It will probably offer to install only on the existing hard drive.

    Reply
  12. Pingback: Apple Seeds OS X Mavericks “Golden Master” Build. Here’s How To Create An OS X Mavericks Boot Disk. | RazorianFly - Apple and Mobile-Related Reporting

    1. marek Post author

      In the release version it’s actually much easier to create an installer as it contains a command to do it right inside the installer. I’ve updated the guide with these much easier instructions.

      Reply
  13. Jack

    It doesn’t work for me—after entering my password Terminal tells me:
    "Failed to start erase of disk due to error (-9999, 0).
    A error occurred erasing the disk."

    Any ideas?

    Reply
  14. Pingback: OS X 10.9 Mavericks on a Toshiba C665 (PSC55A) « Mokona Modoki

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