Diskmaker X has been problematic for me of late, I cannot seem to create a “bootable” USB drive from any of my Samsung USB drives. After letting Diskmaker X do it’s thing, the drives (when I try using the whole drive as the installer) and partitions (how I normally do it) are not seen by Mac OS as bootable in the “Startup Disk” System Preference or when holding down the Option key on boot/restart.
I tried using Apple’s CreateInstallMedia instructions, and finally was able to create a working Install device and Utility drive per my instructions below.
Use the ‘createinstallmedia’ command in Terminal
- Download the macOS installer from the Mac App Store. Quit the installer if it opens automatically after downloading. The installer will be in your Applications folder.
- Mount your USB flash drive or other volume. You could also use a secondary internal partition that has at least 12GB of available disk space for the installation files.
- Open the Terminal app, which is in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.
- Use the createinstallmedia command in Terminal to create the bootable installer. For detailed usage instructions, make sure that the appropriate macOS installer is in your Applications folder, then enter [the appropriate path] in Terminal
I used the Ars Technica: How to make your own bootable OS X 10.11 El Capitan USB install drive instructions to create a macOS 10.12 install USB drive. Ars Technica has an updated set of instructions for macOS 10.12, but I stick with the old approach using the updated version of the DiskMakerX utility for macOS 10.12.
- I now use a SanDisk Extreme CZ80 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive.
- Setting up the USB drive takes a bit more effort under MacOSX 10.11. Using Disk Utility, format the drive as ExFat. Then reformat the drive as “Mac OS X Extended (Journaled)” and with a “GUID Partition Table”. You can now partition the USB drive. I set the first partition as 12GB for the installer (more than is needed), and then the rest for the Utility partition.
- While doing all of the above I download the macOS 10.12 installer.
- And I download the latest copy of the DiskMakerX 10.12 utility.
- I run DiskMakerX and install macOS 10.12 on the first partition on the USB drive.
- Then I create a bootable Utility drive. I Install macOS onto the Utility partition. I did this from a second copy of the macOS installer. And then I copy over as well as install various additional utilities. Viola that’s it!
Here’s how I did it. So it all went pretty well. I spent about an hour or so doing research on the best way to do this and getting things prepped. The OS install took about an hour and a half. And then probably another 30-45 minutes to finish installing software on the drive.
[Update: I used the Ars Technica: How to make your own bootable OS X 10.9 Mavericks USB install drive instructions to create a MacOSX 10.9 Install USB Drive, and also created a bootable USB drive with utilities as below.] [Update: These are the same instructions I used for a 10.8.x Bootable USB Drive. Remember the InstallESD.dmg is in the downloaded Installer and isn’t available from the created Install partition, so I put a copy of this in the Utility drive’s download folder.] With Mac OS X 10.7 coming as a digital download (and hence no install DVD), it seemed like as good a time as any to try making a bootable USB drive to use in case of emergency. So a full bootable copy of OS X, with it’s normal utilities, plus space for additional tools for utilities like Drive Genius and Data Rescue. I used a Transcend JetFlash 600 – 32 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive TS32GJF600 (Black). As of mid-2011 it’s supposed to be one of the faster USB 2.0 drives. [Update: I now recommend: Lexar JumpDrive Triton 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive LJDNV32GCRBNA. The USB 3.0 makes a world of difference is speed! ] A note: The USB drive should be faster and more convenient that using an install DVD. However, it’s not the zippiest of drives (in other words like a hard drive) that you can use to boot your Mac. Also, it seems that it only likes to run (or focus on) one app at a time. Trying to multi-task makes me feel like I’m sitting through molasses. (Them thar USB 3.0 drives are pretty zippy!)
Here’s how I did it.
So it all went pretty well. I spent about an hour or so doing research on the best way to do this and getting things prepped. The OS install took about an hour and a half. And then probably another 30-45 minutes to finish installing software on the drive.