Step 1: Requirements

Get the latest version of the Mavericks installer

Once you've obtained all of the necessary materials, install the Diskmaker X app to your Applications folder. The app can currently make installers for OS X Diskmaker X has actually been around since the days of OS X It's still possible to create a disk manually using a Terminal command which we'll go into momentarily , but Diskmaker X presents an easy GUI-based way to do it that is less intimidating to most people. This isn't going to be a problem for any Mac that can actually install Mavericks, but if you'd rather use a disc than a USB drive, you're apparently out of luck.

Anyway, select OS X It will then ask you where you want to copy the files—click "An 8GB USB thumb drive" if you have a single drive to use, or "Another kind of disk" to use a partition on a larger drive or some other kind of external drive. Choose your disk or partition from the list that appears, verify that you'd like to have the disk or partition erased, and then wait for the files to copy over. The process is outlined in screenshots below.

Clean Install OS X Mavericks via Bootable Flash Drive – Complete Guide

If you don't want to use Diskmaker X for some reason, poster tywebb13 on the MacRumors forums has your hookup. Assuming that you have the OS X Mavericks installer in your Applications folder, and you have a Mac OS X Extended Journaled -formatted volume named "Untitled" mounted on the system, you can create a Mavericks install drive by typing the following command into the Terminal. The command will erase the disk and copy the install files over.


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A flash drive is a simple, inexpensive, and portable emergency boot device that can handle OS X or the macOS. Heck, it can even have both operating systems installed, letting you use the emergency USB flash drive to boot any of the Mac's you may have.

How to clean install OS X on your Mac/MacBook Pro/Air?

Eliminating the need to pare down the OS to get it to fit on the USB flash drive significantly simplifies the installation process. Second, the cost of USB flash drives is falling. A 16 GB USB flash drive is large enough to install both a complete copy of the macOS and some of your favorite applications or recovery utilities, making it a budget-friendly emergency device that can boot your Mac and possibly repair or recover its data and get it running again.

Selecting a USB flash drive to use for creating a bootable OS X or macOS device is actually relatively straightforward, but here are some concerns to consider and a few suggestions to make the selection process easier. This is also true of macOS, the later versions of the Mac operating system. Speed is a mixed bag for USB flash drives.

Focus on read speeds rather than write speeds when you shop for a USB flash drive. Apple is the primary source for this type of adapter, but as USB-C gains popularity, you will be able to find third party suppliers at reasonable prices for the adapters. Most USB flash drives are formatted for use with Windows.

How to make a bootable Mavericks install drive

The process for formatting your flash drive is very similar to what is outlined above. We prepared the USB flash drive by partitioning and formatting it and then enabling ownership. The flash drive will now appear to the OS X installer as just another hard drive that is ready for installation of OS X. Having said that, we recommend that you customize the software packages that OS X will install.

Step 2: Back up your Mac

Before you begin the installation, a few notes about the process. As we mentioned earlier, USB flash drives are much slower at writing data. When we performed the installation, it took about two hours.

OSX 10.9 Mavericks - How to Create a Bootable USB Flash Drive

You can expect to see plenty of beach balls and slow responses as you work your way through the installation process. If speed is a big issue for you, you can entertain the idea of purchasing a small SSD in a portable enclosure. Some manufacturers are making SSDs that are just slightly larger than the standard flash drive. Of course, you will pay a premium for the speed.


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  • A bootable USB flash drive will help you get your Mac back to working condition, by letting you use all of the tools a fully-working Mac has available. In addition to being able to use Disk Utility, the Finder, and Terminal, and have access to the Internet, you can also load some specific emergency tools onto your USB flash drive. Here are some of the utilities we suggest installing. Share Pin Email.


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