How to install Mac OS X 10.9 ("Mavericks") from a USB Drive


Apple released Mac OS X 10.9 (“Mavericks”) this week as an upgrade through the Mac App Store.

If you want to perform a clean install of Mavericks rather than upgrading, you’ll have to manually create a “USB installation drive” and run the installation from there.

To perform a clean install of Mavericks, you will need:

  • A downloaded, but not installed, copy of OS X Mavericks. You can get this from the App Store, just don’t run the installer after it’s finished downloading to your “Applications” folder.

  • An empty USB drive with storage capacity of 8Gb or more.

Creating the USB Installation Drive is a simple 10-step process:

  1. Plug the USB drive into your Mac.

  2. Open Disk Utility (you can search for this using Spotlight).

  3. Select the USB drive in Disk Utility’s sidebar, and open the “Erase” tab.

  4. Set the “Format” value to “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” and name the drive “Untitled”.

  5. Click on the “Erase...” button, and wait for the operation to finish.

  6. Close Disk Utility and open Terminal (you can search for this using Spotlight).

  7. Copy and paste the command shown below into Terminal and press enter, then type your password and press enter when prompted.

  8. Step #7 might take up to half an hour to complete, don’t close Terminal or eject the USB drive while the command is still running - you’ll see a “Done” message on the last line when it's finished running.

  9. Restart your Mac and hold the Option (“⌥” or “Alt”) key on your keyboard until you see a boot menu.

  10. Select the USB Installer Drive, and the fresh installation of OS X Mavericks will begin.
The Terminal command to create a Mavericks Installer USB Drive:
sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ --nointeraction

To perform a clean install of Mavericks on additional Macs:

After the installation on the first machine has finished, simply plug the USB Installer Drive into the next machine and follow steps #9 and #10 above. 

Posted on October 24, 2013 and filed under Technology.