Mavericks Bootable Disk Creation Tool

      18 Comments on Mavericks Bootable Disk Creation Tool

UPDATED:  v1.22 adds the a check to see if your flash disk is correctly formatted already.  This should in theory not destroy other volumes on your flash disk but as always make sure you have backups of your data on the flash drive you are using.  Also, it would appear at this time that 10.6.x versions of OS X are not compatible with the tools needed to create the install media.  Unfortunately this is an Apple thing and something I won’t be able to fix.

Mavericks is finally here and how awesome is it that Apple is now giving it away for free.  For all those that can upgrade this is a fantastic update and on my Macbook Pro 2011 I have noticed significant performance increases.  It seriously feels like a new computer.

As with all major updates I just don’t trust doing upgrades.  I know Apple has made huge strides to make upgrades as painless as possible but I always like to start from scratch.  For one, it makes it easier to troubleshoot knowing that I don’t have any previous baggage mucking my system up and second I get to spend time cleaning up the mess I have on my computer.  Sorta like forced spring cleaning in the fall ;).

So, as with previous versions of OS X, I went ahead and tried to create my bootable installer as always and found out it doesn’t work.  After a bit of research I came across a post identifying a new tool Apple has to create a bootable install disk.  Unfortunately, it isn’t the most user friendly for novice users.  Have no fear weary adventurers I have created a nice little script to make your life easy.  Read on for the details and please read the whole post so you understand what happens.


Install OS X Mavericks – From the App Store –  It is free so go get it.

One 8 GB USB Flash Drive – you could use an external hard drive but why when an 8GB thumb drive is 6 bucks.

Once you have both of those run my apple script.  The script will ask you to choose your install media, that would be the 8GB flash drive, as well as the location of your Install OS X Mavericks installer.  Below is what the process looks like.

1.  Launch the Applescript.  Click OK after you read the dialog box.

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 6.49.50 PM

2.  Next select your 8 GB flash drive.  Mine was called thumb drive.Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 6.49.53 PM

3.  This screen should validate that you selected the correct drive to create your Mavericks boot disk.  Once you click OK it will format the drive as a GUID bootable disk.  This is absolutely necessary in order to create the proper partitioning scheme that OS X can boot from.  If you use an external drive or a thumb drive that has multiple partitions it will destroy all of those extra partitions, hence my suggestion of a dedicated thumb drive.Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 6.49.59 PM4.  Next select your “Install OS X Mavericks” app that you downloaded from the App Store.Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 6.50.10 PM

5.  Once you click OK the process will begin.  At first nothing will happen but after about 5 to 10 seconds you should see the Terminal Application launch.Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 6.50.16 PM

6.  You should see a windows like the one below.  You need to enter your password in order to run the final process.  The password should be the one you use to log into your computer.Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 6.51.21 PM

7.  Once you have entered the correct password you should see the process start and something that looks like the following.  The time it takes will very.  On really fast disks it only takes 3 to 5 minutes.  On the thumb drive I used it took closer to 20 to 25 mins.  BE PATIENT!  😉Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 6.51.28 PM

8.  If everything worked correctly you should see this.

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 7.03.14 PM

I hope this helps those looking to start clean.



Link to Program:  Mavericks Bootable Installer v1.22

If you are running 10.6.x use this article to create an installer.

Keywords:  apple mac mavericks 10.9 boot clean install OS X disk

18 thoughts on “Mavericks Bootable Disk Creation Tool

  1. Chris

    when I get to step 6 and enter my password, i get the following error:

    Failed to start erase of disk due to error (-9999, 0).
    A error occurred erasing the disk.

    I’m using a 32GB flash drive from Micro Center that I’ve never used before. I’ve also tried erasing it via Disk Utility but get the same error message.

    Any ideas why it won’t erase?

    1. Christopher Silvertooth Post author

      That is strange. I didn’t have a lot of thumb drives to test with. What OS are you on right now? I have seen reports that the commands used to create the bootable disk do not work with 10.6. I don’t have anything 10.6 to test against so I can not confirm or deny.


  2. TSOL

    Another report that this did not work from 10.6.8. I am going to attempt this next on a 10.7.5 next and will report back.

  3. TSOL


    Installer seems to have worked on 10.7.5, but every method I have found for making a bootable 10.9 will not work on my 10.6.8 machine.

  4. D

    no problem, found it…unable to get this working, not your scripts fault though.

    sudo: /Applications/Install OS X command not found

    1. Christopher Silvertooth Post author

      Interesting. I wonder why it can’t find the command? Did your Mavericks installer not finish downloading?


    1. tywebb13

      If you want such a DVD, then after downloading the Install OS X file from the Mac App Store, run these 12 commands in Terminal to create a Mavericks.iso file and then burn it to a dual layer DVD with Disk Utility. You may then boot up from it by holding the option key down and then install mavericks. This will not install a recovery partition. To do that, uncompress and run the script file

      hdiutil attach /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ -noverify -nobrowse -mountpoint /Volumes/install_app

      hdiutil convert /Volumes/install_app/BaseSystem.dmg -format UDSP -o /tmp/Mavericks

      hdiutil resize -size 8g /tmp/Mavericks.sparseimage

      hdiutil attach /tmp/Mavericks.sparseimage -noverify -nobrowse -mountpoint /Volumes/install_build

      rm /Volumes/install_build/System/Installation/Packages

      cp -rp /Volumes/install_app/Packages /Volumes/install_build/System/Installation/

      hdiutil detach /Volumes/install_app

      hdiutil detach /Volumes/install_build

      hdiutil resize -size `hdiutil resize -limits /tmp/Mavericks.sparseimage | tail -n 1 | awk ‘{ print $1 }’`b /tmp/Mavericks.sparseimage

      hdiutil convert /tmp/Mavericks.sparseimage -format UDTO -o /tmp/Mavericks

      rm /tmp/Mavericks.sparseimage

      mv /tmp/Mavericks.cdr ~/Desktop/Mavericks.iso

  5. Kobus Kruger

    Thank you so much for this script! I tried numerous time creating a bootable usb drive with Diskmaker X, but every attempt failed. Your script did the thing first time – thanks again so much!

    1. Christopher Silvertooth Post author

      What version of OS X are you currently on? If it is 10.6.x the apple provided createinstallmedia command at this time seems to be incompatible with that version. If that is the case this article explains how to do it in 10.6.x.

      You could always just do the upgrade and once you are on 10.9 you could create the bootable installer once you are up to 10.9. Not the fastest but more straight forward.

      Good luck,


  6. Guillaume Gète

    Otherwise, you can always use DiskMaker X which is free (donations accepted) and works also for previous OS X versions 🙂

    Also, the createinstallmedia command won’t work with 10.6.8.

  7. DE

    its apparently working, just want to add that the 3rd screen after choosing the drive where its going to be installed i got a screen that just said 0 and nothing else i clicked okay and everything else seems to be as the tutorial says im on a MBP retina 15 early 2013


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