11/23/2021»»Tuesday

Os X High Sierra Usb Installer

  1. Sep 27, 2017 I created a more explanatory guide for making a High Sierra USB installer for newbies who receive the 19MB stub installer. Thanks to the advice from ‘Crazy Forthreed’ above. Create a macOS High Sierra (10.13) bootable installer USB stick (including starting from the 19MB installer stub).
  2. MacOS 10.13 High Sierra was released to the public on September 25, 2017. Like OS X El Capitan and OS X Mountain Lion, High Sierra is a refinement-based update having very few new features visible to the user, including updates to Safari, Photos, and Mail, among other changes.

The simplest way to create a boot USB drive is to download DiskMaker X and use it to create your drive. Generally, the latest version supports only the latest version of macOS; if you want to install something older than macOS High Sierra, check the list of older versions and download one that’s compatible with your chosen operating system.

Summary

How to make a bootable USB drive on Linux Mint (19.3) to allow you to install Mac OS X El Capitan on a MacBook with broken or corrupted recovery mode.

Background

I was recently given a 2011 MacBook Pro that had been “well-loved” and was therefore a mess of missing applications, ghost files and generally slow-as-hell. Since there wasn’t much worth saving I wiped it and initiated recovery mode in order to re-install OS X (El Capitan).

High

Having recently fixed a busted MacBook Air I had learned a bit about Recovery Mode (hold Command+R whilst pushing the Power button and release a few seconds after the machine wakes up). I tried that with this machine, and upon hitting “Reinstall MacOS X” was greeted with a prompt telling me it would take -2,148,456,222 days and 8 hours (an uncaught buffer overflow, me thinks). After about 30 seconds, a window pops up saying “Can’t download the additional components needed to install Mac OS X” and the installation gives up. The detailed error log says “Chunk validation failed, retrying” about 1000 times and eventually gives up altogether.

Further investigation suggests this may be something to do with security certificates having expired and hence the machine not being able to download the necessary files from Apple’s servers, but it seems the error can appear for all sorts of reasons. I also tried Internet Recovery (Command+Option+R) but that gave exactly the same error (and would also only have installed OS X Mountain Lion).

I then turned to attempting to make a bootable USB stick of OS X El Capitan from an image downloaded from Apple. I use Linux Mint on my main laptop and that was all I had available. Apple seem to assume everybody has a spare MacBook from which to create a bootable USB so they provide absolutely no documentation to help with this. I also couldn’t find a single guide online that worked from start to finish, so here I summarise what needs to be done.

Steps

As usual, this is all at your own risk 🙂

First you need to go to Apple’s OS Download Page and (step 4) get ahold of “InstallMacOSX.dmg” for El-Capitan. It’s a 6GB file so it might take a ‘lil while. You will also need to find a USB drive with at least 8GB capacity, and make sure it’s blank. The format doesn’t matter, because this procedure will format it correctly.

(In total you will need to use about 15-18GB of disk space by the time you’ve done all the extracting necessary, which shouldn’t be a problem for most computers but it was a challenge for my laptop with it’s 128GB SSD and dual boot Windows/Linux!)

Then you need to get a program called ‘dmg2img’

You can then extract the DMG

Now double click the .img file to mount it. In there is a InstallMaxOSX.pkg file. This requires a utility called “xar” to extract, which can be installed with these instructions (from https://www.oueta.com/linux/extract-pkg-and-mpkg-files-with-xar-on-linux/)

Then build and install with

Now you can extract the .pkg file. It will extract to the current working directory

Os X Sierra

Now, within the extracted files you will find something called InstallESD.dmg. This actually contains all the interesting boot files, but it isn’t a pristine image, so we can’t just burn it to a USB. Thankfully, a script exists to convert this DMG to a bootable usb, and it’s available here. It takes the DMG and writes everything directly to the USB in the right place.

ONE CAVEAT: When I ran this script on my InstallESD.dmg, it crashed because it didn’t recognise the checksum. I think this is because Apple updates the dmg’s anytime there is a security update for El Capitan so the checksum list isn’t updated. All I did was delete the checksum check from the script above. Essentially, just open the script and delete this section

Mac Os High Sierra Usb Installer Windows

Once I had done this, I ran the script with my USB connected (/dev/sdb for me, but CHECK YOURSELF with fdisk or similar) and after quite a while it finished copying.

I plugged the USB into the MacBook, and opened the startup menu by holding down Option whilst pushing the power button. This gave me the choice of booting from EFI, or choosing a WiFi network. Click on the EFI, and then follow the prompts to install OS X from the USB drive!

Osx High Sierra Usb Install From Windows

When you’re done, you may need to use Parted or a similar utility to re-format your USB as a normal drive again.

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