Create a Mavericks USB Key

Something that has been around for ¬†while, but I’ve just stumbled across it, is Diskmaker X

This nifty app will do all the donkey work in creating a bootable Mac OS X USB Key, you just need to following

1. Mavericks Installation app from the Mac App Store

2. Diskmaker X app from their website

3. an empty 8GB USB Key

 

Once you have downloaded the Mavericks app from the App Store and Diskmaker X from their website, then insert your USB Key into your Mac

Run Diskmaker X

When prompted, choose 10.9

It will then look for your Mavericks app, when it finds it, choose ‘Use this copy’

Then if you are using an 8GB USB key, then choose ¬†‘An 8GB USB Thumb Drive’

If you are using a partition on a larger drive, then choose ‘Another kind of disk’

Confirm the choice of disk by clicking on ‘Choose this disk’

When it warns you about erasing the drive, confirm that you wish to continue by clicking on ‘Erase and create the disk’

You will then be warned that you will need to input your admin password, so click ‘Continue’ and then enter your admin username and password when prompted

The process is fully automated, so from now until completion it will take around an hour, maybe longer on slower machines, you will get a dialog box when it has completed, confirming this and asking you for a donation, it’s not compulsory, but as it is quite a useful app, its always good to encourage future development, so please consider it.

 

You can then boot into the USB from the Startup Disk option in System Preferences, or by holding down ALT when the machine boots up

 

Enjoy

How do you wipe an old MacBook Air?

So, I was asked this the other day, and it can be quite tricky, basically, you need to boot from an installation disk and run Disk Utility to erase the disk.

Now as the MacBook Air doesn’t have FireWire then Target Disk Mode is pretty much out of the question (although this is now an option on Thunderbolt equipped MacBook Airs), so we will have to either try a remote disk option, or boot from USB.

In this guide I will run through the steps required to complete this task using a bootable USB key, but if you wish to go the Remote Disk option then more info can be found on Apples Support Site at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2129

For this you will need

  1. An 8GB USB key or Hard Drive (or larger)
  2. A Retail Operating System Disk
  3. A Mac with a Superdrive

Ok, so first of all if you have any data on the USB key, make a backup of any data you have on your USB key

On your Superdrive equipped Mac, insert your Operating System Disk & USB key and open Disk Utility

In Disk Utility, click on the OS Disk and then click on the ‘New Image’ icon at the top of the window, pick a name and save it to your Desktop

Once the image is created it will appear in the left hand window of Disk Utility, click on it and then click on ‘Images’ in the menu bar at the top of the screen and choose ‘Scan Image for Restore’

Once that has verified your image, click on your USB key in the left hand window and and choose the ‘Restore’ tab in the main window.

Next drag the image you created to the ‘Source’ field and drag the USB key to the ‘Destination’ field, tick the box that says ‘Erase Destination’ and click on ‘Restore’.

This will erase your USB key and replace it with the contents of your image, so all of the files on the OS disk will be transferred to the USB key, with the end result being a bootable USB key

Once this has completed, eject the USB key and plug it in to your MacBook Air and hold down the ALT key whilst powering it on, you should be presented with the option to boot from the hard drive or the USB key, if you have set a firmware password though you will need to enter this to gain access to the boot menu

When you have booted from the USB key it will vary depending on which OS you have created it from, but usually you will have to agree to a license agreement to get to the pre installation screen, at the top of the screen you should see a Utilities menu, you must click on this and run Disk Utility.

When you are in Disk Utility click on the hard drive you wish to erase, then click on the erase tab, you can then choose which type of deletion you require, I would choose the highest security option, which involves multiple passes of the hard drive, but this can take several days depending on hard drive size, if you don’t have the time then choose a lower security option, but remember more secure = many hours = less chance of data being recovered.

Create a bootable Lion USB key

To make a bootable Lion USB key, you will need the following

1. A USB Key, minimum 8GB, I use these
2. The Install Mac OS X Lion App

Ok, so first, you need to start up your Mac

Now plug the USB key into your Mac

Next you will need to open Disk Utility, this is located in /Applications/Utilities

Format the USB Key so that it is Mac OS X Journaled and make sure you choose the ‘GUID Partition Table’ option, otherwise you will not be able to boot a Mac from it.

Then you need to locate ‘Install Mac OS X Lion.app’ which should be in /Applications

If you have deleted it since installing then you can redownload it by opening the App Store, then hold down ALT and click on Purchases, this will enable you to redownload it by clicking Install

Click on the ‘Install Mac OS X Lion.app’ to run it, click on ‘Continue’ then Agree to the license and you will be shown your main hard disk, under that there is an option to ‘Show All Disks’ click on that and choose your USB key, click on ‘Install’ and the process will begin, you will then have to restart the machine so the installation can complete, this usually takes around 40 minutes

After this has finished you will be able to boot from your USB key into a full Mac OS Environment, and providing you keep this OS fully updated then you should be able to use it to boot up any Mac.

Once it is fully patched, you can install any additional tools that you use for troubleshooting machines.