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Clean install Mac OS X Mavericks

Published 2013-10-23 (Modified 2013-10-23)

Apple just released it’s new update to OS X, Mavericks. And this time the update comes with the reasonable price of free.

The update pops up in the Mac App Store, and the update will download an installer that you must run to do the update. So if you know you are going to update, you might as well download it now, so that you don’t have to wait for the file (5.3 GB) when you are ready to take the plunge.

And just as with Lion, you can install Mavericks as a clean install. I often prefer a clean install to, well, clean up. And it is always nice to have the installer on an usb-stick just in case.

So how do you create a usb installer for OS X Mavericks? After you have downloaded the installer, use Finder to browse to the Application folder. Find the installer, and right click on it and choose Show Package Contens.

[caption id="attachment_551" align="aligncenter" width="646"]Finding the OS X Mavericks installer Finding the OS X Mavericks installer[/caption]

In the content folder, browse to Shared Support in Contens. There you will find InstallESD.dmg. This is the installer you are looking for..

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 00.12.36Now you can copy this installer onto either a DVD or an USB stick. When you are ready to do the install, pop the media of choice in your Mac, and boot it while you press alt. Then you can choose which media to boot from. And you are good to go.

If you want to create a install media thing after you have upgraded, you will discover that the installer has been deleted. Then you must go to the App Store, and press alt before you click on the Purchased button. This will give you the option to re-download the installer.


Turns out you need to take some extra steps to make a bootable USB this time around (thanks to this post from tyweb13 on MacRumors Forum). You need to run a executable file to create the bootable media, and this file is also a part of the installer file bundle.

Insert the USB, open Disk Utility, and erase the content on it. Make sure the format is Mac OS Extended (Journaled)

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 20.00.08

Run this line in terminal to create a bootable USB from the installer:

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia 
--volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ 
Mavericks.app --nointeraction

Note: /Volumes/Untitled is you USB stick. If you have called your stick something else, change this value.

This is what you are doing with the command:

sudo – run as root user, requires you password

/Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia – the location of the file you are executing

–volume /Volumes/Untitled – the volume to write to

–applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app – the application to write

–nointeraction – run without any input to the delete portion of the procedure.

After about 15 – 20 minutes, the stick should be ready.

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 20.24.58