Make an OS X Mavericks boot drive
Note: This post is part of the the series: Reformat Macbook Pro to make brand new. You can always refer back to the table of contents to follow the entire process.
In our last chapter, we learned how to backup your Macbook Pro with Time Machine in the event we have an issue while reformatting your Macbook Pro. It also serves as an important archive for your data so you can access it and grab files whenever you want them on your ‘new’ Macbook Pro. In this next chapter, we’ll learn how to create an OS X Mavericks boot drive so once the computer is wiped clean, we can tell it to reinstall an operating system and come back to life.
Let’s get started.
Make a OS X Mavericks boot drive
In this step, we’re going to make a OS X Mavericks boot drive. When you wipe your Macbook Pro clean, it needs some direction on how to come alive again. This little flash drive will plug into the side of the computer and we’ll tell the computer to read from it and install the operating system. Boom. Easy.
A. Download a copy of OS X Mavericks
- Open the App Store.
- Find OS X Mavericks and click Download (chances are you already have it)
- It may ask Would you like to continue? Yes, continue.
- This will take some time to download (it will download to your Applications folder, which we want).
- Take a sip of coffee and wait a bit.
B. Prepare flash drive, create boot drive
While you’re waiting for Mavericks to download, you can prepare your flash drive to be productive.
- Plug your flash drive into a USB port on your computer.
- Click on the name of the drive once, so it highlights. Change the name to:
Untitled. (The code we’re going to enter will assume this drive is named
- Go to Applications ›› Utilities ›› Terminal. Open the program.
- You’ll see a scary-looking programming box come up. Don’t be scared. We’re going to add a piece of code that will copy OS X Mavericks to the thumb drive.
- Select the text of this Terminal command and copy it:
sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app --nointeraction
- Paste the copied command into Terminal and press Return. Warning: This step will erase the destination drive or partition, so make sure it doesn’t contain any valuable data.
- Enter your admin-level account password when prompted.
- Now you’ll see the following messages:
Erasing Disk: 0%... 10%... 20%... 30%...100%... Copying installer files to disk...
This process will take about 30 minutes or so (depending on the speed of you computer). I was a bit worried that it was taking longer than expected. If you think it’s messed up, just wait longer. Give it 45 minutes if it needs it. Maybe an hour if your computer is really slow.
Once done, congratulations! You have your bootable OS X Mavericks drive. Keep this for any future projects (although you’ll want to update to the newest version of OS X Mavericks installer before attempting this process again if any length of time passes by.)
NOTE: (4.): This process will not work with Snow Leopard. It works only in Lion, Mountain Lion, or Mavericks. If you need to create a Mavericks install drive while booted into Snow Leopard, you should use Disk Utility instructions found here.
To continue with the series, head to the next chapter where completely wipe your Macbook Pro clean and delete all the files (including the ones slowing it down!). This is a crucial step in getting your laptop back to the ‘factory fresh’ feeling.