Install Mac Os X Without Disc Drive

02.08.2020by

Looking for a way to install and run OS X on an external hard drive? This can be useful for a couple of different reasons. Firstly, it allows you to run another copy of OS X without needing any additional Mac computer.

Also, since you can run a full copy of OS X on the external drive, it can be used for troubleshooting purposes on other Macs or it can be as a kind of virtual OS X. I’ve already written about how you can install OS X in VMware Fusion, but that takes up space on your Mac. Using an external drive, you can save space on your Mac, though it might be a bit slower if you are using USB 2.0.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the requirements and steps to install OS X onto an external hard drive.

Format External Hard Disk

The first thing you’re going to need to do is format the external hard drive properly. The file format has to be Mac OS X Journaled and you have to use the GUID partition map. To do this, open Disk Utility and connect the drive to your Mac.

In that mode, when you choose to reinstall without erasing the drive, my recollection is that Recovery looks for the current OS system installer on your startup disk in the Applications folder.

Under External in the left hand menu, click on your external hard drive and then click on the Erase button. Make sure you backup any data before you erase the drive. When you click Erase, a dialog will pop up where you can configure some options.

  • Apr 21, 2020  Reinstall Your Mac's OS Without an Installation Disc. Select 'Disk Utility' and click on Continue. Select the Mac OS Extended (Journaled), give a name to your disk and click on Erase. Disk Utility Quit Disk Utility. Re-install MacOSX: click on 'Reinstall Mac OS X' 'Continue'. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  • The obvious first step here is to download OS X Mountain Lion. But before you do anything else, a word of caution: once you've used the OS X installer, it will automatically delete the file you need to make the backup disk, so you'll want to either make a copy of the installer or create your disk before you upgrade.

Give your drive a name, choose OS X Extended (Journaled) for Format and GUID Partition Map for Scheme. It should only take a minute or two for the drive to be erased and reformatted. Now your drive is ready for OS X.

Install OS X

There are two ways you can install OS X on to your external hard disk: by reinstalling OS X from the OS X Utilities repair screen or by downloading OS X from the App Store and running the installer. I’ll show you both methods in case one isn’t working for you.

The easiest way is to download OS X from the App Store. Once you open the App Store, you’ll see a link on the right for the latest version of OS X (El Capitan as of this writing).

Go ahead and click the Download button to start downloading the installer. Note that if you already have that version of OS X installed, you’ll see a popup message appear asking if you still want to continue or not. Just click Continue.

Once it has been downloaded, just double-click the installer, which will be located in the Applications folder.

Keep clicking past the license agreement, etc., until you get to the screen that asks you which disk to install OS X on. By default, it is set to MacBook.

Click on the Show All Disks button and you’ll see an icon for the different disks and partitions on the Mac. I named my external hard drive OS X and that shows up in the middle.

You can also tell it’s an external hard disk because it uses the icon with the orange hard drive. Click Continue and then follow the instructions to complete the installation. Note that your computer may restart during the install and you don’t have to do anything. OS X will automatically continue installing onto the external hard drive rather than booting up to your internal version of OS X.

At the end of this article, I’ll show you how to boot up to the external hard drive, so skip down if you ended up using the App Store method. Note that by default, the Mac will start booting up directly to the external hard drive until you change it.

Install mac os x without disc drive windows 10

The second method to install OS X is to restart the Mac and press and hold the COMMAND + R keys. This will load up OS X Recovery.

The OS X Utilities screen will appear and here you want to click on Reinstall OS X. Again, you’ll go through some basic screens, but when you get to the hard disk screen, click on Show All Disks again.

Macos mail.app cant add account password. Using this method, you’ll have to login using your Apple ID and password so that the entire OS X installer can be downloaded off of Apple’s servers. Whichever method you choose, it will take anywhere from 15 to 30+ minutes to install OS X onto your external hard drive.

While OS X is installing, your computer will restart a couple of times. Note that when it finally boots into OS X, that is the version running off your external drive. To switch back and forth between the internal and external drive, you have to restart your computer and hold down the OPTION key.

When you do that, you should see at least four icons. In my case, I have five because I have Windows installed using Boot Camp. Anyway, the grey MacBook and Recovery 10.11.2 icons are for my internal OS X and the orange OS X and Recovery 10.11.3 are for the version installed on my external drive.

Use the arrow keys to select which drive to boot from and then simply press Enter. If you have a newer Mac and a USB drive that supports USB 3.0, everything should run fairly fast. Overall, it’s a fairly straight-forward process and took me less than an hour to get everything working. If you have any questions, feel free to comment. Enjoy!

Ever since the release of Mac OS Lion the software upgrades for Macintosh computers are distributed through the online app store. Be it a clean install or upgrade, mac app store require you connect to the internet to download whole installation files. The online OS update is okay if you have stable broadband connectivity and enough bandwidth. Apple also provides an option for internet recovery of macOS if your computer fails to boot. But there are situations where you can’t download the OS from the Apple servers. Having a bootable macOS offline installation disk is the only solution in such scenarios.

How to make a macOS bootable USB installer

It is possible to create a backup macOS installer on a DVD or USB drive but later is the best choice. Most of the Macs these days don’t have DVD slots, and the installation through a disc is very slow. Hence we discuss only about making macOS recovery installer on a USB disc. For this you need a Mac and a USB pen drive of at least 8 GB space, and a third-party app called DiskMaker.

  1. First, download a copy of Disk Maker from the official website.
  2. Choose a version as per your requirement. For example, if you want make USB installer for macOS Catalina 10.15, download Disk Maker X 9.
  3. I use an MacBook Pro with High Sierra. Hence, I’m downloading disk maker X 7.
  4. The next step is to download full macOS installer from the App Store to your Applications folder.
  5. Run Disk Maker DMG installer and copy the app to the Applications.
  6. The application will automatically detect the downloaded macOS as shown in the screenshot. Select “Use this Copy” if you would like to proceed with it.
  7. Next is setting the USB pen drive for creating the bootable installer. Choose the third option ” An 8 GB USB Thumb drive.”
  8. The app will list all drives in your system. Pick the one you would like use as macOS USB installer.
  9. Ignore the warning message and proceed to Erase and Create macOS USB disk. Don’t forget to provide your admin password when it prompts.
  10. Keep checking notifications tab for progress. When it completes you will find Install macOS Mojave (or High Sierra) mounted to your desktop as a USB disk.
  11. That’s your backup. Unmount and keep the USB installer to a safe place.

What is the alternative if I don’t have usable Mac at the moment?

This method is applicable when you have a Mac, and the internet recovery fails. But think about a situation when your only Mac stops to boot, and you don’t have USB installer or TimeMachine backup! Downloading Mac OS DMG file might save you. If you have a macOS DMG, you can create bootable USB disk from a Windows PC — use a software like TransMac for this purpose.

Clean installing or restoring a Mac offline with USB pen drive

Install Mac Os X Without Disc Drive Windows 10

As said earlier, you could use the macOS USB installer to do a clean install or restore it upon a boot failure. Just connect the USB disk and press the Option/Alt Key when you hear the boot sound. The Mac will then display all the startup disks available.

Mac Os 9 Install

Pick the USB drive with the label “Install macOS Mojave or High Sierra” and follow on-screen instructions to complete the installation. If you need, use the Disk Utility to format the drive for doing a clean install.

Comments are closed.