Home > DeployStudio, Mac administration, Mac OS X > Upgrading to Lion with DeployStudio

Upgrading to Lion with DeployStudio

Something I’ve personally wanted to be able to do with DeployStudio for a while now is do an OS upgrade. I’ve built a mostly-automated process for 10.5 -> 10.6 upgrades that leverages both NetInstall and DeployStudio, but having to switch between the NetInstall and DeployStudio set involves some manual work that I’ve been wanting to automate but wasn’t sure how.

Enter Greg Neagle’s InstallLionPkg, which allows you to create an installer package that does an unattended install of Mac OS X 10.7.x. As it’s an installer package (albeit a BIG one), you can deploy this with Munki, Casper, Absolute Manage, Apple Remote Desktop, DeployStudio, etc. You can even run it as a standalone installer.

I’ll spare you the delighted gibbering I started doing as soon as I started thinking of all the ways I could leverage this, and focus on how you can use this with DeployStudio. See below the jump for the details.


Mac running 10.6.8 and higher or 10.7.x (to build the InstallLionPkg installer on.)

DeployStudio rc129 or higher running on another Mac (other Mac does not have to be running 10.7.x)

DeployStudio rc129 boot set running Mac OS X 10.6.8 and higher or 10.7.x (can be NetBoot, or using a Firewire/USB drive.)

Install Mac OS X Lion.app

Creating the 10.7 automated installer package with InstallLionPkg

1. Download the latest version of InstallLionPkg to your Mac.

2. Run the following command to create a basic uncustomized installation package (see the documentation on how to create a customized installer):

sudo cp /Applications/Install\ Mac\ OS\ X\ Lion.app/Contents/SharedSupport/InstallESD.dmg /path/to/InstallLion.pkg/Contents/Resources/.

Screen Shot 2011-09-07 at 8.33.01 PM

3. Copy your newly-modified InstallLionPkg installer to your DeployStudio server.

Putting it into a DeployStudio workflow

1. Set up a new package in DeployStudio for InstallLionPkg (if you’re new to DeployStudio, how to do this is covered on page 66 of the DeployStudio Guide.) In the case of my example, I’m calling it Install Mac OS X 10.7.1.

2. Set up a new DeployStudio workflow with one package, configured to install Install Mac OS X 10.7.1 and set it as a Postponed Installation.

Screen Shot 2011-09-07 at 8.49.42 PM

Running the automated installation

1. Boot the Mac you want to upgrade to DeployStudio.

2. Log in and select the Install Mac OS X 10.7.1 workflow.

3. Select your Mac’s boot drive as the target volume.

4. Wait for DeployStudio to finish deploying the package to the Mac and hit Quit when prompted. Your Mac should reboot at this point.

5. Stand up, walk away, go get some coffee. If all goes well, your Mac should update itself to 10.7.1 without needing any further intervention on your part.

  1. Bill
    April 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I am having an issue in getting this to work. I have created the pkg file and tested it. It will upgrade a Mac when double clicking on it. When putting it in a DeployStudio workflow it doesn’t work. I can see it try and open the pkg and the Mac reboots and comes to the login screen then reboots again. I can then see it trying to continue to run the pkg and then it fails and never runs the upgrade. Any ideas on what in DeployStudio might need to be changed?

    Thanks for the help.

    • April 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm


      I was working with someone else from your organization over on the MacEnterprise list on a similar issue. There, the root issue wasn’t DeployStudio but that the InstallLion.pkg installer wasn’t correctly set up. Can you please let me know the following, so that I can best help here?:

      1. What version of DeployStudio are you using?
      2. If the DeployStudio workflow is set to install InstallLion.pkg as a postponed install?
      3. How you’ve built your InstallLion.pkg installer?


  2. Mike White
    December 26, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Can you do this with ARD and Mavericks?

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