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Installing Mac OS X 10.8.x on an erased hard drive using DeployStudio and createOSXinstallPkg

As a follow-up to Greg Neagle’s unveiling of createOSXinstallPkg, a installer package-based tool for deploying Mac OS X 10.7.x and 10.8.x, I wanted to do a sequel to my earlier post on installing OS X using DeployStudio. Using packages created by createOSXinstallPkg, you can use DeployStudio to do an automatic clean install of Mac OS X 10.7.x or 10.8.x and correctly create the Recovery HD partition. See below the jump for the procedure.


The latest Install Mac OS X Lion and/or Install OS X Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store.

Mac running 10.6.8 or higher (to build the createOSXinstallPkg installer on.)

DeployStudio rc133 or higher running on another Mac

DeployStudio rc133 boot set running Mac OS X 10.6.8 and higher (can be NetBoot, or using a Firewire/USB drive.) The boot set needs to be created with Python selected as a tool to include in the bootable system.

Creating the automated installer package with createOSXinstallPkg

1. Download the latest version of createOSXinstallPkg 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):

For 10.7.x:

sudo /path/to/createOSXinstallPkg --source /Applications/Install\ Mac\ OS\ X\ Lion.app

For 10.8.x:

sudo /path/to/createOSXinstallPkg --source /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mountain\ Lion.app

3. Copy your newly-created createOSXinstallPkg installer to your DeployStudio server.

Putting it into a DeployStudio workflow

1. Set up a new package in DeployStudio for your createOSXinstallPkg installer (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 10.8.

2. Set up a new DeployStudio workflow with one package, configured to install Install Mac OS X 10.8. I did not check the box to set it as a Postponed installation, so that the DeployStudio boot set would do the install rather than doing it on first boot. In the case of my example, I’m calling it Mac OS X 10.8 Install.

Running the automated installation

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

2. Log in and select the Mac OS X 10.8 Install workflow.
Screen Shot 2012-07-24 at 7.56.28 PM

3. Select the drive you want to install Mac OS X 10.8.x onto as the target volume.
Screen Shot 2012-07-24 at 7.56.40 PM

4. Wait for DeployStudio to finish installing the package on the Mac and hit Quit when prompted. Your Mac should reboot at this point.
Screen Shot 2012-07-24 at 8.11.31 PM

5. Stand up, walk away, go get some coffee. If all goes well, your Mac should install a new copy of 10.8 and set up a Recovery HD partition on the designated drive without needing any further intervention on your part.
Screen Shot 2012-07-24 at 8.23.08 PM

Screen Shot 2012-07-24 at 8.30.59 PM

  1. July 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    By the way, DS does it automatically, the recovery partition is saved. Just use the latest NB.


  2. mobtek
    August 17, 2012 at 1:27 am

    What about if I want to upgrade machines from SL to ML and (create a disk image of the main drive in ML asr scan it and then upload to DS), how do I ensure the recovery partition installation?


    • August 17, 2012 at 1:53 am

      The 10.8 recovery partition will be created as part of the 10.8 installation, just as it would if you were upgrading from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion using Apple’s Install OS X.app.

  3. Q
    October 26, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    What I am looking for is how to skip the whole human part of selecting the drive to install on… Any pointers? I want to net boot and come back with a system installed… Or netboot, run a script and then install all without a human.

    • October 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      If you’re using DesployStudio, you could set up a workflow that automatically repartitions the first drive DeployStudio sees with a single partitition, automatically names the new partition something specific, then have the package automatically install onto a drive name that matched the name that you gave your partition.

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