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Creating a bootable external drive
#58585 04/28/21 11:00 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
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As the title says, I'm trying to create a bootable external drive, with High Sierra. Unfortunately, it appears that all of the older installers that are available from Apple will only upgrade a previous installation. So, how do you install MacOS on a drive that has never had MacOS on it?

I recall that when I upgraded my internal drive from Yosemite to Sierra, it was a nightmare trying to find the correct download. It appears that it's happening again.


MacBook Pro 15" (2015)
Sierra 10.12.6
Re: Creating a bootable external drive
Bob_00001 #58586 04/29/21 02:03 AM
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I'm guessing that you're post refers to How to get old versions of macOS - Apple Support.

The first only thing that comes to mind is if you've got a cloning app you can clone Sierra to your external and then upgrade it, but that would risk perpetuating your flickering screen.

Worth a try, though.

I've got no idea why there's no freestanding installer available. (I've got one archived, but its [official] useful life seems to have come to an end, which, I believe, can be hacked.)


The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire
Re: Creating a bootable external drive
artie505 #58587 04/29/21 03:26 AM
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Originally Posted by artie505
I'm guessing that you're post refers to How to get old versions of macOS - Apple Support.
Yes, that's the link.

I think I may have accidentally downloaded a system updater rather than an installer. I was having App Store problems. When I'd click on one of the links on the "How to get old versions" page, it wasn't properly firing up the App Store application. I realized that it was probably because I was clicking the link from Firefox rather than Safari. I switched Safari, but still didn't get to the right page in the App Store. Ended up having to reboot, and it finally found what appears to be the correct download. It's been downloading for the past couple of hours and is nearly complete. I'll find out shortly if it will install on the external disk without a previous OS on it. If not, I guess I'll have to find a disk copy app that will copy Sierra over from my internal drive. I have no idea whatever happened to my Sierra installer, but I seem to recall that it would only install over an earlier version of OSX. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, and will report back later.

BTW, I heard on another forum, that if you have an installer that is past its best before date, all you have to do is disconnect from the Internet and set your computer's date back a couple of years, and the installer will work just fine.


MacBook Pro 15" (2015)
Sierra 10.12.6
Re: Creating a bootable external drive
Bob_00001 #58588 04/29/21 07:09 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
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It turned out that what I downloaded was a full installer, and didn't need to install over a previous version. So, I just ran it and selected the external drive. It installed without any problems. I saved the installer to an archive drive. I think I'll download other versions of MacOS while I'm still able to do it, and archive them too.


MacBook Pro 15" (2015)
Sierra 10.12.6
Re: Creating a bootable external drive
Bob_00001 #58597 04/30/21 03:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob_00001
It turned out that what I downloaded was a full installer, and didn't need to install over a previous version.
I don't now if that Apple doc is deliberately misleading or just incredibly poorly written, your experience with it being an excellent example.

My archived Yosemite, El Capitan, and Sierra installers appear to be the same dmgs to which the doc links, and they launch as expected in my Big Sur installation.

My archived High Sierra, Mojave, and Catalina installers do not launch, popping this up instead.

I was already aware of the hack you mentioned, but I doubt that it will work in this instance, because not a one of those installers is old enough to actually be out of date. I suspect it's a function of my trying launch them in Big Sur, but I"m at a total loss as to why that might be the case.

The App Store links to the High Sierra and Mojave installers return this, while the Catalina link allows me to d/l the installer which, same as my archived installer, returns the "too old" pop-up when I try to launch it.

'Tis a puzzlement!

Despite my penchant for archiving installers, and in view of the links included in the Apple doc and the fact that I can't conceive of a single use for them, I think I'm going to just trash the ones I've got other than Big Sur and Catalina (to which I'm thinking of reverting) and banish the mystery from my life.


The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire
Re: Creating a bootable external drive
artie505 #58599 04/30/21 02:22 PM
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From my viewpoint, it appears security and support concerns are causing MacOS installers to evolve even between updates. For example I have taken to keeping a bootable thumb drive installer of the current release version as a belt and suspenders backup. The procedure involves downloading the release version from the App Store then running the createinstallmedia app that is included in the Install Mac OS package to create the bootable thumb drive. Nothing in the process is difficult.

This all worked as advertised with MacOS 11.0, 11.1, 11.2, and 11.2.1. Then came MacOS 11.3. With the previous versions the download was direct from the App Store but with 11.3 when I click on Get instead of the download beginning directly from the App Store System Preferences > Software Update is launched to handle the download and you need to be watchful to stop the installer from running once the download is accomplished. Then when I attempt launching createinstallmedia in Terminal it announces createinstallmedia is not found. If I show the package contents of the installer package createinstallmedia is there right where it should be. I am still working on why the command is not found even though the specified path is correct, and the exact same copy and paste has worked for several years. Is the problem in the installer package? the command string? MacOS 11.3? MacOS 11.4 beta 1? between the earpads on my AirPods? confused

Apple's development is, and always has been, tightly focused on today and tomorrow. So it shouldn't be surprising the support mechanisms must also continue to evolve. It is also obvious Apple is not going back and reworking, retesting, and re-releasing installers for older versions of MacOS especially those that are no longer actively supported. That too is a long held precept from Apple's earliest days. But at this juncture evolutionary changes seem to be piling up like cars on the freeway intersection at rush hour. To continue the freeway analogy hopefully the current jam will smooth out as things go along.



Make intentional errors —
Otherwise the Great Spirit realizes you have fulfilled your purpose on earth.

— Navajo saying
Re: Creating a bootable external drive
joemikeb #58618 05/01/21 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by joemikeb
I am still working on why the command is not found even though the specified path is correct, and the exact same copy and paste has worked for several years. Is the problem in the installer package? the command string? MacOS 11.3? MacOS 11.4 beta 1? between the earpads on my AirPods? confused
CONFESSION: I got it at least half right in one — a major portion of my problem was between the ear pads on my AirPods
  1. I had formatted the thumb drive APFS and it turns out that it must start out formatted MacOS Extended, ExFAT, or FAT — anything but APFS. During the createinstallmedia process it will be reformatted MacOS Extended. So that was definitely between the ear pads on my AirPods.
  2. I copied and pasted the createinstallmedia Terminal command string from a different source than I had used previously but when I manually entered the string in Terminal, it worked. (I tested this and the copy and paste from the internet source failed every time but both the manually entered command and a copy and paste from the command manually entered in BBEdit worked every time.) I admit that was at least partially on me, but now although I don't really have to figure out what was causing the copy and paste from a web site source to fail, I have another puzzle to solve. confused


LAST WORDS:
  • Multiple sources have indicated Software Update downloads are not always the full install package. However, given App Store is using the System Preferences > Software Update module for OS downloads, that would appear to make the full install package mandatory at least in Big Sur. I don't have a reasonable way to verify this, but until someone proves me wrong it is my story and I am sticking to it.
  • I now have a bootable thumb drive with the full MacOS 11.3 Installer on it. My second set of suspenders in a belt, suspenders, and more suspenders tool kit. 😎



Make intentional errors —
Otherwise the Great Spirit realizes you have fulfilled your purpose on earth.

— Navajo saying

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