Quarter Life Crisis

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Copying the Mac OS X Install DVD

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Terminal Icon I rather dislike having to start my computer from a DVD. It is noisy and takes ages. As the braindead Mac OS X installer (unlike its ‘Classic’ predecessors) needs the system to be booted from a special partition to do its magic, this means that having to install a system is both a pain and a waste of time.

The pain can be reduced by having a copy of the system CD on a spare hard drive partition. The machine can easily copy the DVD over and in case you need it - i.e. after the proverbial shit hit the equally proverbial fan - you’ll have an install medium that’s quite quick. Unfortunately Apple’s system DVDs or Disk Utility don’t come with instructions how to make such a copy.

Pierre Igot recently discussed this issue for the slightly different topic of installing system software on a machine without a DVD reader. And along the same lines - though tested for Mac OS X.5 on my current MacBook only - I can recommend the following steps:

  1. Make sure you have a hard drive large enough to contain the install DVD (10GB should be plenty, 8 will do)
  2. Use the command
    asr restore --source /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\ DVD --target /Volumes/Empty Hard Drive/ --erase --disableOwners
    In which volume names are adjusted for your setup of course.

There’s no step 3. The magic asr command will copy the image over to the hard drive partition, deleting the previous contents of the partition in the progress and ‘blessing’ the partition to be recognised as bootable in the process. It’s really quite an easy thing to do.

September 5, 2008, 1:46

Tagged as asr, image, install, mac, mac os x, terminal.


Comment by Eliel: User icon

I’m doing this and it was the solution since my utility disk drag ‘n drop wont wotk is working fine but is taking more than 1 hour and is still on 40… is this normal?

Restoring Snow Leopard image on 8GB Kingstone flash drive 2,16 Ghz Core 2 Duo iMac 21” 2Gb RAM

August 13, 2010, 5:25

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Received data seems to be invalid. The wanted file does probably not exist or the guys at last.fm changed something.