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Create a customized 10.3 'Rescue CD/DVD' System
I always thought it might be helpful to use the OS X installation CD not only for the purpose of installing the OS, but to do some repairs which can't be done when running from the hard disk. Fortunately, Apple has made this very easy. The only thing you have to do is to add the application(s) of your choice to the /Applications -> Utilities folder of the installation CD/DVD. After that, boot from the copy of the DVD, and in addition to the usual utilities, (for instance) the Terminal will appear in the list of commands you can execute if you added it before. I find that really useful, because if something goes wrong, the underlying Unix commands are most times able to fix it.

However, it was not simple to make a copy of my install CD ... this might be because of a problem with the DVD, or even a kind of protection Apple added to the disk. Every time I tried to make an image or a copy with Toast, it stopped short before the end with a read error.

Following are the steps I needed to make a copy of the Apple Install DVD I have. I believe this procedure should work also with a Panther Install CD:
  • insert install DVD
  • open a Terminal window
  • su to root: sudo sh. Authenticate with your password if asked.
  • find out where the disc is mounted by typing df. The output should look something like this:
    /dev/disk0s3          41150400  22346460  18547940  55% /
    devfs                        1         1         0 100% /dev
    fdesc                        1         1         0 100% /dev
    <volfs>                    512       512         0 100% /.vol
    /dev/disk0s5          16238059   1350920  14075237   9% /Volumes/reserve
    /dev/disk0s7         186796504  84423052 102373452  46% /Volumes/MacintoshHD
    /dev/disk2s9           3958620   3892616     66004  99% /Volumes/PowerMac Software
    In my case, rdisk2 is the DVD -- the raw character device of disk2.
  • Make an image of the DVD to your hard disk:
    dd if=/dev/rdisk2 of=/pmg5install.dmg bs=5242880 conv=noerror,sync
    Sit back and wait until its finished. The bs parameter tells dd to copy 5MB chunks, which makes the copy faster then using the default of 512Bytes. The conv=noerror,sync bit tells dd not to quit if a read error is encountered and to pad zero bytes for all missing data. I did this because Disk Copy and Toast always encountered read errors at the end of the disk.
  • After the copy is done, unmount the DVD, and double-click the image to mount it. Now using the terminal, open the /Applications -> Utilities folder of the DVD:
    open /Volumes/PowerMac\ Software/Applications/Utilities
    Then copy Terminal (and other apps you wish to use) into this folder.
  • Unmount the image, and write protect (lock) the image. Burn the image. I could not use Disk Copy / Disk Utility, because it refused to burn. So I used Toast's Burn Image function.
After the burn is finished, try it out. For me, it worked perfectly. No more need to have an extra rescue CD with me, or a second hard drive.

Legal things:
Of course, you must be the legal owner of the install CD/DVD to make a copy of it.

[robg adds: I have not tested this hint. Note that creating a backup copy of a CD/DVD that you own is still legal in the US (and hopefully it always will be), so there's nothing legally wrong with this hint.]
  • Currently 3.50 / 5
  You rated: 5 / 5 (4 votes cast)

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Create a customized 10.3 'Rescue CD/DVD'
Authored by: jamesg on Aug 17, '04 12:14:27PM

A couple of questions:

1. How long will it take to boot OSX from this CD? And DVD? I've noticed that DiskWarrior and Norton Utilites take forever to boot up the OSX versions of their products.

2. You are using CD and DVD interchangeably here. Being a tech for a school district, I am curious if it's possible to create a CD that will boot up a wide variety of eMacs and other machines we have that don't have DVD drives. Basically, what can safely be removed from the CD or DVD to get it down to CD size and how much room will be left for other apps?

Of course, we also use external FireWire hard drives extensively which have excellent speed and almost no limit on capacity for our purposes.


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Create a customized 10.3 'Rescue CD/DVD'
Authored by: nerkles on Aug 17, '04 01:26:55PM

If you have more than a handful of machines to manage, I highly recommend OS X Server and using NetBoot and/or NetInstall to image all the machines. I think it's worthwhile if you have at least 5 or more machines to maintain, because managing everything that can go wrong on so many individual computers (of any OS) will eat up all your time like crazy, and have you stressed out and working late all the time. You don't get to have a life or pay attention to more important things than fixing every little annoying problem that comes along--the hard way--only to have all that problem-solving work made pointless by the next system upgrade anyway.

My approach: if it's NetBooted, nobody can break it! Just reboot and you're back to a clean, working system. Or use NetInstall and if something goes wrong, you just wipe out the problems with a clean image (it doesn't take all that long). has a great utility called NetRestore for this, check it out. Also, imagine not having to install everything manually on each machine. Nothing will suck up a whole day like manual total system installs on a lot of machines.

If you only have a few to manage, you could use BootCD for maintenance. It automatically makes a minimally sized disk image with just what you need to boot, and there's room left to add in a few other utilities of your choice. It's worthwhile to have an emergency boot for any important machine, like a server.

If you build your bootable CD or DVD from your newest machine (which you should also do for your NetBoot or NetInstall images), it is more likely to boot the rest of your macs (really old ones, such as pre-G3's won't work, of course).

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Create a customized 10.3 'Rescue CD/DVD'
Authored by: imageworx on Aug 17, '04 02:58:01PM

This can't work for me. We have different applications with registration issues (can't have the same boot image) per user per machine.

Only use is to make a netboot image of each machine (once fully configured) and boot from that.

Is there a recommended resource to read more on Netboot and server-deployed OS booting? Tia~

To BeOS or Not to BeOS

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which apps?
Authored by: mikerose on Aug 17, '04 03:28:32PM

Which licensed apps are preventing you from imaging/NetBooting? There are quite a few network-serialization schemes that will defer to Keyserver -- -- for license management.

For NetBoot/NetInstall resources, start at, then, and finally


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which apps?
Authored by: sjk on Aug 17, '04 03:53:45PM
Maybe add PSU Blast Image Config to the list.

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Create a customized 10.3 'Rescue CD/DVD'
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Nov 19, '06 01:26:10PM

It won't take any longer to boot from a disc created this way, than an unmodified version of the disc, since adding apps in this fashion doesn't influence boot time.

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Create a customized 10.3 'Rescue CD/DVD'
Authored by: foilpan on Aug 17, '04 12:33:34PM

why not use bootcd?

i've used it in the past with good results. it takes forever to boot because it has to set up a RAM disk based on the amount of RAM available, but it's proved to be a handy tool.

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Create a customized 10.3 'Rescue CD/DVD'
Authored by: thospalm on Aug 17, '04 02:06:21PM

I've tried the various methods posted here to create bootable DVD's and found BootCD to be the easiest and, for me, the only successful way. However, the resultant image is based on the Boot volume rather than a preferred CD, DVD or image of such.

I do believe that BootCD will create an image that can fit on a CD, if needed.

15" AlBook, 1.5Ghz, 1GB, OS 10.3.5

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Create a customized 10.3 'Rescue CD/DVD'
Authored by: daybrother on Aug 17, '04 02:12:31PM

I created a copy of my Panther install CD using DU with no trouble at all although I did have problems trying the same with Jaguar IIRC. I used a MCE add on CDRW burner in my old Wallstreet and for Panther I created a disk image and simply burned it. I wonder why the author had trouble?

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Portable FW drive is a nice if more $$$ option
Authored by: webbix on Aug 17, '04 05:15:11PM

While I would like to get my network setup for Netboot I have not spent the time to figure out the details (does all software need to be on the boot image? Can I just give InDesign to my DTP people, etc?)

My solution currently for adding new machines is a portable FW drive. I have an older unit that has a funky chipset (MoMo Bay) so it is not great for just storage. It is only a little larger than a pack of cards though and easy to carry. I connect via FW cable, no power needed for these drives and boot with option. I can then apply any software updates, add new software then use the disk utility to wipe/partition the HD. I use 'psync' or CCC to duplicate.

Any hints on netboot basics, quick start appreciated!!

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Create a customized 10.3 'Rescue CD/DVD'
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Aug 19, '04 05:16:46AM

I tried this, using my 10.3 installer CD, and the apps I added to

Mac OS X Install Disk 1/Applications/Utilities

...didn't show up under the OS X installer's File menu, which is where the other apps that are in Applications/Utilities show up. Maybe this hint works for the DVD version of the OS 10.3 installer? Or maybe I'm having trouble understanding what you mean by "in addition to the usual utilities, (for instance) the Terminal will appear in the list of commands you can execute if you added it before". Can you clarify?

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Create a customized 10.3 'Rescue CD/DVD'
Authored by: Superboy on Sep 25, '04 09:47:56AM

To add them to your installer menu, ctrl-click on /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Upgrade\ Disc/Applications/Utilities/ and add the apps your want to that plist as well as the Applications folder


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Create a customized 10.3 'Rescue CD/DVD'
Authored by: merch on Sep 29, '04 02:51:20PM

Superboy, thank you so much for this last step to the process. That was really blocking me. It still took me a minute to figure out which plist to edit. Control-click, choose Show Package Contents. Go to Contents:Resources and edit the InstallerMenuAdditions.plist with new <dict></dict> sections for each new app. Also copy the actual app files into the applications:utilities folder that holds the

I've had limited success with what apps will work. How would you get to have an active network connection (this works for me using BootCD - I wonder if something could be added to this disk to make that work since BootCD takes forever to boot)? Also how can you access files on the HD?


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Create a customized 10.3 'Rescue CD/DVD'
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Nov 19, '06 01:48:56PM
Thanks, merch, for further clarification, without which I don't think this hint will work. However, even further clarification is necessary: when you add the <dict> entries to the InstallerMenuAdditions.plist file, you need to specify the path to the "app inside the app"--follow the format and path of the other entries in that plist file. Specifying just the name of the app as visible on its Finder icon won't work--it won't launch.

I'm surprised enough that the person who posted this hint left out the step of modifying the InstallerMenuAdditions.plist file, so that I wonder if the disc he was modifying needed to have its plist file modified. Maybe different installer discs have different requirements here? I can't see how though--as far as I can tell, if you don't modify the Installer app's InstallerMenuAdditions.plist file to list the apps you want to launch, they won't show up under the OS X Installer's File menu.

You may also have to delete something from your disk image of the Installer disc, to get enough free space to add the apps you want. Try deleting one of the packages at System/Installation/Packages, since you won't be using the disc as an installer disc.

Diskwarrior appears to be one of the exceptions that won't work using this hint. I tried it, following merch's clarification; at, the only likely items are "Diskwarrior", which launches Terminal, which then launches Diskwarrior, and there's, but it doesn't do anything when you try to launch it; neither path would allow Diskwarrior to launch from the Installer's File menu--the Installer app just relaunched.

It seems most of this hint describes the author's extra steps he found necessary to make a copy of his possibly damaged installer DVD--I've never had this problem. The installer CDs and DVDs aren't copy-protected. I think most people won't have to follow his disc copying steps. The steps he describes, however, are useful if you do have to copy a problematic disc.

A utility that's supposed to be able to make bootable CDs and DVDs is Clone X 2, from However, I don't know what the limitations might be on using such a disc as a utility disc.

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Create a customized 10.3 'Rescue CD/DVD'
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Nov 19, '06 03:10:39PM

Sorry--that should read "the OS X Installer's 'Installer' menu", not its File menu--the Installer menu is where you find the utilities for the OS 10.2 and 10.3 installers. In the OS 10.4 Installer, there's a separate Utilities menu.

I took yet another look at this hint, and for a moment I thought I had the confusion figured out. I missed the hint author's note, "I believe this procedure should work also with a Panther Install CD". Since OS 10.4 wasn't released at the time, he can only have been referring to OS 10.2, though he doesn't say. So I took a look at an OS 10.2 installer CD, and found it doesn't contain an InstallerMenuAdditions.plist file. So, I made a disc image of my 10.2 Installer disc, copied Diskwarrior into its Applications/Utilities folder, burned it, then started up from that disc. Diskwarrior didn't appear under the Installer menu.

Conclusion: it's a mystery how this hint author did what he says. I notice nobody commenting here says they tried this hint with an OS 10.2 Installer CD except me--daybrother comments only that he was able to copy his Panther Installer CD, but says nothing about trying to add utilities to it, and merch tried a 10.3 Installer disc, with the added steps of modifying the InstallerMenuAdditions.plist file, and had limited success--some apps wouldn't work--but from that I imply some did work for him. So unless the hint author has some bizarre variation on the OS 10.2 installer, his success will remain a mystery.

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[Create a backup]
Authored by: m3talsmith on Dec 18, '04 03:09:17PM

Thank you so much for this post. I often forget about dd, in this case used for a backup. And this reminder saved my skin. I used it to do a backup of a drive that is going bad and disk utility wouldn't image the drive.

As Always,

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