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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting Install
If you ever need to install (or reinstall) OS X on a drive other than your current boot drive, you can do it without rebooting. (Normally, when you launch the OS X installer, it reboots your machine before starting the installation.) With this hint, you can do the whole install process while booted normally from your current drive -- so you can keep working while the install is going on.

To do that, just launch the Unix executable for the installer application on the DVD, by running the following command in Terminal:
sudo /Volumes/Snow\ leopard\ Install\ DVD/System/Installation/CDIS/Mac\ OS\ X\ Installer.app/Contents/MacOS/Mac\ OS\ X\ Installer
To make it work even faster, you can clone the install DVD to a small partition on one of your drives, and then modify the above command to point to the path to the installer application on that partition.

This older hint does the same thing, with one key difference: This method provides essentially the same GUI interface you get when you boot from the DVD. This lets you run the full system restore from Time Machine from the Utilities menu, for example. I don't know any other way to do that without booting from the DVD.
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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting | 20 comments | Create New Account
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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: gp_aaron on Jan 27, '10 08:17:37AM

I'm wondering how quick this would be from the dmg image I took of my install disc.

This would save time versus my current procedure of; putting the remote mac into target disc mode, creating a small partition on the internal drive, cloning the dmg to it and installing from that. So many mac's with broken dvd drives.



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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: V.K. on Jan 27, '10 02:38:19PM

You can certainly use a dmg instead of making a separate partition but I would not install on one mac while booted from another.
This can lead to problems if you are using computer specific install disks and even with a retail disk the resulting install will misidentify the hardware.

But for installing on a different drive on the same computer a dmg will work just fine.



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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: everkleer80 on Jan 27, '10 09:00:47AM

I may use this trick the next time I (re)install the OS - boot into target FW mode and install from one of my other machines.

When I boot my iMac from the install DVD (or any DVD that I've tried for that matter) it takes literally about 5-10 mins to get from the grey Apple logo screen to the first prompt. And everything there goes extremelly slow. This has always been the case, ever since I bought the computer refurbished from Apple a year and a half ago, and the same with my MacBook which I bought new 3 years ago. I've never experience poor performance from the drives other than booting off them. Is my experience here normal?



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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: gp_aaron on Jan 27, '10 09:42:36AM

I work in an Apple Repair center and this is normal experience for me.

I try to boot off a firewire or USB hard drive whenever possible as it's much quicker. A 8GB usb flash drive makes a very good install source.



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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: everkleer80 on Jan 27, '10 09:49:28AM

Good to finally know that it's nothing wrong with my machine(s).

As soon as I bought SL, I did put it on an 8GB SD card. Only problem is my MacBook won't boot off of USB, so I'm glad to see this hint!



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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: gp_aaron on Jan 27, '10 09:56:46AM

The MacBook should boot with no problems from any USB storage. Just make sure the partition map is GUID. You'll find that in Disk Utility under the options when creating the partition.



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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: everkleer80 on Jan 27, '10 10:35:35AM

When I was trying to install SL, I think I had done some research and found that the MacBook Core 2 Duo could boot off USB but that the MacBook Core Duo (which I have) could only boot off FW. Anyway, I don't currently have any need to boot off of USB, but I will keep your comments in mind for the future.



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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: gp_aaron on Jan 27, '10 10:42:23AM

Weird, my first MacBook was a Core Duo 2.0GHz and I booted off USB every time I did a reinstall or even when I beta tested Leopard.



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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: leamanc on Jan 27, '10 11:47:14AM

You are correct. All Intel Macs (and even some PPC machines, including some as old as the Bondi iMac and the original XServes) can boot off USB. As mentioned above, GUID partition table is the key.



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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: everkleer80 on Jan 27, '10 12:21:13PM

You're right, I verified my SD card is MBR, not GUID. So maybe what I read was saying that only newer machines can boot from devices using an MBR partition map.



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Below spec DVD drive
Authored by: davidmorr on Jan 27, '10 02:12:28PM

When I bought my new iMac about a year ago, the DVD drive was nowhere near as fast as the speed claimed in the specs. It would typically write at 3x instead of the 8x Apple claimed.

It took a while (several calls) but Apple support agreed there was a problem and replaced the drive with a different brand. It is still not 8x, but it does do 5-6x.

Lots of people complain about slow DVD drives in iMacs, so I suspect it is actually a common problem. Is it a faulty batch of drives? If so, they continued to use them for a very long time.

Edited on Jan 27, '10 02:13:32PM by davidmorr



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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: frankt on Jan 27, '10 01:51:19PM

I am not terminal savvy, so would anyone be kind enough to help me find the correct command to do this with the 10.5 Leopard Install DVD. Its name is "Mac OS X Install DVD". I have not been able to reproduce the proper command although I can locate the Mac OS X Installer.app on the DVD.

/Volumes/Mac OS X Install DVD/System/Installation/CDIS/Mac OS X Installer.app/Contents/MacOS/Mac OS X Installer

Thanks in advance.

---
"You got to keep the loonies on the path."



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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: V.K. on Jan 27, '10 02:35:05PM
as you located the installer and found the binary the rest is easy. the command should be

sudo "/Volumes/Mac OS X Install DVD/System/Installation/CDIS/Mac OS X Installer.app/Contents/MacOS/Mac OS X Installer"
so just enclose the path in quotation marks. another quick way to get the correct path is to drag the binary to the terminal window. then all the spaces in the name will be properly escaped and you won't need the quotation marks.

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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: frankt on Jan 27, '10 03:04:22PM

Thank you. I told you I wasn't savvy. I didn't try the quotation marks and I didn't think of dragging the binary to the terminal window. I guess it's time for me to buy a book and read it.

Thanks again.

---
"You got to keep the loonies on the path."



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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: frankt on Jan 27, '10 04:20:13PM

Well, at least I tried, but I know I'm doing something wrong. I ran the following in terminal:

sudo "/Volumes/Mac OS X Install DVD/System/Installation/CDIS/Mac OS X Installer.app/Contents/MacOS/Mac OS X Installer"

I then tried;

sudo (and dropped the binary into the terminal window).

Both tries resulted in the following error message window:

"There was a problem installing Mac OS X.

No package was specified for the Mac OS X installer to install. A package must be specified as an argument in order to install Mac OS X."

So obviously this is something I shouldn't be doing.

Thanks again for your help.



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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: _kai_ on Jan 31, '10 05:31:24AM

i am trying to restore a timemachine backup from a network drive to an usb drive, attached to my machine.

when i use "Restore from Time Machine backup" from the utilities menu running the installer app from the OS X install DVD (10.6 - snow leopard), the network drive doesn't show up.

so i'd like to run the 'restore' without rebooting my machine, running in parallel to the OS, hoping that i can mount the network drive, and getting it recognized by the restore app.

so i followed the advice and run in terminal the (adapted) command:
sudo "/Volumes/Mac OS X Install DVD/Install Mac OS X.app/Contents/MacOS/Install Mac OS X"

but this command forces a reboot, too, not running the installer app in parallel.

any help? many thanks.



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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: m3kw on Apr 15, '10 09:15:06AM

Is this the same as going to systems folder in the SNOW Leopard DVD and executing the OSXInstall.mpkg (in one of the sub directories)? It does install the OS (taking over 30 minutes).

The problem For me is that the drive won't boot, and the computer doesn't find it as a Bootable drive.

It was fixed when I actually install it the normal way. Boot off the DVD and install it. It would boot after. I have no Idea why.



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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: ezmac on Apr 30, '10 06:01:22AM

how to get back, I've snow leopard on a usb pendrive, and after first try, installer says it can't instal on a volume. of course boot from pendrive works perfectly !!!



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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: larryy on Jun 03, '10 07:44:28PM
This hint leaves out one important detail, which is what gave "frankt" a hard time and results in the error message he reported:
There was a problem installing Mac OS X.
No package was specified for the Mac OS X installer to install. A package must be specified as an argument in order to install Mac OS X.
As the error message fairly clearly indicates, the "Mac OS X Installer" program requires the specification of a particular package to install when invoked from the command line. (At least this is true for Snow Leopard.) The solution is simple... Just add the path to the main OSInstall.mpkg to the command. So, assuming the installer volume is called "Mac OS X Install DVD" (even if it's on a hard drive), the command written out in full to perform the install is:
sudo /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\ DVD/System/Installation/CDIS/Mac\ OS\ X\ Installer.app/Contents/MacOS/Mac\ OS\ X\ Installer /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\ DVD/System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.mpkg
This definitely works to install Snow Leopard from a hard drive, without having to boot from the installer partition. It does produce a bunch of warning or error messages, at least in the case in which the target volume is empty, but it appears they can safely be ignored. They are mostly of the form:
Broadcast message from <IP> at <time>...
Did not move file from: <xxx> to: <yyy>
and:
Error writing cache to /Volumes/<target_volume>/Recovered Items/Libary/Caches/...
and:
Could not create entry for {
  ...
} ... "Unable to create record <xxx> in /Local/Target."
and:
mv: rename /Volumes/<target_volume>/Recovered Items//Volumes/<xxx> to /Volumes/<target_volume>/<xxx>: No such file or directory
Despite a few pages of these warnings and errors, the resulting volume could be selected in the Startup Disk prefPane, and booting from the resulting volume worked correctly, wanting to be registered, allowing you import user data, correctly performing software updates, etc. So the technique seems to work as advertised as long as you provide the path to the correct package to be installed.

--------------

In answer to "m3kw", this is different from just finding and double-clicking the OSInstall.mpkg in the GUI. I tried that and, as you observed, it goes through the entire install, but does not produce a bootable volume. However this command-line technique works correctly and does produce a bootable volume.

--------------

A slightly easier to read version of the command using quotes instead of escaping all the spaces, that should work but I have not tested, is:
sudo "/Volumes/Mac OS X Install DVD/System/Installation/CDIS/Mac OS X Installer.app/Contents/MacOS/Mac OS X Installer" "/Volumes/Mac OS X Install DVD/System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.mpkg"


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Run full OS X installer for another drive without rebooting
Authored by: larryy on Jun 19, '10 05:58:39PM

This hint was a total life saver for me. I bought a new Mac Mini (mid 2010, with HDMI), but because I wanted two 7200 rpm internal drives and didn't need an optical drive I bought the server configuration, fully planning to blow away Snow Leopard Server with regular Snow Leopard. I had a retail, boxed copy of Snow Leopard I intended to use for this purpose. However, the Mini was too recent to use the boxed version of Snow Leopard I had, and the machine would kernel panic when I tried to boot from the installer DVD. A couple of phone calls to Apple couldn't come up with any solutions and they were even suggesting I might want to return the unit and get the non-server model (which I very much didn't).

Then I remembered this hint. I booted the Mini off its originally installed server OS. Inserted my Snow Leopard install disc (in an external USB CD/DVD drive). Used this technique to install 10.6 to the second volume in the machine. Downloaded the latest combo updater from apple.com/support. Applied the update to the system on that second volume. Et voila. I could safely boot off of that second volume into standard Mac OS X. (And erase the original boot volume and use it for the data I always intended for my second internal drive.) Outstanding!

(Because of an unusual situation with Apple releasing a version of the 10.6.4 updater that was specific to this generation Mac Mini and which was not a "combo" updater, I actually had to use a 10.6.3 updater instead of the latest 10.6.4 updater, but this is not likely to be a common scenario.)

It all worked because I never had to boot into an out-of-date version of the OS in order to bootstrap up to a sufficiently recent version of the OS. Thanks for the *great* hint!

------------

Edit: Well, it almost worked. The installations proceeded as expected and I was able to boot off the target volumes after. But I hit a very mysterious situation in which built-in ethernet could not be found. I suspect this is a matter of special drivers being needed for this particular device at this particular stage of it and its OS's life. (It's unusual to see Apple release device-specific software updates.) So the method in general works as advertised, but I'm afraid it let me down in this specific instance.

Edited on Jun 20, '10 02:18:08PM by larryy



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