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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.

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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.

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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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