Cre­ate a bootable High Sierra in­staller drive

Put High Sierra on an ex­ter­nal USB thumb drive or hard drive and use it to in­stall the OS on a Mac. Ro­man Loy­ola shows how

Macworld - - Contents -

Ap­ple dis­trib­utes macos High Sierra through the App Store. You need an In­ter­net con­nec­tion, and the down­load will be over 5GB, so it’ll take a few min­utes.

For a sin­gle Mac, the in­stal­la­tion process through the App Store works well, but if you have sev­eral Macs, it’s not ef­fi­cient. That’s why I like to cre­ate a bootable in­stal­la­tion drive. I can use

the drive on each Mac I need to up­grade, sav­ing me from the process of en­ter­ing an Ap­ple ID and pass­word, and then wait­ing for the down­load.

It’s easy to cre­ate an ex­ter­nal in­stal­la­tion drive. It’s also handy to keep around, just in case you’re in a sit­u­a­tion where you rather use the drive than rely on boot­ing in Re­cov­ery mode.

Here are a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent ways you can cre­ate a bootable macos High Sierra in­stal­la­tion drive. First, let’s cover the items you’ll need and how to get them. Then we’ll go over the two ways to make the drive it­self.

Get an ex­ter­nal drive and maybe an adap­tor

Just about any type of USB ex­ter­nal drive will work: thumb drive, hard drive, or SSD. The in­staller soft­ware will take up over 5GB.

If you want to use a thumb drive, an 8GB drive works per­fectly. I used an 8GB Kingston Data Trav­eler G4 (£5.42 from­cof); it’s cheap and it sup­ports USB 3.1, so it’s fast. I’ve also used a Vi­sion­tek 120GB USB 3.0 Pocket

Solid State Drive (£109 from­uxcf) and older USB thumb drives that sup­port USB 2, which is slower, but works.

If you have a 2015 or newer Mac­book or a 2016 or newer Mac­book Pro, you may need Ap­ple’s USB to USB-C adap­tor. This will al­low you to con­nect a stor­age de­vice that uses a USB type-a con­nec­tor. If you have a USB-C stor­age de­vice, then you don’t need to get the adap­tor.

When cre­at­ing the boot drive, the stor­age de­vice is reformatted, so there’s no need to for­mat the drive be­fore­hand.

Get the High Sierra in­staller soft­ware

You’ll find High Sierra in the App Store. It’s not avail­able as an up­date, so if you run Soft­ware Up­date (Ap­ple menu > About This Mac > Soft­ware Up­date), you won’t find it. If you launch the App Store app and look for it in the Up­dates sec­tion, you won’t find it. Go to the Fea­tured sec­tion of the App Store, and you may see High Sierra ap­pear at the top. If not, just do a search for ‘High Sierra’. Click on it to go to the High Sierra page. You can read the in­for­ma­tion to learn more about High Sierra. When you’re ready to down­load the soft­ware, click the Down­load but­ton un­der the icon on the up­per left. (If you’ve al­ready down­loaded the in­staller, the but­ton will say Open in­stead of Down­load.)

Once the down­load is com­plete, the in­staller will launch au­to­mat­i­cally. But don’t con­tinue with the in­stal­la­tion. In­stead, press Com­mand-q on your key­board to quit the in­staller. The High Sierra in­staller app will be in your Ap­pli­ca­tions folder, so you can go there and launch it later to up­grade your Mac to the new op­er­at­ing sys­tem.

If you’ve al­ready in­stalled the OS, you won’t find the in­staller app in your Ap­pli­ca­tions folder.

You also won’t find it in the App Store app un­der Pur­chased. Click here to go to the macos High Sierra sec­tion of the App Store. This link should open the App Store app and take you di­rectly to High Sierra. Un­der the High Sierra icon on the left of the ban­ner, click on the Down­load but­ton. This will down­load the in­staller to your Ap­pli­ca­tions folder. If the in­staller auto launches, press Com­mand-q on your key­board to quit the app.

Make a bootable in­staller drive: The quicker way

There’s a free app called In­stall Disk Cre­ator ( that you can use to make the in­stal­la­tion drive. It has been up­dated to sup­port High Sierra. There’s an­other app called Diskmaker X(­puj) that I’ve used be­fore, but at the time of writ­ing, it doesn’t sup­port the High Sierra. Down­load In­stall Disk Cre­ator by click­ing on the link above. When the down­load is done, you can move it over to your Ap­pli­ca­tions folder. Then fol­low these steps to cre­ate your bootable macos High Sierra drive.

1. Con­nect your drive to your Mac. It’s okay if it’s not for­mat­ted as a Mac drive. The app will re­for­mat it.

2. Launch In­stall Disk Cre­ator.

3. In the main win­dow, you’ll see a pop-up menu un­der ‘Se­lect the vol­ume to be­come the in­staller’. Click on the menu and se­lect your drive.

4. Un­der the pop-up menu, you’ll see ‘Se­lect the OS X in­staller’. (macos used to be called OS X.) If you have only the High Sierra in­staller on your Mac, In­stall Disk Cre­ator will au­to­mat­i­cally se­lect it. If you have other macos in­stall­ers, you need to click on ‘Se­lect the OS X in­staller’ and se­lect the High Sierra in­staller.

5. When you’re ready, click ‘Cre­ate in­staller’.

You Mac may tell you that In­stall Disk Cre­ator wants to make changes, and you need to en­ter your user name and pass­word. Af­ter you do this, the app will take a few min­utes to cre­ate the boot drive. You won’t see a progress bar.

6. When the App is done, your in­staller is ready to use.

Make a bootable in­staller drive: The longer way

You don’t need to use In­stall Disk Cre­ator to cre­ate a bootable in­staller. You can do it in the Ter­mi­nal. Never used the Ter­mi­nal be­fore? No prob­lem – it’s easy. Here are the in­struc­tions.

1. Con­nect the ex­ter­nal drive to your Mac. (In these in­struc­tions, I use Un­ti­tled as the name of the ex­ter­nal drive. If your drive is named some­thing else, you need to change Un­ti­tled to the name of your drive.)

2. Launch Ter­mi­nal (/Ap­pli­ca­tions/util­i­ties/ Ter­mi­ Don’t worry if your screen doesn’t look like this. I changed it in the Ter­mi­nal set­tings, and you can too. In Ter­mi­nal, se­lect Ter­mi­nal > Pref­er­ences > Pro­files, click on the one you like, and then click on the De­fault but­ton.

3. Se­lect and copy the fol­low­ing:

sudo /Ap­pli­ca­tions/in­stall\ macos\ High\­tents/re­sources/

cre­ate­in­stall­me­dia --vol­ume /Vol­umes/ Un­ti­tled --ap­pli­ca­tion­path /Ap­pli­ca­tions/ In­stall\ macos\ High\

4. Go back to Ter­mi­nal and paste the copied code at the prompt. Press Re­turn. 5. Ter­mi­nal will warn you that your ex­ter­nal drive needs to be erased. To pro­ceed, type Y at the prompt and press Re­turn.

6. You’ll see that Ter­mi­nal erases your drive and then copies the in­staller file to your drive. This will take a few min­utes. 7. Af­ter copy­ing, Ter­mi­nal is done. You should see Ter­mi­nal dis­play a ‘Copy com­plete’ and Done no­tice. You can quit Ter­mi­nal and your drive is ready for use.

Boot from the in­staller drive

1. Plug your ex­ter­nal drive into your Mac.

2. Power up (or res­tart) your Mac. Press down on the Op­tion key while the Mac boots.

3. Af­ter a few mo­ments, your Mac should dis­play the Startup Man­ager, which will show you the avail­able boot drives. Click on the ex­ter­nal drive and press Re­turn. (You don’t need to se­lect a net­work to pro­ceed.)

4. Your Mac will dis­play a macos Util­i­ties win­dow. If you want to in­stall High Sierra and leave the data in­tact, se­lect In­stall macos. If you want to start over and wipe out the data, you need to go into Disk Util­ity to re­for­mat the in­ter­nal drive first, and then in­stall macos High Sierra.

The main win­dow of In­stall Disk Cre­ator

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