How to Make a USB Bootable in OS X

Written by steven s. warren
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How to Make a USB Bootable in OS X
(Jeffrey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

If your Mac’s hard drive is damaged or won’t start up correctly, a USB drive with OS X install is a great backup solution. You can create a bootable USB drive right from your Mac using Disk Utility. This portable OS X drive is fast and reliable and especially useful for those frequently booting various operating systems and partitioning hard drives. A USB drive with OS X installation can also replace the standard OS X installation disc.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • USB flash drive 8GB or higher
  • OS X Leopard retail disc

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  1. 1

    Insert the USB flash into an empty slot your Apple computer.

  2. 2

    Open the “Applications” folder, select “Utilities” and then “Disk Utility.”

  3. 3

    Select the USB drive and click the “Erase” tab.

  4. 4

    Choose “Volume Format: Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” and name the USB stick. Click “Erase.”

  5. 5

    Select the “Restore” tab.

  6. 6

    Insert the OS X retail disc.

  7. 7

    Drag the OS X disc image into the “Source” box.

  8. 8

    Drag the USB stick into the “Destination” box.

  9. 9

    Uncheck the “Erase destination” box.

  10. 10

    Click “Restore.”

Tips and warnings

  • When formatting the USB drive, you will lose any data on it. Be sure to back it up before beginning the process.

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