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Installing Mac OS from an Image File, a Success!

November 20, 2014

The guide below is about installing a new Mac OS X to your Apple PC, using USB. I haven’t been able to create a bootable USB drive yet, in this experiment w/ the Mac OS X 10.5.

Spent a few days, trying to update an old Mac OS X 10.5. Best Mac OS X version ever now, is 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and new Mavericks. As usual Apple products are sucks. Old PC are not allowed to update to the newest OS, and upgrading has to be done by one level to another. Youtube, Chrome, and lots other software are not available on this old Leopard Mac PC.

I have an image file of the new OS. However, the Mac DVD drive is broken, instead of it being a Superdrive. The only way to install the new OS is from USB. I tried to make a bootable USB, to install the new OS, but it doesn’t work.

Finally I am able to do it by making partition of the main hard drive, restoring the image file to the 2nd partition and boot from there. Yeah, Mac lets you partition the main active drive (without having to unmount it), that’s really good and make it lots easier.

Here are the steps, to installing (update) a new OS X:

1. Backup all of your current data to a USB or other drive.

2. Make sure you have the right image file (.dmg or .iso) of the Mac OS X Installation for Apple (not for Linux, it won’t work), read the info very carefully, of the compatibility: CPU type and your Mac-PC max OS (which in my case is max OS 10.7).

3. Partition your main Hard Drive. 2nd partition should be 20 GB (to be safe, incase something goes wrong and you need to extract the image file to here). This will be the place to restore the image file. !!! Read this below!
If partition goes error, it means there is a big-size file, more than 1 GB, in the main drive. You have to delete it, so it can partition well. Please don’t put any copy of your image file here.

4. Restore Image file
Please note this, you have to mount the image file for it to work. You have to do a right click (fn + click) on the file, and ‘mount’ it. Let’s make it clear, between an image file and mounted image file (“mounted file” as i will call it).
Set 2nd Partition, as Destination (use your right click).
And right click again on “mounted file” and set as Source. (Make sure you select the mounted/opened image file, not the image file itself).

Check the check-box on “Erase Destination”, the restore process will go lots faster.

5. Do a Clean Installation

Reboot, press the ‘Option’ (Alt) key, and boot from the 2nd Partition.
Installation process will begin, right after you select Language. But do not proceed yet. Click on the menu, find “Disk Utility”, and erase the main drive partition. (Make sure the format is Mac Journalled, and put the name in, instead of Untitled).

Close “Disk Utility” and continue with the installation process. After installation finish, you should have succeed. Congrats! You have successfully installed a new OS.

6. Copy back all your old data, and create a Recovery Disk (This step is optional and easy, but I find this important, incase you need to re-install the OS again).

The 2nd partition, where we restore the image file, will be unavailable for use (after installation finished). Go to “Disk Utility” and format it.

Now, copy back the image file to this drive. And there you go, you have a recovery option.

A good word that really encouraged me to the end: “Don’t be panic!”  When something goes wrong, keep trying and looking for the answers.

Keyword Search:

* How to Create a Bootable USB from Image File for Mac

* Upgrade or Install new Mac OS X

References that really helped me, from Google Search:
Partition Error, on big file
Partition HD
Restore Image
Bootable USB for Mac Mavericks
Clone Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Install DVD to USB Flash Drive


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  1. Steven Luck permalink

    Wow, that sounds long and complicated… hehe ^^;

    • took me so much trials, I try to make the USB boot drive, doesn’t work, thought maybe the image restore is wrong, and i dont know how that right click exist on Apple kekeke, at first hate Apple so much, but now i know how to use it, guess it’s about how we make use of sth. Then another trial, is trying the other image file, since i cannot get it to boot at all. At last, I found out I can partition main hard drive and use it as boot too, that’s great hehe. One side I feel like there’s nothing I cannot solve, yet I don’t have so much confident with Apple PC, I only fix Mac PC one time hehe, and that was Hard Drive error, not software problems 🙂
      Still Windows PC the best, though lots of virus, again, nothing I cannot fix kakaka. Cheers!

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