If you are looking to install the latest free operating system from Apple – Mac OS X Mavericks – on an existing machine but want to start from a clean slate leaving all the space-ahogging files and applications behind, a clean install is what you need, and this post is going to show you how.
We’ve previously showed you how to perform a clean installation of Mac OS X Mountain Lion via bootable USB flash drive. However, the same method will not work for this version. The OS won’t boot from the flash drive upon restart.
In this post, we will give you a walkthrough (expect lots of screenshots) through the entire process of:
- Creating a bootable OS X Mavericks on USB flash drive, so you can
- Perform a clean installation on any iMac, or MacBook.
Before we start, here are some of the things you will need:
- A relatively fast and stable Internet connection as we will be downloading the entire Mac OS X Mavericks (file size: about 5.3GB).
- If you are installing on a Macbook, make sure it is connected to a power source first.
- A USB flash drive, empty and format-able, with a storage capacity of at least 8GB.
All good? Let’s roll.
Here is an overall idea what we will be doing in the first section of this guide. First we will download a copy of the Mac OS X Mavericks, instead of installing we will transfer the installer (packages and files) to our USB flash drive and make it bootable.
We will first update all available apps. Launch App Store, go to the Updates tab.
Hold down the Option key, click Free Upgrade to start the OS X Mavericks download.
Note #1: Login with username and password may be required.
Note #2: Mac OS X Mavericks is 5.29GB. The download may take from 30 minutes to few hours depending on your Internet connection.
Next, plug in your USB flash drive and:
- Open Disk Utility
- Look for your flash drive’s name on the left panel (refer to the screenshot below) and select it
- Go to the Erase tab
- Select “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” for Format
- Hit Erase button
This will only take a few minutes. Close Disk Utility after it is done.
Launch Terminal, paste the following code (Source) inside and hit Enter. This will copy Mavericks’ installation files into your USB flash drive. Password verification will be required.
sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app --nointeraction
Note #1: It may seem like Terminal is idle or not responding much after you hit Enter (most of it is like the screenshot below), but it is perfectly normal.
Here’s how your Terminal should look like when the copying process is done. Quit Terminal but keep your USB flash drive plugged in. We now have a bootable OS X Mavericks in the flash drive.
In this second half of the guide, we will make use of the flash drive to perform a clean installation.
Restart your Mac, with the flash drive plugged in, and hold down the Option key until you land on a boot menu (refer to the screenshot below). Double click on Install OS X Mavericks.
Next, on the OS X Utilities dialogue screen, select Install OS X. Click Continue.
Follow the next few instructions on the screen. Click Continue to proceed, Agree to the software terms, Select a hard disk, and click Install.
The installation preparation process will now begin and will take approximately 7 – 15 minutes.
Note: During the installation process, you may experience the indicator hanging at “About a second remaining” for few minutes. Do NOT press cancel, just wait it out.
Your Mac will then restart, and will wrap up the installation process in another 30 – 40 minutes. When this is done, your Mac will restart automatically (again), leaving you at the login screen of a fresh copy of Mac OS X Mavericks.
Note: Run App Store to make sure all applications are updated and compatible with the latest operating system.
Recommended Reading: Setting Up And Configuring Your New Mac [Checklist]