Creating bootable flash drives from Mac OS X

May 1, 2010

I’m writing this up in case I forget yet again…

To create a bootable USB drive on OSX, no external tools are needed – it can be done with the “diskutil” tool that comes with OSX.

Procedure:

  • Download the desired .img or ISO file
  • Open a Terminal
  • Run diskutil list to get the current list of devices
  • Insert your flash media
  • Run diskutil list again and determine the device node assigned to your flash media (e.g. /dev/disk2)
  • Run diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskN
  • Execute sudo dd if=/path/to/downloaded.img of=/dev/diskN bs=1m
  • Run diskutil eject /dev/diskN and remove your flash media when the command completes

Note: I never got the flash drive to boot when creating it from an ISO. But it may have been because my netbook can’t boot from USB… However, I remember successfully using this method in the past for creating bootable flash drives from IMG files.

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3 Responses to “Creating bootable flash drives from Mac OS X”

  1. Ken Says:

    Did you know that USB flash drive can be used for RAM? The windows 7 readyboost feature lets you do it. But you will wear it out.

  2. Ken Says:

    Did you know that USB flash drive can be used for virtual RAM? It is like the swap file or page file. The windows 7 readyboost feature lets you do it. But you will wear it out.

  3. chopmo Says:

    Hi Ken! No, I didn’t know that. Is that related to this blog post?


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