Create bootable OS X Maverick USB Flash Drive

Create bootable OS X Maverick USB Flash Drive from original App Store Mavericks 10.9 package. There are two methods to create a bootable Mavericsks on a USB pend drive:

Method 1:

1) Erase a minimum 8GB USB pen drive using Disk Utility* and ensure it’s named ‘Untitled’ and Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format.

2) Download OS X Mavericks from the Mac App Store. It’ll download and save to the Applications folder automatically. Furthermore, after it’s finished downloading, it may automatically begin the install process. If this happens, just quickly cancel it.

3) Run the below command in Terminal** window:

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ --nointeraction

4) Type your current user password.

The application will erase your USB pen drive first, then write Mac OS X Mavericks files making it bootable. The result of burning image into USB should be as follows:

Erasing Disk: 0%… 10%… 20%…100%…
Copying installer files to disk…
Copy complete.
Making disk bootable…
Copying boot files…
Copy complete.

Method 2 (for those that got “Failed to start erase of disk due to error (-9999, 0)”):

Some people struggle to create a bootable Mavericks on a USB thumb drive and get “Failed to start erase of disk due to error (-9999, 0)” error message. If you are one of them try the below steps:

  1. You are going to need to see some hidden files for this.  So start by opening** and pasting in the following (don’t worry, we’ll undo this change when we are done)…
    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES
    killall Finder
  2. If you haven’t already done it, download the Mac OS X Mavericks 10.9 installer as normal from the app store.
  3. After download you will have the ‘Install OS X 10.9′ app in your /Applications folder. Right-click it and select ‘Show Package Contents’.
  4. Navigate to the Contents/SharedSupport. There you will see the InstallESD.dmg file.  Unfortunately, you can’t just grab it and restore it.  Instead double-click it to mount it.
  5. You should now see the normally hidden BaseSystem.dmg file in the mounted volume.
  6. Open Disk Utility* and restore the source BaseSystem.dmg to the destination of your USB drive.
  7. Now open up the restored USB volume (default name is OS X Base System) and navigate to System/Installation. In there you will see an alias for Packages. Delete this alias.
  8. Copy the full Packages folder from the root of the mounted InstallESD volume (the same place you got the BaseSystem.dmg file) to the USB volumes System/Installation folder. Basically, replace the Packages alias you just deleted with the real Packages folder from the original InstallESD volume.
  9. The USB drive should now be bootable. So simply restart, hold down the Option key (Alt) when booting with the USB drive in your machine, and you should get the option to boot from the USB drive.
  10. Remember, to rehide the normall hidden files just repeat step 1 but change YES to NO.

* – in order to run Disk Utility press CMD + Space, type Disk Utility and click/select to run. Alternatively go to Applications > Utilities, find and run Disk Utility from there.
** – in order to run Terminal press CMD + Space, type Terminal and click/select to run. Alternatively go to Applications > Utilities, find and run Terminal from there.