How to Make a Bootable USB Drive OS X

By K.C. Winslow

When working on a Mac computer, some changes cannot be made from the hard drive you are using as the startup disk. For example, users are not able to access the "Disk Repair" function of the Disk Utility application to repair the startup volume if that is the volume that the computer used to start up. Booting from a USB flash drive with OS X installed gives you the freedom to make changes to the startup volume.

Things You'll Need

  • Macintosh OS X Install DVD
  • USB drive, 8GB or higher

Step 1

Load the OS X Install DVD into the Mac's hard drive.

Step 2

Go to the "Apple" menu, highlight "System Preferences," and click on the "Startup Disk" icon. Click on the lock icon, and enter an administrator name and password. Click on the Install DVD, and press the "Restart" button to launch from the Install DVD.

Step 3

Click through the introduction and agreement when they appear on the screen. Go to the "Utilities" menu and highlight "Disk Utility."

Step 4

Highlight the USB drive in the menu on the left side of the screen, and click the "Partition" tab. Set the "Volume Scheme" to "1 Partition." Click the "Options" button.

Step 5

Choose the "GUID Partition Table" from the "Options" window, and click "OK." Enter a name for the USB drive and click "Apply."

Step 6

Close the program by selecting "Quit Disk Utility" from the "Disk Utility" menu.

Step 7

Select the USB drive in the "Volume Selection" window to install OS on the drive. You may need to remove extra printer drivers, unnecessary languages and excess fonts, depending on the size of the USB drive.

Step 8

Go to the "Apple" menu once the installation is complete, highlight "System Preference" and click on the "Startup Disk" icon. Click on icon for your computer's hard drive, and press the "Restart" button to start up your computer from the normal volume. To eject the bootable USB drive, drag the icon to the Trash, and remove it from the drive.