iBoot USB Flash Drive OSX Install Guide

Since my hackintosh has no optical drive (I keep all my optical media as images on my storage server) and burning DL DVD has always failed me anyways, I tried and succeeded to install SL using iBoot from a flash disk onto one single harddrive. Both SL and iBoot are on the same flash disk so no DVDs are needed.
This guide is partly based on http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=180954Thx, blackosx.I will be continually updating this guide as questions arise. As this is a new guide, please report your success or troubles!

What you need:

– OS X retail disk/image

– Windows 7 retail disk/image

– 2 USB sticks which fit OS X and Win7 respectively. OS X needs an 8GB stick, Win7 can do with a 4GB stick.

– A PC running OS X to prepare OS X installation media.

– Linux (Live disk) for preparing Win7 installation media if you want to use my technique. There are alternative ways to make a bootable USB Win7 install USB stick under Windows as well.

Let’s begin:

This guide does not touch on general iBoot topics, updating OS X, configuration etc. and instead focuses primarily on installing both OSs using USB sticks. I highly recommend looking at the links below for the correct BIOS settings, some gotchas and anything post installation related (MultiBeast):
Installation Troubleshooting Tips & General Recommendations http://www.tonymacx86.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9541
iBoot + MultiBeast: Install Mac OS X on any Intel-based PC http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/2010/04/iboot-multibeast-install-mac-os-x-on.html

Prepare OS X USB stick installation media under OS X :

Partition and format one flash disk as Mac OS Extended (HFS+) using GUID Partition Table or Master Boot Record with the volume name “SL”. Verify that the partition is bootable (Command-i in Disk Utility: “Bootable: Yes”).

Download latest Chameleon from http://chameleon.osx86.hu

After unzipping, open Terminal and go into in the i386 directory.

Modifying the MBR: Substitute X with your flash disk number (use CMD-i in Disk Utility or “diskutil list” to find the disk number. I.e /dev/disk2). Don’t omit the “./” before “fdisk”:

$ ./fdisk -f boot0 -u -y /dev/diskX

More info here: http://www.puredarwin.org/developers/booting/boot

Unmount (not eject) partition. Can be done in Disk Utility.

Modifying the bootsector of the first partition: Substitute X with your flash disk number and x with the partition number (use CMD-i in Disk Utility or “diskutil list” to find the disk and partition numbers. I.e /dev/disk2s2):

$ dd if=boot1h of=/dev/diskXsx

Re-mount the flash disk. Can be done in Disk Utility.

Copy startup file to flash disk at the mounted location of /dev/diskXsx:

$ cp boot /Volumes/SL/

Mount iBoot.iso. Can be done in Disk Utility.

Copy iBoot files to flash disk:

$ cp -Rp /Volumes/iBoot/* /Volumes/SL/

Restore Mac OS X install disk to the flash disk partition using Disk Utility. Uncheck the checkbox “Erase destination” before restoring!

Reboot the system.

Choose OS X in the boot menu and wait for the setup to start.

Choose step “a” or “b” depending on if you want a dual boot system:

Choice a)
Single boot (only OS X, no Windows):

If OS X will be the only system on your harddrive, open Utilities/Disk Utility and partition the harddrive with GUID Partition Table. Format at least one partition with HFS+ Journaled for OS X. This partition needs to be <1TB otherwise you cannot boot OS X from it. You can go ahead and install OS X now. Keep the flash disk connected and reboot after the installation is finished.
Now you should be able to choose your installed OS X in the boot menu.

Congratulations, you have successfully installed OS X !

What now?
It is time to revisit Tonymacs tutorial to set up MultiBeast:

…and look at the bottom for some useful links.

Choice b)
Dual boot (OS X and Win7):

If you want to dual boot, open Utilities/Disk Utility and partition the harddrive into 2 or more partitions with GUID Partition Table. Format one partition with HFS+ Journaled for OS X and a second one with Fat32 for Win7. The HFS+ partition needs to be <1TB to be able to boot OS X from the harddrive later. You can of course create more partitions if you like, for maybe BSD, OpenSolaris, FreeDOS and possibly Acorn as well.
Do not start the installer yet! You can quit the OS X setup for now.

Prepare the Win7 installation media flash disk using a second stick

There are many ways to create a Win7 USB installation medium and any of them is fine to use, google is your friend. I only ever managed to do this successfully under linux myself :

Create partition with fdisk, using type 7 and set it as active (bootable). Please look at the man page on how to use fdisk.

Formating the flash disk as NTFS: Substitute X with your flash disk number and x with the partition number (I.e. /dev/sdf1). You can check this by running blkid.

$ mkfs.ntfs -f /dev/sdXx

Writing a Windows boot record using ms-sys: Most distros have a binary package available. Source code is here http://ms-sys.sourceforge.net/
Substitute X with your flash disk identifier (I.e. /dev/sdf). You can check this by running blkid.

$ ms-sys -7 /dev/sdX

18) Mount the flash disk using ntfs-3g:

$ mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdXx /mnt/usb2

Mount your Windows 7 ISO as a loop device:

$ mount -o loop windows7-x64.iso  /mnt/iso

…or insert and mount your Win7 DVD.

Copy all Windows 7 installation files to the flash disk:

$ cp -r /mnt/iso/* /mnt/usb2

Unmount the flash disk:

$ umount /mnt/usb2

Install Windows: Boot with the Windows USB stick first and do the Windows install, picking the Fat32 partition as target and choosing NTFS if it asks to convert the partition.

Install OS X: Boot with the OS X stick, choose OS X in the boot menu and wait for setup to start. Perform the OS X installation. Keep the flash disk connected and reboot after the installation is finished.
Now you should be able to choose your installed OS X or Win7 in the boot menu.

Congratulations, you have successfully installed OS X and Win7 in a dual boot configuration !

What now?
It is time to revisit Tonymacs tutorial to set up MultiBeast:

Links with useful hints:
Subpixel anti-aliasing http://www.tonymacx86.com/viewtopic.php?p=15072#p15072

PrefPane for Chameleon settings http://forge.voodooprojects.org/p/chameleonApplications/source/tree/HEAD/trunk/ChameleonPrefPane/bin/OSX106



If anyone wants to try, for step 4) instead of using the chameleon patched fdisk:

$ dd if=boot0″ of=/dev/diskX bs=440 count=1

Taken from here http://forum.voodooprojects.org/index.php?topic=1141.0
This way it might be possible to do all preparations with only a Linux Live disk, without the need of having access to a Mac at all.

Guide Created by freedumb2000

27 Responses to iBoot USB Flash Drive OSX Install Guide

  1. Anonymous says:

    All correct, now just post install things.

    I want dual booting, but i chose option a) because i have already windows intalled. Its possible to have dual booting without reinstalling again? (sorry for my english)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks a ton! This guide really saved my install!

  3. Yes you can install windows after installing macosx on a different drive/partition and then the bootloader will pick up your new windows install and you’ll be able to dual-boot (if your windows install is AHCI). If I remember rightly you may have to use EasyBSD bootloader to install another bootloader if on a different drive to then select the Apple boot loader (Bit convoluted)

  4. Jacob Gaudoin says:

    Hey great guide, come across a problem though! I’m now updated to lion but the “erase destination” checkbox has been removed and it is done automatically when restoring the image to the memory stick, any solutions to this? Thanks

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great Guide, thanks.

  6. Kyle says:

    Any chance you could post a image with all of this done? I don’t have a Mac so a lot of this I can’t really do.

  7. Laykonick says:

    Every such “tutorial” hides an assumption, that one has “up nad running” Mac OSX installation already. Nobody has an idea, that the man willing to create “hackintosh” most probably has Linux, or Windows – or twelve other OS-es available – WITH EXCEPTION of OSX, which (s)he is going to install.
    Having ISO image of “Snow Leopard” – how can I create bootable USB-stick for installation, from within Linux, and using just Linux tools (and not any “chameleons”, neither anything, that can be used only from within OSX)?

  8. Do you mean final result or images of each step.

  9. Yes it is automatic but if your a bit paranoid then you can always erase the destination manually first.

  10. Anonymous says:

    i tried this guide and encountered problems in two places:
    1) when i try copying the iboot files to the SL partition using your terminal command, my terminal window explains me the usage of the cp command. is there some syntax error or what could cause that?
    instead of using the command i just copied all the files except the .ds store on the usb stick just by copypasting it from the finder.

    2) i am using a VMWare mac machine and the SL image is located in a shared folder. this might cause the problem. anyways, if i try to restore the SL image onto the usb stick i am told that no scan information could be found for the SL image, which cancels the operation.

    i would really appreciate any help on those issues.

  11. I have re-run the entire guide and all commands work. Also the VMWare method I haven’t explored to be honest and wouldn’t want to misadvise yourself :)

  12. Hakam says:

    Can i boot iBoot from usb flash drive?

  13. Glue says:

    Can you post any screen shots?

    I haven’t started the process, but I am already confused with:

    “Restore Mac OS X install disk to the flash disk partition using Disk Utility. Uncheck the checkbox “Erase destination” before restoring!”

  14. dimirtis says:


    from what I unserstand, the basic steps are:

    1. download iBoot.iso and buy retail MacOSX of your choice. (ensure compatibility with hardware)
    2. burn iBoot.iso & MacOSX to CD and DVD respectively. (Does anyone know how to make iBoot a bootable USB instead of bootable CD in Windows or Linux?)
    3. Boot your PC using the iBoot CD or USB.
    4. Once at the prompt Screen, remove the iBoot CD and insert the MacOSX Lion retail DVD.
    5. Install.

    So far so good.

    Firstly, these are the basic steps I think. Now, can someone provide DETAILED & IDIOT-PROOF instructions on how to do all these, step by step on a computer running Windows or Linux? JEEESSSUUS! Please.

    Secondly, I read something about a patch required for patching the DVD. Is this necessary? Is it Legal? How is it Done?

    Thirdly, HOW and WHERE (which option during installation) should be used to instruct the installer to place the MacOSX Bootloader INSIDE the partition of MacOSX so that it is chanloaded from another bootloader? Myself and many people DO NOT want to have our existing bootloaders replaced by the MacOSX bootloader. The vast majority want to have this as a Dual or triple boot option, duh! :)


  15. Chuck Dries says:

    Works up until I see the red apple with a face on it, then i press enter with a white apple highlighted, then the computer restarts and loads back into that screen, its a loop

  16. Glen Wilding says:

    Great apart from the fact that you can’t do it on windows… What if you need to create an iboot usb flash drive on windows?

  17. Matt says:

    @Glen Wilding,

    They make “iBoot usb” its for windows

  18. Alex says:

    I’ve downloaded Snow Leopard dmg and I can’t find a DVD with 7GB. iBoot recognizes .rar or usb?

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  20. Anonymous says:


    Unfortunately, on OS X 10.7, restoring a dmg image is not possible any more with disk utility without erasing. Even the asr commnd line tool does not permit that.

    The trick is to use this :
    hdiutil attach /path/to/diskimage.dmg
    The DMG image will be mounted under /Volumes/Imagename

    Then, copy the whole content of the volume to the stick :
    cp -rp /Volume/Imagename/* /Volumes/SL

    and wait…


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  23. francis says:

    how to dual partition your flash drive in mac and windows

  24. Pingback: How to create a USB installer for Multiple OS on an OSX system? - FAQs System

  25. Wolfgang says:


    my goal is to have an iBoot starting from a USB stick. Running Os X, at point 3:
    I unzipped the downloaded chameleon zip file, unzipped it, and opened a terminal .

    The unzipped chameleon is a software package. When starting it, there is the advice not to install on a Mac.

    -fdisk is not a software installed on my Mac. The command line (under 4) you suggested will not cause any function.

    “dd if=boot1h of=/dev/diskXsx”: -> the answer: booth: No such file or directory.

    A lot of ???

    How could someone work this successfully?

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