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Make An OS X Lion Boot Disc

Lion may be the first release of the Mac OS to be delivered as a digital download, but there has been a circulating method to burn the Lion download onto a bootable DVD. The process still works for the Golden Master version of Lion and is a pretty straightforward process for Mac users who are comfortable making their way around the Finder.

An email from Steve Jobs suggested the only way to perform a completely clean install of Lion was to first install Snow Leopard, then install Lion on top of that. That is a pain in the neck, to say the least. By burning your own Lion disc, you can painlessly do clean installs on all your machines.

Another reason to have a physical install disc is if you have Macs in an area with poor or no Internet. Apple has suggested that Mac owners come into Apple Retail Stores and download Lion on the store Internet connection -- useful for some, but some people live hours from the nearest Apple Store. By burning a disc, users can download Lion only once, and install it easily on all their Macs. Here's how to do it.

As posted by Egg Freckles, this method should work in the final retail release of Lion:

- Once Lion is released, purchase and download it from the Mac App Store.

- Locate the OS X Lion installer and right-click on it. Select 'Show Package Contents'.

- Inside the 'Contents' folder, there is a 'SharedSupport' folder. Inside that is the Lion Installer. It's called 'InstallESD.dmg".

- Copy 'InstallESD.dmg' to the Desktop by clicking and dragging it while holding down the Option-key. You should see a little green plus icon if you did it right.

- Open Disk Utility. Head to the Go menu in the Finder and select 'Utilities'. Disk Utility should be in there.

- Click the burn button.

- Select 'InstallESD.dmg' from the Desktop, insert a blank 4.7GB DVD and wait. Once it's finished, you'll have a shiny new Lion install DVD.

You can now install Lion on whatever machines you like, just as if you'd purchased the install disc from your local Apple Store. Lion is expected to launch on the Mac App Store this week.

Top Rated Comments

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36 months ago
If I copy it to 5.25 floppies, how many will it take?

I've notched them, so they're double sided, if that helps.
Rating: 54 Positives
36 months ago

Actually, this method has been available for weeks.

MacRumors are just a few weeks late with posting this.


We waited on purpose. :)

It's relevant now, with it working in GM and Lion about to launch. Tomorrow, by some reports.

arn
Rating: 19 Positives
36 months ago

Rubbish. Why publish this how-to before release now apple will close this way, and we are all stuck with leopard-lion way.


Why would Apple "close" this way?

The ability to make a boot-disc won't prevent anyone from buying Lion. You still need the App Store functionality in SL to download Lion in the first place.

Making boot discs is easy. I've been making SD card boot discs since the first Lion developer preview. I'm not sure why people are worried about, first, the ability to make one (since you already can, and have been able to from the beginning), and second, whether Apple will take away this option.
Rating: 9 Positives
36 months ago
Can you just copy that file to an external hard disk or flash drive?
Rating: 8 Positives
36 months ago

If I copy it to 5.25 floppies, how many will it take?

I've notched them, so they're double sided, if that helps.

lol. I'm probably one of the few here that are old enough to see the humor in this.

Used to "notch" those babies all the time with a paper punch. :D
Rating: 8 Positives
36 months ago

My Atari 800 had floppies that held 90 K per side. 180 K per disk. Installer is about 3.7 GB. That's a whopping 21,554 floppies. That's a lot of disk swapping.


Please insert this disk labeled 21,554 to complete the installation. Disk read error setup cannot continue please insert disk 1 to restart the installation process LOL.
Rating: 5 Positives
36 months ago

And this creates a real bootable Lion DVD install disk?


Yes.

You can do a clean install. Run the Lion boot disc once you've made it. As in, restart your Mac, hold down the option key and select the boot disc. Before it installs, go into Disk Utility. Reformat your drive. Then continue with the installation process. You can also move your settings to the new OS if you like, but I never do that upon a clean install.



Can't I just drag the installESD.dmg file to my flash drive?


I believe the instructions provided make it "bootable" so it is recognized as a boot-drive by OS X. However, I'm no expert. I've been following these same instructions since DP1 and it's worked each time like a charm, really.
Rating: 5 Positives
36 months ago

How big is the install file? My flash USB drive is only 4GB. Will it fit?


Stop using the free promotion USB drives from events and buy one =)
Rating: 5 Positives
36 months ago
Can't I just drag the installESD.dmg file to my flash drive?
Rating: 5 Positives
36 months ago

If I copy it to 5.25 floppies, how many will it take?

I've notched them, so they're double sided, if that helps.


I had to register to LOL on this.
Rating: 5 Positives

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