Installing Mavericks without a working OSX computer
March 30, 2014 4:43 PM   Subscribe

How do I create an OS X Mavericks bootable key *from within windows*?

The hard drive on my macbook bit the dust. I have bought a new one, and now I need to format it and install OS X Mavericks on it (plus restore all my files from my Time Machine Backup). The internet tells me that the normal way to do this is to download Mavericks from the Mac App Store, run the installer in OS X, and select the "create bootable USB key" option. Unfortunately I can't do either of these steps because I don't have another Macintosh in the house. Is there a way to make a bootable OS X install key from a Windows PC? Perhaps a torrent somewhere?

Thanks in advance!
posted by Popular Ethics to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You don't actually have to do that - just boot up your Mac with the new HD installed and your Time Machine drive plugged in, hold Command-R during boot-up to get to the recovery screen, and you can do your restore straight from the Time Machine backup. this is the official Apple guide to doing it, but it's pretty easy (I did this to swap my HDD for a SSD a couple of years ago.)
posted by Tomorrowful at 5:04 PM on March 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh, that's cool. I'm assuming I should connect to the Time Machine with an ethernet cable for this approach? I'll give it a shot...
posted by Popular Ethics at 5:44 PM on March 30, 2014

Internet recovery mode only exists for computers released after Lion (approximately at least). I'm going to guess that since your hard drive failed, the computer may be older.

There are almost certainly torrents out there that you can 'dd' to a USB key, although those may be altered for running on PC hardware.
posted by wotsac at 9:28 PM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: So Command-R! I'm not when my 2011 Macbook gained a Recovery mode, but it was sure handy to have. I was able to use disc utility to format my new hard drive (it came with a handy USB dongle), then install Mavericks (which recovery-mode downloaded from the net after verifying my Apple ID), then boot from the new drive - all before having to take apart the laptop! Only one hurdle left - I have to see how well "Migration Assistant" will work from my Time Machine backup. Hopefully that goes well, otherwise I'll try the "restore from Time Machine" option in recovery mode.

Thanks for your help!
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:22 AM on March 31, 2014

If you can Hackintosh, there is a way to set up a bootable OS X installer from the command-line.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:25 AM on March 31, 2014

Just in case, you could also try taking it in to the Apple Store. As Mavericks is free, and you have the laptop right there to prove you're not trying to install it on unauthorised hardware, they would probably be able to install it for you. They're often pretty good about stuff like that, even if you're out of warranty.
posted by danteGideon at 11:20 AM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

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