USB flash drive installer for macOS

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USB flash drive installer for macOS

Carl Hoefs
I just replaced the internal boot HDD in an iMac, formatted it as MacOS Extended, and named it Macintosh HD. The new drive is completely empty, of course, so now I need to put macOS on it.

To make a USB flash drive installer for macOS High Sierra, I just need to drag “/Applications/Install macOS High Sierra.app” onto the flash drive, right? Then when I boot the new HDD iMac while holding down the option key, I can select the flash drive and install from it.

Will this work, or is there a special way the install app has to be copied to the flash drive?
-Carl

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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

David Schwartz-11
On Nov 11, 2017, at 7:19 PM, Carl Hoefs <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> To make a USB flash drive installer for macOS High Sierra, I just need to drag “/Applications/Install macOS High Sierra.app” onto the flash drive, right?

No.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201372
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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

Carl Hoefs

> On Nov 11, 2017, at 8:52 PM, David Schwartz <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201372

Okay, I guess I was given bum advice. Somebody swore that he did it by just copying the install macOS .app to an otherwise empty USB flash drive. That approach seemed a little too easy, so I thought I’d ask.

Thanks!
-Carl

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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

Macs R We
Curiously, we did this exact same dance on the AMUG mailing list about two weeks ago.

> On Nov 11, 2017, at 10:06 PM, Carl Hoefs <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>
>> On Nov 11, 2017, at 8:52 PM, David Schwartz <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201372
>
> Okay, I guess I was given bum advice. Somebody swore that he did it by just copying the install macOS .app to an otherwise empty USB flash drive. That approach seemed a little too easy, so I thought I’d ask.
>
> Thanks!
> -Carl
>
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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

Neil Laubenthal
In reply to this post by Carl Hoefs
Actually…

It depends on what you want your USB installer to do. If you want a bootable USB installer then you need to use one of the applications that will make a bootable one or use the technique available on the web to use the makeinstallmedia command from terminal. If you just want to put the installer itself on the USB drive, stick it into another Mac booted from it’s internal drive and use the installer on the USB to do an in-place upgrade…that will also work; doesn’t need to be a bootable USB for that.

I’ve done it both ways over the years…albeit not with High Sierra.


On Nov 11, 2017, at 11:06 PM, Carl Hoefs <[hidden email]> wrote:


kay, I guess I was given bum advice. Somebody swore that he did it by just copying the install macOS .app to an otherwise empty USB flash drive. That approach seemed a little too easy, so I thought I’d ask.


-----------------------------------------------
There are only three kinds of stress; your basic nuclear stress, cooking stress, and A$$hole stress. The key to their relationship is Jello.

neil




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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

Carl Hoefs
Okay, I just verified what y'all are saying. 

If I just copy the installer app to the flash drive and then option-boot, it does show up as a valid option, "Install Mac OS X", but when selected this fails with a generic error message, and reboots.

Only if I use the createinstallmedia command as per Apple's tech doc does it get far enough to bring up macOS Utilities, allowing me to install macOS. 

But... I couldn't get the High Sierra installer to work, regardless. I had to install Sierra instead. This is on an iMac12,2. Not sure what the issue is (firmware?), but HS won't install on it. I tried about 5 times. It gets almost to the end, and then pops up a generic error saying that macOS can't be installed on this machine, check your hardware, blah, blah.

Now I'm worried that if I upgrade from Sierra to HS I'll get stuck in the same Catch-22.

-Carl


On Nov 13, 2017, at 5:19 AM, Neil Laubenthal wrote:

Actually…

It depends on what you want your USB installer to do. If you want a bootable USB installer then you need to use one of the applications that will make a bootable one or use the technique available on the web to use the makeinstallmedia command from terminal. If you just want to put the installer itself on the USB drive, stick it into another Mac booted from it’s internal drive and use the installer on the USB to do an in-place upgrade…that will also work; doesn’t need to be a bootable USB for that.

I’ve done it both ways over the years…albeit not with High Sierra.


On Nov 11, 2017, at 11:06 PM, Carl Hoefs <[hidden email]> wrote:


kay, I guess I was given bum advice. Somebody swore that he did it by just copying the install macOS .app to an otherwise empty USB flash drive. That approach seemed a little too easy, so I thought I’d ask.


-----------------------------------------------
There are only three kinds of stress; your basic nuclear stress, cooking stress, and A$$hole stress. The key to their relationship is Jello.

neil





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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

Macs R We
There are a couple of reasons for this message to appear.  One is that the machine doesn't satisfy the release requirements (memory size or processor type).  Another is that the installer you are using is too old a copy, and the security certificate has expired (yes, the message is misleading).  There may be more reasons, but these are the ones I see most often.

Install Sierra, then try upgrading to HS.  If you get the same message, you haven't lost anything but time.  It very well may give you more information about what the problem is, given that it has a more standard user environment at installation time to play with.

On Nov 13, 2017, at 2:15 PM, Carl Hoefs <[hidden email]> wrote:

Okay, I just verified what y'all are saying. 

If I just copy the installer app to the flash drive and then option-boot, it does show up as a valid option, "Install Mac OS X", but when selected this fails with a generic error message, and reboots.

Only if I use the createinstallmedia command as per Apple's tech doc does it get far enough to bring up macOS Utilities, allowing me to install macOS. 

But... I couldn't get the High Sierra installer to work, regardless. I had to install Sierra instead. This is on an iMac12,2. Not sure what the issue is (firmware?), but HS won't install on it. I tried about 5 times. It gets almost to the end, and then pops up a generic error saying that macOS can't be installed on this machine, check your hardware, blah, blah.

Now I'm worried that if I upgrade from Sierra to HS I'll get stuck in the same Catch-22.

-Carl


On Nov 13, 2017, at 5:19 AM, Neil Laubenthal wrote:

Actually…

It depends on what you want your USB installer to do. If you want a bootable USB installer then you need to use one of the applications that will make a bootable one or use the technique available on the web to use the makeinstallmedia command from terminal. If you just want to put the installer itself on the USB drive, stick it into another Mac booted from it’s internal drive and use the installer on the USB to do an in-place upgrade…that will also work; doesn’t need to be a bootable USB for that.

I’ve done it both ways over the years…albeit not with High Sierra.


On Nov 11, 2017, at 11:06 PM, Carl Hoefs <[hidden email]> wrote:


kay, I guess I was given bum advice. Somebody swore that he did it by just copying the install macOS .app to an otherwise empty USB flash drive. That approach seemed a little too easy, so I thought I’d ask.


-----------------------------------------------
There are only three kinds of stress; your basic nuclear stress, cooking stress, and A$$hole stress. The key to their relationship is Jello.

neil




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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

@lbutlr
In reply to this post by Carl Hoefs
On 13 Nov 2017, at 13:15, Carl Hoefs <[hidden email]> wrote:
> But... I couldn't get the High Sierra installer to work, regardless. I had to install Sierra instead. This is on an iMac12,2.

It seems that a new install of High Sierra needs to be done by running the installer application in macOS. The firmware update that needs to be applied to allow APFS booting seems to require this, and it's integrated into the application, not the boot image.

Not 100% sure on this, but machines that simply boot from a HS  10.13 installer and have never had 10.13 on them don't seem to be able to install properly.

--
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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

Carl Hoefs
I did try the “Upgrade to High Sierra” route via the App Store, but got the same results after an hour of installing: "macOS can't be installed on this machine”. What a hassle. It’s a core i5 2.7GHz 27” mid-2011 iMac, so it’s not like it’s an ancient machine or anything. Should be upgradeable, right?

Given that Sierra installs on it fine, but not HS, it could be the firmware issue. Is there a firmware upgrade available separately? I don’t see one on Apple’s downloads web page.

-Carl


> On Nov 14, 2017, at 10:45 AM, @lbutlr <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On 13 Nov 2017, at 13:15, Carl Hoefs <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> But... I couldn't get the High Sierra installer to work, regardless. I had to install Sierra instead. This is on an iMac12,2.
>
> It seems that a new install of High Sierra needs to be done by running the installer application in macOS. The firmware update that needs to be applied to allow APFS booting seems to require this, and it's integrated into the application, not the boot image.
>
> Not 100% sure on this, but machines that simply boot from a HS  10.13 installer and have never had 10.13 on them don't seem to be able to install properly.
>
> --
> Apple broke AppleScripting signatures in Mail.app, so no random signatures.
>
> _______________________________________________
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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

Matt Penna-2
It's been the case for a while that firmware updates are automatically installed by the macOS installer at the beginning of the install process (I believe right after the first reboot), so if your machine needs one to run High Sierra, it should have been taken care of automatically. Anything older than a High Sierra firmware update would have been distributed and installed transparently along with security updates and macOS point releases.

You said the installer runs for some time and then displays the error. Is it possible you have a failing hard disk or a filesystem problem? It may explain why the installer starts, runs for a while, and then fails, as it's not encountering a problem until later in the process.

I'm a fan of Diskwarrior, so if you have that, run it. If not, try repairing the disk from within Disk Utility and see if it offers any clues.

I don't have access to this entire thread from the machine I'm on right now, so I don't know if you wiped the drive to install Sierra or upgraded; if you wiped the drive, that would eliminate the file system as a possible cause, though not the hard disk itself.

Can you describe exactly when the error is shown? Is the installer copying files when the error occurs, or does it happen at some other time?

- Matt

On Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 1:12 PM, Carl Hoefs <[hidden email]> wrote:
I did try the “Upgrade to High Sierra” route via the App Store, but got the same results after an hour of installing: "macOS can't be installed on this machine”. What a hassle. It’s a core i5 2.7GHz 27” mid-2011 iMac, so it’s not like it’s an ancient machine or anything. Should be upgradeable, right?

Given that Sierra installs on it fine, but not HS, it could be the firmware issue. Is there a firmware upgrade available separately? I don’t see one on Apple’s downloads web page.

-Carl


> On Nov 14, 2017, at 10:45 AM, @lbutlr <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On 13 Nov 2017, at 13:15, Carl Hoefs <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> But... I couldn't get the High Sierra installer to work, regardless. I had to install Sierra instead. This is on an iMac12,2.
>
> It seems that a new install of High Sierra needs to be done by running the installer application in macOS. The firmware update that needs to be applied to allow APFS booting seems to require this, and it's integrated into the application, not the boot image.
>
> Not 100% sure on this, but machines that simply boot from a HS  10.13 installer and have never had 10.13 on them don't seem to be able to install properly.
>
> --
> Apple broke AppleScripting signatures in Mail.app, so no random signatures.
>
> _______________________________________________
> MacOSX-talk mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://www.omnigroup.com/mailman/listinfo/macosx-talk

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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

Carl Hoefs
Hi Matt,

I’m using a brand new Seagate HDD, replacing the old failed one with the exact same type. I formatted it in macOS Utilities / Disk Utility as Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Unencrypted).

I can’t tell where in the install process it is or what it’s doing when it decides to crap out. The “error message” isn’t what you’d expect - it looks like a prepared graphic with High Sierra mountains and static text on it that gets displayed.

Maybe somehow the installer thinks the firmware was already upgraded and is skipping that step. That’s why I was hoping there might be a manual way to apply it.

-Carl


On Nov 14, 2017, at 11:43 AM, Matt Penna <[hidden email]> wrote:

It's been the case for a while that firmware updates are automatically installed by the macOS installer at the beginning of the install process (I believe right after the first reboot), so if your machine needs one to run High Sierra, it should have been taken care of automatically. Anything older than a High Sierra firmware update would have been distributed and installed transparently along with security updates and macOS point releases.

You said the installer runs for some time and then displays the error. Is it possible you have a failing hard disk or a filesystem problem? It may explain why the installer starts, runs for a while, and then fails, as it's not encountering a problem until later in the process.

I'm a fan of Diskwarrior, so if you have that, run it. If not, try repairing the disk from within Disk Utility and see if it offers any clues.

I don't have access to this entire thread from the machine I'm on right now, so I don't know if you wiped the drive to install Sierra or upgraded; if you wiped the drive, that would eliminate the file system as a possible cause, though not the hard disk itself.

Can you describe exactly when the error is shown? Is the installer copying files when the error occurs, or does it happen at some other time?

- Matt

On Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 1:12 PM, Carl Hoefs <[hidden email]> wrote:
I did try the “Upgrade to High Sierra” route via the App Store, but got the same results after an hour of installing: "macOS can't be installed on this machine”. What a hassle. It’s a core i5 2.7GHz 27” mid-2011 iMac, so it’s not like it’s an ancient machine or anything. Should be upgradeable, right?

Given that Sierra installs on it fine, but not HS, it could be the firmware issue. Is there a firmware upgrade available separately? I don’t see one on Apple’s downloads web page.

-Carl


> On Nov 14, 2017, at 10:45 AM, @lbutlr <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On 13 Nov 2017, at 13:15, Carl Hoefs <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> But... I couldn't get the High Sierra installer to work, regardless. I had to install Sierra instead. This is on an iMac12,2.
>
> It seems that a new install of High Sierra needs to be done by running the installer application in macOS. The firmware update that needs to be applied to allow APFS booting seems to require this, and it's integrated into the application, not the boot image.
>
> Not 100% sure on this, but machines that simply boot from a HS  10.13 installer and have never had 10.13 on them don't seem to be able to install properly.
>
> --
> Apple broke AppleScripting signatures in Mail.app, so no random signatures.
>
> _______________________________________________
> MacOSX-talk mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://www.omnigroup.com/mailman/listinfo/macosx-talk

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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

David Schwartz-11
On Nov 14, 2017, 10:51 AM -0800, Carl Hoefs wrote:

I’m using a brand new Seagate HDD, replacing the old failed one with the exact same type. 


The stock spinning magnetic drive shipped in a 27” Mid 2011 iMac14,3 had Apple ROMs, and possibly (but not necessarily) an Apple logo on the label. Did you replace it with an Apple OEM part?


You could try running Apple Hardware Test to see if it’s happy:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201257

You might need to install an OWC In-line Digital Thermal Sensor:
https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIDIMACHDD11/



David


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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

Carl Hoefs
The Seagate HDD I replaced was not the original one that came with the iMac, but was the one it had been running fine with for the last few years. So the new HDD of the same type should be a plug-in replacement without issues. And it seems to be, just as long as I'm running Sierra.

I've started the Apple hardware probe over an hour ago, it's still only 3/4 done with the "hardware probe" before testing begins. Looks like I'll have to let it run overnight. Hope it's not stuck.

Thx,
-Carl


On Nov 14, 2017, at 11:37 AM, David Schwartz wrote:

On Nov 14, 2017, 10:51 AM -0800, Carl Hoefs wrote:

I’m using a brand new Seagate HDD, replacing the old failed one with the exact same type. 


The stock spinning magnetic drive shipped in a 27” Mid 2011 iMac14,3 had Apple ROMs, and possibly (but not necessarily) an Apple logo on the label. Did you replace it with an Apple OEM part?


You could try running Apple Hardware Test to see if it’s happy:

You might need to install an OWC In-line Digital Thermal Sensor:



David

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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

Matt Penna-2
In reply to this post by Carl Hoefs
On Nov 14, 2017, at 1:51 PM, Carl Hoefs <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Maybe somehow the installer thinks the firmware was already upgraded and is skipping that step. That’s why I was hoping there might be a manual way to apply it.

I don’t believe this is possible any longer.

But let’s answer this question: What version is the firmware in your machine? Open up System Information and copy/paste the Boot ROM version and SMC version.

        Matt
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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

Macs R We
In reply to this post by Carl Hoefs
I don't remember all the details of the earlier postings, but is it possible that whatever you are doing is falling afoul of HS's strong desire to run a completely new file system on internal drives? I'm not sure at exactly what step of the installation or pre-installation process old HFS+ volumes get converted, but perhaps your process does an end run around it and makes HS unhappy.

On Nov 14, 2017, at 3:58 PM, Carl Hoefs <[hidden email]> wrote:

The Seagate HDD I replaced was not the original one that came with the iMac, but was the one it had been running fine with for the last few years. So the new HDD of the same type should be a plug-in replacement without issues. And it seems to be, just as long as I'm running Sierra.

I've started the Apple hardware probe over an hour ago, it's still only 3/4 done with the "hardware probe" before testing begins. Looks like I'll have to let it run overnight. Hope it's not stuck.

Thx,
-Carl


On Nov 14, 2017, at 11:37 AM, David Schwartz wrote:

On Nov 14, 2017, 10:51 AM -0800, Carl Hoefs wrote:

I’m using a brand new Seagate HDD, replacing the old failed one with the exact same type. 


The stock spinning magnetic drive shipped in a 27” Mid 2011 iMac14,3 had Apple ROMs, and possibly (but not necessarily) an Apple logo on the label. Did you replace it with an Apple OEM part?


You could try running Apple Hardware Test to see if it’s happy:

You might need to install an OWC In-line Digital Thermal Sensor:



David

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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

Carl Hoefs
I tried the route of upgrading the existing (booted) macOS to HS. No joy.
I tried the route of upgrading via a USB flash drive directly to HS. No joy.

Is there another viable approach to take?

-Carl


On Nov 14, 2017, at 8:17 PM, Macs R We <[hidden email]> wrote:

I don't remember all the details of the earlier postings, but is it possible that whatever you are doing is falling afoul of HS's strong desire to run a completely new file system on internal drives? I'm not sure at exactly what step of the installation or pre-installation process old HFS+ volumes get converted, but perhaps your process does an end run around it and makes HS unhappy.

On Nov 14, 2017, at 3:58 PM, Carl Hoefs <[hidden email]> wrote:

The Seagate HDD I replaced was not the original one that came with the iMac, but was the one it had been running fine with for the last few years. So the new HDD of the same type should be a plug-in replacement without issues. And it seems to be, just as long as I'm running Sierra.

I've started the Apple hardware probe over an hour ago, it's still only 3/4 done with the "hardware probe" before testing begins. Looks like I'll have to let it run overnight. Hope it's not stuck.

Thx,
-Carl


On Nov 14, 2017, at 11:37 AM, David Schwartz wrote:

On Nov 14, 2017, 10:51 AM -0800, Carl Hoefs wrote:

I’m using a brand new Seagate HDD, replacing the old failed one with the exact same type. 


The stock spinning magnetic drive shipped in a 27” Mid 2011 iMac14,3 had Apple ROMs, and possibly (but not necessarily) an Apple logo on the label. Did you replace it with an Apple OEM part?


You could try running Apple Hardware Test to see if it’s happy:

You might need to install an OWC In-line Digital Thermal Sensor:



David

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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

David Schwartz-11
In reply to this post by Carl Hoefs
On Nov 14, 2017, at 1:58 PM, Carl Hoefs <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> The Seagate HDD I replaced was not the original one that came with the iMac, but was the one it had been running fine with for the last few years. So the new HDD of the same type should be a plug-in replacement without issues.

Beginning with the 2010 iMac, Apple started pulling drive temperature data from the SATA pins of the OEM drives. After market drives usually didn't provide the same pin-out information, even when they were the same make/model. The usual indication of this was the fans racing, but even when that didn't happen the drives wouldn't pass Hardware Test. It's not unreasonable to suspect if you have an after-market HD in a Mid 2011 iMac without an Inline Thermal Adapter, the High Sierra update might choke. I know for a fact it runs fine on that same vintage machine with stock drives, after market SSD drives w/thermal sensor in 3.5" SATA slot, and after market SSD drives in backside SATA slot (which doesn't expect to get temp data).

$35 might be money well spent to keep this machine happy.

-david


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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

Macs R We

> On Nov 14, 2017, at 9:44 PM, David Schwartz <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Beginning with the 2010 iMac, Apple started pulling drive temperature data from the SATA pins of the OEM drives. After market drives usually didn't provide the same pin-out information, even when they were the same make/model. The usual indication of this was the fans racing, but even when that didn't happen the drives wouldn't pass Hardware Test. It's not unreasonable to suspect if you have an after-market HD in a Mid 2011 iMac without an Inline Thermal Adapter, the High Sierra update might choke. I know for a fact it runs fine on that same vintage machine with stock drives, after market SSD drives w/thermal sensor in 3.5" SATA slot, and after market SSD drives in backside SATA slot (which doesn't expect to get temp data).
>
> $35 might be money well spent to keep this machine happy.

I'm curious — what are you recommending that costs $35?  I know there are software packages (some free) that reroute MacOS's lust for temperature information into using less proprietary information sources, but I wouldn't suspect they would make HS happier (much the reverse).  You mention an Inline Thermal Adapter, but my understanding is that this line of iMacs used several different models of drive, the proprietary cabling was different for each brand, and they are not available from graymarket parts sources (am I wrong?)

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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

Carl Hoefs
In reply to this post by David Schwartz-11

> On Nov 14, 2017, at 8:44 PM, David Schwartz <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On Nov 14, 2017, at 1:58 PM, Carl Hoefs <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> The Seagate HDD I replaced was not the original one that came with the iMac, but was the one it had been running fine with for the last few years. So the new HDD of the same type should be a plug-in replacement without issues.
>
> Beginning with the 2010 iMac, Apple started pulling drive temperature data from the SATA pins of the OEM drives. After market drives usually didn't provide the same pin-out information, even when they were the same make/model. The usual indication of this was the fans racing, but even when that didn't happen the drives wouldn't pass Hardware Test. It's not unreasonable to suspect if you have an after-market HD in a Mid 2011 iMac without an Inline Thermal Adapter, the High Sierra update might choke. I know for a fact it runs fine on that same vintage machine with stock drives, after market SSD drives w/thermal sensor in 3.5" SATA slot, and after market SSD drives in backside SATA slot (which doesn't expect to get temp data).
>
> $35 might be money well spent to keep this machine happy.

Wow, thanks for your insights. I would have never thought of something like an Inline Thermal Adapter being needed. Thanks for giving me something to go on!

-Carl

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Re: USB flash drive installer for macOS

David Schwartz-11
In reply to this post by Macs R We
On Nov 14, 2017, at 8:06 PM, Macs R We <[hidden email]> asked:
>
> 'm curious — what are you recommending that costs $35?

The OWC Inline Thermal Adapter. I posted the link earlier in the thread.


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