Is Diskmaker X taking forever to create your bootable OS X drive?

My first Mac was a 2001 “Dual USB” iBook G3. Back then, Macs came with installer disks (CDs in the case of the iBook G3) and new releases of OS X would be sold, again as physical disks, for £79.

Time moves on though, and years ago Macs stopped coming with physical installer media. Call me old fashioned, but something about that scares me a bit.

I’ve previously talked about the importance of backing up your shit, and even shared some tips for setting up Time Machine on a Synology NAS, and selectively backing up to a USB drive with rsync.

Having your own physical installer media is just the next step in making sure, no matter what happens, you can get your Mac set up immediately, after disaster strikes.

I already have two USB drive installers, for OS X 10.7.2 and 10.8.4. But this weekend, I decided to create one for OS X 10.9 (Mavericks), and I hit a problem.

There didn’t seem to be much help out there on the interwebs, so here’s hoping Google will find this page next time someone in my position wonders why their OS X installer is taking ages to start.

“Command not found”

I was using Diskmaker X to create a bootable drive from an OS X Mavericks installer I’d downloaded from the Mac App Store months ago.

And whenever I ran it, Diskmaker X would hang on the following screen:

It turns out, Diskmaker X was trying to show me an error message, but the super long directory path was hiding it. Here’s how it would have looked if I’d put the installer in the /Applications directory:

The error says:

sudo: /Applications/Install OS X command not found

Odd. I reverted to running createinstallmedia myself, from the Terminal, to see whether Diskmaker X was the culprit:

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ --nointeraction

And I still got the same error.

Then I wondered whether the createinstallermedia file was actually executable. If you pass just a normal file to sudo (rather than an executable program) “command not found” is exactly the sort of cryptic error you’d expect. I checked and—lo and behold—my copy of createinstallermedia wasn’t executable after all.

Easily fixed:

sudo chmod +x /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\

Once chmod has made the file executable, Diskmaker X was happy again, and my OS X 10.9 installer drive was set up in about 25 minutes.

I have no idea why createinstallermedia wasn’t executable in my version of the installer–maybe it has something to do with me storing the installer on an external disk for the best part of a year, but at least it was a simple fix once I worked out what was going on.