Friday, 27 July 2012

OSX - Climbing the Mountain Lion

Well, after much furore, Mac OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion was released on Wednesday 25 July.

I, like the rest of the world, downloaded it ( which took an absolute age - 2-3 hours on a 4 Mb/s ADSL connection, bearing in mind that it's over 4 GB in size ).

My plan is to install this onto my other Mac - a late 2008 MacBook Pro Core Duo with 8 GB RAM and a 320 GB spinny disk ( 5,400 RPM ), as a fresh install.

Rather than burning it onto a DVD, which I avoided because I'll eventually want to install it on my new MacBook Pro, which doesn't have a DVD drive, I chose to "burn" it onto a 8 GB USB key.

That, it turns out, was part of the problem.

So I followed one of a series of articles: -

Installing Mountain Lion Clean

How to Burn OS X Mountain Lion to a DVD or USB Flash Drive

How to make a bootable Mountain Lion install drive

all of which describe, in clear and precise detail, how to use Disk Utility to "burn" the installer onto a USB key.

However, Disk Utility would also fail with "Could not restore - Invalid argument" at the end of the process - after about 30 minutes and following the Verification process.

No matter how many times I tried, using different combinations of the advice given, I couldn't get away from that error.

Despite this, I tried the installation - I booted the MBP from the USB key ( having first backed up my data in a number of places - see below for details ), initialised the hard disk, and took the option to reinstall OSX.

This took the requisite 4-5 minutes and then .... failed with "Can't download the additional components needed to install OS X".

So back I went to Disk Utility, but kept getting the same error as before.

In semi-desperation, I tried a different tack - following a link from a Google Groups post,  I downloaded a piece of so-called donation-ware software - Lion Disk Maker - which used a different mechanism to burn the downloaded code ( InstallESD.dmg ) to the USB key.

This took an equally long time, and then failed with: -

At that point, I was ready to give up. I even started thinking about how I might somehow do a network install - I'm sure I heard @EwenRankin make reference to that on the @BritishTechMac show a week or so ago.

And then inspiration hit me - perhaps there's something wrong with my USB key :-)

So I popped out to Sainsbury's this morning, and picked up an Optima 8 GB USB 2.0 key for the princely sum of £7.99 - that's quite expensive, considering that it works out at an exchange rate of £1 for 1 GB, but hey .... it's only money.

I reverted back to the original Disk Utility method to burn the ML code onto the key - that took about 35 minutes (ish), but did NOT NOT NOT fail with any errors.

I'm just completing the installation of Mountain Lion as I type - the initial 4-5 minute process ( to install the boot loader etc. onto the MBP's spinny disk ) worked a treat.

So far, so good :-)

I'm sure I'll post more about ML shortly ...


wake said...

Thanks for this! I've tried everything from all of the other posts I've read about a possible bad HDD, only using one stick of RAM, etc etc. I put in a SSD and new RAM, so I've done as much as to go back to stock and STILL had install issues. Finally found your post and tried a different USB stick I had sitting around, and success! Thanks!

Dave Hay said...

@Wake, no worries, glad my post was of use :-) Dave