Install Sierra On External Drive

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In order to recover data from your startup drive, Disk Drill requires read-only access to it. To bypass the built-in file system protections in macOS 10.11 (El Capitan), 10.12 (Sierra), 10.13 (High Sierra), 10.14 (Mojave) and 10.15 (Catalina), you can boot from another drive and run Disk Drill from it, accessing your original startup drive as if it’s a regular secondary disk. Feb 05, 2020 I’m trying to install macOS Sierra onto a hard drive that I’m planning on installing into an old (potentially broken) 2011 iMac that currently does not have a hard drive. The problem is that the app from Apple’s installer can only be run on a Mac running Sierra (or earlier), which I do not possess. A USB flash drive with a minimum of 16GB of free storage. It’s important to note that the content on this drive will be erased since it will be formatted as part of the process. Make sure you have backed up any content that the drive may contain. A PC built on Intel processing power to install macOS Sierra. After successfully creating the bootable USB thumb drive with macOS High Sierra using windows 7, then booting the macbook air mid 2011 with the created bootable USB thumb drive plugged in and then choosing the boot and install macOS High Sierra (the default highlighted option. Installing macOS Sierra on the external drive. Preparing the hard drive for the installation. Before you install macOS Sierra on the hard drive, you will need to clean the external device. Ensure that there is no important data on your hard drive. Then plug it into your Mac, go to Finder, and select Applications.

macOS Sierra is a fantastic update arriving from Apple to make us love our Macs even more. It has plenty of new features, and also has the same easy clean install and upgrade flow as did the previous OS.

LEARN MORE: How to Clean Install the macOS High Sierra?

Note, that getting an upgrade is the easiest way of installing the new macOS. It saves all your personal files, apps and user data, while a so-called clean install of Sierra will erase all data on the startup drive and replace it with a clean copy of OS. But, if you like an idea of giving your Mac a fresh start with a new macOS and nothing else, a clean install is the right option for you.

Also, in case you’ve noticed that with time your Mac is running slower, it has unusual startup or shutdown issues and crashes, a clean install may be a good way to get back the speed and fix the problem.

First of all, make sure that your Mac is able to run MacOS Sierra.

Then, you should prepare your Mac for the installation:

  • Download macOS Sierra Installer from the Mac App Store. Once the download completes, it will automatically launch. Quit macOS Sierra Installer app without performing the installation.
  • Take a 16GB or larger USB flash drive to create a bootable Sierra installer. This flash drive is only needed for a clean install on your Mac’s startup drive. But if you plan to clean install on a non-startup drive (you have and extra HDD or SSD on your Mac), you don't need the USB.
  • Backup your Mac to ensure your personal data is intact.

Clean Install macOS Sierra on Your Mac’s Startup Drive

If you're going to perform a clean install on the startup drive, you need to backup your data, create a bootable copy of the installer, and, finally, boot from the bootable installer. So, let us begin.

Step 1: Clean up your Mac

To make sure Sierra has no troubles installing and works fine after, you need to get rid of system junk on your Mac first. You could clean it up manually, but using a cleaning app like CleanMyMac X will save you hours on that. Junk removal with CleanMyMac takes only a few minutes. Download CleanMyMac for free, launch it, click Scan, and then Clean. Now you’ve got plenty of free space and your Mac is free from system trash.

Step 2: Back up your data

Note: A clean install of macOS Sierra on the startup drive completely erases all data on that drive: all your files and documents, including music, movies, pictures, and even apps.

So, If you skip this step, you wouldn’t be able to recover your data if something goes wrong.

To backup your Mac:

  • Open Time Machine.
  • Click Select Disk.
  • Choose where you wish to save your files (to the external drive or to the cloud storage).
  • Click On to turn Time Machine on.
  • Click on the “arrow clock” icon and select Back Up Now in the menu bar at the top of the screen.

Step 3: Clean Install macOS Sierra on your startup disk

1. Create a bootable flash drive with macOS Sierra.

Install Sierra On External Drive

First, make sure your USB flash drive is formatted and named as “Untitled”.

Install Sierra On External Drive
  • To format a USB drive launch Disk Utility (Finder -> /Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility).
  • Select your USB drive under External.
  • Click the Erase tab at the top of the Disk Utility window. Select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) from the format list. Then, click the Erase button. When the process is complete, click Done, and close the Disk Utility window.
  • If your drive is named something else, you need to rename it (Open Finder -> right click on the USB drive and choose Rename).

Now, your USB flash drive is ready.

Install
  • Launch Terminal (Finder Applications Utilities Terminal)
  • Enter the following text into Terminal:
    sudo /Applications/Install macOS Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install macOS Sierra.app --nointeraction
  • Hit the Enter key.
  • Terminal will ask you for an admin password (the one you use to log in). It won’t display characters when you type, so just do it. Hit Return. You’ll see that Terminal erases your drive. Then, Terminal will copy the installer file to your disk. This will take a few minutes. When the process is complete, the Terminal window will report 'Done.' You can quit Terminal and your bootable macOS Sierra installer USB drive is ready for use.

Also, you can follow the instructions from an Apple article on how to create bootable installer.

2. Plug in the bootable macOS Sierra installer USB drive to your Mac.
3. Restart your Mac while holding the Option key or Cmd+R. Make sure to keep it pressed!
4. When Mac restarts, you’ll see the macOS Startup Manager with a list of bootable devices that your Mac can start up from.
5. Use the arrow keys to choose your USB drive with macOS Sierra installer. Press Enter.
6. Select Disk Utility.
7. In the window, at the top of the left bar, select your Mac’s Main Drive (it looks like a MacintoshHD).
8. Select the Erase tab located next to the First Aid button at the top.
9. Near the center of the window, select the Format drop-down list and select Mac OS X Extended (Journaled) type.
10. Click Erase (Note: this will erase all your data from your main drive!) and give the drive some time to format.
11. When it’s done, close Disk Utility and select “Install macOS” from the menu.
12. Select your main drive and install the new macOS Sierra 10.12.

Follow these Sierra install instructions and enjoy your newly clean-installed macOS Sierra.

Clean Install on a Non-Startup Drive

This type of clean install doesn't require you to make a bootable copy of the macOS installer, since you can run the installer directly from your Mac’s startup drive. But you need to have another hard drive or volume that you can use for installing macOS.

So, this is the easiest way to clean install macOS 10.12. Simply use an extra drive or volume (it doesn’t have to necessarily be empty already, you just need to be fine with it being erased) and install Sierra there.

Step 1: Erase your non-startup drive

If your non-startup drive has any other Mac OS, erase it before installing Sierra. If the target drive only has personal data on it, or is already empty, you can skip the erase process.

To erase the non-startup drive, use a Mac's Drive Using Disk Utility (OS X El Capitan or later)

Install Osx High Sierra On External Drive

After the non-startup drive is erased, you can start the install process.

Step 2: Download the macOS Sierra Installer from the Mac App Store

When the macOS download completes, it will automatically launch the installer. Quit the macOS Sierra Installer app without performing the installation. You'll find the macOS Sierra Installer in the /Applications folder.

Step 3: Start the Installation of macOS Sierra on the Non-startup drive

  • Launch the Installer from /Applications folder.
  • Click Continue.
  • Check the non-startup drive that you can install Sierra on (usually, the installer will display the default target for the installation of macOS Sierra as the startup drive (Macintosh HD). So, you should to click the Show All Disks button, and the installer will display a list of all attached volumes).
  • Click the Install button.
  • The macOS Sierra installer will display a progress bar. You'll be guided through the macOS Sierra setup process to create a user account, set up date and time, and other introductory stuff.

Enjoy your fresh, clean-installed macOS Sierra.

These advanced steps are primarily for system administrators and others who are familiar with the command line. You don't need a bootable installer to upgrade macOS or reinstall macOS, but it can be useful when you want to install on multiple computers without downloading the installer each time.

What you need to create a bootable installer

  • A USB flash drive or other secondary volume formatted as Mac OS Extended, with at least 14GB of available storage
  • A downloaded installer for macOS Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, or El Capitan

Download macOS

  • Download: macOS Big Sur, macOS Catalina, macOS Mojave, or macOS High Sierra
    These download to your Applications folder as an app named Install macOS [version name]. If the installer opens after downloading, quit it without continuing installation. To get the correct installer, download from a Mac that is using macOS Sierra 10.12.5 or later, or El Capitan 10.11.6. Enterprise administrators, please download from Apple, not a locally hosted software-update server.
  • Download: OS X El Capitan
    This downloads as a disk image named InstallMacOSX.dmg. On a Mac that is compatible with El Capitan, open the disk image and run the installer within, named InstallMacOSX.pkg. It installs an app named Install OS X El Capitan into your Applications folder. You will create the bootable installer from this app, not from the disk image or .pkg installer.
Install high sierra on external drive from catalina

Use the 'createinstallmedia' command in Terminal

  1. Connect the USB flash drive or other volume that you're using for the bootable installer.
  2. Open Terminal, which is in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.
  3. Type or paste one of the following commands in Terminal. These assume that the installer is in your Applications folder, and MyVolume is the name of the USB flash drive or other volume you're using. If it has a different name, replace MyVolume in these commands with the name of your volume.

Install High Sierra Os On External Drive

Big Sur:*

Catalina:*

Mojave:*

High Sierra:*

El Capitan:

* If your Mac is using macOS Sierra or earlier, include the --applicationpath argument and installer path, similar to the way this is done in the command for El Capitan.


After typing the command:

  1. Press Return to enter the command.
  2. When prompted, type your administrator password and press Return again. Terminal doesn't show any characters as you type your password.
  3. When prompted, type Y to confirm that you want to erase the volume, then press Return. Terminal shows the progress as the volume is erased.
  4. After the volume is erased, you may see an alert that Terminal would like to access files on a removable volume. Click OK to allow the copy to proceed.
  5. When Terminal says that it's done, the volume will have the same name as the installer you downloaded, such as Install macOS Big Sur. You can now quit Terminal and eject the volume.
Drive

Install High Sierra On External Drive From Catalina

Use the bootable installer

Determine whether you're using a Mac with Apple silicon, then follow the appropriate steps:

Apple silicon

  1. Plug the bootable installer into a Mac that is connected to the internet and compatible with the version of macOS you're installing.
  2. Turn on your Mac and continue to hold the power button until you see the startup options window, which shows your bootable volumes.
  3. Select the volume containing the bootable installer, then click Continue.
  4. When the macOS installer opens, follow the onscreen instructions.

Intel processor

  1. Plug the bootable installer into a Mac that is connected to the internet and compatible with the version of macOS you're installing.
  2. Press and hold the Option (Alt) ⌥ key immediately after turning on or restarting your Mac.
  3. Release the Option key when you see a dark screen showing your bootable volumes.
  4. Select the volume containing the bootable installer. Then click the up arrow or press Return.
    If you can't start up from the bootable installer, make sure that the External Boot setting in Startup Security Utility is set to allow booting from external media.
  5. Choose your language, if prompted.
  6. Select Install macOS (or Install OS X) from the Utilities window, then click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions.

Learn more

A bootable installer doesn't download macOS from the internet, but it does require an internet connection to get firmware and other information specific to the Mac model.

For information about the createinstallmedia command and the arguments you can use with it, make sure that the macOS installer is in your Applications folder, then enter the appropriate path in Terminal: