OS X Mavericks Installation Guides

OS X Mavericks is usually installed as an upgrade over an existing version of OS X (Snow Leopard or later) but can do much more. It can perform a clean install on a freshly erased startup drive, or a new install on a non-startup drive. With a bit of fiddling, you can also use it to create a bootable installer on a USB flash drive.

All of these installation methods make use of the same Mavericks installer. All you need to use these alternate install methods is a bit of time.

of 05

Getting Your Mac Ready for OS X Mavericks

OS X Mavericks Launchpad
Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

OS X Mavericks may appear to be a major update to the Mac operating system. This perception is primarily due to the new naming convention that started with OS X Mavericks, naming the operating system after locations in California.

Mavericks is a surfing spot near Half Moon Bay, well known among surfers for its extreme surf when weather conditions are just right. This naming change leads many to think that OS X Mavericks is a major change as well, but Mavericks is really just a natural upgrade to the previous version, OS X Mountain Lion.

Once you examine the minimum requirements and look through this plan for getting your Mac ready for Mavericks, you may come to the conclusion that upgrading is going to be a piece of cake.

of 05

OS X Mavericks Minimum Requirements

OS X Mavericks Desktop
Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

The minimum requirements for OS X Mavericks haven't changed much from the minimum requirements for OS X Mountain Lion. And that makes sense since Mavericks is really just an upgrade to Mountain Lion and not a wholesale rewrite of the OS.

Nevertheless, there are a few changes to the minimum requirements, so be sure to check them out before proceeding with the installation.

of 05

Create a Bootable Version of the OS X Mavericks Installer on a USB Flash Drive

Bootable Version of the OS X Mavericks Installer on a USB Flash Drive

Having a bootable copy of the OS X Mavericks installer isn't a requirement for the basic installation of Mavericks on a Mac, but it's handy to have for the more complex installation options. It also makes a terrific troubleshooting utility that you can take with you to work on the Mac of a friend, colleague, or family member who is having problems.

As a troubleshooting utility, you can use the USB flash drive to boot a Mac that's having problems, use Terminal and Disk Utility to correct the problems, and then reinstall Mavericks, if necessary.

of 05

How to Perform an Upgrade Install of OS X Mavericks

Perform an Upgrade Install of OS X Mavericks

The upgrade install of OS X Mavericks is bound to be the most often used installation method. It's the default method the installer uses and will work on any Mac that has OS X Snow Leopard or later installed.

The upgrade install method has some very practical benefits; it will install over existing versions of OS X without removing any of your personal user data. Since it retains all of your data, the upgrade process is a bit quicker than the other options, and you don't have to go through the setup process of creating administrator accounts or Apple and iCloud IDs (assuming you already have these IDs).

The upgrade install is recommended for most users because it will let you get back to working with your Mac faster than any other installation method.

of 05

How to Perform a Clean Install of OS X Mavericks

How to Perform a Clean Install of OS X Mavericks

Clean install, fresh install, it's all the same thing. The idea is that you're installing OS X Mavericks on a startup drive and wiping out all of the data that is currently on the drive. This includes any existing OS and user data; in short, anything and everything.

The reason for performing a clean install is to get rid of any issues you may have with your Mac that is caused by an accumulation of system updates, driver updates, app installs, and app removals. Over the years, a Mac (or any computer) can accumulate a lot of junk.

Performing a clean install lets you start over, just like the first day you started up your shiny new Mac. With a clean install, most issues you may be experiencing with your Mac, such as freezes, random shutdowns or restarts, apps not starting or failing to quit, or your Mac shutting down slowly or failing to sleep, should be corrected.​

Remember, the cost of a clean install is the loss of your user data and apps. You'll have to reinstall your apps and any user data you need.