Create a Bootable USB on OS X

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Not sure if this has even really been documented here before but to create a USB on OS X do the following. I've had to create these for Ubuntu and other XPE* bootloaders.


1. Download the fat img of the bootloader of choice, I believe ext2 fs is also ok, for say Nanoboot. Make a note of its path. In this example we'll say it's saved to the Desktop and we'll use NanoBoot-

2. Plug your USB drive in. It may behoove you to use disk utility to create a FAT formatted partition to ensure there aren't any funky old parition schemes on there.


Make it MBR:



Choose the following options:



Open terminal


1. Run

diskutil list

2. Locate your USB drive:




On the command line run:



should = /Users/


Unmount nanoboot parition:


diskutil unmount /dev/disk2s1

(changed disk2s1 to whatever is listed as the DOS_FAT_32 NANOBOOT disk, not partition.).


sudo dd if=~/Desktop/NanoBoot- of=/dev/disk2 bs=1m


15+1 records in

15+1 records out

16384000 bytes transferred in 21.031898 secs (779007 bytes/sec)

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  • 3 weeks later...

for faster writes, use /dev/rdisk# instead of /dev/disk# for the dd command ... n-dev-disk


From "man hdiutil"

    Since any /dev entry can be treated as a raw disk image, it is worth not-
    ing which devices can be accessed when and how.  /dev/rdisk nodes are
    character-special devices, but are "raw" in the BSD sense and force
    block-aligned I/O.  They are closer to the physical disk than the buffer
    cache.  /dev/disk nodes, on the other hand, are buffered block-special
    devices and are used primarily by the kernel's filesystem code.



sudo dd if=~/Desktop/NanoBoot- of=/dev/rdisk2 bs=1m

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  • 11 months later...

I have used Etcher without any problems whatsoever on 3+ XPEnologies that I created myself or helped friends. Worth noting that I modified PID and VID by pressing "C" on the bootmenu of the loader.


Official website.


Disclosure: I`m have no affiliations or anything with them.

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