OS X Mavericks is coming – we’re still not exactly sure when, but probably October 22 – and if you want to create a backup install USB stick for when things go wrong, you’ll want to take a look at Lion DiskMaker 3.0 beta 2.
Lion DiskMaker is designed to create bootable rescue discs from your OS X installation files (from 10.7 Lion onwards). Version 3.0 beta 2 adds support for the forthcoming OS X Mavericks release.
Lion DiskMaker is pretty simple to use: fire it up, choose your version of OS X and wait while the program finds your installation file and then turns it into a bootable USB stick. And there’s the rub: you’ll need to source said installation file yourself. This is typically done by opening the Mac App Store and downloading the installer file from your original purchase of Lion, Mountain Lion or – from late October – Mavericks. The best time to use Lion DiskMaker, then, is immediately prior to installing a new version of OS X.
Version 3.0b2 adds support for OS X Mavericks “Gold Master” release, which was the final version of OS X 10.9 shipped to developers earlier this month. Lion DiskMaker author Guillaume Gète notes that the internal structure of the Mavericks installer has radically changed from previous builds, which has led to some additional caveats being attached to this beta release.
First, he recommends users stick to the default options, and avoid the “Update an existing disk feature” as it doesn’t yet work. There’s also no progress bar to indicate how far the disk creation process has gone, although it’s promised for the final version.
The app hasn’t been tested within Mavericks itself, but does work in Mountain Lion or earlier. Gète also recommends leaving the Mavericks installer file in the default /Applications folder.
Finally, due to the aforementioned structural changes to the Maverick installer file, users can no longer use the InstallESD.dmg file extracted from the installation app; instead, you’ll need to use the actual app itself.
Lion DiskMaker 3.0 beta 2 is available now as a freeware download for Macs running OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later. A final release should ship shortly after OS X Mavericks is itself released.