How to install OS X El Capitan from Scratch.

On Wednesday Apple set a release of thier next OS X El Capitan. It is a free upgrade and as a result, many Mac users have decided to upgrade their desktop and notebook computers.

If you already have OS X Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks or Yosemite installed then its quite easy for you to install the upgrade by downloading El Capitan from the App store and running the installer.

Many users prefer this method as it means that your existing programs and data remains as they were before the upgrade. Sometimes though, you don’t wish to do a regular OS update. Sometimes you may wish to start completely fresh or there maybe a possibility that OS X is not currently installed on your machine. For users like those, its best to do a clean installation by erasing the hard drive and installing from the complete bottom.

Doing a clean Install of OS X El Capitan on your Mac or on a new hard disk can be done though it requires a little fraction of work.

If you have already clean installed on Mac in the last few years then the following instructions will look quite familiar. Because they are the same as they were in the past years. Its quite easy to create a bootable copy of OS X El Capitan that can be run from a USB Drive or any other disk.

A quick Note : Do make sure to back up your important files, settings and apps before proceeding because a clean installation will erase all of hard drive’s data.

Initial Steps

In order to install OS X El Capitan an 8 GB USB flash drive is required. Since, you drive will be completely be used for OS X El Capitan therefore don’t waste a drive with higher capacity than your 8 GB disk.

Its possible if you want to use an existing hard drive partition though it may create complications in the second option for the installer.

OS X El Capitan is required to be downloaded on your existing Mac.

Download OS X El Capitan

To Download OS X El Capitan visit Mac App Store.

A 6.09 GB file with the name “Install OS X El Capitan” will download into your Applications folder.

Format USB Drive

To format the USB drive. Open the Disk Utility which can be found in the Utilities folder in Applications.

1. Select the USB disk and press the “Erase” tab. Select Mac OS Extended(Journaled) as your format type and name it as “untitled”.

2. Click on the Erase button. It will erase your USB disk and format it with the proper file system in just a few minutes.

Easy Method: Use DiskMaker X 5

To make things a lot easier you can use an app which automates the formation of an OS X bootable USB disk and is called DiskMaker X. A latest version of DiskMaker X, version 5 has been released and is compatible with El Capitan.

Method # 2: Using the Terminal

In order to do it this way you will be required to use the Terminal app. If you don’t feel like typing commands to make your device bootable then just use DiskMaker X (told above.).

If you are comfortable with using Terminal then follow the following instructions as shown below.

3. I hope you’ve downloaded OS X El Capitan to your Applications folder and have formatted your USBdrive(just make sure its called “Untitiled”),

4. Now execute the Terminal app.

5. Copy and Paste the command written below in to the terminal window and press enter.

sudo /Applications/Install OS X El –volume /Volumes/Untitled –applicationpath /Applications/Install OS X El –nointeraction

6. Then you’ll be asked to enter your user password. After that you’ll see some processes listed on the terminal window that will be read as:

Erasing Disk

Copying installer files to disk.


The OS X El Capitan has a special mode built in its installer that is run by this process which creates the installable media. The drive that you’ve just copied your data to, becomes bootable as well. This method is quick as compared to DiskMaker X, but it requires you to keep up with the instructions exactly as they are told to you to. Don’t try to transfer installer to another folder and do make sure that you only have one disk drive with the name “Untitiled” attached to your Mac.

Booting up and Installing El Capitan

After your USB drive is created the next step is to install OS X El Capitan.

7. Restart your Mac and keep pressed the Option key immediately. After the machine boots up, choose the USB disk entitled “Install OS X El Capitan”

8. Press”Disk Utility” and after that choose your main hard disk. Click on “Erase”. Also keep in mind this will Erase Everything you have on your machine.

9. Go to the main menu and click on “Install OS X”. A prompt will show up. On it, select you internal hard disk and continue the installation.

After the Install

After the successful installation you can choose to restore your programs settings with the help of Time Machine backup or Migration Assistant. Its your choice.

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