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I have just finished writing my article How to upgrade your old mac with an ssd and I would really like to have an operating system on it. When you buy an ssd in the store there is no formatting or operating system on it what so ever.

El Capitan on an usb

We have to boot from a dvd or an usb to be able to install our system. I had some 8+ GB usb’s at home. Those are big enough. Remember they will be formatted i.e. everything on it will be erased.

I followed the tutorial at osxdaily since I have experienced that all simple tools and programs go wrong sometimes. Working in a terminal is not something you should fear. (spoken like a true linux man)

In short here are the actions I undertook:

  • go to the app store and download El Captian
  • go to  Disk Utility or “schijfhulpprogramma” and format the usb and give it the name “ElCapInstaller” (watch out for the capital letters)
  • open the terminal (it is an application)
  • copy/past the code inside the terminal and pressed enter
  • wait
  • wait
  • just to say that you have to wait till it says “DONE”.
  • a usb with a flashing light helps for the impatient ones

Here is the code you have to copy/paste

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ --volume /Volumes/ElCapInstaller --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ --nointeraction

It basically says to start the program createinstallmedia on the volume with the name ElCapInstaller without interaction. Then you are set to go.


Installation procedure

You should know there are some great shortcuts in your mac to help you be efficient at your job but there are also shortcuts even before mac has booted. You can find a reference to them here.

When you boot your mac, you press the Option key ⌥ and wait for the start screen.




Since this is an unformatted ssd I make sure in advance that it is formatted (and may be divided – think bootcamp for windows) the way I want it.

Choose the last one – disk utility.


Select your SSD. Be sure it is selected.


Erase your ssd with the third button. In my setup I will not make any partition for Windows. Just one big partition for mac. Select the same items. If you do want to install bootcamp then you can divide the SSD up in two parts (Windows typically needs >50 GB) or do it later when installing bootcamp.


Installing the OS x system


Installing Osx El Capitan took very long. Longer than any of the previous Osx versions.

Best Tip : “about a second remaining” means the second is going to last at least 10-20 minutes

You should be patient and wait!

Because of this I found a nice shortcut that shows you the installation is ongoing. Yes you can check the flashing light of your usb but also


This shortcut shows you the log files – so you can tell if something is happening in the background.

In my case it got stuck on

.lastresort is used instead

After a long time it finished installing and rebooted into the normal booting screens we all expect.

You will pass through a lot of installation screens which are all very straight forward and rarely need an explication.


The clean install of El Capitan took very long compared to Yosemite and all the others. But if you are patient and wait it will install. AND I have learned the shortcut CMD+L to show me the log files.

  • 30 seconds for booting
  • All applications will be started – check out the movie how fast it goes.

Check the movie to see the result of the installation.


Next step will be how to change Mac Osx El Capitan the way I like it.