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How to create a bootable macOS Sierra USB installer

How to create a bootable macOS Sierra USB installer


*** As with all Betas only install on a non production device and computer that you’re not concerned about & make backups! ***

These advanced steps are intended primarly for system administrators and others who are familiar with the command line.

You can download the latest macOS Sierra 10.12 Developer Preview here https://developer.apple.com/download
You will need an Apple Developer Account to sign in and download macOS Sierra 10.12 Developer Preview. Public Beta will be out later in July 2016

Use the ‘createinstallmedia’ command in Terminal to create your bootable usb installer:

  1. Download macOS Sierra 10.12 Developer Preview from the Mac App Store after redeeming the code from the Apple Developer Download site. Quit the installer if it opens automatically after downloading. The installer will be in your Applications folder.
  2. Mount your USB flash drive or other volume. You could also use a secondary internal partition.
  3. Format/Erase your drive and name it “macOSSierra” if you intend on copying and pasting the below command.
  4. Open Terminal (it is found in the Utilities folder)
  5. In terminal paste the following command:
sudo /Applications/Install\ 10.12\ Developer\ Preview.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia  --volume /Volumes/macOSSierra --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ 10.12\ Developer\ Preview.app --nointeraction

You’ve now created a bootable macOS Sierra 10.12 Developer Preview USB installer


Down the road when macOS Sierra 10.12 is at full version I would highly suggest using “DiskMaker X“. It’s simple and easy to use 

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OS X Finder Sidebar Favourites Missing or Permission Issue

OS X Finder Sidebar Favourites Missing or Permission Issue

I’ve been dealing with this issue for a good while now and there are countless articles online that talk about this but there hasn’t been a solid fix yet. In most cases users are playing with the Finder and Sidebar preferences but without luck. This is one of the only steps that seems to gets messed up with permissions errors or bad links when you use a default profile script. Everything else seems to work but starting with OS X 10.10 this has been broken.

Broken Finder Sidebar

Permissions Error Message

Working Finder Sidebar

Today with a suggestion from @harryn over at EduGeet.net http://www.edugeek.net/forums/mac/72443-how-create-os-x-default-profile-template-bind-ad-10-5-10-8-a-3.html#post1432366 I simply removed/deleted the user I use to build the profile then had a new user log into the computer and there it was, all the Sidebar Shortcuts with proper links and permissions. This now means I can customize the sidebar with the users Desktop, Download, Documents folders etc. and they will properly work when a user selects a location.

The cons to this route is that fact that you need to remove/delete the user you build your default profile from but if you are really only building your image to deploy this really isn’t a big deal. If you need to go back and make adjustments to the profile just create that same user again, make your needed adjustments run the default user profile script then remove the user again. 

It is an extra step but it’s a step that makes a lot of people happy. We have tons of students and faculty that will love to have these links back in the finder again.

For future “Default User Profile” scripts I think I’ll go back to creating an alternate user from “Administrator” and start using a user called “default”. This way I can keep the local “Administrator” in place and just use the “Default” user for creating a custom user. 

Hope this helps!

 

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Apple Windows Bootcamp Won’t Bless

Apple Windows Bootcamp Won’t Bless

If you’ve run into the issue of imaging a BootCamp partition and it won’t boot into Windows or you see the message that the Windows Bootcamp partition cannot be blessed then you may get the run around trying to find a quick simple solution as I had. 

Luckily WinClone has a quick built in option/utility that will make your Windows BootCamp partition properly boot. 

If you are running on a new model Mac you could have an issue where the Mac does not allow you to boot into the newly created Bootcamp image. To get around this we need to make the Bootcamp partition EFI bootable by using Winclone. You should see your Bootcamp partition on the left side of the program and you will need to right click on the Windows BootCamp partition and select “Make EFI Bootable”. You do not need to do this for older hardware which should be 2014 and older Macs.

Right now there maybe scripts or other work arounds to do this but since we already own a copy of WinClone this makes quick work of this issue.

Have a look at my related article “Create a Bootcamp Image From a Pre Built Windows Image“.

 

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Create a Bootcamp Image From a Pre Built Windows Image

Create a Bootcamp Image From a Pre Built Windows Image


What you need

  • Winclone

  • Hard drive with a Windows Image that has been Sysprepped and pulled from a computer

  • External Hard Drive reader

  • Mac with OS X Installed

  • DeployStudio

 

How to clone

STEP 1.
If you are running OS X 10.10 or lower skip to Step 2. If you are running the latest version of OS X 10.11 or higher you need to disable OS X’s “System Integrity Protection” which will allow us to image a BootCamp Partition. To do this you need to restart the computer into “Restore Mode” or boot from a DeployStudio server. You then need to open “Terminal” and type

csrutil disable

then press enter. With this complete restart your computer.

STEP 2.
The next step is to create a BootCamp partition by opening up “Disk Utility” then add/create a new partition. Here you need to enter in the size you want your partition to be and then change the format to FAT. Now go ahead and partition your drive.

STEP 3.
From here go ahead and plug in your external hard drive reader with the hard drive you pull from your computer. We should now see the BootCamp partition you created and the external hard drive that has your windows image installed on.

STEP 4.
Now install WinClone onto your mac and launch the program. Here we should see your windows hard drive and your Bootcamp partition.

STEP 5.
If your source windows hard drive is smaller than your Bootcamp partition you can skip to STEP 6. If your Bootcamp partition is smaller than the hard drive but still bigger than the image itself then you need to shrink the image. To do so right click on the windows hard drive and chose “Shrink Windows (NTFS) Filesystem”. This will resize the image on the hard drive to the size of the actual fully used space of the image.

STEP 6.
Now we can go ahead and copy your windows image to your Bootcamp partition. Select the Windows drive on the left side of the window and then select the Bootcamp partition to the right and select “Restore”.  This process will take a while depending how on big your Windows image is.

STEP 7.
Now that the restore has completed you have now successfully created a Windows Bootcamp image/partition. Now simply reboot your Mac and select the Windows BootCamp Partition from the Boot Manager (Hold down the “Option” key on startup). Once Bootcamp has booted you can now go ahead and install the Apple BootCamp drivers. (Use the BootCamp Assistant in OS X to create the driver install).

** If you are running on a new model Mac you could have an issue where the Mac does not allow you to boot into the newly created Bootcamp image. To get around this we need to make the Bootcamp partition EFI bootable by using Winclone. You should see your Bootcamp partition now on the left side of the program and you will need to right click and select “Make EFI Bootable”. You do not need to do this for older hardware which should be 2014 and older Macs.

 

Happy Imaging!

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My Newly Addictive Game “Kayos”

My Newly Addictive Game “Kayos”

I normally do not do reviews on particular apps or games but after getting ahold of “Kayos” By Jonathan Lanis I had to write something. In a way it reminded me a bit of Star Fox from the early years of Nintendo but with a smooth feel and sleek look.

I was lucky enough to see the game go up for FREE on the Apps Store this past week and I think it sat on my phone for a few days until I really sat down and gave it a try.

It does take sometime to get the hang of as I know the first few times I played it I gave up, put the phone down and walked away in frustration as I just couldn’t get anywhere. 

Last night I laid in bed trying to get to sleep then picked up the phone and stared to play Kayos. Before I knew it I was playing for an hour. It just seemed that each time I got a new high score I wanted to beat it again.

Currently I sit with a high score of 2,781 which you can see in the shot below. I didn’t think to take a screenshot when I got that high score but this does show it.

The object of the game is to basically get as far as you can without crashing. Each level is around 100 or so points in length then you hit new objects that can be still standing, moving around or being thrown at you. 

 

The game is smooth, fast passed and every time you run through the game it’s always different. When playing you just tilt the screen in the direction you want to go. If you tap and hold on the screen you get boost and the longer you use boost you can fill up your shields which come in handy if you hit an object. With that said becarefull when you aim for the shields because once you get your shields your boost stays on until you hit an object. This is when it gets fast paced for sure.

Kayos is found on the App Store and I can certainly say it’s worth picking up. You can find the game here: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/kayos/id908155536?mt=8

If you are playing and want to hit me up with a Game Center invite my nickname is “MacGeek83”

Enjoy! 

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OS X Mount Active Directory Home Drive Automatically (Working Solution for OS X 10.10)

Prior to OS X 10.9 Mavericks here at the college we would use the option in the “Directory Utility” app to mount the Active Directory home drives. This was done by checking off “Use UNC path from Active Directory” but with OS X 10.9 Mavericks & OS X 10.10 Yosemite there was the adoptions of SMB2 which does not play well with Microsoft’s version of SMB. We would have drives mounting but not the drives we wanted. We would normally want their home folder mounted as (ex. /studentname) but instead it was now being mounted as (ex. share/studentname). This is how we’ve been running for the past two years and haven’t had much luck fixing it. 

Today with the help of a co-worker we were able to come up with an AppleScript that fixes this. Below is the simple script that I saved as an executable app and placed into the /Library/Scripts folder in our images. From here I added the app as a login item in the default profile. Once any user logs in the script would check to see what the users name is then look to Active Directory to poll what their Home Drive is. Next the script converts the backwards slashes “\” (used in the Windows World) to forward slashes “/” (Unix World) then mounts the drive. 

I’ve been testing this on a number of stations and now have it deployed out to some of our labs. 

If you want to use this script you need to make sure you go into “Directory Utility” and un-check “Use UNC path from Active Directory” since we no longer need this and now relying on this AppleScript to do the work.

In the script provided you will need to change “DOMAIN” to your campus domain. For an example our college it’s just “CAMPUS”.

Here’s the script below to use or feel free to download it:

Download http://twistedmac.com/mount_aduser_home_drives.zip

 

 

 

set username to do shell script “whoami”

set homepath to do shell script “dscl ‘/Active Directory/DOMAIN/All Domains/’ -read /Users/” & username & ” | grep SMBHome: | cut -c 10- | sed ‘s/\\\\/\\//g’ “

tell application “Finder”

       try

            mount volume “SMB:” & homepath

      end try

end tell

 

 

When I have the free time I want to convert this into a .plist script to use with launch daemon instead of relying on an app in the login items to make it a little cleaner. Until then this will do the trick and something that I’ve been looking into for some time now without success. 

Hope this helps out others that have been looking for a similar solution.

 

Posted by admin on

How To Backup Profile Manager Database (Working Solution for OS X 10.10)

For comments and questions please visit the edugeek forum here: http://www.edugeek.net/forums/mac/157905-backup-profile-manager-database-working-solution-os-x-10-10-a.html

It’s annoying that Apple has no easy solution for something that should be a major & required feature for it’s Profile Manager. With the help of the post here https://discussions.apple.com/thread/6855393 by @Strontium90 I had gone ahead and created scripts that I now have running on my server that will backup the Profile Manager Database daily. 

I’ve tested this and I was able to backup the database then erase/reset Profile Manager to scratch then run the restore and have the server backup and running with all the devices, groups etc.

Here are the commands:

Dump/Create backup of the database

#!/bin/bash
sudo pg_dump -h /Library/Server/ProfileManager/Config/var/PostgreSQL -U _devicemgr devicemgr_v2m0 -c -f ~/Desktop/profileManager.sql

Erase/Reset Profile Manager database

sudo /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/share/devicemgr/backend/wipeDB .sh

Restore Profile Manager

sudo -s
cat ~/Desktop/profileManager.sql | psql -h /Library/Server/ProfileManager/Config/var/PostgreSQL -U _devicemgr devicemgr_v2m0
 

If you are doing daily backups like I am I had added this to the script. It will make a copy of the database and add the date & time and copy it to another folder.

cp ~/Desktop/profileManager.sql /Profile\ Manager\ Database\ Backups/$(date +%B_%d_%Y_Time_H%H_M%M)_profileManager.sql
 

 

 

For automatic backups I use the below scripts to automate a scheduled dump of the Profile Manager Database  to both a local folder on the server as well as a networked mounted drive so I would have the databases in two locations. 

This script is your “LaunchDaemons” script that sets the schedule. In one I’ve provided I have it set to 4:00am daily. You can change this to your preferred time.

Name of file “com.mactech.pmbackup.plist”

 

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC “-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN” “http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd”>

<plist version=”1.0″>

<dict>

<key>Label</key>

<string>com.mactech.pmbackup</string>

<key>ProgramArguments</key>

<array>

<string>/Library/Scripts/profilemanager_backup.sh</string>

</array>

<key>StartCalendarInterval</key>

<dict>

  <key>Hour</key>

  <integer>4</integer>

  <key>Minute</key>

  <integer>00</integer>

</dict>

    <key>RunAtLoad</key>

    <false />

</dict>

</plist>

 

Once you’ve made needed changes to the above script place it at “/Library/LaunchDaemons /com.mactech.pmbackup.plist”

To load or make the script active you need to load it by running the following Terminal Command “launchctl load -w /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.mactech.pmbackup.plist”

 

Below is the script that the “com.mactech.pmbackup.plist” file run on the set schedule.

The First line dumps the database to the desktop so the latest dump is right there. 

The Second line copies the file and placed it into a folder at “/Profile Manager Database Backups”. You need to either create this folder or rename this line or remove the line if you do not wish to have it.

The Third line copies the file to a network share. I have the server setup to mount the share on login so it’s always there. Change “RemoteServerAddress_&_Share” to your network share.

** For the Second & Third lines the files are renamed by adding the Date & Time (ex. October_13_2015_Time_H04_M00_profileManager.sql).

 

#!/bin/bash

sudo pg_dump -h /Library/Server/ProfileManager/Config/var/PostgreSQL -U _devicemgr devicemgr_v2m0 -c -f ~/Desktop/profileManager.sql

cp ~/Desktop/profileManager.sql /Profile\ Manager\ Database\ Backups/$(date +%B_%d_%Y_Time_H%H_M%M)_profileManager.sql

cp ~/Desktop/profileManager.sql /RemoteServerAddress_&_Share/$(date +%B_%d_%Y_Time_H%H_M%M)_profileManager.sql

 

Enjoy 

 

 

 

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How To Setup DeployStudio With OS X Yosemite 10.10.4 Server

How To Setup DeployStudio With OS X Yosemite 10.10.4 Server

For comments and questions please visit the edugeek forum here: EduGeek Forum – How To Setup DeployStudio With OS X Yosemite 10.10.4 Server (How-To Video)

Lately I’ve been setting up a number of DeployStudio Servers for other college sites so I figured since it only takes 15-20mins to set one up from scratch that I’d create a quick video on doing so. 

In my test environment I was running a separate domain to show how it would look for those running their servers on a domain like a College/University or other large institutions. 

Hope this helps!

 

 

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Bringing life to an old 2008 Xserve

Bringing life to an old 2008 Xserve

xserve twistedmacHere at work we have a 2008 Xserve and for the past couple years I’ve only used it as a simple file share server since the highest OS that could be installed was OS X10.7 Lion. I would love to use the server for more since it has plenty of HD space and when it comes down to it, the Xserve is still a powerful computer. 

A couple weeks ago I decide to get the server running with OS X 10.10 Yosemite by doing a couple upgrades along with a OS X 10.10 modified install. At first I upgraded the ram to 16GB then installed OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite with the help of an article here https://github.com/TMRJIJ/OS-X-Yosemite-on-Unsupported-Macs that explains how to create an OS X 10.10 Install on a USB stick or drive that is modified to install on older hardware. Once I had the modified OS Install I plugged into the server and installed 10.10.3 without any issues until I realized how laggy the video was. This was both local video output and through screen sharing.

I think one of the big reason Apple removed Xserve from later OS’s past 10.7 Lion was due to the video card. OS X has become very dependent on the GPU and since the stock video cards in the Xserve are bottom of the line the cards they just could not handle 10.10 Yosemite. So from here I got looking online to find a fix.

After looking around I can across a video here https://youtu.be/9AZzSgIYIac where “N90X” decided to give this same project a try and he ended up swapping out the video card. With the help of this I was able to track down a video card off eBay that was originally a stock card for Mac Pro’s. The card I purchased was a “Apple 630-9643 Mac Pro A1289 NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512MB Video Card”. 

As soon as I received the card I quickly installed it to now find the server running smooth video. Both the card video output and screen sharing ran smooth without any issues. So far everything looks great and you would never know this server was never supported. 

The one issue I know of for this setup is OS Updates. If I were to update the server to 10.10.4 when it comes out the server will not boot as the update will replace the “PlatformSupport.plist” file which essentially tells the OS which hardware is approved to run. With that said, theres a quick fix, simply replace it. Just keep a backup of the file and once you do an update you can either throw the server into Target mode and replace /System/Library/CoreServices/PlatformSupport.plist or just add in the server model & ID info. For my setup I partitioned the primary HD and keep the old OS X 10.7 Lion install so I just need to boot into the old OS, replace the file then reboot.

All in all Yosemite works great on a 2008 Xserve after modifying a 10.10 Install and upgrading the video card. From here I will be installing Server App and using more features that Server App offers. It’s a great server for DeployStudio, OS Updates and more. 

A few images of the server:

Install of OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite on Xserveyo1b xserve twistedmac

Xserve with upgraded ram to 16GB and the new/used video card
yo2 xserve twistedmac

Old Xserve Video Card
yo3 xserve twistedmac

New/Used Video Card that was needed to get the server running video properly
yo4b xserve twistedmac

Hope this helps anyone looking to do the same.