Using DD on OS X Snow Leopard

  • Apr 13, 2011
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  • OS X

I've been playing around with the bangs lately, namely CrunchBang and ArchBang. Both of which are lightweight OpenBox based Linux distros that make my netbook very happy indeed. To get them onto my CD/DVD driveless netbook I wanted to use DD to clone the ISO and stick it onto USB flash. Since DD comes installed on OS X you'd think this would be a regular affair.

First try = failure. You would think that you can simply unmount the USB flash device with the normal OS X "eject" feature but oh no. You will instead find yet another example of how Mac OS X is indeed user friendly to all but those more technically inclined. You must run a special unmount command to put the device in a state ready for DD.

How to use DD on OS X Snow Leopard

Firstly find our the disk identifier of your flash memory.

diskutil list

My disk identifier was /dev/disk1 so let's unmount /dev/disk1 with OS X's special command and finally run DD.

diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk1
sudo dd if=crunchbang.iso of=/dev/disk1 bs=8192

Obviously replace crunchbang.iso with the name/path of your ISO.

Please Note: DD returns no feedback during the copying process and an entire ISO can take a few minutes so just sit tight and be patient!