I have a stable OS X installation on my machine. I want to create an image of it and be able to restore it later when needed.

Is there a way I can do this in OS X? How can I restore the image later?

2 Answers 2


Use Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility.app. There, just select your system volume ("Macintosh HD" in most cases) and press the "new image" button and save it to an external drive as an dmg file.

To restore it, you can boot from the install cd and again, use disk image.

But, starting with MacOS X 10.5, there is Time Machine, which is an fantastic backup program. Keeping an image of your baseline install is a good idea though, as Time Machine doesn't keep the history forever when the Backup Volume gets full.

  • But using Norton Ghost or DriveImage I can incrementally update my images. Can I do this using Disk Utility too? If not, are there any other tools that can create incremental images for me?
    – Anonymous
    Apr 25, 2010 at 14:18
  • Yes, you can update the image using the "Restore" tab of Disk Utility. Just set your hard drive as the source and the image as the destination.
    – Josh
    Apr 25, 2010 at 14:40
  • Also, @SvenW, you should edit your answer and change "Macintosh HD" to your boot volume. Not everyone's OS X boot volume is called "Macintosh HD". Mine is called "Stan".
    – Josh
    Apr 25, 2010 at 14:41

At work we use carbon copy cloner (http://www.bombich.com/) for our Macs to do the same tasks that we use Norton ghost for on our windows machnes. It seems like a GUI to the native disk imaging utility. ASR is the command line tool provided by Apple to create disk images. http://www.bombich.com/mactips/image.html has some info on that.

  • I tried to use CCC now, but it is acting as if it is reading data from my source drive on a file-by-file basis instead of on a lower-level block-by-block basis. Reading the source hard drive this way is much slower than reading it block by block.
    – Behrang
    Apr 27, 2010 at 15:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.