Opinions needed: Base OS images

Not applicable


I need to rebuild my base OS image and would appreciate your opinion on what
machine I should build it with. Currently in my lab, I have a MacPro 2008,
MacPro 2010, MacAir 2010, and a MacBook Pro 2011. I'm thinking of using the
MacBook Pro 2011 since it's what the majority of new builds will be running
on, but aren't sure if basing my image on a certain hardware profile will
affect it differently then say a MacPro.

Any advice or wisdom would be appreciated.


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Valued Contributor II

I have a laptop, desktop, and mac pro base image. I could probably eliminate the desktop build and use the laptop image on iMacs - but mac pro was necessary for us because of some hardware difference the regular image wasn't handling right (multiple NICs or something, can't remember).

Honored Contributor

Our "base" is always the RTM from disk and the latest combo updater so that it's following a clean installation every time. We prefer to preserve vendor logic for any installations when we can.

Jared F. Nichols
Desktop Engineer, Client Services
Information Services Department
MIT Lincoln Laboratory
244 Wood Street
Lexington, Massachusetts 02420

Contributor III

you should avoid hardware specific builds and use instadmg instead. as long as the most recent combo updater works across all hardware (10.6.8 does), you don't need a specific hardware type for your build machine.


you can do similar things with System Image Utility and probably Composer, though I've never used Composer to create a modular image.

Esteemed Contributor
Esteemed Contributor

I've only had 1 base image. Created on Mac Pro with latest combo update.

I've then used scripts to create the network interfaces.



Honored Contributor

This is how I do it, but of course this is just my opinion on best practices, and my method is not the only method.

1) create OS X image via instaDMG with nothing in it. No users, no profiles, no management, no packages, just the vanilla OS and all combo updaters. I just edit the catalog file and added the 10.6.8 combo updater to the catalog and let her rip.

2) Toss the base OS into Casper Admin, then add all apps I need standard. MS Office 2011, iLife, etc. Then compiled it as a base image that goes on all my (now 14,000) Macs at our school.

3) Set up Parent smart configurations that run asr script to block copy the image file, then set up children configurations to do building, department, and user/group specific packages.

4) Post flight image shell script configures clients, adds local user accounts, and then MCX does the rest.

This way I only ever have to maintain 1 single image. If anything specific needs to go to a specific smart group I can use my compiled configuration as a parent smart configuration and build child configs off of it. It is very flexible and modular, and best of all it works across the board on every single Mac since it is not built for anything hardware specific.

Do note that if you are compiling previous version OS X images or say newer ones (Lion) the apple installer is probably going to mess it up. So, when you compiled a 10.5 image do so on a 10.5 machine, 10.6 for 10.6 and so on.

Just my 2 cents