How to configure Apple Airport Express 1st Generation on Mavericks

This is a follow up on my older blog post „How to configure Apple Airport Express 1st Generation on Mountain Lion„. The situation is the same: I’ve wanted to configure my fathers Airport Express 1st Generation. However, we both updated to Mac OS X Mavericks 10.9 and where unable to use the Airport configuration utility I’ve created in my aforementioned blog post.

Looking online for a solution to this problem, I’ve found this blog post which provides you with a running Configuration Utility. Corey did also an analysis why the older Utility was not running anymore: The Utility relies on a library which broke backward compatibility in Mavericks.

How to create a Fusion Drive on Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks from scratch

A few years ago I bought a SSD kit for my MacbookPro 5.5. At that time I had decided to use the Intel SSD 320 separately from my HDD as independent drives. This resulted in increased performance, but I had to decide by myself what I want to place on the faster or larger drive.

With Mac OS X 10.8 Apple introduced the Fusion Drive with the new iMacs. It is based upon the Core Storage Layer of Mac OS and combines a fast SSD with the larger but slower HDD into a logical unit. Mac OS X decides what files it wants to place on the SSD and what on the HDD.

The performance is a little slower compared to my solution with single drives. However, it is proven fast enough, so I’ve decided to use it under Mavericks. For Mavericks, I’ve created a bootable USB stick so that I can start with a fresh installation.

If you want to try it out, this is the way to proceed: First of all, create a bootable backup of your system using SuperDuper! or CarbonCopyCloner. Now you should follow the steps from this blog. I’ll add my notes and tweaks.

We’ll follow option C. But instead of booting from the Recovery Partition, we want to boot from the USB stick which you should’ve created following my other blog article linked above. This way, we are completely independent of the existing content of either SSD or HDD.

Now delete all content from the SSD and the HDD. Repartition the HDD to use 1 partition. This partition will be used to install a fresh copy of Mavericks. As you’ve destroyed all partitions on both drives, you don’t have a recovery partition on either disk. But the Mavericks installer will create a new recovery partition on the drive on which you’ve decided to install Mavericks (in this case it’s the HDD). This is an important step, as this partition needs to be outside of the logical volume created for the fusion disk. This way you are still able to boot into recovery, in case something goes wrong (you could nevertheless boot from the USB stick, which will allow access to the same recovery tools).

You will now continue with the instructions from the blog and merge the drives to one unit. This unit is now empty and can be used in a new installation run of Mavericks. This way, you’ve created a bootable Fusion Drive with a fresh installation of Mavericks. It is now your choice, if you want to clone your old installation with one of the cloning tools mentioned before. But you could also start with a fresh copy or you can use the migration assistent.

I’ve chosen a fresh copy and started from scratch. This is a good start to clean up your Mac from any unwanted old stuff. You’ve now successfully created a fusion drive on Mavericks. Your Mac will now handle all the logic for you on where to place the files. You may now also activate FileVault 2 to encrypt your Fusion Drive. Beware that the usage of BootCamp requires a separate partition on either SSD or HDD, because Windows will otherwise not boot. If you want this configuration, you may look up the details in this blog.

How to create an OS X Mavericks installer USB stick

So you want to install OS X Mavericks on your older Mac from an USB stick. But the Mavericks installer is just an app which wants to upgrade your running Mac OS X, so you don’t have the option to start a fresh installation.

But there is an option available:

1. Download OS X Mavericks

Go to the Mac App Store and search for Mavericks or click this direct link. This will bring you directly to the Mac App Store page for Mavericks. You can download the installer, even when you are already on Mavericks:

Mavericks AppStore

The download will take its time to complete. If it’s finished, go to step 2. Otherwise you can skip the next part, as you have already downloaded the installer.

2. Cancel the installation

When the Mavericks installer opens, don’t continue it. Close it over the menu or press „alt+q“ to quit the installer.

3. Connect the USB stick and prepare it

Now connect your USB stick. I recommend a stick with at least 16GB space available (like this from SanDisk). This stick will be formatted, so make a backup of its content or use a dedicated one especially for this sole purpose.

  • Open the „Disk Utility“ and select your connected USB Stick.
  • Choose Partition and select 1 Partition. Set the name to „stick“. This way we can identify it better in step 4. Select „Mac OS Extended (Journaled)“ and assign the complete space to this partition:
    Partition USB Stick
  • Be sure to select „Options“, „GUID Partition Table“ instead of „Master Boot Record“:
  • Now press „Apply“ and let the Mac format the stick.

4. Create the Mavericks installer

Open the „Terminal“ application and enter:

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ –volume /Volumes/untitled –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ –nointeraction[/code]

Replace the „/Volumes/untitled“ with the name of the Volume we’ve created in step 3, e.g. „/Volumes/stick“. This command will ask for your Mac administrator password, so enter it and proceed.

Now the installer will create a bootable USB stick. You should see something like this:

Erasing Disk: 0%… 10%… 20%… 30%…100%…

Copying installer files to disk…

Copy complete.

Making disk bootable…

Copying boot files…

Copy complete.


If you look your desktop, you should see a new volume called „Install OS X Mavericks“:

Install OS X Maverics IconIf you open it, you will see the „Install OS X“ which you could now execute to perfom a normal upgrade installation. But you wanted this stick especially for the creation of new clean installation, therefore reboot your mac.

5. Boot into the installer

During the startup sound, press the „alt“ key. This will open up the boot menu selector. You can now select the Volume we’ve created. It should be a yellow symbol with an USB logo on it.


Congratulations, you’ve created a bootable Mac OS X Mavericks installer USB stick, which you could now use to create a fresh installation of Mac OS (or to create a Fusion drive).