Re-Installing OS X El Capitan/Yosemite (Unable to Download OS X El Capitan/Yosemite)

This posting could also be titled one of the following:

  • Unable to download Mac OS X El Capitan/Yosemite
  • Download may be corrupt or invalid
  • Re-Installing OS X El Capitan/Yosemite

Although Apple is about to release the next version of the newly renamed macOS in the coming days/weeks, I expect this posting will be useful not only for OS X El Capitan or Yosemite, but also likely for the next version of macOS Sierra (10.12).

If you are already running OS X El Capitan (10.11) and need to reinstall the OS or install a fresh installation to a new hard drive (or partition), you may find as I did that downloading the OS X El Capitan (10.11) from the Mac App Store is simply not working. What I experienced after clicking the Download button was a busy indicator spinning indefinitely and the download never happening. I tried this on several different Macs with the same result. Of course, all my Macs were already running OS X El Capitan (10.11) so my attempts failed consistently on all three.

After contacting Apple Support, my first call ever by the way, apparently Apple now only allows each Mac to download the OS X El Capitan/Yosemite installation file one time per machine. This is what I was told by Apple Support. Also, when looking at my Purchased apps in the Mac App Store the OS X El Capitan did not allow me to download it and showed disabled “Downloaded” button instead, even though the OS install file already on my Mac was unusable. Delete this file had no affect on the ability to re-download the OS installation file.

However, Apple Support instructed me how to accomplish this another way – a legal and supported option. And that is by booting your Mac into Recovery Mode (or OS X Utilities) menu. Here are the steps.

  1. Reboot your Mac and enter Recovery Mode by pressing Cmd-R during the boot up sequence. You need to hold down the Cmd-R keys until the Apple logo appears. It can take several minutes before the Recovery Mode menu finally appears, so be patient.
  2. Select the Reinstall OS X option and click Continue.
  3. You will be given the option to select the target drive where the new OS will be installed. For me, I had two drives and wanted to install it on a newly attached SSD drive. Also, depending on the your computer you may need to select and connect to WiFi.
  4. A new copy of OS X (macOS) will be downloaded and the installation will begin.

Here is a snapshot of the OS X Utilities (Recovery Mode) menu.

Mac OS Recovery Menu

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s