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How Composer Displays Partitions when Building OS Packages

Important: You can not use a OS package built in Composer to restore a macOS 10.13.x computer.

When using Composer 10.1.0 or later to build an OS package, associated partitions are displayed below the disk. In addition, Composer is able to determine the Recovery HD associated with an OS partition for partitions created using computers with macOS 10.9 or later.

Beginning with the macOS 10.13 update, HFS+ has been replaced by Apple File System (APFS) as the default file system for SSD drives. With macOS 10.14, APFS now supports HDD and Fusion drives in addition to SSD drives. Unlike HFS+, partitions and volumes in APFS cannot be separated from the container. Because of this, only the complete container can be selected in Composer when building OS packages with APFS.

A partition is not available when it cannot be included in the package for the following reasons:

  • The partition is the booted OS partition (i.e., localhost)
  • The partition includes an unsupported partition type (e.g., FAT32 or NTFS)
  • The partition is not mounted
  • The partition is a Globally Unique Identifier (GUID) partition scheme
  • The partition is not separable because of the structure of the APFS container

The following partition types are displayed in the pane when you are building an OS package:

  • APFS
  • Hierarchical File System (HFS)
  • Apple_Boot

The following partition types are not displayed:

  • Core Storage
  • EFI System partition (ESP)
  • Apple Partition Map (APM)

Versions Affected

Composer 10.1.0 or later

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SOLVED Posted: by bthomas

Based on this post it appears that we can now user Composer to capture the Recovery HD as part of a single DMG for imaging. Is my assumption correct, or does the updated interface simply show you the Recovery HD partition?

Also, for what its worth, I can confirm that the visual aspect of the functionality is working. I was able to see the Macintosh HD and child Recovery HD partition for a 2015 MacBook Air when launching Composer 9.7 and selecting Build an OS Package

SOLVED Posted: by erin.miska

@bthomas, that's correct--Composer can now be used to create a single DMG that includes multiple partitions, like the main OS plus the Recovery HD partition.

SOLVED Posted: by Jae

Do we need to setup the partition space on the configuration on Casper Admin? I was having trouble testing with Mavericks as it never booted. All I did was add the DMG.

SOLVED Posted: by bentoms

@lawrencj1 you shouldn't need too.

I don't for AutoDMG OS.dmg's deployed via Casper Imaging.

So would assume for Composer OS.dmg's it'd not been needed.

SOLVED Posted: by steventhemacman


So I created a .dmg with Composer 9.72 and did a target boot image. I did not create a partition in Casper for recovery as suggested above. I see it created one automatically, however it named the recovery partition "Macintosh HD" and will not boot from it if I choose it, but if I do command + R at boot it will boot into Recovery.


SOLVED Posted: by bozemans

So I created a .dmg with Composer 9.73 and it is acting the same way. When I use option + FW password, it shows two discs labeled "Macintosh HD". I can only assume one is the recovery image. Because FW passwords I am unable to use the command+R to gain access. But if I attempt to go to the "Macintosh HD" that I assume is the recovery disk, it fails to complete the process and just shows the ugly circle w/line through it.

SOLVED Posted: by cdenesha


Composer can now be used to create a single DMG that includes multiple partitions

How do you get Composer to capture a second HFS partition? When I select it, the primary partition Macintosh HD is unselected. Composer 9.73

thank you,


SOLVED Posted: by drhoten


Right now, Composer is only capable of creating a single multi-partition DMG when one partition is a Recovery HD and the other is an OS partition. It cannot capture two HFS partitions.

Is this a case where you are interested in a single DMG which contains just two partitions (one for each HFS volume) or are you looking at capturing three (one for each HFS plus the Recovery HD)?


SOLVED Posted: by cdenesha

Keeping in mind that I'm still new to the Casper imaging process.. I envision just two HFS+ partitions without a Recovery Partition. These are iMacs for an Art lab and I would like to set up default Save and Scratch locations - and put the Adobe Common folder on the second partition as well, but hidden.


SOLVED Posted: by donmontalvo

Giant kudos to JAMF, this is friggin' awesome!!!

Related to:

Recovery HD missing (El Capitan Beta 6)

SOLVED Posted: by drhoten


That definitely makes sense, and I'd recommend submitting a feature request for that. I could see a use case for both that, and being able to lay down additional non-HFS partitions.




SOLVED Posted: by pvillave

Still no BootCamp? Why? This is a Multi-Platform world. I's 2015. Apple's been doing this for a long time. Symantec I come. Talk about arcane.

SOLVED Posted: by hurtado

@steventhemacman and @bozemans ,
Did either of you ever get past this error with option booting showing a second Macintosh HD volume but getting the "circle with line" error when trying to boot from it? I've started on Casper Imaging and just hit that snag. I'm browsing through other threads but haven't found what I might have done wrong thus far.

SOLVED Posted: by loftus

+1 for this issue. If I manually mount the .dmg captured by Composer I get Macintosh HD and Recovery HD as seperate images, which is what I'd expect. After using this same .dmg as part of a configuration there are two targets available when I option boot, and both are named Macintosh HD. Selecting the first I can boot cleanly to the installed OS but the second fails to boot at all, presenting only the prohibited symbol. However as per @steventhemacman if I [Cmd+R] on boot I find myself in the Recovery environment after all. What gives?


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