Legacy Macs - Can't install Mojave / Catalina

Hello -

I’m having problems deploying Mojave/Catalina on older MacBook Pros and iMacs (2013-2014 model).

CMD +R = boots into ElCaptain’s recovery, which is too old for MDS.
Option + CMD + R = boots into Big Sur recovery, and does not allow me to install anything other than Big Sur (“startosinstall failed with return code 108”).

Any suggestions on how to get Mojave or Catalina on these units? I rather not use Time Capsules or DeployStudio.

Please advise.

You can create bootable USB installer of your desired version of macOS using these instructions from Apple: How to create a bootable installer for macOS - Apple Support

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Yes, that would work, just like a Time Capsule, however I was looking at automating the system as much as possible without relying on multiple USB drives.

We are talking about “large” scale deploying with fast turn-around times: could be 10-20 laptops that need to be completed within 1 hour.

Thanks for suggestion!

Other than the time it takes to initially create the installation USBs, I’m not sure how I see that using installer USBs would be any slower or much different at all than booting into Recovery (and booting into a USB installer is much faster than booting into Internet Recovery).

Once you’re booted into the installer USB, you can start up MDS just like if you were in Recovery. It is the same exact environment.

Maybe it wasn’t clear in my last post that I was not meaning to use the installer USB to do a clean install and then boot into the correct Recovery version after installation. You just treat the USB as the correct Recovery version and start MDS right then and there.

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I think I understand it now.
We would use the USB drives to boot into the appropriate recovery environment (Mojave/Catalina) and then use Automaton/MDS at that point to run the workflows.

I’ll give it a try, thank you!

Yes exactly, you’ve got it!

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