MDS Fails- Error: system reboot failed

I have been testing out MDS for possible use in our environment for the small number of Macs we have. I have created a Workflow that includes Mojave with about 8 applications. When trying to apply to either of my test systems It gets to 100% Preparing and then hangs showing the error that the system reboot failed. A manual reboot does not get the process to pick back up. Any help would be appreciated.
MDS v 1.6

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Are you installing macOS? It is macOS installer that does the reboot, so something in the hardware is stopping it. Try resetting the SMC and resetting the PRAM.


Hello Tim

I am getting this error on a 2015 iMac. I tried resetting the SMC and PRAM but no luck. I should note that I am trying a newer 10.14.5 OS.

Any guidance on this would be quite helpful.


after it fails, can you try opening a new terminal window and running “reboot” and see if it gives any error messages?



I did it today, and it just rebooted with folder and question mark. I guess fusion drives are a no go?


Huh. That is good info. We have an iMac with a fusion drive. We do testing on it and have not seen the issue. Is there anything special about your setup?

Just to add to this (New MDS v1.8 user here). I’ve now run into this while cleaning up some old inventory, specifically multiple MacBook Airs running El Capitan (10.11.6).

  • resetting PRAM doesn’t help
  • Doing a wipe + full restore of El Capitan/10.11.6 doesn’t fix it either [Along with doing all OS updates]
  • Opening new terminal window and issuing a reboot: machine reboots, but doesn’t start the installer (ie: returns to recovery mode).

Building a boot USB with High Sierra (didn’t try Mojave yet) and wipe/restore with that - does allow it to work in the future (ie: update to Mojave).

Hope that helps.

I’m currently using the pre-beta (pb) 1.9 and have not seen any issues. I haven’t run 1.6 in a while and definitely haven’t tried my workflow in that version. I updated through 1.7, 1.8 beta & pre-beta to the 1.9 pb before testing my workflow.

I’m sure there are some bugs in 1.9 pb, but I don’t thing I’ve stepped on them.

I’d give a newer release a try to see if that resolves any of your issues.


Jon: The error is generated near the beginning while Imagr has just finished preparing/loading the installer, and is (attempting to) rebooting into it.

I did see an error in the commands when Imagr attempted to format the disk (before loading the installer) - note this is different from Automaton formatting sequence. I don’t have the exact error, but next time I reset other MBA (got a few to go) I’ll copy it down. Probably had something to do with HFS/APFS mode detection.

Okay, while going through the pile of Air’s that need to be reimaged/updated (oh thank you MDS) here’s the error message in the beginning:

Imagr[xx:yyy] /usr/sbin/diskutil apfs list -plist failed with return code 1

From what I can surmise, the recovery partition (running v10.11.[4-6]) is incompatible with Imagr included with v1.8 of MDS.

Creating a boot usb with Mojave (to lazy to check Sierra/HS) and booting recovery off that (and then using the MDS image on that usb) does work fine.

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I am aware of the issue and working on a fix. thanks for reporting it.


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Awesome! MDS/Automon has saved me hours, so glad to help.

Side note for anyone else that popped up when I was playing around with these older (10.11) boxes. If you boot a 10.14 (mojave) usb, and use disk utils to format the disk as AFPS and then go do the image, you run into a situation that the computer firmware is unable to read the disk after that (good ol’ question mark folder). Solution is (obv.) to reformat back as HFS+/journaled, then reinstall. Mojave will do the firmware update and conversion on boot.

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Hi, I’m seeing this issue with a late 2015 iMac with Fusion drive installing Mojave. Any workarounds or fixes available yet? Thanks

An additional note. The original OS was El Capitan when it failed. I rebuilt the iMac using a bootable Mojave disk. I’ve run the process again and it’s worked this time.

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