Could not restore Cannot allocate memory

I was trying to make a bootable USB drive for installing Mac OS X and got the error, “Could not restore – Cannot allocate memory” Simply retrying the Restore operation gave me the same error.

Now, this is something I’ve done before, for previous versions of Mac OS X, using the same 8G USB stick, with no problems. Something was clearly awry.

A look around the web showed some people have been having this same problem with various versions of Mac OS (Snow Leopard, Lion, and Mountain Lion). Unfortunately I couldn’t find any solid solution to the problem.

What worked for me was to re-partition the USB drive. The steps required would be as follows:

1. In Disk Utility select the USB drive and click ‘Partition’

2. Set the Volume Scheme to “1 Partition”

3. Make sure the Format is set to “Mac OS Extended (journaled)”

4. Click “Options…” and make sure the partition scheme is set to “GUID Partition Table”

5. Click ‘Apply’ and then verify the result (using “First Aid” tab), just to make sure all is well.

6. Redo the Restore operation as before. I also unchecked “Erase destination,” since it was already erased.

That fixed the problem for me. Success! Hopefully this helps somebody out there.

(I should also note that a few people have claimed that mounting the InstallESD.dmg file before performing the restore process avoids triggering the error message. So if the above doesn’t work you could try that. I chose to repartition the USB drive because when I did a verify of the drive I was getting errors that looked partition related.)

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