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Problem Installing Catalina on MacBook Air


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So yesterday I attempted to install Catalina on my 2018 MacBook Air. It didn't go well. I did the usual backups prior to the installation. The install process went through the normal process until the end when I received the following screen about not being able to save "opt" in the folder Macintosh HD-Data. Click restart to try the install again. I attempted the install again and got to the same point. 

I called Apple to see if there was something I missed or how to get out of this loop. Their recommendation was to go back to Mojave from my clone. He told me to wait until the next update and try again. While I was surprised at that comment, that is what I decided to do.

However, I ran into trouble restoring my Carbon Copy Cloner clone because I think I had both a Macintosh HD and a Macintosh HD Data APFS volumes. I'm assuming those two volumes were created from the Catalina attempt. The restore, while it says it completed without error, did not allow me to login in. When I gave it the password, there was a quick whoosh sound and then the mac rebooted.

What I did next was start up from the clone, go into Disk Utility and delete both apfs volumes, Macintosh HD and Macintosh HD Data. Then I created a new apfs volume called Macintosh HD.

I was then able to successfully restore my clone and I'm back running on Mojave.

Has anyone else run into this problem? Anyone have any advice on what happened or where to go next?

2 Answers

Interesting, Dan. Your solution (wipe completely and Restore) is exactly the same thing I was thinking as I was reading through your post. 

Did you have any package manager (or other Unix-command-line-type-things) installed on your Mac?

macOS doesn't put anything in /opt so it's definitely feasible to think that some "extra" stuff you had installed is throwing the Catalina volume migration/management/installation off. 

On your Mojave install, do you see anything inside the /opt folder?


I do not have a package manager installed, just the normal OS. There is nothing in my /opt folder. The only thing in there is a link to /privater/opt, which doesn't exist.

MacBook-Air:/ dwieder$ ls -la opt
[email protected] 1 root wheel 12 Jan 2 2014 opt -> /private/opt
MacBook-Air:/ dwieder$ ls -la /private/opt
ls: /private/opt: No such file or directory

I'm probably going to try again and see what happens. Just weird.


That may be your problem. Either create /private/opt or remove the symlink before trying again.