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[Guide] Avoid APFS conversion on High Sierra update or fresh install

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I saw RegabMan's recommendation to use carbon copy cloner to just copy a APFS container to an HFS_J+ one, and low and behold it worked perfectly.

Luckily, my boot NVME SSD was less than 50% full, so the steps were simple:
1. Create a new HFS partition on the boot disk
2. Copy over all data to it from APFS partition (using super duper instead of carbon copy cloner)
3. Boot into the new HFS partition
4. Delete APFS partition, create new HFS partition in its place
5. Copy all data to the new HFS partition
6. Boot into the new HFS partition and delete the old one
7. Now that the empty space is in front of the HFS partition, you can grow the volume with ease

Now I have my APFS boot drive fully converted to HFS_J+ and boot went from around 60s to 20s which is awesome!

I suppose I can update to Mojave so long as I follow the steps in this thread to avoid conversion, although I may just stick to high sierra since it works fine for me.
 

RehabMan

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I suppose I can update to Mojave so long as I follow the steps in this thread to avoid conversion, although I may just stick to high sierra since it works fine for me.
This guide applies only to High Sierra.
The Mojave installer will force convert to APFS.
 
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This guide applies only to High Sierra
The Mojave installer will force convert to APFS.
yeah,I have try on fresh install Mojave, still covert to apfs. Mojava's apfs disk still slower than HFS_J on my NVme ssd.
 

RehabMan

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yeah,I have try on fresh install Mojave, still covert to apfs. Mojava's apfs disk still slower than HFS_J on my NVme ssd.
As is clearly stated in post #1, this guide applies only to High Sierra.
Always try to read carefully.

Note: This guide does not apply to macOS Mojave.
 
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The recommended methods are in post #1.

This post contains alternatives that may still be useful in scenarios that post #1 methods may not be possible.


Fresh install scenario (or update), modifying minstallconfig.xml using PlistBuddy

Refer to this guide for an overview of the installation process from USB:
https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/guide-booting-the-os-x-installer-on-laptops-with-clover.148093/

The process involves creating an installer USB with createinstallmedia, then booting that USB (via Clover on the same USB). You then run the installer, create an HFS+J partition suitable for macOS with Disk Utility, then point the installer to that partition.

Even though you create a new HFS+J partition, if the target is an SSD, the installer will still convert it to APFS.

To avoid that, after running the installer, and upon the first reboot where you would be normally directing Clover to boot the next stage of the installer by selecting "Boot macOS Install from ...", instead, boot the "install_osx" partition on USB again. When that is finished booting, choose Terminal from the Utilities menu.

Now, in Terminal, navigate to your target volume:
Code:
# list /Volumes to remind yourself of the name you gave it
ls -l /Volumes
# then change your working directory to it (in my case, I used '1013')
cd /Volumes/1013
# now change to the "macOS Install Data" directory
cd "macOS Install Data"
# now fix the minstallconfig.xml with PlistBuddy
/usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c "Set :ConvertToAPFS false" minstallconfig.xml
That's it! Now you're ready to quit Terminal, reboot, and continue the installation process by booting the "Boot macOS Install from ..." partition. When you're done, you'll have a fresh install on HFS+J instead of APFS.


Fresh install scenario (or update), modifying minstallconfig.xml using vi


Refer to this guide for an overview of the installation process from USB:
https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/guide-booting-the-os-x-installer-on-laptops-with-clover.148093/

The process involves creating an installer USB with createinstallmedia, then booting that USB (via Clover on the same USB). You then run the installer, create an HFS+J partition suitable for macOS with Disk Utility, then point the installer to that partition.

Even though you create a new HFS+J partition, if the target is an SSD, the installer will still convert it to APFS.

To avoid that, after running the installer, and upon the first reboot where you would be normally directing Clover to boot the next stage of the installer by selecting "Boot macOS Install from ...", instead, boot the "install_osx" partition on USB again. When that is finished booting, choose Terminal from the Utilities menu.

Now, in Terminal, navigate to your target volume:
Code:
# list /Volumes to remind yourself of the name you gave it
ls -l /Volumes
# then change your working directory to it (in my case, I used '1013')
cd /Volumes/1013
# now change to the "macOS Install Data" directory
cd "macOS Install Data"
Now, still in Terminal, edit the minstallconfig.xml file with vi:
Code:
vi minstallconfig.xml
You will find code:
Code:
    <key>ConvertToAPFS</key>
    <true/>
Your goal is to change the true to false.

If you know how to use vi, this will not be a problem. Otherwise, follow the instructions below very carefully:
- arrow such that the cursor is at the 't' in 'true'
- press the Del key (forward delete) four times (this removes 'true')
- press i (this puts vi into insert mode)
- type 'false' (without the quotes)
- press Esc (this takes vi out of insert mode)

The result should look like:
Code:
    <key>ConvertToAPFS</key>
    <false/>
No other changes should be made.

If the file looks good:
- press ':wq' (without the quotes) and press enter (':wq' saves the file and exits vi)

If the file doesn't look right, don't save it:
- press ':q!' (without the quotes) and press enter

That's it! Now you're ready to quit Terminal, reboot, and continue the installation process by booting the "Boot macOS Install from ..." partition. When you're done, you'll have a fresh install on HFS+J instead of APFS.
Hi @RehabMan, I have changed the true to false for the minstallconfig.xml and executed the commands as specified. I came across the Error: could not get license agreement, so I used the command "./startosinstall --volume /Volumes/High\ Sierra/ --agreetolicense. However it showed these Errors.

Error:-[OSISClient prepareOSInstaller:error:]_block_invoke, Couldn't communicate with a helper application.
Heler tool crashed...
Error:could not find target...

Need help!
 

RehabMan

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Hi @RehabMan, I have changed the true to false for the minstallconfig.xml and executed the commands as specified. I came across the Error: could not get license agreement, so I used the command "./startosinstall --volume /Volumes/High\ Sierra/ --agreetolicense. However it showed these Errors.

Error:-[OSISClient prepareOSInstaller:error:]_block_invoke, Couldn't communicate with a helper application.
Heler tool crashed...
Error:could not find target...

Need help!
Seems like you should verify you have a valid mounted partition named "High Sierra".

From where did you download macOS?
On what hardware did you create your USB installer?


And...
No "Problem Reporting" files attached.
Read FAQ, "Problem Reporting" again. Carefully. Attach all requested files/output.
https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/faq-read-first-laptop-frequent-questions.164990/
 

RehabMan

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Hi @RehabMan,

I Downloaded the macOS High Sierra through the app store.

I used a MBP to create the installer, and I'm using a USB 3.0 16GB stick.

Not sure if these files are what you are asking for .View attachment 364751 View attachment 364752 View attachment 364753 View attachment 364754 View attachment 364755
Your config.plist has incorrect SIP settings (in config.plist/RtVariables).
See guide plists:
https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/guide-booting-the-os-x-installer-on-laptops-with-clover.148093/
 
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