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[Guide] How to install High Sierra on a Fusion Drive

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Currently, there is no direct way to install High Sierra on a newly created Fusion Drive. Basically, the installer forgets to create the Recovery Partition on the HDD of the Fusion Drive, rendering the system unable to boot after copying the installation files to disk. Clover comes up empty, with only the thumb drive with the High Sierra installer available if you didn't disconnect it.

Several people seemed to have worked around this by installing High Sierra to a hard drive and later restoring that installation to their Fusion Drive. I wasn't able to find any documentation, so I decided to write up my way. This workaround does not require Carbon Copy Cloner.

Requirements
You will need a solid understanding of macOS on generic Intel machines. If you're a hackintosh newbie and you really want a Fusion Drive, go ahead and read one of the many tutorials on how to create one and install Sierra. This writeup is intended for advanced users only. I'll be happy to answer specific questions, but I will not tell you where to click and what keys to press ;)
  • Working High Sierra *and* Sierra installers on thumb drives. No special setup required, just install Clover and insert your kexts/dsdts/config.plist/smbios...
  • One hard disk and one solid state drive to build your Fusion Drive from
  • One (external) hard disk or any other means of storing a Time Machine backup (I used my Time Capsule compatible NAS). If you use a NAS, make sure that you can restore from it while inside the recovery system! If macOS lists your NAS as a Time Capsule style network backup drive without any tricks, you should be fine.
Install High Sierra on the HDD
  • Connect the hard disk to your computer. Disconnect the SSD to avoid confusion
  • Boot the High Sierra installer and install to the HDD as you would normally. Don't use the SSD for this step, as you will end up with an APFS partition instead of HFS+
  • After the installation is complete, boot from the HDD using Clover on your thumb drive
  • Install the Supplemental Update if you like
Create Time Machine backup
  • After installation and updating is complete, create a Time Machine backup on your (internal/external/NAS) Time Machine drive
Create Fusion Drive from Sierra and restore
Note that I tried this step from the High Sierra installer, which didn't work. I ended up without a recovery partition. But I probably had other stuff not sorted out at this step, so maybe this does work from within the High Sierra installer after all.
  • Connect your SSD in addition to the HDD you installed High Sierra on
  • Boot your Sierra installer thumb drive.
  • Open Terminal
  • Run diskutil list and figure out which device node is which drive. Since your SSD and HDD should be the only connected drives, I assume your disks are disk0 and disk1.
  • Run diskutil cs create "Fusion Drive" disk0 disk1
  • Run diskutil cs createVolume "Fusion Drive" jhfs+ "Macintosh HD" 100%
  • Exit Terminal
  • Restore from your Time Machine backup to the newly created volume "Macintosh HD" on your Fusion Drive
  • If you like, take a peek at the installation logs while restoring. You should notice a bunch of messages concerned with creating the Recovery HD on the CoreStorage volume and restoring it's contents from the "Recovery Set" on your TM drive.
After this step finishes and your machine reboots, you should be nearly done. Test drive your High Sierra installation by booting it via Clover on your thumb drive. If it boots, congratulations! Only thing left to do is installing Clover on your SSDs EFI partition. I suggest you just copy the contents of your thumb drive's EFI partition to your SSD. If you boot Clover via a legacy (i.e. non-EFI) boot sector, you'll have to figure out how to extract the stages from the Clover package and install them with fdisk and dd.
 
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:thumbup: ...going to try that just now.

::edit:: I did it a bit differently (no Time Machine), but it ends up being more or less the same.

I started this because I wanted to updated my El Cap. Fusion drive to High Sierra.

Having a free 2TB SATA disk, I've done a clean install of High Sierra from a Unibeast v8.0.0 installer stick.
I then decided to get back my El Cap. data from the 1st startup assistant.
I added a bit of Kext and tweak from multibeast for sound and Fermi GeForce 5xx.

When I was happy with this working system I rebooted on the installer stick where I've used disk utility
- to "erase" Fusion drive
- then "restore" my SATA partition to the Fusion Drive.
A reboot and a selection of my Fusion Drive at startup was then ok to boot High Sierra.
 
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Interesting. How did you restore your HDD to the Fusion Drive? CCC or Disk Utility?
 
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Just disk utility from High Sierra boot disk.
It took less than 10h for about 1,6TB (SATA 2 SATA)
 
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One bump on this, or one confirmation.

With High Sierra 10.13.2 (C1788), I did not need to recreate the Fusion Drive using Sierra installer.

Once I copied over the FakeSMC & related kexts to the EFI partition (EFI/Clover/kexts/other) from /Library/Extensions, I was able to boot to the Recovery HD > Terminal and then recreate the Fusion Drive on the partitions I wanted.

In detail:
  1. Boot base High Sierra installation created as per instructions above.
  2. Mount EFI partition
  3. Copy FakeSMC.kext, NullCPUPowerManagement.kext from /Library/Extensions to EFI/Clover/kexts/other
  4. Launch Disk Utility
  5. Partition the SSD with a single partition
  6. Exit Disk Utility
  7. Launch Terminal
  8. Split the single SSD partition into "main" and recovery hd partition (need to leave space for that, just in case -- this is the time to do that)
  9. ... diskutil splitPartition disk0s2 JHFS+ SSD R %Apple_Boot% %noformat% %recovery%
  10. Restart, Boot into HS Recovery
  11. Launch Terminal... Create the Logical Volume Group and Logical Volume
  12. ... diskutil coreStorage createLVG "lvg_fusion" disk0s2 disk1s2
  13. ... diskutil coreStorage list
  14. ... Capture Logical Volume Group GUID from lvg_fusion LVG
  15. ... diskutil coreStorage createLV <LVG GUID> JHFS+ FusionDrive 100%
  16. Exit Terminal
  17. Restore from Time Machine as @Crazor describes
Thanks a lot for this post @Crazor; it helped me recover from a failed upgrade in late September. I thought I was going to have to repurpose my hack hardware for something else.
 
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So if I understood correctly, you did not use the Sierra installer at all, but you had to create the recovery/boot partition yourself, and after the Time Machine restore, the recovery/boot partition was correctly filled?
 
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Sorry I didn't explain that very well.
  • I did not use the Sierra installer at all, correct.
  • I created the *space* for a recovery partition on the SSD... and then just left it. I don't know if it has been populated or not; I did not inspect it.
    • I could populate it with the contents of the HDD recovery partition I guess?
  • Installing macOS HS on the HDD (following your initial instructions) created a working recovery partition -- that is the recovery partition I used to create the Fusion Drive.
cheers... Brad
 
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Bumping this - I think I have a way removing Time Capsule from the equation, and you don't need to activate or set up user account on the computer before doing this. This will require you having a scratch monkey of 16GB or more, since a bare installation of macOS takes about 12GB. The scratch monkey can be either a separate Flash drive, or a separate partition on the installation media if you have 24GB or more on it.
  1. Install High Sierra onto the HDD as usual. Stop once it booted up to the language selection screen.
  2. Mount the scratch monkey, and reboot the system (RESET button or power cycle.)
  3. Check the partition list with
    Code:
    diskutil list
    , note the BSD names of the scratch monkey and the installation on HDD.
  4. Code:
    asr restore --erase --source /dev/hdd_installtion --target /dev/scratch_monkey
  5. Create Fusion Drive
  6. Code:
    asr restore --erase --source /dev/scratch_monkey --target /dev/fusion_drive
  7. Optional: unmount the scratch monkey.
  8. Reboot.
 
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I have 500GB HDD and 20GB SSD. Can I use Fusion Drive?
When I was using Windows, I used 20GB SSD as cache. I'm using a high sierra and it's loaded on HDD.
 
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I have a Sierra Fusion Drive setup and would like to direct upgrade to High Sierra without wiping everything.

Will that work, or will there be the same issue with the Recovery partition as with a fresh install ?

Thanks
 
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