Difficulty with macOS Upgrades

And the installer said “You may not install to this disk as it is a Mac in Target Disk Mode.”!

Not sure why you are ignoring my advise to try installing in Safe Mode. I’m aware of that having worked for dozens of others who have had similar issue.

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Sorry, Al, I’m not ignoring you. The option of installing in Safe Mode became impossible once I wiped the SSD with Disk Utility from the Recovery Partition. That was done in accordance with Apple’s instructions for selling a Mac - wipe the SSD from Recovery Partition, then reinstall from the same partition.

If a clean reinstall via Internet Recovery is failing, then there’s probably a more serious problem. Maybe an SSD failure of some kind or bad RAM.

I suppose it could be that the downloaded installer is corrupt, but it would surprise me if that happened multiple times. And the package verification step should catch corruption at the start of the install - it shouldn’t proceed normally and then fail after the installation has mostly completed.

I think you’re right.

Yes it is surprising, but it happened to me a year ago. I knew it was nothing wrong with the mac since it had several OS disks that worked. My goal was to stay one OS version below the current. I used Greg Neagle’s installinstallmacos.py script first. Then I tried InstallAssistant.pkg via a link from https://mrmacintosh.com to Apple. I moved the installer into /Applications every time before starting up. Got the damaged error not instantly, but every time after some minutes. Some days later I tried to search on App store with success.

On the few times I’ve had trouble like you are describing, the hard drive, or fusion drive (hasn’t happened to an SSD yet) was failing. I wasted a lot of time chasing errors, and ended up with a new drive.

Well, it is easy enough to change the drive in this model of MBA, and it looks like that is the only option left if I find I have to make use of it. Right now it is a spare, so I’ll probably not spend the money at OWC until or unless it is needed.

I’ve had that type of problem in the past with more than one computer, and I’m trying to remember how I ended up getting around it. You mentioned your Internet isn’t that great. Have you tried the download somewhere with a faster connection?

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