Apple issues Lion disk disaster recovery tool

The tool creates a physical recovery disk on USB flash or external drives

Apple on Monday released a utility that builds a Lion recovery disk on a USB flash drive, giving users a way to restore their Macs if the machine's hard drive fails completely.

The Lion Recovery Disk Assistant is a free download, and requires a flash or "thumb" drive of 1GB or more, or an external drive connected to the Mac via a USB cable and port.

The Lion Recovery Disk Assistant creates a bootable recovery USB flash drive for emergency repairs.

"This drive can be used in the event you cannot start your computer with the built-in Recovery HD, or you have replaced the hard drive with a new one that does not have Mac OS X installed," Apple explained in an accompanying support document.

Unlike previous editions of Mac OS X, Lion is available only as a digital download, so its recovery "disk" is actually a separate partition on the drive.

That's sufficient for restoring the active partition that contains Lion, applications and data, but would be worthless if the hard drive itself dies.

Many Windows PCs use the same strategy, relying on a recovery partition rather than bundling a CD or DVD recovery disc. Typically, those machines offer tools that can create a physical recovery disc on the user's own media.

On the newest Macs -- the recently-revamped MacBook Air and Mac Mini -- Lion also offers an online road to recovery. Dubbed "Lion Internet Recovery," it lets users start their Mac directly from Apple's servers even when the system won't properly boot. The online approach, however, isn't available on older systems, like those that have been upgraded from Snow Leopard.

While do-it-yourself techniques for creating a Lion recovery disk -- usually on a flash drive -- have circulated on the Internet, this is the first time Apple's provided its own utility.

To use the recovery disk, Lion owners must reboot the Mac while holding down the Option key while the flash drive is plugged into a USB port or the external USB drive is connected to the computer.

A recovery disk created on a Mac upgraded from Snow Leopard to Lion can be used with any similar system, but one built on a machine that came with Lion pre-installed only works with that Mac.

More information on Lion's recovery options can be found on Apple's support site.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more articles by Gregg Keizer.

Read more about mac os in Computerworld's Mac OS Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Appledisaster recoveryMac OSapplicationsMacintoshsoftwareBusiness Continuityoperating systems

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?