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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Appledisaster recoveryoperating systemssoftwareapplicationsBusiness ContinuityMacintoshMac OS

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

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?