It’s Geek Week at PixoBebo; an opportunity to dig myself into a hole on my Mac and climb out by myself. The challenge? Build a recovery disk for Lion using Apple’s Lion Recovery Disk Assistant. If I can do this, anyone can do this. Here’s what you need.
Lion Recovery Is Built In
Apple really changed the game of operating system upgrades by going full on download only. Except they didn’t. Mac OS X Lion is available on the Mac App Store for less than $30. It’s a simple process to download. Click to buy. Wait for the download. Double click the Installer. Grab a bite to eat.
The Lion installer is a Mac app and resides in the Applications folder. It’s wise to copy it somewhere else for safekeeping and reuse. The Lion installer copies itself to your target Mac’s disk drive for installation, and, get this—recovery.
That’s right. Lion is capable of recovering itself if something goes wonky on your Mac. Are we not glad that never happens? Wait. It does happen.
So, Apple plans to make OS X Lion available as a USB stick purchase from the Apple Store (retail and online). In the meantime, you can build your own Lion recovery disk using Apple’s newly released Lion Recovery Disk Assistant.
Assist Me, Mr. Assistant
This is so easy, it’s almost funny. I tried it on my utility external FireWire hard disk. The Assistant created a Lion Recovery partition on the external. That enables the disk to reinstall Lion when something goes bad, repair the disk using Disk Utility, browse the web with Safari (handy for grabbing other files to download), and even restoring from your Time Machine backup (thanks to SuperDuper!, I’ve never had to backup from Time Machine, and don’t want to).
First, download the Lion Recovery Disk Assistant. Then, double-click to launch and select the disk drive where you want to install the Recovery files.
Here’s where it could get tricky. In About Lion Recovery Disk Assistant, Apple points out the details, depending on your version of Lion (purchased to install, or already installed on a new Mac). Your Lion install must have an existing Recovery hard disk. The good news is that you can use an external hard disk or even a USB stick.
Otherwise, it’s follow the instructions on the screen, and you’ll have a built-in Lion recovery mode that you can’t see on your Mac but is ready to go.
Here’s another tip. Make sure to copy that Install Mac OS X Lion file that you downloaded. All 3.76 gigabytes of it. The Installer can be used to put Lion on any recent, Lion-qualified Mac, and to any supported USB or FireWire disk (I haven’t tried it on a USB stick, but that sounds like a reasonable option). An upgrade of Lion on top of Snow Leopard took over half an hour, but less than 10 minutes for a clean installation on an external disk.
The whole Lion installation is remarkably simple and devoid of typical options. Select a disk for installation, and click. Don’t go away for too long. It’s the fastest Mac OS X upgrade or install ever.