Apple Releases Utility to Create Lion Recovery USB Key

Apple today released Lion Recovery Disk Assistant, a utility that lets users create a Lion recovery partition on an external drive or USB key. Lion Recovery lets users "repair disks or reinstall OS X Lion without the need for a physical disc."


To create an external Lion Recovery, download the Lion Recovery Disk Assistant application. Insert an external drive, launch the Lion Recovery Disk Assistant, select the drive where you would like to install, and follow the on screen instructions.

When the Lion Recovery Disk Assistant completes, the new partition will not be visible in the Finder or Disk Utility. To access Lion Recovery, reboot the computer while holding the Option key. Select Recovery HD from the Startup Manager.

Lion Recovery Disk Assistant can be downloaded from Apple's support website.

Apple's knowledge base article about the utility notes that the partition it creates has all the same capabilities as the Lion Recovery that is installed during a Lion installation. However, this partition could be used in the event a user can't start their computer from the Recovery partition or if the hard drive is replaced.

[Users can] reinstall Lion, repair the disk using Disk Utility, restore from a Time Machine backup, or browse the web with Safari. 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.

The document has two final notes:

- If the computer shipped with Lion, the external recovery drive can only be used with the system that created it.

- If the system was upgraded from Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard to Lion, the external recovery drive can be used with other systems that were upgraded from Snow Leopard to Lion.

We had previously reported that in order to do a clean install of Lion, Snow Leopard would need to be installed first. With this recovery partition creator, there is now an official path to perform a clean install without Snow Leopard. Also, this would seem to make the unofficial Lion boot disk creator unnecessary.

Top Rated Comments

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120 months ago

im pissed now! nowhere on apples website did it say that it would reformat the drive or erase all other data! alls it said was make sure you have 1gb of space on it! this is bs, this is madness!


Okay, I can't take it. It warned you in the app in red letters next to a yellow exclamation mark... They even made the letters red, as I said, so it would stand out and hopefully not be overlooked. You really have no right to by angry at anyone but yourself. Sorry if I sound harsh but... Wow...
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
120 months ago

Steve is not a god



He never said he was a God.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
120 months ago

Also, this would seem to make the unofficial Lion boot disk creator (https://www.macrumors.com/2011/07/18/make-an-os-x-lion-boot-disc/) unnecessary.


I would tend to disagree - every time you'd need to install you'd have to redownload the almost 4 GB, correct?

It would have been much nicer if this utility would let you select either making a stand-alone USB/DVD or if you just wanted to have the recovery disk. I would love to not have to use my internet connection every time I replace the HD (had to do it last weekend for my fiance's computer, and doing it this week for my new SSD).
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
120 months ago
This is great.
At first I was really against *not* having Lion on a disk, but it appears they've hit every angle. (redownloadable Lion, new EFI feature in Macs to download Lion with HDD, Recovery tool, HDD partition, USB keys ...)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
120 months ago
Some screenshots of making a USB disk.

Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
120 months ago
about freakin time LOL
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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