Apple has released Lion Recovery Disk Assistant, a small utility that provides the ability to create an external bootable recovery drive for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. This should quell some of the complaints from users who didn’t want to make a Lion USB install drive or boot DVD, or who were otherwise unsatisfied with the Lion Recovery HD partition because it existed on the same boot disk.


Even if you made your own Lion boot disk, it’s a good idea to create one of these Recovery disks as a troubleshooting tool.


Requirements to use Lion Recovery Disk Assistant:


You can download Lion Recovery Disk Assistant now (direct link) or check out Apple’s support page for the tool



Creating the Lion Recovery Disk

This is very easy, after you have downloaded the utility:

  • Plug a USB flash drive or external hard drive into your Mac
  • Launch Recovery Disk Assistant and select the drive
  • Wait about 5 minutes to copy the Recovery HD data over to the disk

When it’s done you’ll see this screen:


Boot from the Lion Recovery Disk


In order to boot from the external Lion Recovery disk:


  • Connect the Recovery disk to the Mac
  • Reboot the Mac and hold down the Option key
  • Selecting Recovery as the your boot drive


Because it’s an external USB disk, it will show up as the orange icon like this:



tested out the utility and it works flawlessly, with the same features you get booting from the Recovery partition, allowing you to perform an OS X install, run Disk Utility to format, partition, etc, Time Machine backups, and internet restores.


A few quick notes: this does not create a general Lion installer that can be used to upgrade other Macs or install Lion on other Macs, it’s a recovery disk. If your Mac shipped with Lion, it will only work on that Mac, but if your Mac was upgraded from Snow Leopard then it can be used on other Macs upgraded from Snow Leopard too  See here for making a general OS X Lion install and upgrade drive.


Here are Apple’s notes on the Recovery Disk Assistant utility:

The Lion Recovery Disk Assistant lets you create Lion Recovery on an external drive that has all of the same capabilities as the built-in Lion Recovery: reinstall Lion, repair the disk using Disk Utility, restore from a Time Machine backup, or browse the web with Safari.

Note: In order to create an external Lion Recovery using the Lion Recovery Assistant, the Mac must have an existing Recovery HD.

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.







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