OS X Lion was likely released download only as a means of promoting the the Mac App Store. I am all for the Mac App Store, it’s yet another step towards having an awesome cloud experience, but when it comes to a full-blown OS, I like to have a physical means of backing up my Shiz.
Thankfully, Apple has released the Lion Recovery Disk Assistant, a tool that will allow Lion users to make a recovery partition on an external drive or USB key. This announcement comes after Apple released their own external drive loaded with Lion available for purchase, for about $70. If you don’t feel like having a reliable physical medium at that kind of cost, you can simply make one for yourself!
From the people of Apple, directly:
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.
The Recovery Disk Assistant can be downloaded HERE.
This utility is similar to the recovery utility that comes with your initial install of Lion. The reason behind having the physical medium:
[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.
In conclusion, Apple had these 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.
It’s always nice to have a digital safety-net and Lion already comes pre-installed with one. But having a second one that you can hold in your hand is even more satisfying.