Missing Recovery Partition After Cloning hard drive

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by mikefla, May 15, 2011.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2011
    I cloned my existing hard drive to a new SSD drive. I was not able to use SuperDuper to do the cloning (which is what I usually use) so I used the alternative Carbon Copy Cloner. However the Recovery partition created by Lion was not copied (I guess because it's a hidden partition). How can I re-create this partition or copy it from my old drive to the new drive? I would just like to have it on the new drive because it's useful for troubleshooting purposes. Thanks.

  2. macrumors newbie

    May 19, 2010
    in for info on this too, had to recover after a bad update today and had reformatted the disk and restored via a ccc(pain in the arse if it's a sparcedisk by the way) image
  3. macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2009
    I also wish it could be done with CCC (carbon copy cloner).
    I have allready ask the developer. Waiting for answer to the problem.
  4. macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2011
    Same problem

    Had to whip my previous Lion installation and after that the recovery HD was gone...
    Can one simply recreate the recovery partition?
  5. macrumors 68000

    Mar 30, 2011
    NY USA
    My understanding is that if you create a recovery USB drive using the recently released utility from Apple you do not need a recovery partition on your internal drive. Since in case of a failure, the USB recovery would be used instead of your internal recovery with the same net results.
  6. macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    Except the tool requires the Recovery HD to be on the drive Lion's installed on. Once you have it on a USB drive, then you don't need it on the internal any longer (though it's only 650MB).

    The recovery partition can be copied from your old drive and recreated on the SSD using diskutil, though I haven't tried setting the partition type to Apple_Boot - I'm not sure diskutil takes it and I'm pretty sure it's the partition type telling the system to hide it.
  7. macrumors 65816

    Feb 18, 2009
    New Yawk
    You can set it to Apple_Boot using gpt and this is indeed what hides it from GUI apps like disk utility. Apple_Boot is just a hidden version of Apple_HFS; the recovery partition is just an ordinary journaled HFS+ volume that can be manually mounted with diskutil mount disk0s3 (or whatever slice the recovery partition happens to be).

    To change a GUID partition type to Apple_Boot one needs to know the UUID -- which for reference is 426F6F74-0000-11AA-AA11-00306543ECAC -- and remove the partition using gpt then re-add it with the desired type. This won't destroy the data of course, but one needs to make a note of the start and size values of the partition (as shown by gpt show) before the remove and then use them when re-adding. See the manual page for gpt. (*Note: the UUID of the recovery slice can be seen on a Lion system that has said slice by issuing a sudo gpt -r show disk0 command; I didn't just pull that one out of the Air... or did I, since it came from my MBA? lol)

    FWIW the recovery slice of a Lion install can be copied to any other slice that's 650+ MB by simply using dd. The target partition can be created and formatted using the GUI Disk Utility, then the type changed to Apple_Boot using gpt, then the contents of the source recovery partition dd'd to the target. I dropped my MBA4,2 recovery slice on an external USB disk and booted my wife's 2010 Macbook with it (which I didn't expect to work, TBH).

    Lastly, here's a post and corresponding thread on some weirdness (most likely yet another bug) in regards to how Lion's Disk Utility treats that recovery slice in the case of erasing another slice.
  8. macrumors 68040


    Mar 13, 2007
    The other thing you can do is......wipe the SSD and clean install Lion on it. This will create the Lion install and the Recovery HD.

    After it's all set....you can then boot back into your old install and use CCC to clone the Lion partition over the new install. CCC will clone it so anything on the drive that's not needed will be removed.

    I tried this on an external and it worked fine. CCC wiped the dummy test account I created on the clean install.

  9. macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    Thanks - saved me some research ;-) (really - I appreciate it)

    I did make my own DMG from the original Recovery HD created by Lion. Made a 650MB partition on an external, and restored to it. Worked just fine, 'cept not hidden. Ironically, I made another partition and did a clean Lion install, just for grins, and now have two Recovery HD partitions - one hidden, of course. I'm just having too much fun :p
  10. macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2008
    Just for info, you don't have to clean install to get the Recovery HD back, I reinstalled over my current Lion and got it back.
  11. macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2010
    Could you tell me step by step how to do this? This is some serious **** for me
  12. macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    Through some accidental research (don't ask…), I found that Lion's version of Disk Utility will also restore the Recovery HD partition when using DU's Restore to image a Lion Partition. I verified this several times. If there is no Recovery HD, it will recreate an existing one from the source HD to the destination, and will be positioned immediately following the Lion partition.

    If no Recovery HD exists in the source, but does in the destination, it will leave the destination alone. For instance, if you have an image of a Lion partition, but for some reason, no Recovery partition, you can do a clean install of Lion on the destination - creating a Recovery partition - then restore your Lion image to the destination (replacing the clean install). It will leave the recovery partition alone at the destination.

    If no Recovery HD exists in either source or destination, I don't believe DU will create one - this is one scenario I didn't test.

    The only way for the OP to easily move the Recover HD partition, would be to re-clone his original drive using Disk Utility (when started up on the original recovery partition). Otherwise, it can be manually moved and recreated using the steps outlined above. It's a bit tedious, especially if you're not used to command line tools. Just keep your original HD handy as a backup in case something goes awry on the SSD.
  13. macrumors 65816

    Aug 16, 2007
    How do I reinstall over my current Lion?? Can I do it from the Mac App Store?? I don't have my Recovery HD as well. Not on my internal drive or external clone.
  14. macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2008
    Yes from the App Store, if you go to Purchased, then while holding your Option key click on OS X Lion, it will show Install instead of Installed on the Lion page so you can download it again.
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2002
    I am about to clone my Lion drive as well (to a smaller, but faster drive) and have been doing research about how to preserve the recovery partition.

    I was thinking I might do a clean install of Lion on the new drive (this also installs the recovery partition) and then using Migration Assistant to pull over all my apps, data and prefs.

    You can also recreate this partition after the fact, using Apple's "Lion Recovery Disk Assistant" tool. No need to reinstall Lion.
  16. macrumors 6502a


    Aug 29, 2011
    At the end of the Lion install it asks you if you want to transfer things ... at that point you can point to a time machine backup and get all the stuff setup at the tail end of the clean OS install ( and the recovery partition is out there ).
  17. macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    If you use Lion's Disk Utility to clone your Lion partition (using DU's Restore), your Recovery HD partition will be cloned automatically to the destination HD. (You can startup on your current Recovery HD, and use its version of DU to do your "cloning" using the Restore feature.)

    A note on Apple's "Lion Recovery Disk Assistant" - it will only recreate the Recovery HD partition to a USB drive - it doesn't work on the internal or Firewire drives. I suppose the reason is to promote USB flash drives, but whatever the reason, it limits its utility.
  18. macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2011
    You need the "Recovery HD" partition on lion...

    Because without the "Recovery HD" partition, your lion will refuse to do the partition encryption that is so wonderful!(a.k.a. "whole disk encryption" even though it isn't quite whole disk encryption)

    So just pop open a terminal and say:

    $ diskutil list

    ...and you should see your Apple_Boot Recovery HD partition. If not, you can be a bit sadistic and create it manually like the above posts suggest, or just be lazy and reinstall lion from that external drive you should have prepared with your handy lion installer. Of course, you'll have to reinstall patches, but that way it's point-and-click easy.
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 21, 2010
    Athens, Greece
    I did that and the Lion download was at ±70% when I last checked. Then around half an hour later I checked again and there was no sign of me ever downloading it... It just disappeared, from launchpad and the app store.
    I'll let it download again and see if it works.
    :apple: If it does, do I just reinstall Lion (over my existing partition, without losing my files) and recover my recovery partition?
    :apple: My partition table is like this:
    553.7mb free space
    39gb disk0s3 (osx Lion)
    20.6gb BOOTCAMP (win7)
    Will that be a problem with the creation of the recovery partition? If yes, proceed to the following:

    :apple: Although I wouldn't mind just making a bootable Lion usb instead of an internal partition, is that easy to do?
    :apple: If yes, how much space do I need ?
    :apple: And can I use a torrent version (in case the app store download doesn't work), or will it have a different (illegal) cd-key?
    :apple: Or does it validate based on my serial number?

    Sorry for the plenty questions but I want to have a safe installation in case anything happens.
  20. Mike Boreham, Dec 6, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011

    macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2006
    There are three ways to recover the Recovery partition:

    1. Re-Run the full installer (NOT the combo updater). You can run this on top of existing install without losing anything. it is not like an erase then install.

    2. Use the Disk Center option in Carbon Copy Cloner. If you can boot from any disk which already has a Recovery Partition this will create a Recovery partition on the destination disk without altering anything already there. It creates a new invisible partition and clones the Recovery partition. This is a quite separate operation from cloning the Lion partition.

    I have done both the above many times completely successfully, but haven't personally used the third method which is mentioned above...

    3. Use Apples Lion Recovery Disk Asssitant. THis is like method 2, needs a an existing Recovery partition to copy, according the notes.

    Caveat: When I have successfully run the full installer on top of the existing install, there have been no other partitions on the disk, e.g. Bootcamp. can't vouch for this case.

    For my MacBook pro which has a Bootcamp partition, I boot from a Paragon Hard Drive Manager recovery CD to clone the clone whole HD (Lion, Win7, Recovery Partition etc) onto the back up or new disk. Paragon is a must in my view for anyone with Bootcamp who wants to back it up or swop/resize HDs and partitions involving Bootcamp.
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2002
    Can you elaborate on this? How do you use this option? I go to Disk Center in CCC and this is all I see:

  22. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2006
    CCC version 3.4.4 b1 gives this window:

    I am pretty certain this was in the regular 3.4.4, not just beta, but might be wrong about this.

    Attached Files:

  23. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2002
    Thanks, I got it. 3.4.3 is the currently released version. This is a new feature in 3.4.4b1:


    3.4.4 is not released yet, that's what this b1 release is meant to be testing.
  24. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2006
    This would have been a better screen shot to use as it shows the target being a disk without a Recovery partition and the window has the words saying what it will do:

    Attached Files:

  25. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2006
    Thanks for clarifying, glad you got it. Guess it won't be long before Superduper catches up.

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