No Recovery partition--do I need one?

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by Brian33, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #1
    I've set up a "homemade" Fusion drive and installed OS X 10.8.4 on my 24" Early 2008 iMac (which does support Mountain Lion). Everything is great except that it appears I have no Recovery partition.

    'diskutil list' doesn't show a recovery partition, and booting while holding Command-R just boots my normal system. Also, booting with Option shows two icons for my main volume (the Fusion drive volume), and both appear to boot into the same system (i.e., 10.8.4 with all my user accounts set up, etc.).

    I assume fixing this would require reloading my system from my backup which I can do but would rather not.

    Instead, my question here is: do I really need/want a recovery partition? I have a bootable USB stick with the 10.8.4 installer, doesn't that give me all the tools I would need to install or fix my system in the event of problems? Assuming I keep that safe, what would the recovery partition give me that the bootable install USB doesn't?

    Code:
    brian@imac:~(0)$ diskutil list
    /dev/disk0
       #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
       0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *512.1 GB   disk0
       1:                        EFI                         209.7 MB   disk0s1
       2:          Apple_CoreStorage                         511.8 GB   disk0s2
       3:                 Apple_Boot Boot OS X               134.2 MB   disk0s3
    /dev/disk1
       #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
       0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *1.0 TB     disk1
       1:                        EFI                         209.7 MB   disk1s1
       2:          Apple_CoreStorage                         979.3 GB   disk1s2
       3:                 Apple_Boot Boot OS X               650.0 MB   disk1s3
       4:       Microsoft Basic Data BOOTCAMP                20.0 GB    disk1s4
    /dev/disk2
       #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
       0:                  Apple_HFS iMac Fusion Drive      *1.5 TB     disk2
    /dev/disk4
       #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
       0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *1.0 TB     disk4
       1:                        EFI                         209.7 MB   disk4s1
       2:       Microsoft Basic Data PASSPORT250             250.0 GB   disk4s2
       3:                  Apple_HFS Passport750             749.8 GB   disk4s3
    /dev/disk5
       #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
       0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *320.1 GB   disk5
       1:                        EFI                         209.7 MB   disk5s1
       2:                  Apple_HFS iMac Drive              310.3 GB   disk5s2
       3:       Microsoft Basic Data BOOTCAMP                9.4 GB     disk5s3
    /dev/disk6
       #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
       0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *1.0 TB     disk6
       1:                        EFI                         209.7 MB   disk6s1
       2:                  Apple_HFS 1TB External Drive      999.9 GB   disk6s2
    Note: disk4 through disk6 are external drives. disk5 is my iMac's original HDD.

    Thx!
     
  2. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    If you maintain a "fully cloned and bootable" backup drive that is a copy of your internal drive -- I would say, "no, you don't need a recovery partition", because you already have an external, bootable volume for emergencies.

    I run my Mini from an SSD mounted in a USB3/SATA dock, and it's partitioned into two partitions (System and home folders on one, important data on the other). When I partitioned and set up my SSD, I intentionally omitted the recovery partition, because I don't feel it's useful enough in emergency situations. Having a bootable backup is far better.

    If you _don't_ care to have a bootable backup, a recovery partition would be advisable, as it may be the only way to boot in an emergency.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #3
    Thanks, yes, some sort of bootable backup is certainly necessary. I'd like to continue my use of Time Machine backing up to my Time Capsule. The "bootable" part would be the USB stick with the Mt. Lion installer. Booting from that, I can restore everything from my Time Capsule, or so I believe. (Someone tell me if that's not true!!!!)

    Sure, it's not as fast a recovery has having a true cloned backup disk, but since it's infrequent (or never) that I'll need to restore in this way, I'm willing to accept the somewhat slower recovery process.

    Fishrrman, you haven't noticed any other effects of not having a recovery partition? I just saw on a different forum that implies that one cannot use "Back To My Mac" feature unless you have a recovery partition. I don't know why this would be the case, but it's just an example I guess, and makes me wonder what other features might count on having recovery partition...
     
  4. macrumors P6

    Weaselboy

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    #4
    That is correct. If you enable FMM, it creates a special "Guest" account on the login screen of your Mac. The idea is the thief will use that account to get on the Internet and cause FMM to report the location of the machine and allow the owner to lock it down. That guest account boots from the recovery partition.

    Also, and I don't know if this matters to you, but you can't use Filevault encryption without the recovery partition.

    You should be able to just reinstall the OS and it would normally create a recovery partition as part of the reinstall.
     
  5. macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #5
    Actually the Time Machine disk is bootable (I don't know since what version of OS X) now and has the same options that the recovery partition would have - including restoring your system from your Time Machine backup.
     
  6. macrumors P6

    Weaselboy

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    #6
    You are partly correct. Since Lion 10.7.2 if there is a recovery partition on the main drive, a TM backup will copy that recovery partition to the TM backup. But since OP does not have a recovery partition to start with, there is not one to copy over to the TM backup, so his TM backup will not have it.

    Kind of a Catch 22. :)
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #7
    [Grrrr... lost my first attempt at a response.]

    Thanks for the info about Find My Mac. Oddly, when I went into System Preferences-->iCloud, I found that FMM was checked (enabled), even though I don't have a recovery partition. But, I don't know if it's actually working. I did have the guest account enabled when I migrated my users/settings, so that might have something to do with it.

    Thanks too for the info on Filevault, I didn't know that would require the recovery partition. I assume you're talking about Filevault2 for whole-disk encryption, not the older Filevault.

    Since this is my stationary iMac, neither of these features are important to me for this machine. However, when I get around to upgrading my MBP, I will look into them again.

    I'm reluctant to reinstall because I assume the repartitioning will require that I restore everything including my BootCamp partition (running Win XP which is unsupported in Mountain Lion). I guess I'm feeling lazy. I may do it yet, just wanted to get a feel about whether it's worth it, as I finally got everything set up nicely.

    Thanks both you for your help. And Weaselboy, you've given lots of good responses on this forum -- thanks for participating.

    Regards,
    Brian.
     
  8. macrumors P6

    Weaselboy

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    #8
    Yes... correct. Glad to help. :)
     
  9. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #9
    [[ Fishrrman, you haven't noticed any other effects of not having a recovery partition? I just saw on a different forum that implies that one cannot use "Back To My Mac" feature unless you have a recovery partition. ]]

    I guess there _are_ a few things you can't do if you delete the recovery partition.

    But in my situation, I NEVER do them, or need them.

    I guess it's a matter of personal needs and personal preferences.

    So -- if you're not sure whether you need the recovery partition or not, perhaps it's best to keep it...

    ----------

    [[ Actually the Time Machine disk is bootable (I don't know since what version of OS X) now and has the same options that the recovery partition would have - including restoring your system from your Time Machine backup. ]]

    Could you please explain the process of "booting" from a time machine backup?

    That is to say
    - Connect TM backup to Mac
    - Boot Mac (NOT by using the recovery partition, but with the TM backup)
    - Without doing ANYthing more, be at the Finder with everything "there" and ready to use.
     
  10. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Location:
    Far from here
    #10
    Time Machine saves the Recovery HD since Lion 10.7.2.

    To boot from a Time Machine backup :

    - connect TM backup to the Mac
    - restart, holding OPTION key on chime
    - the TM backup drive will appear on the screen, as a bootable drive
    - chose the TM backup drive and press ENTER

    You actually boot from the TM backup Recovery HD, as you would boot from the "normal" Recovery HD.

    Of course, if you never had a Recovery HD on your HD, TM backup will NOT have a Recovery HD backup, and therefore will NOT be bootable.
     
  11. macrumors P6

    Weaselboy

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    #11
    He (Fishrrman) is already well aware of this. For some odd reason he just enjoys arguing about what the word "boot" means. :confused: See posts #25 and #26 in this thread.
     
  12. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Location:
    Far from here
    #12
    Right, I see what you mean... ;)
     
  13. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #13
    [[ To boot from a Time Machine backup :

    - connect TM backup to the Mac
    - restart, holding OPTION key on chime
    - the TM backup drive will appear on the screen, as a bootable drive
    - chose the TM backup drive and press ENTER

    You actually boot from the TM backup Recovery HD, as you would boot from the "normal" Recovery HD. ]]

    Nope.
    This is NOT "booting" from the TM backup.
    By my definition, booting means the computer is starting up from the "target" (which would in this case be the TM backup itself) -- NOT from a "recovery partition" ANYwhere.

    Again, you ARE booting to the _recovery partition_ on the TM backup, but you ARE NOT (shouting is very intentional) ending up booted to a fully-working "dupe" of your internal drive.

    By booting, I mean
    - connect backup drive
    - press start key (use startup manager if necessary)
    - doing nothing else - end up in a fully functional and working hard drive that is the exact replica of its source, ready to use "as is".

    There's only one way to do that - and that is to create a "bootable clone" of the source drive on an external drive. Just connect, boot, ready-to-use for whatever comes next.
     
  14. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Location:
    Far from here
    #14
    Obviously you DO NOT know what "boot" means.

    Nobody ever claimed that a Time Machine backup is a bootable CLONE.

    I am very well aware of what a bootable clone is : I do have one (made by Carbon Copy Cloner).

    I also have a Time Machine backup.

    They are on two different external hard drives, the clone being kept in a remote place, for safety.

    Have a nice day.
     
  15. macrumors P6

    Weaselboy

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    #15
    Nobody is disputing this. So again, other than you trying to force your narrow definition of what "boot" means on everybody, just exactly what is your point? :confused:
     
  16. macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #16
    You have a funny definition of booting. A computer in order to run anything other than what is in its ROM needs to boot from a device. Whether the device only runs recovery software or a full blown OS doesn't matter, it's still booting the system.
     

Share This Page