Bootable USB Drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Texas_Toast, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. Texas_Toast macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #1
    If I have a SSD and am using CCC regularly, do I need to create a bootable USB drive with the Recovery Partition on it like in years past?
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

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    #2
    "If I have a SSD and am using CCC regularly, do I need to create a bootable USB drive with the Recovery Partition on it like in years past?"

    If you've created a bootable clone using CCC (which also has the ability to "clone over" the recovery partition to your backup), you have a choice:

    a. boot from the recovery partition on the cloned backup, or
    b. boot from the cloned backup itself.

    Actually, option b would always ALWAYS be my preferred method.

    Questions:
    - have you TRIED creating a bootable backup yet?
    - if so, have you TRIED booting from it?
     
  3. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #3
    Why is option B the preferred method?


    On my old MBP, which I am still on, in the past, the CCC clones I created included the Recovery Partition. And, yes, I have booted to both the CCC Clone and the CCC Recovery Partition.

    But I am asking if I need to make a bootable USB drive which consists of just the Recovery Partition.

    When I bought my old Mac, a friend advised me that I should make the bootable USB drive in case my HDD ever crashed or I had some catastrophic issue with my Mac. I suppose the idea was that I could plug in the USB, bot up from it, and then try to fix things.

    Since I also bought an external SSD with my new 13" rMBP, and since I have CCC, I am unsure if the bootable USB serves any useful purpose? Follow me?
     
  4. tjwilliams25 macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Since Macs with SSDs no longer have a Recovery Partition, your CCC clone should suffice for being able to troubleshoot.
     
  5. Texas_Toast, Oct 12, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016

    Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #5
    I run El Capitan on my old MBP and it does indeed have a Recovery Partition, and CCC allows you to clone that as well as your main volume.

    Since it has been maybe 4 years, I honestly don't remember how I created my bootable USB on this Mac or what exactly is on it.

    It almost seems to me that I created one bootable USB with the Recovery Partition on it for, then, Mountain Lion, and then I took a second USB and possibly cloned my - at the time - new MBP with Mountain Lion on it. The logic being that if all hell broke lose, I could always get my MBP back to its original condition.

    Wouldn't that make sense when I open up my new MBP tomorrow?
     
  6. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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  7. tjwilliams25 macrumors 6502

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    #7
    I suggest always having some sort of utility for when things go awry. They have the Internet Recovery utility built into all new Macs, but I have a spare USB drive loaded up with the current OS release as a just-in-case. To make one, all you have to do is download the OS installer from the App Store and use the free DiskMaker X software to create the Bootable USB on any 8GB drive.
     
  8. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #8
    Sorry, but I am not following all of this. (And I have researched a little online, and things are getting more confusing.)

    With my current 2012 MBP which came with Mountain Lion and now has El Capitan on it, my understandingw as that you have your main, bootable volume which holds the OS and all of your eprsonal data once you add it, and then you have a hidden Recovery Partition that apparently helps you restore things should your computer ever become corrupt, right?

    I bought CCC and started using it maybe 6 months after I bought this Mac, and I made clones of my HDD - including the Recovery Partition - every couple of months. While I have booted up into the Recovery partition in the past to learn how to do it, I never used it for anything like rebuilding my laptop.

    It is unclear to me what the Recovery Partition on my current MBP running El Capitan does exactly?
    --- Post Merged, Oct 13, 2016 ---
    I thought the Recovery Partition - which still exists in El Capitan - was basically like having a CD of OS-X so that you could reinstall the operating system and have a like new computer?

    Is that not what the Recovery Partition does?
     
  9. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #9
    I never heard back from you Fishrrman...
     
  10. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

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    #10
    The recovery partition provides you with a way to boot and attempt a modicum of repairs if for some reason you can't boot from the "main" partition.

    I never use it -- well, almost never.
    However, with the coming of El Capitan and Sierra, there MUST be a recovery partition available if one needs to turn off SIP (System Integrity Protection). I believe there are a few other things it's required for. So, yes, you DO want a recovery partition around.

    If you create and maintain a BOOTABLE CLONED BACKUP using CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper, you will almost never NEED the recovery partition.
    Because you can boot from your cloned backup instead, right "into the finder", and then have ALL your tools available.
     
  11. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #11
    Back to my original questions...

    So when I turn on my new MBP today, is it enough to have a 2nd SSD with the Recovery Partition on it protect me, or should I create a bootable USB drive with the Recovery Partition on it as well?
     
  12. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #12
    Neither are particularly important questions, as i keep a separate copy of (bootable) OS X, whatever I happen to be running at the moment.
    But, you can make as many backups as you like. The installer, as a separate bootable USB, (which you can't make directly from the recovery partition anyway), is a better choice, in my opinion.
     
  13. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

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    #13
    Original Question:
    No, you do not absolutely "need" to, if you do not want to take the time and effort to make a USB installer. The Recovery partition will be available on the cloned SSD.
     
  14. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #14
    I feel like there is a major disconnect between what I keep asking and people's responses...

    :rolleyes:

    Let me try yet again...

    In the old days, you had a CD with the os on it, so if your HDD ever died, or you had viruses galore - think PCa - then you just popped in the CD, reinstalled your os, and you had a like new machine.

    That option no longer exists, and what I am unsure of is what the purpose of the hidden Recovery Partition is.

    From what I can tell, it allows you to boot up your Mac when you have no OS, and then apparently there is some program in it that allows it to connect to Apple's servers and download a new version of the OS which came with your Mac.

    Is that correct?

    If so, it seems like it is crucial to have a copy of the Recovery Partition on an external and separate media device, should your SSD or HDD in your Mac become unusable, right?

    When I did this 4 years ago, and before I had CCC, a friend told me to buy an 8GB USB drive and do whatever he told me so I could use that to rebuild my machine in case of disaster. I dom't know what we did to my USB, but I emember he stressed that I should create one the minute I turned on my new Mac.

    Fast forward 4 years, and I have it in my mind that I need another one of these bootable USB drives, but I don't know what should be on it, or what it is supposed to do.

    It would seem to me that if I create a bootable clone of my new Mac - including the Recover Partition - and keep that drive in a safe place, that is all I would need should my new Mac become corrupt. Because I could either roll back to the latest clone, OR I could use the Recovery Partition on the backup drive to fix whatever is wrong with my new Mac.

    Then again...

    Maybe I should create a bootable USB drive like I did 4 years ago?

    If the latter is true, then I could use some help understanding how to create such a bootable USB drive and understanding what it does.

    For example, does the bootable USB drive...

    - Contain El Capitan?

    - Contain some program that just lets me download El Capitan?

    - Or does it hold my entire HDD?


    Thanks.
     
  15. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

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    #15
    Apple information on what the Recovery Partition does (a result from search for "Recovery Partition" at Apple):
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201314

    Note: The link information is geared for macOS, but it is the same for El Capitan (if your Recovery Partition is from El Capitan it will download & install El Capitan).
     
  16. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #16
    I read that last night, but for whatever reason still felt confused.

    I appreciate people responding, but it would be considerably easier for me if people would just answer my questions above instead of answering around them.

    If you can answer each question/comment in Post #14, that would be a BIG help! :)
     
  17. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #17
    Yes. Theres is a hidden 650MB Recovery HD volume on your drive. If you boot holding command-r it will boot to that recovery utility. From there you can use Disk Utility to erase or check the rest of the drive if you want or you can reinstall the OS. If you click to reinstall the OS, you will be asked to enter the AppleID you used to "purchase" El Capitan (in your case). Then the 6GB or so OS will download from Apple's servers and install on your drive. If the recovery volume is from El Capitan this will get your El Capitan... if it is Yosemite you will get Yosemite and so on.

    Kinda... yes. It is less an issue with newer models like yours because you always have Internet recovery to fall back on. In your case, let's say you have a total drive failure. You could pop in a new drive and command-option-r to Internet recovery. This is a firmware based process that downloads that 650MB recovery utility onto a RAM disk and then allows you to format the new drive and reinstall the OS by downloading it over the Internet. Internet recovery will get you the OS version that came from the factory, in your case Mountain Lion. Then once you are up and running on Mountain Lion, you could update back to El Capitan or Sierra.

    This is more an issue in older Macs without Internet recovery. If you don't have an original installer CD or USB key with the OS, you would be in a pickle with a total drive failure if you had no backup or method to get the OS back on there.


    Your thinking here is correct. If you have a good backup and clone, there is little reason to fuss around with the USB key. Particularly with a newer machine like yours where you can always fall back on Internet recovery.

    If you download the El Capitan installer right now from the App Store, then follow this to make a USB key installer, it will have the recovery utility and the entire OS on the USB key and iuf you used that to install to a new, blank drive, nothing would need to be downloaded at that time. All the installer contains is the OS... not any data or anything else from your HDD.

    Like I said, IMO with a newer Mac there is not much need to keep these USB installers around, particularly if you have a clone available like you do.
     
  18. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #18
    AWESOME reply, @Weaselboy! You never disappoint!! :apple: :apple: :apple:

    So the Recovery Partition does not hold the actual operating system (e.g. El Capitan), but just a utility that takes to Apple's servers to download the entire OS, right?


    What version of OS did Internet Recovery become an option?



    Again, so without the program that downloads the OS from Apple - which is on the Recovery Partition - then you would have no means to download a replacement OS, right?

    That is to say, you can't just connect your broken Mac to Apple's website and download an OS, you need the program on the Recovery Partition to help you do that, right?



    Can I use CCC to make a bootable USB drive with the Recovery Partition on it?

    Even though you agreed with me here, if I ever wanted to install the base El Capitan OS on a separate SSD or HDD to play around with things, then it would be better to have a clone of my virgin machine before I started adding data.

    For instance, I would like to play around sometime and learn more about hardening my mac and playing with command-line, and it would be nice to have a copy of my new mac - without any data on it - so I could break things and not worry about impacting my main machine.

    So is it possible to do that using CCC?



    I read that link last night.

    Okay, this is where I was getting really confused before...

    Questions:
    1.) How do i download the El Capitan installer?

    I broke down and created an Apple ID when I bought my new rMBP, but I have never used it to buy anything other than on Apple.com. I have no clue of how to use iTunes or download music or apps aor the installer, and when I tried last night I got totally confused and lost!!


    2.) I thought the "Installer" was just the same program located on the Recovery Partition that talks to Apple's servers and allows you to download whatever OS?

    You make it sound like the "Installer" is actually a full copy of OS-X??


    3.) How hard would it be to create a USB installer? (My friend did it for me 4 years ago.)



    That is good to know, but if it isn't too hard, and I can figure out how to unlock my old USB drives - I think I encrypted them - I would like to try and make a copy of my new MBP before I add anything to it. Then if I want to install another HDD as a "test machine" I will have it, and I won't have to worry about putting any data on it.

    Look forward to your reply.

    Thanks!!!

    :)
     
  19. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #19
    You have to methods to reinstall OS X (macOS) on your Mac.
    1. The Recovery system (the hidden partition already on your drive by a standard install of the system)
    Booting to that system will give you option to reinstall OS X. The recovery partition does not have the full install, so downloads it when a reinstall is needed.
    2. Internet Recovery system, which is not on your Mac at all. You can try it out!
    Restart, holding Option-Command-R. You will see a rotating globe icon, and not an Apple icon. Your Mac connects to Apple's servers, and you are actually booted to Apple. You can use Internet Recovery if your internal drive failed, or you have completely erased the internal drive (so the Recovery partition will not be there in that case).
    Disadvantage with that - you get the system that your Mac originally shipped with.
    The Recovery system, if available on your drive, will download and install the system that is installed, not necessarily your original system.

    Creating a bootable USB installer (which boots to mostly the same "look" as booting to either Recovery system, or Internet Recovery) is easy-peasy. All you need is to download the version of OS X (macOS) that you want, then use a couple of simple terminal commands to do the creation. Easy to find, just search.
    Or, even easier, the good app DiskMakerX makes the task almost drag-n-drop easy. And the completed installer looks nice, too!
    (I would suggest that you get a brand-new USB flash drive, that you can dedicate to an installer. 8GB sticks are sometimes less than $3 - I just bought a 4-pack for under $12 - and are the ideal size for an OS X installer.)
     
  20. Cordorb macrumors regular

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    #20
    just wanted to add about 'System Integrity Protection"

    I had to use recovery today just today and used it's built in Terminal utility program to set System Integrity Protection OFF so I could empty the trash.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 14, 2016 ---
    to add to DeltaMac post

    You can get a USB-3 cable from Amazon that will plug DIRECTLY into a SSD disk ( no box or power supply needed )

    I use this with several low cost SSD units to boot or clone .
     
  21. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #21
    Correct.

    OS X Lion. You can see supported Internet models here.

    Yes... but on newer Macs like yours this is not an issue. You always have Internet recovery to fall back on.

    Yep.

    Yes... that would work.


    1. Just go to the App Store app and look in the purchases tab and it should be there. Click to download and wait. When the download is done, the installer will launch. Quit the installer and you will see the installer file "Install OS X El Capitan.app" in your Applications folder. Use that and the directions I linked earlier to make the USB key installer.

    2. No... if you follow #1 you will have the full OS on the USB key and it can install the OS without downloading anything over the Internet.

    3. Very easy. Just follow this.

    If you encrypted the old drives, just attach them then start Dis Utility and look in the File menu and select unlock and enter the password. That will unlock the drive and you can then access it or clone it.
     
  22. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #22
    I still don't understand where and how to download the installer?


    Is there a way to have a complete copy of a newly installed OS?

    After thinking about this some more, I am not as worried now with my new MBP because I will have more timely clones using CCC on my external SSD. However, it would nice to have the equivalent of a "Installation CD" on a drive for the old MBP I am typing on.

    I would like to use this old MBP as a test machine to learn more about command-line, Unix, and security. So it would be great to be able to totally trash this old MBP, and now that all I have to do is insert a USB drive or hook up an external drive, and in a few minutes install a clone of the original install to have a "new" machine, if you follow me.

    If I have to download an 8GB files every time I would "break" this old machine, that would be a PITA. It also might set off alarms at Apple and they might think I was stealing something!
     
  23. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

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    #23
    Texas Toast, WHY do you always make things so difficult?

    Why not do it the easy way, like this:
    1. Initialize your [to-be] backup drive.
    2. Use CCC to clone your internal drive to the backup
    3. CCC will ask if you wish to clone over the recovery partition as well.
    4. Say yes.
    5. Let CCC do its thing.

    Just do this, and you will have BOTH a clone of the internal drive AND of the recovery partition as well.
    You'll now have FOUR WAYS to boot the Mac:
    1. internal main drive
    2. internal recovery partition
    3. external clone of main drive
    4. external recovery partition.

    There's NOTHING involved or complicated to doing this.
    It's as simple as clicking a few buttons in CCC.

    WHY make it so hard?
     
  24. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #24
    You mean not just the installer, but a working version of the full OS? Sure, just command-r boot to recovery and from there erase the internal drive with Disk Utility then quit Disk Utility and click reinstall OS. When that gets done it will restart and begin the system setup process. When that happens hold down the power button to force shutdown. Now command-r back to recovery. Now start Disk Utility and go to the restore tab. Then "restore" Macintosh HD to a formatted external drive. That will give you a clone of a fresh OS setup with nothing else on there.
     
  25. Texas_Toast, Oct 14, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016

    Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #25
    Why?

    Because I posted a bunch of questions a few days ago and no one responded - not that anyone here owes me anything. Then I did some more research and got more confused. Then you all started responding at the same time, and I think my questions have passed people's answers today in the mail.

    Also, when I asked Bombich about this I got a lame response which left me more confused.

    Finally, I was hoping to do what you described above, but on a USB drive so I am not sacrificing an entire SSD or HDD for possibly wanting to reinstall things.

    I am sorry this turned out to be such a difficult thread - not my intention.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 14, 2016 ---
    See, this is where I have been getting confused - all of this download an installer, install an installer on a USB drive, then use the installer to download the whole OS-X, and then install the OS-X that you just downloaded with the installer is WHACKED OUT in my mind!!!

    I think Fishrrman offered an easier way to accomplish the same thing in Post #23...

    (When I asked Bombich a few days ago, it would be nice if their tech support guy knew how their software worked and could have said what Fishrrman did in post #23.)
     

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