Can you clone recovery partition of 2011 Mini to USB key and boot from that

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by mdgm, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2010
    Just wondering if you can clone the recovery partition of the 2011 Mini to a USB key and boot from that to wipe the hard drive and reinstall the OS?
  2. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    Yes. In fact, that was my project today. I have a bootable DMG created from the 10.7 Recovery HD partition. The main problem is that it's hidden - Disk Utility can't see it. (iirc) had an article about adding a developer menu to Disk Utility which would allow it to view all of the disk's partitions (including special EFI and other partitions).

    Another alternative is to use hdiutil in Terminal to create the image file. That's the way I went. You can get the device info by using "diskutil list". You should see something like disk0s3 for the Recovery HD.

    Once you have the DMG file, mount it, and enable owners (Get Info, unlock permissions, uncheck "Ignore....".

    You can now use Disk Utility Restore to clone the DMG to whatever media you like, whether a partition on a different HD, a CD, or USB drive.

    As far as reinstalling Lion, the Recovery HD will only be able to download it from Apple, then install it. If you have a TM backup, you can recover from that.

    If you need a clean Lion install, you might think of cloning the DMG in the Lion installer, rather than going the recovery partition route. You can find instructions on how to do that here at MR, or elsewhere.
  3. mdgm thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2010
    I was hoping for a backdoor way to install Lion (non-Server) on the 2011 Server Mini using recovery partition from 2011 non-server Mini. It seems that this isn't possible.

    Also apparently the Lion dmg will only work on older Macs.
  4. dlimes13 macrumors 6502a


    May 3, 2011
    Perrysburg, OH
    Yeah my dilemma is I want to do a normal, clean, wipe-and-reload install and not this Internet recovery system BS. I like to re-install the OS when I get a new computer, or obviously I would need to do this when I upgrade to an SSD. My DVD and Flash Drive of the GM did not work and it's frustrating.
  5. Edge macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2005
    Mac mini has a later build of Lion

    The Lion build on my Macbook Air downloaded from the App Store is version 11A511, whereas the version installed on the Mac mini (via the internet restore) is 11A2061.

    The later build most likely explains why the Mac mini will not boot from a USB Emergency System Disk created on my Macbook Air. I cannot think of a Mac which will boot from an earlier version of the OS than shipped with the computer.

    Attached Files:

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