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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 14, 2012
Ok so this is the shortened version of thread I started over at the hardforums but I wasn't getting any responses there, but I figured I would here :)

So here it goes... my Macintosh HD partition got screwed up and I couldn't repair it using disk utility from the recovery hd (b-tree node size incorrect error... basically the directory was messed up beyond repair). So I reformatted the drive and then tried reinstalling from the recovery HD which downloaded the install files but then told me it couldn't install osx 10.8 because it couldn't create a recovery mode and sent me to this link (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4649).

So after much face palming and cursing apple for no longer including install dvd's with their computers I realized I could make a bootable OSX 10.8 disc using my old plastic macbook. I downloaded the mountain lion installer from the app store and opened the package and pulled out the installESD.dmg and restored it to a usb flash drive.

Now my question is, since the original recovery HD doesn't work properly, how would I setup the partitions and get the boot disc to create a new recovery HD?

And if that is not possible can I create a custom recovery partition using the installESD.dmg image so that I have a recovery partition that has ALL the OSX install files on it instead of relying on the internet install in the standard recovery HD? i was thinking just creating a 5GB partition with g-parted then boot into the existing recovery HD and "restore" the image from my new USB boot disc to that new partition (lets call it Recovery SSD, since its on an SSD anyway). Then go back into g-parted and delete the original recovery HD... then boot up into the new Recovery SSD, create the Macintosh HD (or SSD as it may) and install to it. That way my new recovery HD can be used to restore the machine while completely offline...

P.S. if this is possible should I name the new recovery partition .recovery SSD instead of recovery SSD, wouldn't that make it invisible to the finder? that way its only visible from the boot option menu?


Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
What you want to do to wipe the entire drive including the Recovery HD is boot from your USB installer key then start Disk Utility. You will see the main disk listed with the brand and capacity, then below that you will see the Macintosh HD partition. Click on the brand name area like in my screenshot and click on the erase tab to format the entire drive as Macintosh HD.

Then just go ahead with the install. That will give you a clean install with new Recovery HD partition.


As to your second idea. Don't monkey around with the Recovery HD as it is needed for various OS functions like Find my Mac and Filevault.

If you want to keep a full installer on your drive just use disk util to shrink the main partition by 5GB, then add a new partition on 5GB and copy the installer to that partition. You would then be able to option key boot and select that partition for a full reinstall.
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