Formatting and Recovery Partition

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Texas_Toast, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. Texas_Toast macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #1
    On my MacBook, if the hard-drive did not have a Recovery Partition, then would I be able to format the hard-drive?

    I don't believe so...
     
  2. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68030

    Mr_Brightside_@

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    #2
    You would use Internet Recovery.

    If you can't start up from macOS Recovery
    Newer Mac computers and some older Mac computers automatically try to start up from macOS Recovery over the Internet when unable to start up from the built-in recovery system. When that happens, you see a spinning globe instead of an Apple logo during startup. To manually start up from macOS Recovery over the Internet, hold down Option-Command-R or Shift-Option-Command-R at startup.

    If you still can't start up from macOS Recovery, and you have a Mac that is able to start up completely, you might be able to create an external Mac startup disk to start up from instead.
     
  3. BrianBaughn macrumors 603

    BrianBaughn

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    #3
    If it's just you and your MacBook on a deserted island you are correct. But, in one scenario, if you add a USB thumbdrive of at least 8GB and you have one of the "Install macOS ______" applications in your Applications folder you could do it.
     
  4. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68030

    Mr_Brightside_@

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    #4
    Yeah USB would be the superior option, but with a blank HDD Internet Recovery should work, right?
     
  5. BrianBaughn macrumors 603

    BrianBaughn

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    #5
    With the required firmware, yes.
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    #6
    OP wrote:
    "On my MacBook, if the hard-drive did not have a Recovery Partition, then would I be able to format the hard-drive?
    I don't believe so..."


    You can format ANY Mac drive.

    Boot from an external startup drive.
    Then... format away.

    It's also possible to create a recovery partition on -some- Mac drives that don't already have them. There is (was?) a utility called "Recovery Partition Creator" that can do this, at least on some earlier versions of the OS. I don't believe it works with High Sierra.

    Actually, I think I even used CarbonCopyCloner to create a recovery partition on a drive that didn't have one previously.
     
  7. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68030

    Mr_Brightside_@

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    #7
    I think the take home here is: it might be possible depending on the mac and an internet connection, but the far superior (and faster) option is to simply create a bootable USB installer with whichever version(s) of macOS are available to you.
     
  8. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #8
    Some context...

    I am writing a guide on creating a macOS installer and the steps I have are creating a USB installer, and then formatting your internal HDD and then install macOS.

    But I got to thinking that if someone read this and didn't have a Recovery Partition and didn't really know what one was, then they couldn't do what I am typing up.

    You can, of course, use Disk Utility to format an external drive, but you can't format your start disk while booted to it.

    You can boot to the Recovery Partition on the startup disk and format the main part of the startup disk, though.

    I suppose it is unlikely that someone has a bootable startup disk but no Recovery Partition. Then again, it could happen.

    It would take advanced knowledge, or a lot of extra explaining by me, to cover the scenario where they don't have a Recovery Partition.

    That is why I was trying to verify, and I guess I did.
     
  9. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68030

    Mr_Brightside_@

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  10. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    #10
    OP wrote:
    "It would take advanced knowledge, or a lot of extra explaining by me, to cover the scenario where they don't have a Recovery Partition."

    No.
    This is child's play.
    It goes back to the earliest days of hard drives.

    A brain surgeon can't operate on himself.
    He has to find ANOTHER surgeon to do the job.

    To quickly "NUKE" a hard drive -- erase it -- the surefire way is to boot from ANOTHER drive.
    Then you can do ANYTHING you want with the target drive.

    There's nothing "hard" about this.
    I'm dumb and it's a truth I've known since my earliest days with the Mac.

    The problem is that Apple has tried to take so much control over the process, with "recovery partitions" and the like, that all too often a [modern] Mac user has no idea of how to properly manage and maintain a group of drives (including the boot drive).

    Apple has tried to "dumb down" the Mac user.
    This is why so many users who come to this forum have no idea how to resolve drive-related problems.
     
  11. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #11
    What does that mean?
    --- Post Merged, Apr 6, 2018 ---
    Wrong. A person would have to know how to create another working bootable drive.

    Easy for me and you, but maybe not so easy for my mom.

    And that is my point...

    If I wanted to explain what to do in that scenario, I would have to write up something on cloning or backing up and restoring to another drive or how to download an OS and build another drive.

    Again, easy for those in the know, but more explaining for me if I choose to do that.

    I was hoping that somehow the bootable Sierra installer I just created would include a Recovery Partition that could be used to NUKE a person's internal drive, but I guess that isn't possible.

    I suppose that most people's out-of-the-box Macs have a Recovery Partition, and if someone is doing things like using CCC and they don't create a Recovery Partition then they are on their own. However, it isn't too far of a stretch that a Recovery Partition becomes corrupt with the main drive, and so someone reads my *simple* guide on rebuild their Mac, and when I tell them to NUKE their Mac, they run into the issue of not having a Recovery Parttion to do that.

    Guess I'll have to figure out if I want to explain what to do in that scenario... I'm thinking not.
     
  12. Longkeg macrumors regular

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    S. Florida
    #12
    Huh? I may be missing something but isn't that "bootable Sierra installer I just created" a de facto recovery partition in and of itself? Boot up from it. Open Disk Utility. Select the internal HD and nuke away...

    On another note, I feel your pain. You have your "Mom," I also have Luddite family members. No mater how much you make your written instructions "idiot proof" you will, in the long run, save yourself a whole lot of time and aggravation by just going over there (assuming it's not too far away) and fixing it yourself.
     
  13. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #13
    I'm not sure... (Will have to play with that tonight.)

    The more I think about it, I only believe the installer lets you boot up to it and install macOS.

    In order to use Disk Utility, you have to have the Recovery partition, right?

    So if your HDD died, and you installed a blank HDD into your Mac, then a bootable installer would allow you to boot up to the installer and install macOS. But until you have an OS, I don't believe you will have access to Disk Utility.

    In my OP, I was asking what a person would do in a situation where they had a bootable installer but a blank disk and no other drives with an OS or Recovery partition on them.

    Which leads to "mom"...


    *LOL*

    No, I am writing a decent guide so THEY can do it, otherwise I will start charging them!

    I am also writing what I learn at MacRumors because I have short-term memory and in a month from now, I will forget how all of this works! :)
     
  14. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    #14
    OP wrote:
    "The more I think about it, I only believe the installer lets you boot up to it and install macOS."

    That's all the installer app will do.
    But you can do MUCH MORE with a bootable USB installer.

    You have access to:
    Disk Utility
    Terminal
    Safari (limited usage, I believe)

    OP also wrote:
    "I am writing a decent guide so THEY can do it"
    Post an excerpt here, so we can critique it.

    Editorial follows:
    I was just thinking earlier this morning (hours before I saw this thread)...
    Too often, "techie" users and software developers can't, for the life of them, produce a step-by-step guide that will actually help non-technical users perform a procedure or get software working.

    When I answer a post here at Macrumors -- particularly if it seems to be coming from a person with limited experience -- I try to lay out as simple a guide as possible (i.e., "look at this", "click this", then "do this", etc.).

    Think back to the old Heathkit electronics kits. They gave you a simple step-by-step manual with checkboxes you marked after each procedure. A novice could build a stereo amplifier one step at a time.

    Then I go to a page, often for "open source" software, and there are no guides like that anywhere to be found. It's as if the developers can't conceive that there are folks less gifted technically then they. (sigh)
    End of editorial

    Again and again and again and again and again (had enough?) here at macrumors, I advise users to use either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper to create a BOOTABLE cloned backup of their internal drive. Then just... keep it around.
    If one has this, it becomes MUCH MORE easy to just boot from the backup drive, after which one has "the full complement" of utilities and apps with which to "do things" to ANY OTHER drive on the Mac. One of the first things I learned in re "working with the Mac".

    I keep bootable drives all around me.
    As I type this there are no less than EIGHT (count 'em, 8!) bootable drives sitting on my desk. I can boot and run this Mini from ANY of them. SSD's, platter based drives, all mixed.

    Texas Toast: how many other bootable drives are on YOUR desk, right now?
     
  15. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #15
    Okay, so that would solve the problem posed in my OP.

    (Sorry I didn't test things out myself, but it's been a crazy week at work. It's now Friday evening, and if I don't fall asleep I will continue to play with things as I write.)

    While I have used a bootable installer before, I thought the Disk Utility came from my stratup disk's Recovery Partition and not the installer.


    I agree whole-heartedly with your editorial. Truth is, most technical suck when it comes to explaining things to others. And most have poor writing skills.

    Since what I am creating is in an Open Office doc and has lots of screenshots and formatting, not sure that I can post it here, but suffice it to say, your golden retriever would understand what I write!!

    Here is a contrived example...

    - In the menu bar, click on the Apple icon.
    - Choose "App Store"
    (Snagit screenshot marked up)
    - The following window will appear...
    (Snagit screenshot marked up)
    - Choose the "Purchased" tab.
    - You will see a listing of all OS versions that you have purchased
    And so on...


    (To give you a better idea, my guide on how to make an "installer" is about 50 pages right now...) ;)



    I totally agree with you, and I live by CCC. However, as mentioned at the beginning of this thread, I'm looking for workarounds to CCC. And it if my "installer" comes with Disk Utility and Terminal, then that is the workaround to the scenario I posed.

    When I have time I am going to write a guide on CCC, but one step at a time!!


    Actually, I just bought 12 external HDD cases like they one I bought at Fry's down in Fort Worth last summer. And I have maybe 6 HDDs laying around.

    On my desk, I only have two clones right now - one for my old MBP and my formerly "new" Retina I have never used.

    Once I get my Retina set up, I plan on rotating between 6 HDDs and as I have money will expand to the 12 cases I bought.

    So I "get it"!! :D

    I have A LOT of writing to do to teach my family and friends everything I have learned over the last year!!!

    Thanks to everyone here for showing me how to be a wiser Mac user!! :apple::apple::apple:
     
  16. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    #16
    I should clear up one little detail:
    Your macOS bootable installer boots to a menu screen which is much like the one that you get when booting to the Recovery system partition. Both will allow you to reinstall macOS, and there are mostly the same choices on both. One that is absolutely the same: both have Disk Utility. You can erase the boot system partition, but you can't completely erase the drive (the nuke option!) while booted to the recovery partition, because, well, the Recovery partition is on the same drive you are booted to. But, "nuking" is easy when you are booted to an external bootable installer. Again, it's simply because you are then booted to a partition that is NOT on the internal drive. The external bootable installer lets you do most anything that the recovery partition allows, and I tend to ignore the recovery system entirely.
     
  17. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #17
    So you are telling me that when I option+boot to my "bootable USB installer", and I see "macOS Utilities", then that means that "macOS Utilities" is coming 100% from my "bootable USB installer" and NOT from my internal disk's Recovery Partition, right?


    So when I option+boot t my "bootable USB installer", and I choose "Disk Utility" from the "macOS Utilities" window, all of that is coming from my "bootable USB installer", and therefore I can completely erase my internal startup disk on my Retina, including the Recovery partition on my Retina all via the "bootable USB installer", right??
     
  18. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    #18
    Yes, the Recovery partition, and the installer app, each have utilities. Each provide a set of utilities, independent of the other. The advantage to the bootable installer is that you are not booted from the boot drive, and can completely wipe that drive, and all its partitions.
    There's the OTHER option that you have not mentioned - Internet recovery. No need to have anything local plugged in, just an internet connection. The installer for your system is available through Apple's servers, and the utilities, such as Disk Utility, all available through the same server connection. Good fallback if you have to replace a failed internal drive, and you don't have any other physical option available. You don't have any choice about OS X install with internet recovery. It will have the original system version that your Mac shipped with... :cool:
     
  19. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #19
    Thanks @DeltaMac - that is exactly what I needed to know!! :apple::apple::apple:

    And I'm excited that I now not only know how to make my own bootable installer, but that it has Disk Utilities and Terminal included with it, so you pretty much have all of the tools you need to fix things and get back to working order.
     
  20. Markdc macrumors newbie

    Markdc

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    #20
    Hi,
    I also believe so..
     

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