Lion recovery partition vs install dmg

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by Merkyworks, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. Merkyworks macrumors 6502

    Oct 14, 2008
    Im trying to understand what is the difference between the recovery partition that lion auto installs on the local HD vs install dmg. The lion recovery partition is only 650MB while the install dmg is roughly 4GB. I booted the recovery partition to play around in it and see whats inside and it looks just like the install dmg does, so how can a 650MB files allow me to erase a HD and then do a fresh OS install?
  2. norrismantooth macrumors regular

    Nov 29, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    The install DMG has stand-alone properties, uninstallers for Rosetta and other 32-bit applications. It's also packaged as an auto-run.
  3. dcorban macrumors 6502a


    Oct 29, 2007
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    The recovery partition literally downloads the full install dmg. There seems to be no difference in the actual files. You can even see this when installing from the dmg where is says "downloading" when it is simply copying the files from the disc.
  4. Merkyworks thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 14, 2008
    ok this is what I thought it would be.

    so in reality if you have a recovery partition and you need to reinstall OS X then you will need wifi to download the install dmg. Well to me that really defeats the purpose of the recovery partition, what if im in an area were wifi is non existant then the recovery partition wouldnt be able to help me.

    this is what im thinking of doing and Im curious what other people think of this.

    I want to erase the recovery partition completely, then I will create a little partition on the second HDD that I have in my opti-bay and place the install dmg there. If I do this then I should be able to boot into that partition and run the install dmg to fix any problems with the OS or if i choose re-install Lion. doesnt that seem like it would be more productive of a recovery partition?
  5. pwatson80 macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2009
    The main benefit to the recovery partition for me, is that you don't need a system disc to run all the utilities anymore, simple boot in and there ya go. Disk Util, Password Reset, all there! Might wanna set up a firmware password while your at it though ;-) After all any Savvy Mac user could change your password!

    Would be nice to have the full image as an option, but ability to install via wifi is a nice bonus.

    (till your HDD fries :eek:)
  6. VTECaddict macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2008
    Yes, that would work. Well, obviously not just by simply placing the InstallESD.dmg there - you have to restore it to the new partition.
  7. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    The recovery hd is great for disk utilities, but I would recommend either burning a disk or making a USB key for full recovery....if your internet goes down at the same time your OS dumps on you you're SOL with the recovery hd. If you have a physical recovery you are safer.
  8. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA

    you would def be best off creating a recovery partition on a seperate disk...if the disk fails and you only recover is on that disk....well that would suck! Use disk utility to recover the disk image to the new partition. Make sure you set the new partition to like 6GB so you have enough room to extract it. I know it won't fit on a 4GB USB key.
  9. Merkyworks thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 14, 2008
    well I already have the install dmg on a dvd and I will keep that in a safe place at home. Im just talking about having the install dmg on my second HD so that if i need any of the tools they are there just like the recovery partition has but if i need to do a fresh install then i have it there as well and without needing wifi or the install disk i made.
  10. Simon Laird macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2011
    If you don't have a recovery partition on your local disk then you can not use FileVault 2, should you wish to. I would recommend to have one on your local disk for easy access to tools and just keep the DVD/USB version in a drawer somewhere in case you need to reinstall. Note that Macs that come with Lion installed can boot from an Internet based recovery disk, provided by Apple.
  11. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Main difference is if your HDD dies you can use another image to reinstall. The recovery partition will be worthless at that stage as it will be just as dead as your boot partition. More ways Apple is moving towards M$ style. Resize windows from every corner, check. Do not ship recovery OS in case of HW issues, check.

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