MacBook Pro Retina Lion OS Recovery

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by wethackrey, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. wethackrey, Jul 3, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012

    wethackrey macrumors 6502

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    Feb 27, 2007
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #1
    I have a new 15" MacBook Pro Retina Display with a factory 750GB SSD. I thought it might be of value to post my experience in setting the machine up.

    I generally set up my laptop Macs with the internal drive partitioned into a boot partition and a data partition. This possibly stems from my unix background, but I've been configuring Mac laptops that way since the early PowerBook days and it works well. It really speeds backups and, more importantly, recovery. I use TimeMachine over my home WiFi to a local SAN and also do periodic clones of both partitions with Carbon Copy Cloner (thank you Mike Bombich). The first thing I did on the new MBPr was to clone the virgin OS partition from the MBPr onto a clean external drive.

    I was at the Apple Store yesterday buying a Thunderbolt cable so I could do a target-disk-mode migration from my 17" MBP. While there I had a conversation with a "Genius" who told me that, on an SSD machine, the recovery partition is actually a completely separate volume from the main 750GB SSD. Meaning I could reformat the SSD and not lose the recovery partition. WRONG!

    Reformatting the drive into my two partitions destroyed the recovery partition. OK. No big deal. I'll just re-download the Lion installer from the App store, re-install the OS, thereby re-creating the recovery partition and start again.

    Great plan. Didn't work. I downloaded the Lion installer from the App store on the 17" MBP (which is running 10.7.4), built a USB key with it and proceeded to boot the MBPr with it. No joy. The MBPr wouldn't boot from the USB OS Install drive. It turns out it wouldn't boot from the working boot disk on the 17" connected in target disk mode either. The result is an "X" with no other dialog on screen. This is the most recent, fully-updated version of Lion, mind you.

    I do still have an external HD with a clone of the virgin MBPr boot volume on it so I boot from that. No problem. But when I try to download Lion from the App Store on the MBPr, I get an error dialog saying that the version of Mac OS X (10.7) I'm trying to download is not supported on the computer I'm using.

    Terrific. I now appear to be hosed.

    I tried several intervening steps, including a very cool script that downloads and installs a new recovery partition. That works great, except that the MBPr won't boot from that recovery partition either.

    So I was right. I really am hosed.

    So I wipe the MBPr hard drive and restart with Command-R. Since there's no recovery partition, I eventually get directed to Apple's Internet Recovery. This is really quite magical. It takes several hours but when I wake this morning, the MBPr now has a factory-fresh Lion install on it, complete with recovery partition.

    Yay.

    I use Drive Genius to adjust the size of the boot partition and add a new data partition. And I'm back in business with two visible partitions and an invisible recovery partition which the MBPr will actually boot from.

    More yay.

    This morning I had a long conversation with Apple Support. After several rounds of support techs making ludicrous suggestions (like "the new MBPr may not be able to boot from USB") I finally got a supervisor who believes that the version of Lion currently available for download on the App Store is 10.7.2. Typically one downloads that version and then runs an update to 10.7.4. Trouble is, the MBPr will not boot from 10.7.2.

    I like to carry an OS installer on a thumb drive, since I travel a lot for work and sometimes connectivity is terrible in other countries. Hell sometimes connectivity is terrible in this country. At this point that can't happen. At least for now, there's no distributed version of Lion that can be used to install an OS on a new MBPr. You CAN download the recovery partition tool and then use that to do an OS install. And you can use Internet Recovery.

    We'll see how long it takes Apple to update the version of Lion in the App Store.
     
  2. monkey8 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2012
    #2
    Maybe I don't quite get it. I think you can do the partition right from the beginning, why the hassle?

    I don't see why you have to go thru all the hassle just to partition. ?
     
  3. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #3
    Indeed. Disk Utility will repartition the boot disk with no trouble at all, if there's enough free space on the disk.
     
  4. wethackrey thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    The repartition destroyed the Recovery Partition. Could the drive have been repartitioned using Drive Util without destroying the Recovery Partition? Probably. But since an Apple "Genius" told me the recovery partition was actually a separate SSD I just went ahead and re-partitioned instead of adding a partition. This was my fault entirely.

    The takeaway from the (admittedly long) story is that currently it is impossible to obtain a Lion installer that will install Lion onto a new MBP Retina Display. You can get there by first building a drive with a recovery partition, and you can do an Internet Recovery. There is no OS installer available though.
     
  5. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #5
    It's not actually impossible but it is thoroughly inconvenient. If you interrupt the internet recovery process immediately after it's downloaded the OS image but before the installation has started, you can grab the installer image and restore it to a USB drive. You do need another computer for this to work.
    Once 10.8 or 10.7.5 ships you'll be able to get the full installer from the App Store and this problem will go away. It affects all the 2012 laptops, not just the Retina model, and will likely continue to happen each time a new computer comes out.
     
  6. wethackrey thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 27, 2007
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    The fact that the version of Lion that is currently available on the App Store will not support the products that were announced and began shipping three weeks ago was news to Apple Support including supervisors three levels up. One would think that, if the installer is available to the Recovery application, they could figure out a way to migrate it to the App Store.
     
  7. rw3 macrumors 6502a

    rw3

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #7
    If you need the most current build of 10.7.4, I have it. It was packaged on May 14th, which the one on the App Store is from mid April.
     
  8. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #8
    The hardware specific builds of OS X are not necessarily built from the same code as the general release builds and aren't tested on other hardware, so it would be quite a task for Apple to change they way they work on this stuff.
    That support didn't know the general build wouldn't work is surprising as it's fully documented by Apple: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1159?viewlocale=en_US
     
  9. wethackrey thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 27, 2007
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    #9
    To be fair, that article was written to explain what machine-specific OS builds are included on the OS disks that ship with the machine. It doesn't at all address the issue of the App Store or of obtaining an OS installer in this era of no physical media.

    Apple has made the decision to build products that require electronic distribution of the OS. It seems to me it's their responsibility to provide buyers with a way to obtain the appropriate OS. It doesn't matter to me if it's "hard" to do. Surely Apple has the resources to provide me a way to download the right OS installer for a machine I just paid them nearly $4000 for. If not, spend the five bucks and include the OS on a thumb drive.
     
  10. NathanA macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    #10
    The whole Internet Recovery business (as I have discovered recently via my new rMBP, which is my first post-Lion Mac to come with a custom build) is thoroughly inconvenient. Come on, Apple, you cheap-asses: throw in a USB copy, or at the VERY least do what your PC brethren do and include a full copy of the original OS load on the restore partition, instead of making the restore partition simply a bootstrapper, requiring nearly 5GB of data to be downloaded from the internet.

    As an exercise, and in order to grab a copy of the DMG specific to my new rMBP, I initiated the Lion Internet Recovery installer yesterday. What a pain in the butt! Almost 4GB into the download (the finished product turned out to be around ~4.75GB, so I was pretty close to being done...), a major thunderstorm rolled into the area and my internet conked out for a few minutes thanks to a power brownout. According to everything I'd read, the installer is supposedly smart enough to resume downloading from where it left off. But in my case, it didn't. I'll give it credit for trying: it resumed the download all right, and tacked what it downloaded onto the end of the partial download it made before the internet was disrupted, but the file ballooned to well over 8GB. At the time, I had no idea what the final size of the file was supposed to be, so I didn't think anything of it...until the file went back down to its pre-interrupted almost-4GB size and it started trying to re-download all over again! The /var/log/install.log file was full of "Chunk validation failed, retrying..." messages. It got to over 5GB a second time, and at that point I realized it was never going to finish and was just caught in a loop of downloading the thing over and over again and doing it incorrectly, so I had to stop it, wipe the target partition, and start from scratch.

    Of course, the Lion Internet Recovery GUI didn't bother to hint at the fact that there was a problem, or that it had even restarted a third time. I only figured this out by watching the log files and the growing size of the file it was downloading. Piece of crap.

    The best part was that the install.log actually contained a URL for the file it was downloading. After my failed attempt, I thought, great! I'll just download it manually and save myself the hassle and risk of it $*@&-ing up on me again! ...unfortunately, Apple has got some kind of protection (User-Agent filter? Some kind of proprietary authentication handshake?) on their recovery files: my attempt at downloading the file manually resulted in an "Access is denied" message from Apple's distributed content HTTP server.

    So several hours and gigabytes-worth of internet transfer later, I had nothing to show for my efforts.

    The fact that the Internet Recovery system is the ONLY way to get your custom-build of Lion from Apple is horse-pucky. It obviously isn't fool-proof and doesn't resume correctly from a network interruption. Plus, that's a lot of data to download, especially if it screws up in the middle of it. Doesn't Apple realize that not everybody has "unlimited" transfer quotas from their internet provider? That some people actually have to PAY for that download?

    Ugh; can you tell I'm a little torqued about this after screwing with it for too long last night? :eek: In the end, I did finally get a usable copy of the DMG, and verified that it installs correctly on my new Mac, so I'm happy. But golly-gee...so much for "it just works!" in this case!

    -- Nathan
     
  11. mageus macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2012
    #11
    Carbon Copy Cloner will clone/archive the recovery volume. Anyone who's gonna be swapping drives should probably do this.

    Just got a 2012 uMBP 15" and am putting an SSD in. Was able to clone the recovery volume and startup volume to it. Now I'll have a 500GB external HD:) Plan on imaging the fresh startup volume for future recovery.
     
  12. wethackrey, Jul 6, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012

    wethackrey thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #12
    Hey, I couldn't agree more. The Internet Recovery is great to have as a fallback. I would be in deep kimchi without it. but that being the only way to recover the OS is outrageous. I paid a bundle for this MBPr. Give me a freaking $5 thumb drive with the OS on it.

    How did you get a working DMG file? Did you interrupt an Internet Recovery and grab the file?

    By the way... I just bought a Seagate GoFlex Flex Thunderbolt adapter. Cost me $190. Seagate included a thumb drive with THAT just in case I was using a disk bigger than 2TB and my OS drivers needed patching. I spent more than twenty times more than that on the MBPr and no thumb drive.
     
  13. monkeybagel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Location:
    United States
    #13
    They really do need to include a thumb drive for recovery - particularly on their high end machines.

    It may be a good idea to partition off 4GB of space and restore the Lion ESD there, and that way you have a working installer in the event you need it and are away from an Internet connection.

    Disk Utility does preserve the recovery partition.
     
  14. wethackrey thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #14
    I'd be happy to be able to create a Lion OS install thumb drive. Trouble is I haven't been able to find a version of the OS the MBPr will boot on.
     
  15. mac82 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    #15
    1. Connect an external disk to USB port.
    2. Reboot, holding down cmd-opt-r to force lion Internet recovery.
    3. Go through installation until it asks where to install lion.
    4. Select external disk instead of internal.
    5. Watch tv or read a book while it downloads lion installation image (4gb so about an hour or two depending on your connection).
    6. IMPORTANT. When download is finished and MacBook reboots to begin installation, immediately disconnect external drive after screen has gone dark and before the gong. DMG is now in a folder on external disk. I think it's called install-esd or something.
    7. Use disk utility to scan image for restore and then restore it onto a thumb drive or sd card.
    8. Congratulations! You now have a lion install disk that's personalized to your specific machine.
     
  16. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #16
    Not sure what 3rd party software you used to re-partition it, but the "Genius" was correct. The recovery is a separate partition from the boot drive. If you booted into recovery and used disk utility to repartition your drives you would not lose anything.

    Also, if you have a time machine backup you can completely format the entire drive (boot recovery and all) then boot off of the time machine drive and recover everything.

    I don't really know why people use 3rd party cloning tools when Time Machine does it all, and does it well...for free.
     
  17. ekovalsky macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    #17
    I set up a 2.6/8/512 rMBP with OSX (10.8 DP4) and Bootcamp/Windows partitions of 100gb each as well as a shared data partition of 300gb. I like this arrangement, but it did require eliminating the recovery partition. Basically because of the (hidden) EFI partition and limit of four partitions for Windows to boot, I had to delete the recovery partition, create a Windows partition with bootcamp, then shrink the OSX partition and use the resulting free space created for a new exFAT data partition.

    Anyway I wound up returning that rMBP as I ordered another with 16gb, since there was no upgrade path from 8gb and I prefer to disable the swap file when using a SSD. Since I had put the 10.8 DP4 on the 8gb rMBP and killed the recovery partition, I used the internet restore feature before bringing it to the Apple Store. It worked just fine, although it did take well over an hour. I'm not sure what version it downloaded but there were no problems getting the rMBP to boot from it once downloaded, I shut it down once it got to the OSX set up screens.
     
  18. wethackrey thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 27, 2007
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    Redondo Beach, California
    #18
    First, I DID use Disk Util to partition the drive. It wiped the Recovery partition.

    I'm afraid you misread what the "Genius" said. He told me that the Recovery volume was a completely separate SSD and that reformatting the primary SSD would not touch the Recovery volume. That is incorrect. The SSD in a MBPr is handled in all ways as if it were a HDD. Except defragmenting, which I assume is turned off for the SSD. There is a single physical SSD there. The "Genius" claimed there were two.

    Time Machine is terrific, but it won't set my machine up the way I need it to be set up. I run with a boot partition and a "data" partition. My user directory lives on the data partition. I don't have space here to explain why that's a good idea. Suffice it to say that it is.

    As I've said earlier in this thread, the "takeaway" from this is that there is not currently any way to obtain a Lion OS installer for the series of machines that were released on June 11 - the so-called "Mid 2012" machines, of which the MBPr is one. Even Apple Support doesn't have an OS installer directly available to them and the App Store version will not boot the Mid 2012 machines.

    My point was that, if I'd not had a fast Internet pipe when I had to recover the OS, I would have been hosed. I find it ludicrous that Apple cannot provide an OS Installer for these machines.

    ----------

    Your scenario is exactly why I use VMWare for the various Windows, Windows Server, Linux and Solaris environments I need to run in from time to time. These days it's "nearly" as fast as booting native the hardware.

    I get a kick out of your "well over an hour" to do an Internet Recover on a MBPr. I have an 18Mbps downstream pipe and it took all night. Were you being kind, or do you have an OC48 to your house? :)
     
  19. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #19
    Really miss the cool looking USB install key that was provided with my 2010 MBA 13 which was then selling for $1300. It seems ludicrous that Apple can't bother to include one with these >$2000 rMBP!
     
  20. gentlefury macrumors 68030

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    Jul 21, 2011
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #20
    I seriously doubt they said it was on a separate SSD....if they did, then that makes no sense and they are retarded. Secondly, I have reformatted and restored my computer using time machine many times. I have also removed the hdd and installed a fresh ssd and used a time machine drive to restore everything completely. I don't understand what you mean, time machine doesn't set it up the way you want it to....everytime I have restored with time machine it sets it up as if it never changed. What is different for you?
     
  21. wethackrey, Jul 8, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012

    wethackrey thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Right. I'm making this up. What is it with you guys?

    I specifically asked the bloke if he meant it was a separate partition and he went on for quite some time about the MBPr being entirely redesigned from the ground up and, since the SSD was built onto the logic board, they'd made a "whole different drive" for the SSD. Hey, I figured he knew. It was unlikely but plausible. Obviously he was confused -- or full of himself trying to be a "Genius".

    Look. I've been doing this stuff for a very long time. I founded Apple's first non-storefront dealer and engineering reseller. We did the service for all Apple-owned Macs in Los Angeles, long before Apple built their first store and, probably, long before this particular "Genius" was old enough to wear pants. These days I'm a solutions architect designing large service-provider-class cloud implementations. I understand the difference between a drive and a partition.

    I don't use Time Machine to restore during a migration because it takes forever. My Time Machine backup are done over WiFi to a 4TB RAID 6 NAS. Sort of like Time Capsule but on a more serious storage device. The upside of this is that the backups happen in the background any time my MBP is connected to my home office WiFi. The downside is that a full restore takes a long time since there's no way to connect directly to the NAS. It does sit on a gigabit Ethernet network, but even that is an order of magnitude slower than using target disk mode.

    Which brings us to how I typically migrate from one computer to another: I set the old one up in target disk mode and connect it directly to the new Mac via either FireWire or Thunderbolt -- Thunderbolt in this case. That gets me real world transfer speeds in excess of 110 MBps over the 10 GBps Thunderbolt bus. This is a supported method in the Mac OS installer, by the way, and is how the Apple Store would migrate you. It's a boatload faster than Time Machine over a network connection. There was no third party software involved at this point.

    What's different for me? Probably the fact that I use two partitions for Mac OS: a boot volume and a data volume. My user directory lives on the data volume. Does Time Machine support separate volumes? Sure. But the migration assistant won't re-create the volume format for you.

    I find it fascinating that folks like yourself assume everyone else is an idiot and that it's incumbent upon them, for the sake of educating the unwashed masses, to launch into a diatribe describing just exactly how much smarter they are than the original poster -- entirely missing the point of the original post. Which is this: currently there's no way to obtain an OS installer for a version of Lion that will boot the Mid-2012 machines. Absent a recovery partition, the ONLY way to get an OS onto a new Mac is via an Internet restore. I find that ridiculous.
     
  22. gentlefury macrumors 68030

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    Jul 21, 2011
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #22
    Never said I assumed you were an idiot...only that I have already done all of this and you are making it out to be a lot more difficult than it actually was. Install new drive, plug in time machine drive, go back to work. It was about as idiot-proof as humanly possible. And if you are partitioning your OSX drive to be a small OS only drive, then it shouldn't take hours. Last time I did this my Macintosh HD drive had about 20GB used. I used time machine on a firewire drive.....installed the new drive, restored from firewire drive, went on with life.

    As for no way to obtain an installer....YOU DON'T NEED ONE WITH TIME MACHINE! You said it takes too long to use Time Machine.....it took me about an hour to do everything....you are going on how many days now, trying to save time?
     
  23. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #23
    Yes there is. If you follow the process mac82 posted here it will grab the machine specific Lion installer for you and you can use that to make a USB key installer for yourself.

    The same process can be found here. It is admittedly a grind, but it works.

    ----------

    I think the source of the confusion is as follows.

    If while in Lion Recovery you start disk until and click on the drive itself, as I pointed out in my screen grab, and erase/partition that WILL wipe the entire drive including the Lion Recovery Partition.

    [​IMG]

    If, however, you click just the Macintosh HD partition, see my screen grab, and erase/partition from there it will only wipe the OS/data and it will not wipe the Lion Recovery Partition.

    [​IMG]
     
  24. gentlefury macrumors 68030

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    Jul 21, 2011
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    Los Angeles, CA
    #24
    I don't think you can wipe the recovery partition while booted into it can you?
     
  25. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #25
    If you are in the drive recovery partition on an older machine, you are correct. On the new machines (2010+) recovery is in EFI (firmware) so you would be running from that and could format the entire drive including the recovery area. I suspect this is what happened to the OP.
     

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