Use bootable disk to repair startup disk?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by tanventure, May 15, 2013.

  1. tanventure macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2013
    I am considering to make a bootable disk in case of HD failure. Wonder if a bootable disk can be used to repair startup disk after startup, say, due to some problem the startup disk could not boot the computer, so the bootable disk is used to boot, as well as to be used to fix the startup disk.

    Thanks for your kind help.
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Yes, you can use a "second boot volume" to repair your "primary boot disk" in case of a failure.

    In fact, you ALWAYS want to keep a second, bootable copy of your main drive around.

    Sooner or later, almost everyone gets into an "I can't boot" situation. The reasons, at first, are usually unknown. But the reality is that if you are unable to boot from your primary drive, and DON'T have a second boot volume handy -- it may seem like the only choice is a "complete re-installation of the system", which in many cases is unnecessary.

    If you rely on the recovery partition, you will find your options limited. A bootable clone will be much easier to use. And if there is something _really wrong_ with the internal hard drive, having a bootable clone means you have AN EXACT COPY of everything that was on the [now broken] internal drive. Just "boot and go".

    To create your bootable backup, there are two easy-to-use apps out there:
    - CarbonCopyCloner -- free to use for 30 days, and one of the best Mac apps yet created
    - SuperDuper -- free to use to create a full clone (you have to register to use it to create incremental backups)

    Either one of these will do what you need.

    Of course, you'll also need a backup drive. Some folks buy an "already-put-together" solution (external enclosure with drive inside). I actually prefer to use "bare drives" and USB3/SATA "docking stations", for their flexibility.

    To see what a docking station is, go to and enter:
    "USB3 SATA dock" in the search box. Best $30 you'll ever spend.
  3. RadDave macrumors regular


    Apr 6, 2013
    North Carolina
    Hello - first, you may want to provide more information regarding the model of your computer, the OS X being used, and whether you have the installation DVDs?

    I'm new to this process but recently acquired a new MBP & an iMac both running Mountain Lion - no installation discs, but 'Recovery' partitions are present on each of my computers - these can be used only if your computer can 'boot into' the partition.

    Now a number of options exist for another bootable option, but I chose to use the OS X Recovery Digital Assistant - this basically puts the recovery partition on your HD onto another location; in my case, I used an 8 GB USB flash drive for each computer - the flash drive is reformatted and is reserve only for that purpose; and each computer requires it's own drive.

    There certainly may be other solutions and hopefully others w/ more experience will 'chime in' w/ different advice - good luck! :)

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