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From the book Reference 4.2: OS X Recovery Utilities

Reference 4.2: OS X Recovery Utilities

OS X Recovery is a useful administrative and troubleshooting resource. When you start up from this system, you have access to several system-administration and maintenance tools. This system even has a few utilities you cannot find anywhere else in OS X. Again, when you first start the OS X Recovery system, you are greeted with the OS X Utilities window.

From the OS X Utilities window in OS X Recovery, you can access the following functions:

  • Restore From Time Machine Backup—Use this to restore a full-system Time Machine backup from either a network or a locally connected disk. Lesson 18, “Time Machine,” covers this topic in greater detail.
  • Install OS X or Reinstall OS X—As the name implies, this opens the OS X Installer. If you are running from an OS X Install disk, the disk contains all the OS X installation assets. However, the local hidden Recovery HD and disks created with OS X Recovery Disk Assistant do not contain the installation assets, and thus require Internet access to reinstall OS X. Further, the OS X Installer must verify that the user is allowed access to the OS X Mavericks assets. On older Mac computers that were upgraded to OS X Mavericks, you must verify the installation by providing the Apple ID used to purchase OS X. For Mac computers that shipped with OS X Mavericks, this verification is automatic. Lesson 2, “Install OS X Mavericks,” covers this topic in greater detail.
  • Get Help Online—This opens Safari, directed to the Apple Support website.
  • Disk Utility—This application is responsible for storage-related administration and maintenance. It is especially useful when the Mac computer has started up from OS X Recovery, because Disk Utility can be used to manage a system disk that otherwise can’t be managed when in use as the startup disk. Specifically, Disk Utility can be used to prepare a disk for a new installation of OS X or to attempt repairs on a disk that fails installation. Lesson 10, “File Systems and Storage,” covers this topic in greater detail.
  • Startup Disk (by clicking the close button or quitting)—If you attempt to quit the OS X Utilities window, it will prompt you to start the Startup Disk utility. This utility will allow you to select the default system startup disk. The default startup disk can be overridden using any of the alternate startup modes discussed in Lesson 29, “System Troubleshooting.”

Wait, there’s more. OS X Recovery has a few extra utilities hidden in the Utilities menu at the top of the screen:

  • Firmware Password Utility—This utility allows you to secure the Mac computer’s startup process by disabling all alternate startup modes without a password. You can disable or enable this feature and define the required password. You can find out more about Firmware Password in Lesson 8, “System Security.”
  • Network Utility—This is the primary network and Internet troubleshooting utility in OS X. Its primary use in OS X Recovery is to troubleshoot any network issues that could prevent the download of OS X installation assets. The Network utility is further discussed in Lesson 24, “Network Troubleshooting.”
  • Terminal—This is your primary interface to the UNIX command-line environment of OS X. The most useful command you can enter from here is simply resetpassword, followed by the Return key.
  • Reset Password opened via Terminal—This utility lets you reset the password of any local user account, including the root user, on the selected system disk. Obviously, this is a dangerous utility that can pose a serious security threat. Because of this, the Reset Password utility runs only from OS X Recovery. You can find out more about Reset Password in Lesson 8, “System Security.”
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