Reference 4.3: External OS X Recovery Disks
In some cases, a Mac computer with OS X installed does not have a local Recovery HD. For example, if you just replaced the internal disk with a new disk, nothing will be on the new disk. Also, OS X systems on RAID sets and disks with nonstandard Boot Camp partitioning will not have a local Recovery HD. In these cases, you would need to start up from an external OS X recovery disk. Also, having an external OS X recovery disk handy can be a real lifesaver should you come across a Mac computer with a dysfunctional system disk.
Two do-it-yourself solutions exist to convert a standard disk into an OS X recovery disk. The first involves creating an OS X Recovery disk using the OS X Recovery Disk Assistant application. The second creates an OS X Install disk using the contents of the Install OS X Mavericks application.
- Create an OS X Recovery disk—The advantage to creating an OS X Recovery disk is that it requires only a 1 GB USB flash disk. This method is initiated through the OS X Recovery Disk Assistant application, available on the Apple support downloads website. This application simply copies the computer’s local Recovery HD system to an external disk. The downside to this method is that the resulting OS X Recovery disk will not contain the OS X installation assets. Thus, when running OS X Recovery from this disk, if you need to reinstall OS X, the system will have to download the OS X installation assets from the Internet. Exercise 4.2, “Create an OS X Recovery Disk,” outlines the steps necessary to create this type of disk.
- Create an OS X Install disk—The advantage to creating an OS X Install disk is that it will include the full OS X installation assets on the disk. This method involves using a special command-line tool, named createinstallmedia, found inside the Install OS X Mavericks application. This tool will copy both an OS X Recovery system and the full OS X installation assets to an external drive. The downside to this method is that it requires an 8 GB disk. Exercise 4.3, “Create an OS X Install Disk,” outlines the steps necessary to create this type of disk.