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Lion recovery mode allows reinstalls via Internet

updated 09:55 am EDT, Tue July 19, 2011

OS works around absence of physical media

OS X Lion has a special recovery mode which includes the option to reinstall the OS over the Internet, a leaked internal AppleCare document reveals. The mode is invoked by holding down Command-R during boot, and presents users with several options. On a basic level it lets people access online help, or run Disk Utility to scan, repair, partition or even erase volumes. Under dire circumstances a person can restore from a Time Machine backup, or "reinstall Lion over the Internet from Apple's servers," according to the AppleCare note.

Reinstalling via the Internet is a necessary option, as Apple is otherwise limiting Lion distribution to the Mac App Store. The scheme may potentially cause some problems, as it assumes not only that a Mac is connected to the Internet but that its connection is fast enough to re-download Lion in a reasonable space of time. Many Internet service providers have also imposed bandwidth caps which the sheer size of Lion might help break.

The recovery mode is thought to operate from a hidden partition, which also continues to run the special Lion feature Find My Mac. The OS in fact has a dedicated process called Find My Mac Messenger, the exact purpose of which is unclear. Regardless, when Find My Mac's remote wipe option is triggered, a Mac likely boots into the recovery partition before deleting user data.

Lion is believed to be on the verge of going live at the Mac App Store, possibly as soon as Wednesday. Apple may launch new computers at the same time, most prominently new MacBook Airs. The Air line was last updated in October, at the time a massive overhaul with a new size option and the elimination of conventional hard drives in favor of SSDs.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Mr. Fartleberry

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -7

    Give me a break

    All because AAPL doesn't want to produce a DVD for sale?

    Honestly this is the first OS system I don't look forward to. Since my 512KE.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +17

    While that's a cool thing...

    ... in itself, it still stinks that there are no DVDs anymore. Some people do live outside the US, and even WITHIN the US of A there are people without broadband.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Stop whining

    There are plenty of things Apple does to complain about, but this is not one of them. They've added a new way to install the OS. They haven't taken anything away.

    If if you think it's so easy for Apple to make a DVD, it's much much easier for you to make one. So why don't you? Or you could make a bootable USB stick, or SD card. Or you can restore from the full backup that you should keep anyway.

    Not seeing the problem here.

  1. vintagegeek

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    No Disc - Debacle & Marketing Miss

    I want a Disc. I had enough of thar recovery partition c**p with Windows Computers. That's one of the reasons I went to MAC. I can reinstall in a heartbeat. This is a bad move for Apple. People like to have the Apple Discs...collectors items too. When people start to employ this recovery option it will be a debacle. Apple will be swamped with calls because there are too many variables.

  1. makesense

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    making your own Lion disk?

    HOW?

    After install of the most recent developer release, after the install.....there was nothing left to write to a disk. Previously, there was an installer file in the Applications folder....but this capability vanished.

  1. bjojade

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    How often is it needed?

    Really, how often is an OS reinstall really needed? For the average user, rarely, if ever.

    For a backup, as soon as you finish your install, make a clone of the hard drive and you can restore from that clone whenever you want. That's even EASIER than a reinstall, as the install process is already done.

  1. facebook_Mike

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jul 2011

    -2

    comment title

    No floppy disk = people cried, no DVD = people cry again.

    I am happy apple doesn't have to spend the money on DVDs, and instead can use the money on designing more cool products for the future.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    Re: Seriously?

    Apple would have to produce, package, distribute DVDs (which means pushing back the release date a couple of weeks). Not to mention manage inventory, fulfillment operations, etc. That takes money and time.

    Why would they have to push back the release. No one says they have to be available that day.

    Why can't you just make your own DVD or USB stick, or SD card. A DL DVD costs what? $1. Go buy one and make your own install DVD. It takes a few minutes.

    Because besides the effort, it isn't that easy to do. You need to know how to burn or format the USB stick or DVD, and that's assuming you can find the disk image that you downloaded to do the install.

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    Simple solution

    Just let us make an install DVD or install flash drive. How hard is that?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    Re: Stop whining

    There are plenty of things Apple does to complain about, but this is not one of them. They've added a new way to install the OS. They haven't taken anything away.

    Um, they took away the capability to buy an OS at the store, take it home, and install it at your convenience. What part of that didn't they take away?

    If if you think it's so easy for Apple to make a DVD, it's much much easier for you to make one. So why don't you?

    Seriously, i second the motion, you are an idiot. It is far easier for Apple to make a DVD, since, I don't know, they have the actual disk image to make it from, they have the capability to press millions without much effort at all. But, no, you're idea is "Do it all yourself, losers. This is a Mac. We don't need installation disks!"

    And do I need to create a separate disk/booter for each mac I own? Is the install package downloaded the same for all macs, or is it machine specific to reduce the bandwidth size.

    Or you could make a bootable USB stick, or SD card. Or you can restore from the full backup that you should keep anyway.

    Um, no you can't, since most people's "full backup" is probably a time machine backup, which isn't bootable. So you need two complete backups, one being a clone, and then after restoring from a clone, you have to figure out how to get your latest files from the time machine backup.

    Not seeing the problem here.

    OK, how about this: Your current broadband is 1.5 Mbps DSL because you refuse to give any money to those thieves at Comcast. So it will take, wait, some 12+ hours to hopefully download this thing.

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