Making a bootable recovery partition for Mac OS X Mavericks (HDD)

Well, I ended up doing one more re-install of Mac OS, so this last time around I made an 8GB partition on the hard drive, and then installed the OS on the rest of the drive.

Now that the operating system is installed, I wanted to see if I could put the OS X Installation “disc” on that 8GB partition. I just did a blog post about how to make a USB drive bootable, but this is an alternative way to do this, where the installation media is on another partition. This means that you can easily re-install the OS without the need of any USB or DVD media.

Here is that extra partition I created during setup – it’s just an empty, “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” partition, which is 8GB in size, and note that it’s called “install”:


With my bootable USB drive plugged in (listed as “16.03 GB SanDisk Cruzer”, above) – I can use the same technique from my other blog post. However, the paths are a little different. Instead, I want to source everything from /Volumes/Install OS X Mavericks/ (my USB drive) instead of /Applications/Install OS X Mavericks/ (where App Store puts it after you download it).

So – that means to install from my USB drive, to this 8GB partition that I created during the OS install – I can run a command like this now:

sudo /Volumes/Install OS X Mavericks/Install OS X –volume /Volumes/install –applicationpath /Volumes/Install OS X Mavericks/Install OS X –nointeraction

Note that the /Volumes/install should point to that partition name, whatever you named it on your system.

Also, in case it’s not clear, since “Install OS X Mavericks” is a folder name that has spaces in it, you have to “escape” each space, to let the command-line know it’s all part of the same path. So “Install OS X Mavericks” is the way to tell the operating system those are spaces in the name, not spaces in between arguments in the command.

So, after running that – voila!


What did all of this buy us? Well, if I pull out my USB drive, and in the Spotlight, look for “Startup Disk”:


I now have the option of booting normally – or booting from the OS installation partition, in case I ever need/want to re-install the operating system:


Posted in Apple Stuff, Infrastructure, Uncategorized

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