How to Recreate Recovery Partition in Mac OS X
The Recovery partition in Mac OS X is an important component of a system install in that it allows you to troubleshoot a computer, repair drives, restore from backups, and even reinstall Mac OS if need be. Nonetheless, in some specific situations you may find that a Mac does not have a Recovery partition, usually because it has either been unintentionally removed or because a drive was cloned and the Recovery partition wasn’t brought along in that duplication process.
If you find yourself in a situation where a Mac is missing the bootable recovery drive partition, you can recreate the Recovery Partition in two different ways, as we’ll show you here.
The first method of rebuilding a Recovery partition is to simply reinstall OS X onto the Mac, of course the obvious difficulty with that approach is that unless you use Internet Recovery mode or a USB installer, you can’t access the reinstall function. While using a bootable USB Mac OS X installer or Internet Recovery works just fine for those with good internet access or a separate install drive, another option is available as well by using a third party tool that is freely available on the web. That’s what we’re going to focus primarily on here, since the third party solution does not require the compete reinstallation of Mac OS X to repair and rebuild a Recovery partition onto a Mac.
How to Create & Restore a Recovery Partition in Mac OS X
Missing a Recovery partition? Here is how you can quickly re-create one on a Mac:
- Download a copy of the “Install OS X” or “Install Mac OS X” from the Mac App Store under the “Purchases” tab which matches the version of system software on your Mac (for example, the “Install OS X Mavericks” app, or “Install macOS Sierra” app)
- Go to the developers website here (or use the direct download link from Dropbox here) and download the latest version of Recovery Partition Creator, it’s an AppleScript that will handle the recreation of the recovery drive
- After the app has downloaded, right-click on “Recovery Partition Creator.app” and choose “Open” to bypass Gatekeeper
- Follow the onscreen instructions, and select the primary drive you want to restore a recovery partition onto (typically Macintosh HD unless you named the drive differently, or are using a separate disk)
- Point to the Mac OS X installer application you downloaded in the first step and let the AppleScript do it’s work
- When the Recovery Partition Creator app is finished running, reboot the Mac and hold down Command+R to boot into Recovery and confirm the recovery partition now exists and works as intended
The recreated recovery partition is identical to one that comes with modern versions of Mac OS X to begin with, and it will offer full access to the restore, testing, and reinstalling features you would expect to see.
I had to run through this process recently on a Mac that had changed physical hard disks where the drive had been cloned first, which works great but routinely does not bring along the Recovery partition with that procedure. It doesn’t take too long to restore though, and it’s fairly straight forward process to rebuild the recovery drive again, so if you find yourself in a situation where the Recovery partition is missing or you (or someone else) have inadvertently removed that critical Recovery partition from a Mac, (or maybe intentionally deleted it too) just run through the above process to create a new one and restore that functionality again.