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Could someone please list the steps to make a backup Lion install on a flash drive? Is it as simple as copying the Lion installer?

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If, as you suggest below, your question is really "How to make a Lion installer if I don't have a Mac with (at least) Snow Leopard on it?" then that is a very different question. – TJ Luoma Nov 11 '11 at 2:37
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Your best bet is to follow the instructions on this page.

Things you'll need:

  • Flash drive bigger than 4 GB (8 GB+ would be best)
  • InstallESD.dmg (extracted from the OS X Lion App, if you've saved it prior to the upgrade)

There's an alternate method mentioned here.

Note: If you don't have the Lion Install App, follow the instructions on this page to download it again.

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Thanks, great pointers. The problem with the first method - for me - is that I don't have the SL base system. I could rebuild one, but I'm lazy. The problem with the second solution is that it's obviously dicey. Maybe I will just buy the Apple dongle... – David DelMonte Nov 4 '11 at 14:14
DON'T buy the Apple dongle… it's a terrible deal. It's expensive, it doesn't create a recovery partition, and it won't let you re-download from the Mac App Store if you need to later. Also, if you buy a new Mac in a year, it probably won't work with that either. – TJ Luoma Nov 11 '11 at 2:35

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