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The backup disk used by Time Machine has a recovery partition you can boot from.

Since I started using Time Machine with OS X Snow Leopard, the recovery disk is a Snow Leopard recovery disk, and will only Snow Leopard.

How can I update the disk to be a Mavericks recovery disk?

  • How did you get a recovery HD on that drive in the first place? The typical route to update Recovery HD is install the corresponding OS onto that disk. In the past that hasn't broken things, but I hesitate to mess with your backup without having tested it several times. – bmike Nov 8 '13 at 16:35
  • Time Machine automatically creates a hidden Recovery HD on the backup disk. At least, it did in my case. – fefrei Nov 8 '13 at 17:01
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The hard way: Wipe the backup drive. Set up Time Machine again to backup to this drive. Wait for the backup to complete - and find a Mavericks recovery partition on it.

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