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When I start it, hold alt, then choose "Recovery 10.11" it takes about 50 minutes for the waiting bar to fill. After that, nothing happens (I tried leaving it up for about about 10 hours and 36 minutes). If I start it up by holding command R, it starts up in Internet Recovery Mode, but I need to use the normal mode because csrutil doesn't exist in the Internet Recovery Mode Terminal (it looks like a pre 10.10 design) and I can't change the shell to a newer one.

  • If you boot to Internet recovery, what version of the OS are you running? – bmike Nov 29 '15 at 23:56
  • @bmike Mountain Lion. – DisplayName Nov 30 '15 at 0:32
  • Well that's a pickle - it's downloading the shipping version which is "correct" in some sense, but not as helpful in your case. I'll try to edit my answer to make it more helpful -you don't have to wipe and reinstall like I said earlier. That would clearly "work" but there are less damaging things you can do... – bmike Nov 30 '15 at 1:41
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+ R recovery mode (Internet Recovery) will restore the OS that originally came on your Mac, not the currently installed one.

It sounds like you will need to reinstall from scratch. That should setup a recovery partition that you can boot to. Use this command replacing MyVolume with the name of the USB drive to make an installer key.

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app

The Apple instructions for this can be found here.

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By design of SIP, only the local recovery can change the local boot volume.

If you can boot to the local OS - you'll have the most ability to make a UDB installer to get you out of this jam as well as prevent needing internet recovery in the future (which in your case is 10.8). You could also try using Internet Recovery to reinstall an OS on top of what you have. That should re-install the system components harmlessly and patch yp your Recovery HD. If you can't get any installer to run and fix/repair/recreate your local RecoveryHD then wipe the drive and start over.

My answer on question The OS X upgrade couldn't be started because the disk is damaged and can't be repaired covers the erase procedure with links to Apple supper articles with step by step instructions. Since your local recovery is broken, use Disk Utility from Internet recovery to do the erasing.

If you can get a second Mac, target disk mode will speed this up greatly and also assist with backup if yours isn't current.

  • @displayname - did you re-run the installer to patch up your Recovery HD? That might be your only solution, even if you would rather not spend that time. – bmike Nov 29 '15 at 23:57

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