I have just purchased a brand new Mac Mini which came with Mac OS X Lion. I then (maybe not so cleverly) tried to restore a previous hard drive image to the hard drive. Unsurprisingly enough, the computer wouldn't start. So I decided that I would go with a fresh install of Lion.

However, when I booted from the Recovery Partition, it told me it would take 5 hours+ to download "Additional Components" needed to install Lion.

I'm assuming that it meant it was downloading the entire 4Gb Lion operating system! Is there not a copy of this on the "Recovery" partition? Is there anyway to install Lion without having to download the entire thing?

  • No, you need to re-download it, so that it can verify the computer with your account. Alternatively, you can buy the USB flash drive with Lion on it, for a whole lot more money.
    – user479
    Aug 31, 2011 at 0:18

1 Answer 1


The "Internet Recovery" function only contains a small system, just enough to boot up, let you do diagnostics, browse the web, and download the install packages. It doesn't contain the full install of OS X.

A full installer can be created from the Mac App store download, but the newest minis and Airs use a special build, so that won't work for them. Even if it did, you'd still have to download it at least once.

At the moment I'm afraid your best hope may be to take it to an Apple store and explain your dilemma. They'll be able to get things installed, either by downloading it on their (hopefully faster) connection, or installing from a local copy/image.

Once you do have your system set up again, you may want to invest in a backup hard drive and use a tool like SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner to make a bootable backup that you can use as a restore drive.

  • 2
    Just to add to this, Apple will work with you should you find yourself needing to re-install Lion without an internet connection. I guarantee they won't let you leave the premises with a dead Mini and a bunch of shoulder shrugs! If you can't work out a way to install it on your own, then absolutely visit an Apple Store. The Geniuses on hand will get Lion on there one way or another.
    – user10355
    Aug 31, 2011 at 1:01
  • Good point. They'll definitely sort it out one way or another, just not sure how much faster it may be. I've edited my answer to hopefully make this clearer and give the Geniuses more credit.
    – robmathers
    Aug 31, 2011 at 1:41
  • 1
    Ok thanks. I do have internet access, I'd just prefer to avoid a 4Gb download, as it would use up quite a bit of my allowance. Aug 31, 2011 at 2:29
  • @CanuckSkier, absolutely! Apple customer service is legendary. They've won me over time and time again and I'm quite likely THE impossible customer ;) DanieL, I understand. I'm in the same boat as you (owning a brand new Mini and not wanting to wait 4 hours for an install), but you know what? Between Time Machine and the stability of Mac OS X, I doubt I'll ever really need to. Hopefully you'll be in that same boat ;)
    – user10355
    Aug 31, 2011 at 3:46

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