I have a Mac that doesn't start. I have tried to restore it with online recovery and also with a thumb drive both failing though.

I have another Mac but it is not the same as the one that doesn't start. They have the same OS X (El Capitan). Can I create a recovery partition with Recovery Partition Creator from the working Mac and use it to restore the OS in my other Mac? Is it possible? If not are there other methods?


Yes it is possible. As long as you have a Mac that does work and a USB media drive, that not currently of high importance, that contains 8 GB or more of free storage.

First you'll need to download a copy of the OS (El Capitan), you'll do this be going into the Mac App Store and finding it in the purchased tab. If it's not in the purchased tab, then you may need to end up download macOS Sierra (my condolences if you do).

You would also want to format your USB (of 8GB or more) in Disk Utility to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) under the GUID Partition Table.

Once you have the USB erased and El Capitan downloaded, you can install it to the USB drive. You can do this either using DiskMaker X 5 or Terminal. For when using Terminal you could watch this video the video shows you how to use the createinstallmedia tool for macOS Sierra, however Mac OS X El Capitan has the exact same Install tool, so the process of creating the terminal command would be exactly the same as long as the createinstallmedia tool is the same, which it is.

Once you have eventually created your Mac OS X recovery USB, you can then boot to it by holding shift ‘option’ turning the machine on to reach the boot menu, where you can select the Mac OS X recovery USB you have created once it is inserted into the device.

Also, before you do anything, or at least whilst you're waiting for OS to download, I recommend you go through the following guides (you need to do a web search for them since I can't reputation to just link them here):

Mashable - How to do a clean install of OS X El Capitan

Lifewire - Perform a Clean Install of OS X El Capitan on Your Mac

95to5Mac - How-To: Create a macOS Sierra USB Install Disk (same video I linked to earlier)

  • Though helpful for the OP this doesn't exactly answer the question! AFAIK Recovery Partition Creator doesn't allow you to create a Recovery HD on a non-boot volume (the broken Mac which would have to be attached via target disk mode or even more complicated: you have to dd a RP with 2 thumb drives) and more important: it's not necessary to do it. – klanomath Dec 23 '16 at 15:06
  • So your first few words probably should be: "AFAIK it's not possible and not necessary. (But) as long as you have a 2nd Mac and a thumb drive ... you can simply create a OS X Installer thumb drive. ..." – klanomath Dec 23 '16 at 15:09

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