I have bought myself a SSD and replaced the internal disk with it. I was running Lion before (latest patch level). I'm using Time Machine to back my laptop up.

When I was done replacing my HDD I booted up a Lion installation USB stick.
I created one partition on my SSD and told it to restore from my Time Machine backup.

This worked great, however I also want to again turn on FileVault and I'm getting the error:

FileVault can’t be turned on for the disk “Macintosh HD”.
Some disk formats don’t support the recovery partition required by encryption.
To use encryption, reinstall this version of Mac OS X on a reformatted disk.

I've read that this is because I'm now missing the recovery partition (Didn't even know I had that).

  • What are my options here?
  • Can I create this partition manually?

Do I need to reinstall Lion again (cleanly), patch it, and then restore from Time Machine?

4 Answers 4


From http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4790

FileVault 2 requirements

FileVault 2 requires OS X Lion and Recovery HD installed on your startup drive, which the OS X Lion installer will attempt to create at installation. If you receive an alert that no Recovery HD could be created and continued to install OS X Lion, you will be unable to use FileVault 2. See this article for more information. Please note that Recovery HD must be present on your computer's startup volume to use FileVault 2 (not an external Recovery HD).

Also, if you partitioned the new SSD yourself, ensure that you used the GUID partition table scheme.

Re-installing lion over the top of your existing install will recreate it for you.


I have described my solution in this blogpost: http://hints.binaryage.com/recover-lost-recovery-hd-for-filevault/

  • 2
    Whilst your answer may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the article in an answer below, and provide the link for reference
    – Pfitz
    Dec 3, 2012 at 7:28
  • This worked perfectly for me. Note that you must merge the partitions, you cannot delete the new partition or it will also delete the new recovery partition Aug 22, 2013 at 3:00

I has a similar problem. You don't need to reinstall your OS just to get the Recovery partition. Here's what I did to get it to work:

  1. First of all make a full backup (I personally use TimeMachine).
  2. Make sure that you have a bootable Mountain Lion USB drive
  3. Follow the instructions here: https://brain.osx.ca/groups/coolstuff/wiki/932a7/, but you can probably skip the parts about deleting and merging your current partitions (you probably just got the one partition).

Although the above link shows you how to make the partition, thus allowing you to use FileVault, it doesn't make my Recovery Partition bootable. I'm okay with that, because I have a bootable USB drive.

  • 1
    Reinstalling the OS right over top of your current OS installation will auto-create a recovery partition (although it will be an internet recovery one).
    – Bryson
    Aug 18, 2013 at 18:45

If you have any other disk around with Recovery Partition — use Carbon Copy Cloner. It allows you to clone Recovery Partition.

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