I have a serious problem that I need help with.


When I installed Lion, the install of a recovery partition failed. This is not good, since the offical Lion recovery disk assistant (http://support.apple.com/kb/dl1433) is only able to create a recovery USB with an existing Recovery HD on the mac.

My attempt to fix

There are many (inofficial) workarounds: Since they are all the same, I'm sure that you're familiar with it:

  1. Open the package contents of the Lion installer from the Mac App store to get the InstallESD.dmg.

  2. Restore the InstallESD.dmg onto the HFS+ formatted USB (GUID). I used a 8GB USB stick.

    Source: create Lion install USB

This solution should be more convinient than the official soluion, since the Lion software would not have to be downloaded again.

What happened

The install USB booted fine. But the install failed. It could not even start. I got the message like: Install failed. Restart Installation.

But I did not restart immediately, since I wanted to format my whole SSD with the Disk Utiliy (which went fine). I formatted the SSD using the same Lion install USB. Having restarted the installation, I keep getting the same message! I've tried different partition layouts (always HFS+ with GUID):

  • only Macintosh HD partition
  • EFI and Macintosh HD partition
  • only Untiteled partition

I'm not able to install Lion! I do not have any install DVD (for any Mac OS). I only have the Lion Installer from the Mac App store with the InstallESD.dmgon a backup. Is there any way I can create a Lion Recovery Stick (with or without the dmg) on Windows or Ubuntu?

2 Answers 2


I've heard rumblings that the Lion Recovery Update will recreate the Recovery HD partition. Have not tested it myself: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1464 (For future reference, does little to help you now).

But to address your immediate problem, install Snow Leopard (using the discs that came with your Mac). Then once installed, log into the MAS and reinstall Lion.

  • My MBP came without Mac OS installed (ebay). I used a recovery stick of my sister to install Lion on it. That recovery stick does not exist anymore (formatted) and I won't be able to see my sister for several weeks. At the moment I'm using single boot Ubuntu. Luckily I had a Live CD lying around. I also managed to access my Time Capsule backup from Ubuntu. But using only Ubuntu does not really make me happy...
    – gentmatt
    Nov 19, 2011 at 10:05
  • You can visit an Apple Store and talk to a Genius, they may (read: almost surely) give you a copy of Snow Leopard (seeing as the Mac shipped with that OS). It would also prevent such occurrences from happening in the future. Macs usually ship with special versions of the OS, so an SL disc from a MBP won't work on an iMac, for example, which further limits your options. You are in, as they say, a real pickle.
    – user10355
    Nov 19, 2011 at 11:00
  • Oh, well. In Germany, you can count the number of Apple Stores on one hand :D. I'll try to find an Apple certified reseller.
    – gentmatt
    Nov 19, 2011 at 11:03
  • Instructions for Lion Recovery Update are found in: How can I create or recreate a Lion recovery partition?
    – ignis
    Sep 20, 2013 at 5:43

Actually, as it turns out my install USB was just fine. I just had to do a PRAM reset.

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