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After moving my computer, a Mac Pro 2013 running Sierra 10.12.6, (from one building to another, with a week or so spent in a garage), I found that it would not boot. The system drive was the internal SSD. While I was placing the computer in to a cabinet, the cylinder was unlocked and the computer dropped out and fell a few inches, and fell on to it's side. I have to assume this jostled something important enough to not boot.

I would get the Apple logo, then the circle with a line through it, then, eventually, it booted in to a utility mode with a menu to restore from Time Machine, use Disk Utility, etc.

As I understand it, that's the "Recovery Partition".

Now, I have no memory of ever creating, managing, or maintaining such a thing, but there it was.

Using the Disk Utility, I could not find the native SSD built in to the Mac Pro, but it saw my external SSDs, including my Time Machine drive.

I repartitioned one of the SSDs in to a big enough slice, and restored from Time Machine in to that new partition, and the system came back up.

So, my question is where is the Recovery Partition? I have to assume it's not on the internal SSD -- hard to imagine that simply a partition of the SSD is unmountable, vs the entire card. Is it on my Time Machine drive? That's my guess, but I don't know how to make sure.

At some level, I don't care. "It just worked" and did it's job. But I would feel better knowing that it's not on the internal SSD. My hope is that I can pop that out and push it back and it'll just work, or, barring that, I can simply replace it and nothing more untoward has happened to the machine. As it stands, it seems to be working fine save not being able to see the internal SSD.

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    please clarify... are you running on the external SSD or back on the internal SSD? – Thomas Nelson Aug 2 at 5:12
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    Also remember that your MacBook Pro has the option of Internet recovery in the event you have no bootable devices. – Thomas Nelson Aug 2 at 5:15
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    Paste the result of Terminal diskutil list into your question. [format it by selecting all the result after pasting & hitting Ctrl/k] – Tetsujin Aug 2 at 7:37
  • Your recovery partition is hidden and not seen by disk utility, unless you run diskutil list in terminal.app. If it IS deleted most systems will boot from firmware (Command-R) and get the OS install from Apple servers over the internet – Steve Chambers Aug 2 at 12:59
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diskutil list seemed to be the answer I was looking for.

$ diskutil list
/dev/disk0 (external, physical):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:     FDisk_partition_scheme                        *512.1 GB   disk0
   1:                  Apple_HFS SSD                     512.1 GB   disk0s1

/dev/disk1 (external, physical):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *3.0 TB     disk1
   1:                        EFI EFI                     314.6 MB   disk1s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS Passport                700.0 GB   disk1s2
   3:                  Apple_HFS Macintosh HD            299.4 GB   disk1s3
   4:                 Apple_Boot Recovery HD             650.0 MB   disk1s4
   5:                  Apple_HFS Partition 1             1000.0 GB  disk1s5
   6:                  Apple_HFS Partition 2             999.8 GB   disk1s6

This shows me that the Apple_Boot Recovery HD, at 650MB, is on disk1, and from the other partitions, it's obvious (to me) which actual device this is on. This was the primary goal.

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