I'm trying to upgrade from OS X Lion 10.7.5 to Mountain Lion. The installation failed with a message stated something about "no recovery" and a link to Apple site with Recovery update. I downloaded the update, but it could not run. Currently, my system is not at the state it was before I started the whole thing. For example, Safari, Disk Utilities, Startup Disk, Security (firewall setting tool), etc. could not start. Also, I used to connect to a NAS smb drive, but it does not show up now. Some other third party apps still work fine, Firefox, etc.

Apparently the upgrade process did not do a rollback when it failed.

So, what are my options?

Edit: I found this article http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4718 that shows you how to fix this. But it requires the use of Disk Utilities to create an external recovery partition but my Disk Utilities currently would not run.

  • So what state are you in, what OS, why did the recovery did not work, what was the message or error, what hardware do you have, please provide information to enable someone to give you a answer. How do you do the upgrade, from where, did you try to upgrade again.... HELP :)
    – Ruskes
    Aug 6, 2013 at 23:45

2 Answers 2


Have you attempted to boot into safe mode and run the recovery update in safe mode?

You can boot into safe mode by holding down the left shift key.

Full details here: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1455

  • I tried to go to the safe mode. But it got stuck at the gray Apple and the spinning wheel. I shut it down after 30 minutes. should it take longer to start a safe mode?
    – user523234
    Aug 7, 2013 at 0:52
  • No Safe mode should only add a couple of minutes to the machines boot time. Aug 7, 2013 at 0:59
  • So, the unsuccessful upgrade process did messed this up as well. Thanks for your reply.
    – user523234
    Aug 8, 2013 at 4:12

I finally have to reinstall Lion using Internet method after removing all partitions on the hard drive. With this, Lion will create a recovery partition. A recovery partition is a requirement for upgrading from Lion to Mountain Lion. After Lion installed, I was able to upgrade to Mountain Lion without a hitch.

Not sure if this happened uniquely with my system, I would think the upgrade process should have first checked for this requirement early in the process without starting to overwrite some of the systems components which made the Disk Utility, Safari, etc. un-startable.

So if you happen to do an upgrade, make sure you have a recovery partition on your current drive. If not, follow this http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4718 to create an external recovery partition first before proceeding the upgrade.

  • Not the ideal result but you got it working. Can you mark your answer as correct? Aug 8, 2013 at 4:46
  • It is possible to upgrade without a recovery partition. We have a MacMini Server which in the RAID1 configuration does not have any recovery partition, and relies on network recovery if anything goes wrong. It has been upgraded from 10.7 to 10.8, and the lack of a local recovery partition was not a problem. support.apple.com/kb/HT4649
    – Kent
    Aug 8, 2013 at 5:02

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