How to Restore a Mac Without a Recovery Partition

No one likes it when their computer has a serious issue. Is it possible to restore a Mac without a Recovery Partition? Of course it is! Albeit a bit tricky, below is a guide on how you can save your Mac computer from becoming a large paperweight.

The first part in restoring a Mac without a recovery partition is to decide how you’re going to do it. There are two choices: you can use the internet or you can use a thumb drive (flash drive). If you choose the first option, you’ll have to use the internet recovery option.

Mac Recovery

Normally this wouldn’t be required as Mac has stopped making boxed copies of its operating systems however it’s always good to have a hard copy in case things get particularly nasty and sometimes they can. Although Apple was good enough to hide part of the drive in case emergency reinstallation of the operating system was necessary, a hard copy can be handy when there is a serious issue with a computer. For example, a nasty Trojan has stolen your master password and you can’t access the internet.

PC users (or new Mac users) may not understand what a partition is. On a Mac, the files are stored differently than a PC. They are stored in a hierarchy. That means that the most important files are stored at the very top and the lesser important ones are in a separate section toward the bottom. Partitions are sort of like the walls of a house and you only get to see one room all the time. One of the other rooms is always locked in case of emergencies. If you there should ever be a need for you to open that door you’ll have the key.

If a part of your recovery drive is missing say because you installed a new hard drive or installed Windows and accidentally wiped out part of it, follow the steps below to restore your Mac:

First you’ll want to see if your recovery drive is still functional. Shut down your Mac. As it reboots, press and hold the Command + R keys. When you see the Apple logo release the keys. The screen should read OS Utilities. It’s the intro for the Recovery Partition. If you see this you’re on the right track. However, if your Mac boots into OS X or you see a blank screen you don’t have a recovery partition.

To use the internet recovery option for Macs without a recovery partition, you’ll first need to utilize Internet Recovery if you have it. Older Macs don’t. First shut down your Mac if it isn’t off already. Next, press and hold down the Command + R keys. You’ll see a spinning globe. There will be a message saying “Starting internet recovery. This may take awhile.” A progress bar will appear and you’ll have to wait for it to fill completely before continuing. Eventually OS Utilities will appear. Click on Reinstall OS X and simply follow the prompts and you’re good to go.

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