On Thursday the hard drive on my Macbook Pro failed. Not a problem. I run Time Machine regularly so I have a full incremental backup that’ll restore my machine back to working condition. Just need to buy a new drive, install it and boot the machine into Recovery mode to start the restore.
Oh… That’s doesn’t work with a blank hard drive. Need to use a boot CD.
Oh… OS X hasn’t come on CD for ages. Try with the last physical disc I have – Snow Leopard. Nope. Doesn’t work.
What the hell do I do now?
What you have to do is download the Yosemite installer with another machine and use that to make a bootable flash drive. If you have access to another Mac. You won’t be able to do that on a PC as it won’t be able to work with the Mac file formats. Luckily I was able to do this by booting the laptop from an old, smaller hard drive.
So the lesson from today is that if you have a Mac and you’re running Time Machine, make sure you have a bootable install disc or flash drive to get a recovery going. Make one now while your machine is still working. It could save you a lot of pain later.
Clear instructions on how to do this can be found here. But in brief:
- In Disc Utility, partition the flash drive with a Mac OS Extended (journaled) filesystem and in Options choose GUID Partition table.
- Download the installer from the App Store, and cancel the install when it starts.
- Run the following command in Terminal (assuming the Flash drive is called Recovery):
sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/Recovery –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app –nointeraction