When Apple announced that Lion would be available for purchase through the Mac App Store, it left many wondering what would happen if there was a problem with our Macs. In the past, you could always count on inserting a CD or DVD, allowing you to boot up in times of trouble. Lion is a different beast. There is no CD or CD, thanks to the electronic delivery. Apple promised to sell Lion on USB sticks and you can purchase one from the Apple Store for $69. This is great if don’t mind paying the extra fare for both installation and recovery in a convenient USB Thumb Drive. If you opted for the $29.99 update from the Mac App Store, then a Lion Recovery USB will do just fine.

The Lion Recovery Disk Assistant lets you create Lion Recovery on an external drive that has all of the same capabilities as the built-in Lion Recovery: reinstall Lion, repair the disk using Disk Utility, restore from a Time Machine backup, or browse the web with Safari.

Thanks to the new Lion Recovery Assistant software direct from Apple, you can make your own for the cost of a 2GB USB stick.


Lion Recovery USB Stick

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Apple recommends a 1GB USB stick or more. Amazon sells them for roughly $6.
  • You must already have Lion installed on your Mac
  • Download and install the Lion Recovery Assistant from Apple
  • Have your USB Flash Drive in your Mac. No need to format it.
  • When prompted, show the Lion Recovery Assistant the USB Flash Drive you’d like to use
  • A prompt will advise you that all data will be erased on the disk
  • Your Mac will then proceed to create a Lion Recovery USB stick and advise when it’s completed
Lion Recovery USB Key

The whole process takes less than 5 minutes. I had a previous USB flash drive that I had been using to back up QuickBooks. I didn’t format it and simply let the Lion Recovery app do it’s thing. Now, should you have problems with your Mac, you should press the option key when restarting your Mac. Of course, you’ll need to do this with the USB Flash Drive inserted.