View Full Version : Does SD! clone the new Recovery HD partition in Lion?

07-20-2011, 02:44 PM
As I read more about the Mac OS X Lion install I see that a 650MB partition is created called Recovery HD (invisible and bootable). How does SuperDuper! handle this hidden partition if at all?


In other words, if I need to re-clone my main boot drive will this Recovery HD partition be lost?

P.S. Thanks for updating SuperDuper! so fast and giving us a version compatible with Lion!

07-20-2011, 02:46 PM
The recovery partition is a separate partition. We only copy the partitions you tell us to copy. So the recovery partition would not be removed (unless you took steps to do so).

07-20-2011, 03:08 PM
OK, but I would lose the Recovery HD partition if I upgraded my Mac Pro boot HD to a 2TB drive and then re-cloned my backup over to it?

Probably won't be an issue to most users - since I'm thinking about it I'll probably have a bootable Lion thumb drive or DVD on hand anyway.

07-20-2011, 03:20 PM
Probably, yes, if you replaced the drive. You could always clean install to the drive and then migrate from the backup, should you want to (and there must be a way to recreate the partition).

Alternatively, you can follow the steps you'll find on the 'net to burn a Lion DVD and not worry about it too much. :)

07-21-2011, 03:48 PM
I restored a Lion backup today (switching my Mac Mini from a RAID1 setup to 2 single drives with the first being duped to the second) and discovered that, you can't use the new Filevault if that recovery partition isn't there. Is there an easy way to tell SuperDuper to clone the recovery partition as well? For what its worth, I just reinstalled Lion on top of itself and it created the partition and I was on my merry way, but I'd like to automate the process somehow.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around how to have my backups and my boot drive encrypted while maintaining the level of awesome from SuperDuper. So close!

07-21-2011, 03:51 PM
We don't copy the recovery partition. It's not exposed to us. We only copy one volume at a time - the one you pick. Others don't come along with it.

There must be a way to recreate the recovery partition... I just don't know what it is (and at present I don't have the spare cycles to investigate due to the support load due to Lion's release)...

07-22-2011, 04:07 AM
There is one thing I can't get clear in my mind. If I use SD to restore a back up to the original drive volume, does SD leave the hidden restore partition alone and intact or does the whole drive get reformatted as one partition/volume?
I know it may be an obvious answer but please be patient with me!


07-22-2011, 09:23 AM
We don't touch the recovery partition, so if you restore the 'visible' volume it will still be there. We never repartition at all: we copy from one partition (source) to another (destination).

This is one of the reasons we're providing "initial" Lion compatibility. There are issues with the Recovery Partition and FileVault that aren't entirely clear yet. We're still working through the right way to handle these rather extensive changes.

The file data on the drive, though, is fine...

07-22-2011, 05:54 PM
If you want to replace your HD and absolutely need the recovery partition, why not

do a clean install, which will create the recovery partition;
transfer your clone back to the new Lion installation

Presto, you're back in business, complete with a recovery partition.

07-22-2011, 05:59 PM
Indeed, that's what I've suggested to some people. Or, when you do the clean install, migrate from the backup (with the "volume attached to this Mac" option).

07-22-2011, 11:31 PM
My initial suggestion for backing up your boot partition would be to attach your backup drive, encrypt it with a good password, then perform your backup. This should (will be testing tonight) create whatever partitions are necessary. It will also create CoreStorage logical volume groups. Be careful what you do with this backup drive because the CoreStorage volume structure can be messy to fix. See blocked http://arstechnica.com/apple/reviews/2011/07/mac-os-x-10-7.ars/13 for more information.

To backup your boot drive, you'll need to mount the backup drive (connect it) and enter the encryption password to allow it to be used. You get a recovery key when setting up FV2 on your boot drive but I doubt this same key works with other drives you encrypt from your main computer. I also doubt your encryption keys will match between your boot drive and any external drive you encrypt. I know you can set up an encrypted Time Machine backup because I've seen the prompt for it.

Having SuperDuper! clone the recovery disk/partition shouldn't be necessary and might not work if cloned. If you hose your boot drive (I did once already), I agree with the other suggestion that you quickly perform a clean install of Lion then restore from your backup doing a Smart Update. If you just restore your backup to a clean disk, it won't create the recovery partition but this can be easily created by re-installing Lion on top of the restored version (did this today). I believe doing it this way requires you to redo your FV2 configuration.

I'm finishing the encryption process as I write and will look at the encrypted drive to see what it looks like. I might not be able to mount it without entering a password and I can't mount it on a non-Lion Mac (already tried). Once I enter the password, the disk is available for reading/writing so I won't be able to see what the files look like. From what I've read, FV2 is at a different level than old FV so it doesn't use the same sparseimage bundle. I'll check back when I've finished my testing. Wish me luck....

Saturday morning:
Finished encryption last night, formatted backup drive as HFS+ (case-sensitive, journaled, encrypted). This creates a non-recovery partition that is used for booting:

0: GUID_partition_scheme *160.0 GB disk2
1: EFI 209.7 MB disk2s1
2: Apple_CoreStorage Backup160 159.7 GB disk2s2
3: Apple_Boot Boot OS X 134.2 MB disk2s3
0: Apple_HFSX Backup160 *159.5 GB disk3

Ran SuperDuper! normally. First backup gave error on a cache file:

| 09:35:25 PM | Info | Error copying /System/Library/Caches/com.apple.Components2.SystemCache.Components to /Volumes/Backup160/System/Library/Caches/com.apple.Components2.SystemCache.Components of type 8 due to error 2
| 09:35:25 PM | Error | SDCopy: Error copying /System/Library/Caches/com.apple.Components2.SystemCache.Components to /Volumes/Backup160/System/Library/Caches/com.apple.Components2.SystemCache.Components of type 8 due to error 2: No such file or directory

Re-ran backup and it completed successfully. External disk uses FV2 encryption, requiring a password to mount it. This password can be saved in the keychain.

Saturday morning I restarted and booted off the backup. It came up with a different boot prompt asking for disk password. No problem, entered password and it finishes the startup. Once up, prompt ask for "any" password of my internal disk. I used my non-admin password and it looks like everything is available. I didn't try copying back to the internal disk. I restarted again and came back up under the internal disk. It did ask for an initial password before my PolicyBanner (search web for how to create initial banner) came up with the regular login screen. This initial logon is the same as for the external disk when booting, it unlocks the disk so you can use it.

I haven't done exhausted testing but my initial tests look good. The little hiccup is something I've seen on occasion previously and it didn't bother me after getting a full backup. FV2 works at the block level, not the file level, so things should work just fine. That said, you have to be careful when reformatting backup drives because once encrypted, they become part of a CoreStorage volume and this needs to be addressed before simply erasing the drive to make sure it doesn't affect your boot drive.

07-25-2011, 06:58 AM
Interesting discussion, just thought I'd throw this piece of information into the mix: iPartition 3.3.1 from http://www.coriolis-systems.com/ is the only thing I've found (outside terminal) that does see the recovery partition.

07-25-2011, 10:03 AM
Yes, it's quite consciously hidden from "user level tools" by Apple.

07-25-2011, 11:17 AM
Interesting discussion, just thought I'd throw this piece of information into the mix: iPartition 3.3.1 from http://www.coriolis-systems.com/ is the only thing I've found (outside terminal) that does see the recovery partition.

With the Debug menu in Disk Utility (have forgotten the exact Terminal command) enabled you can choose the item to "Show every partition."

07-29-2011, 11:09 PM
I installed Lion over my SuperDuper clone. It added the Recovery partition to the drive with my clone.

07-29-2011, 11:11 PM
You should be able to do that before or after...

08-10-2011, 05:33 PM
These might be helpful for understanding/using Lion Recovery