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Quick Tip: Create a Bootable Mountain Lion Flash Drive or DVD

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This post is part of a series called Mastering Mountain Lion.
An In-Depth Look at Social Sharing in Mountain Lion
11 Things You Didn't Know About Mountain Lion

When Apple made OS X 10.7 available through the Mac App Store, users who wanted restore media or simply didn't have enough bandwidth to download the operating system could pay $70 for a Flash Drive that had a copy of OS X Lion preloaded. With the release of Mountain Lion, however, Apple has stopped selling the flash drives. Luckily, with the help of this Quick Tip, you'll be able to make a Mountain Lion recovery flash drive on your own.


The first question you might be asking yourself is, "Why would I want to put OS X on a Flash Drive?" First, it provides peace of mind. If your hard drive crashes, you won't be able to use Apple's built-in recovery partition to install the OS, rendering you unable to install an operating system on your new hard drive.

Having recovery media for any computer is a great idea, as you never know when you'll really need it.

A more common case, however, is that you might simply want to perform a clean-install of OS X 10.8, when you upgrade. Without recovery media like a Flash Drive or DVD, you won't be able to format your hard drive and start from scratch. In addition, if you plan on selling your computer, you'll need to wipe the hard drive and restore it in order to prevent the new owner from accessing your data. Having recovery media for any computer is a great idea, as you never know when you'll really need it.

Before You Start

Before you begin the process of creating your restore media, here's what you'll need to do.

  • Get a  blank DVD or a Flash Drive/SD Card with at least 8GB of storage.
  • Make sure the Flash Drive doesn't have any files you need on it; as it will be wiped during the process.
  • Download OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, but don't install it. If you install the operating system, the installer file required to create the restore media will be deleted.
  • Download Lion DiskMaker, this is the tool we'll use to create the restore media.
  • The process could take upwards of 45 minutes, so don't get antsy and close the app or remove the DVD/Flash Drive.

Tutorial Screencast

Create a Bootable Mountain Lion Flash Drive or DVD


Now that you've got your restore media, you can rest easy knowing that no matter when you need it, you can restore your Mac to its factory default settings. I've got my restore disk tucked away, but the knowledge that I have it gives me some serious peace-of-mind.

Anyone who considers themselves more than just a basic Mac user will do well to have the recovery media lying around. If you've created OS X restore media, let us know how it went in the comments below!

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