How to obtain Mac OS X 10.7 Lion boot disk

A Mac OS X Lion boot/install disk is useful for the occasion that you need to do a clean install, when you are replacing a new hard drive or when you have more than one Mac at home.

Just imagine the time it takes to upgrade to Lion as per Apple’s recommended method if you are doing a clean install: Install Mac OS X Snow Leopard from your Snow Leopard DVD disk. Upgrade to the latest Snow Leopard 10.6.8. Purchase and download Mac OS X Lion from the Mac App Store. Lion is about 3.76GB thus depending on your broadband speed, it might take hours for the download over the Internet. A readily available boot disk is a time saver.

Purchase Mac OS X Lion boot disk from Apple

Apple has announced that Mac OS X Lion will be available on USB thumb drive for $69 in late August through its online store. This is more than 2x what you pay for the digital download.

This is not a wise way to spend your extra money. We suggest this to be a last resort.

Manually create Mac OS X Lion boot disk

The Mac OS X Lion download from the Mac App Store contains a disk image to allow you to create your own DVD boot disk.

  • Purchase and download Mac OS X Lion from the Mac App Store.
  • Wait until Mac OS X Lion download is completed
  • Ignore the invite to continue the installation. If the installation program has started, close it.
  • Right click on the “Install Mac OS X Lion” icon in the dock.
  • Select “Show in FInder” from the menu. This will open up the folder with “Install Mac OS X Lion” highlighted. This is a file package and inside this package you will find the Lion install disk image.
  • Right click on the file package and choose “Show Package Contents”. This will open the package contents in Finder window.
  • Navigate to Contents->SharedSupport folder. Inside the folder there is a file named “InstallESD.dmg” and this is the Mac OS X Lion install disk image.
  • Drag to copy the file “InstallESD.dmg” to a temporary folder such as the Desktop.
  • To burn the dmg disk image to DVD, open Disk Utility app. You can locate Disk Utility under Applications->Utilities folder.
  • In Disk Utility app, click the burn button on the toolbar.
  • Disk Utility will now prompt you to select an image to burn. Navigate to the “InstallESD.dmg” file at the Desktop and select it.
  • Insert a blank 4.7GB DVD and wait for the disk burning to complete.

There is no boot disk required in Mac future

The just released MacBook Air and Mac Mini contains a system recovery mechanism in its firmware. This allows the restore of Mac OS X Lion from Apple servers entirely over the Internet. There is no need for an install/boot disk. We expect all future Macs will come with this “recovery over internet” feature.

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