Adding Recovery Partition to Lion Install

As I mentioned in an earlier Mac post, I upgraded my MacBook Pro with a larger 500 GB hard drive.  I made the move by cloning my existing hard drive to the new hard drive which I’d attached by USB.  This worked perfectly – until I went to encrypt the new drive.  It turns out my clone tool didn’t copy the hidden recovery partition.

I’m a big believer that any notebook or portable computer should be encrypted.  My previous PC was encrypted using Truecrypt which worked wonderfully.  When I moved to the Mac, I was happy to see Lion added support for real encryption.  I did that soon after upgrading to Lion with no problems.

I like encryption because I consider my data the most valuable things I have.  I don’t want to lose my hardware, but I really don’t want someone else able to flip through my data.  I try to keep the really important stuff off my laptop, but you never know what might slip onto it.  I like the thought that if my notebook is lost or stolen I can simply get my data back from the last backup while the thief can’t find anything.

When I went to encrypt the new hard drive, Mac OS informed me it couldn’t because the recovery partition was missing.  Some research led me to backing up my data to an external hard drive, and then doing an install and restore.  I did this, but apparently missed a step and still no recovery partition after almost a day of backup/install/restore.

I had some other tasks to work, on so I put this one off for a while.  I finally came back to this week.  My research led me to a blog post by Dmitry Dulepov that outlined a fairly straightforward process.  You install Lion to a USB drive, repartition your hard drive to create space for the recovery partition, and then copy the recovery partition from the USB drive to the hard drive.  I had a USB thumb drive that worked fine.  When I finished all went well until I looked for the recovery partition on the USB drive and didn’t see one.  Apparently this recovery partition is harder to create that I’d thought.

More reading showed me a couple more options.  First came trying to re-run the installer.  While that might have worked, I was a little wary given my track record with the installer not creating this partition.  So I did some more research which led me to this blog post on removing and rebuilding the recovery partition that referenced this entry.  I didn’t need to remove, but I did need to rebuild.  I skipped the removal of the partition in that first entry and followed the steps to rebuild it.  It worked.  I rebooted to find the recovery partition there and was immediately able to encrypt the drive.