12 Replies Latest reply: Apr 8, 2013 11:58 AM by DJFlakk
manoaHI Level 1 Level 1

HT4649 applies to Lion. I am on Lion and want to upgrade to Mountain Lion. Does this mean I have to wipe my disk (an SSD) and reinstall Lion to install Mountain Lion or must I really attempt to go back to Snow Leopard then to Mountain Lion. I am fully prevented from installing Mountain Lion, probably because I have a third party SSD. Any suggestions?

Mac OS X (10.7.3), 15" 2.6 GHz
  • sig Level 8 Level 8

    You should be able to install ML right over Lion. You will of course be backed up.

  • varjak paw Level 10 Level 10

    You do not have to erase your drive nor revert to Snow Leopard. Mountain Lion will upgrade your existing installation of Lion, preserving your applications and user data. I strongly recommend a good backup, preferably a clone of your entire hard drive, prior to installing Mountain Lion, as a precaution in case something goes wrong.


    I also recommend making a copy of the Mountain Lion installer after it downloads but before you run it, since it's erased after running and having a copy makes future reinstallations easier (it's still possible even without it, it's just easier if you have a copy).



  • manoaHI Level 1 Level 1

    Maybe I misstated what the issue is.


    Installing ML failed (I know what it should do, but it did nothing). I cannot install ML and the installer prevents me from going further than the create partition step, since it failed. After selecting my SSD (I replaced the HDD with an SSD) to install ML to, about 3-4 minutes into the install, the install fails. I get an error message that the installer was unable to create the recovery partition and thus would not install ML.


    It also states that I should go to www.apple.com/support/no-recovery, which I did. It brings up HT4697 which is for people who want to create Lion with no-recovery. It has nothing to do with Mountain Lion no-recovery. In other words, Apple has yet to get out a relevant page, and thus my question.


    Lion allowed me to install without a recovery partition. I can understand that Apple wants to make sure that everyone gets a recovery partition, but it should still let you install ML without it, but put up multiple warnings about the dangers of not having the partition, yet still allow it.


    Steps already taken:


    I have the installer "Install OS X Mountain Lion.app" saved and created a USB recovery drive as well as a double layered DVD recovery disk.


    I have multiple backups. 2 - full Carbon Copy clones (1 at work and 1 at home), 2 - TimeMachine backups (1 at work and 1 at home). Latest Carbon Copy and TimeMachine backups were done this morning. It looks like I'm paranoid, but I have never lost any file, ever (I've been diligent about backups for the last 30 or so years); but know of many who have lost years of pictures and important files). This means that I also have multiple copies of the Installer. Some, important but not particularly confidential files also sit on DropBox, SkyDrive, GoogleDrive and iCloud.


    In other words, I am fully prepared to wipe my disk. I would rather not, however, and not because I fear losing my files since I am confident that all my files are backed up, it's just that that kind of writing to the SSD will shorten its life. Since I have multple recovery boot sources, the USB and the DVD, I want a way to skip the recovery partition part and just install ML.



  • Chloemann Level 1 Level 1

    Varjak -


    You touched on a point I've been searching for.  I am about to upgrade to ML.  I use TM to back up to an external hard drive.  How do you make a copy of the ML installer?  I've always gone to store and bought OS disks, but will try the download route for the 1st time.  I have both writable CDs and a thumb drive with about 3.7 Gb on it. 


    Also, any suggestions to avoid the problems some others seem to be having with the ML upgrade and backing up via TM?



  • manoaHI Level 1 Level 1

    For upgrading to ML, when you buy it from the App Store, download it but do not install it. It will look like you have no choice, but just quit the installer. Then via the Finder, in the Applications folder look for the file named "Install OS X Mountain Lion.app" (the extension might not show, depending upon your settings). You need to right click (or control click) and select "Show Package Contents." From there a window with "Contents" as the only item. Open contents and look for the "Shared Support" folder. In there is the file  "installESD.dmg." After this, it gets complicated.


    FIrst of all the "installESD.dmg" is 4.35 GB. But it is a disk image and this means it is just a bit too large for a stanard single-layered DVD (I know, spec says DVD can handle 4.7, but a dmg file is a disk image file). You need to make sure it is double-layered type and you need to be sure your DVD recorder can record to that media. Second, you need to know how to burn the image file onto a double layerd disk. There are many sources on how to burn dmg image files onto disks.


    My preference is a USB flash drive. Again, 4 GB may be inexpesive but it won't fit. You need at least 5 GB so an 8 GB or 16 GB would be best. I think 8 GB is enough, you need to be wiling to dediciate that USB flash drive for the whole time you have ML, at least until the next cat comes out. You will need to make it bootable to be useful as a rescue boot media. But you need to be able to work through the Disk Utility. (Applications-->Utilities-->Disk Utility). If the thought that Disk Untility has the ablity to wreck your system, don't use it. Have someone else who is familiar with it to create it for you. I highly recommend that you get a brand new USB flash drive and not one that has been used. Flash memory does not have a high cycle (write, delete, re-write) lifetime and nowhere close to magnetic media. This also means that you must dedicate it to be your recovery method.


    If you want to learn how to use Disk Utility to create a bootable USB flash drive:


    1. insert your brand new 8GB or more (more is usually a waste of money, since this will never be used for anything other than recovery.) USB flash drive.  Never use this USB flash drive for anything else, not even just a simple temporary medium for transferring files.


    2. launch Disk Utliity (Applications-->Utilities-->Disk Utility)


    3. In the left pane, you should see your drives, including your boot drive (don't touch that one) and your new USB Flash Drive.


    4. Highlight the DEVICE (the one that usually has a manufacturer's name). If there is anything below that, those are the VOLUMES. Do not mix them up.


    5. On the right side of the screen, click on the "Partition" tab. (generally Disk Utility is kinder in that you cannot partition a volume - so if you don't see a Partition tab, you have not highlighted the DEVICE.


    6. Under "Partition Layout" change it from "Current" to "1 Partition"


    7. Click on the "Options" button near the bottom, and change the radio selector to "GUID Partition Table". If you choose something else, this won't be bootable (which is rather useless in this case). Make sure "GUID Partition Table" is selected, then click on "OK".


    8. If the partion information area on the right does not accept any mouse clicks, click on the rectangle to the left of the partition pane. Then you can name it what ever you want, then you MUST change the format to "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)". Don't chose anything else.


    9. Make sure that the size looks reasonable and then click on "Apply"


    10. Disk Utility will ask you if you want to do this, in this case, click on the "Partition" button. Do not quit Disk Utility, we need it for the next steps.


    So, at this point you've made a bootable USB Flash Drive, but have not put anything to boot with. Thus the next part:


    1. Make sure your new bootable USB Flash Drive DEVICE is selected. Again, do not select the VOLUME.


    2. Click on the "Restore" tab.


    3. Drag the InstallESD.dmg file (should be near the bottom of the list on the left (it is a scrollable list, so you might have to scroll down) and drop it into the Source field.


    4. Drag the USB Flash Drive VOLUME to the Destintation field.


    5. Then click the Restore button.


    6. Drive Utility will ask if you really want to erase any data on the destination, click Erase.


    7. If Drive Utility asks for an adminstrator's password, enter it.


    Now you are done, with bootable USB Flash Drive. If you ever need to use it, with the computer off, plug in the USB Flash Drive. Turn on the computer then immediately hold down the "option" key. It will take a while, but if you made the Flast Drive correctly it will appear in the list of bootable devices.

  • sig Level 8 Level 8
  • Chloemann Level 1 Level 1

    Wow - lots of info.  Thanks to you both.  I will buy either writable DVDs or a bigger USB drive tomorrow before I try all this. I will post my results, with thanks!  Another question this poses, is - since I've always used CDs for backups and/or my external drive - it seems that people are recommending DVD s to back up.  Obviously, they hold more data, but I've never really used them - do they work the same way for backing up data, etc? Just more space? I always thought they were just for movies.


    Anyway, to the point of the original post, I will follow up as I do this over the weekend, and - again - my thanks to you both!



  • manoaHI Level 1 Level 1

    No. I read it some parts here and there from when I did the same thing for Lion. But I did it a number of times so I wrote it down for me. Since I just did it again for ML, I remembered it.

  • manoaHI Level 1 Level 1

    Regarding DVD for backup, I also recommend it, but I keep buying hard disks as well. Just remember, the "V" in DVD stands for "versatile" not "video." It started out that way, but changed a while ago. If you've been buying upgrades of OS X, you've been getting DVDs not CDs. But remember, any write your own CDs or DVDs for backups they are not going to last forever. In about 5 years or so, you might start to see some read errors. It turns out they don't last as long as pre-recorded optical media, that's why your music CDs and DVD (or Blu-ray) videos haven't died. For really important pictures and documents you might want to keep multiple copies. I have lots of USB flash drives as well. I also run a NAS so the whole family can  backup regularly. I found several TimeMachine like backup software for our Windows machines. My Linux stuff just goes to backup hard disks.

  • manoaHI Level 1 Level 1

    For my situation regarding not being able to install ML, I have to totally wipe my disk. The problem with my SSD was that I cloned my HDD onto my SSD to ensure I had everything. Well It was cloned ok but it did something to the recovery partition that I was unable to fix from Disk Utility nor any of the Unix tricks that I know from being a

    Linux/Solaris system administrator. I still working on it. But clean install is the only way.

  • Chloemann Level 1 Level 1

    Okay, I've tried to follow these instructions (to burn to DVD, since I had plenty and no thumb drives big enough - anyway, we keep losing those little suckers) and it didn't work. I downloaded ML and did not install, as suggested. But first, when I fired up "Disk Utility" it prompted me to "Burn ML to DVD."  I figured maybe this had gotten more intuitive, so I tried it.  Took a while, and it DID burn to DVD, but when I tried to install FROM the DVD, I kept getting error messages.  So then I followed the instructions to find the "InstallESD.dmg" file, but when I fired up the disk utility, none of the prompts showed up - no "partition" tabs, etc.  Maybe that's from an earlier or later (my machine is a 2008) system that I don't have, though I did update to Snow Leopard and am running the most recent update.


    So I give up.  I'm just going to install ML without backing up.  I've never had a problem in the past which required re-installing, and if I do, I'll just take it to the Apple store near me.  Too frustrating to keep trying to do something I'll probably never need.  


    Thanks for your help -  Wish me luck!

  • DJFlakk Level 1 Level 1

    Same problem manoaHI,


    The Apple article we're commenting on treats that recovery as an option you can skip, however the actual install gives you no option and fails if it cannot create the recovery. My support thread was titled "Contradicting Instuction", its a shame Apple hasn't responded to this major issue.


    That being said, looks like the only way will be by backing up, booting from disc or USB drive bootup, running Disk Utility and reformatting / repartitioning our drives to match the new Mountain Lion way... what a way to kill any enthusiasm I had for this release. I bought the upgrade the week it came out and have not yet installed it due to this painful process.


    Cheers and good luck..