CarbonCopyClone ($40 download) can make a bootable copy of your install disk on an external drive, including the Recovery Partition.
That way when (all disk will eventualy die) the internal drive dies, you can immmediately boot from the external and keep working, even if more slowly.
Or you can clone that external back onto internal and restart from the last backup point.
If I was maing money off the system, I would update the clone (incremental backup, really) once per day and keep things fresh and ready to take over.
I know how to make copies to get around the Fruit's shortcomings, but I hadn't gotten to the point of finalizing the server's configuration and installation options. BTW, after waiting 4 hours, the machine still did not recover. Now, it is say 6 hours for recovery and I am so far behind that this device will not be used in production. All avoidable with a simple shipping of the intercoursing system OS. This is the Fruit's height of arrogance. They love thinking for you and telling you "Oh, you should never need that." Job well done. Now I have to take this to a store, turn it in and have it re-imaged. This is a really bad joke that could so easily be avoided were it not for the 'tude of Apple.
I totally agree, completely user unfriendly & a terrible idea in my opinion.
And at least one poor soul lately needed to do a Restore, but has a 4GB limit of downloads from his ISP, already half used up for the month, so it sets at 1/3 downloaded & halts, likely to require a whole new download when the month turns over.
Even the Restore Partition on the same drive is a terrible idea.
This thread was helpful to me when I downloaded Lion on my SL system to learn it (my brother's family has Lion systems). It allows copying the entire Lion (also works for ML) installer to a thumb drive: https://discussions.apple.com/message/16639520#16639520
But that assumes you have loaded an InstallESD.dmg that is not actually installed yet. I am sure there is a way to that when the system came with Lion/ML pre-installed. Then you have what works well enough as an install disk.
For when the RecoveryPartition is damaged as well ...
Note that I am not disagreeing with your evaluation, just offering a work-around.
I forgot to mention that I appreciate the work around suggestions that have been offered by yourself and another and the spirit in which they are offered. Thank you.
The machine would not recover, so I call the local Apple store only to be told that I must see a Genius to start the repair process but they have no appointments until late in the next week. Why do I need to sit down with a Genius in order to drop off an item for repair? "That's our system," the young robot said.
Funny, I can drop my shoes with a note, or my car at the mechanic and both items will get fixed, but for a two week old Mac Mini, I need to have a meeting? If this was a child going to a doctor, I'd understand, but Apple, your computers are not my children or yours. They're machines. This one needs repair. Fix it.Don't counsel me or hold my hand.
I finally got this point across to someone who agreed to let me drop it and leave. He again tried to defend the need for me to sit with a genius because he, like the rest, is not just drinking the Kool-Aid, but swimming in it. I again told him basically: "Wipe it, start fresh, I have a life to attend to." He understood.
I do not know for sure, but my experience dealing with the Genius Bar leaves me with this impression ...
The upfront meeting is because they want to be sure of the full extent of the problem.
I knew it was a hard drive in my MBP, and could have replaced it myself. but wanted the "Apple paid for" replacement drive so let them do their initial evaluation. I also had CarbonCopyClone and TM backup completed so was not worrying about how to get my data back on it.
Others just sat: "It is broken" and "Can you make a backup for me?".
They want to know what they are facing so they can schedule it better.
You insisted it was just an OS install, so that is what you will get. Not trying to sound judgemental, just that the amount of "other health checks" they normally perform may be limited.
That's nice if you have the time to spend and can wait 5 days for an appointment. You know, a note would accomplish the exact same thing. In the end, I just signed off on them being allowed to wipe it, which is all I wanted in the first place. Restore to factory settings. Do I need to meet anybody to get that point across? No, I don't think so, but Apple does.
That would have been completely avoided with the common courtesy of including some kind of media with your purchase. I'm beginning to realize that Apple procedures are designed with Apple first and foremost, not the customer. They could even have linked the serial number on the recovery partition to a thumb drive so that the drive would only work on the machine it was sold for.