How Mac OS Recovery Can Help You

Some of our team use Macs, which are a completely different kettle of fish when compared to Windows. Mac OS X has a feature called Recovery – here’s how what it’s used for, how it works, and how it can aid you.

MacOS Recovery is a set of tools built into the OS X operating system that Mac machines run on, and can be used to help restore a backup from Time Machine, reinstall your operating system, get help from online and experts and even repair your hard disk drive or solid state drive. macOS Recovery is built into your Mac’s operating system, which means you won’t need to manually install it. You would normally use Recovery when something drastic happens, like hard drive failure. If you can’t even boot up your Mac at al, it contains maintenance tools to help you get back up and running. If doing any of this sounds daunting, don’t worry – Apple Store employees will be able to help you out if you book an appointment at the Genius Bar in one of their stores.

To use macOS Recovery, simply hold down Command-R on your keyboard as soon as you turn it on and hear the power up noise. Continue holdng this combination until you see either the Apple logo or the spinning globe. You will now see the macOS Utilities window, part of Recovery.

Let’s start with Time Machine; something we’ve talked about before, but here’s a quick recap. Time Machine is a Mac feature that backs up all of your files to an external storage device like an external hard drive, a Time Capsule (Apple’s own hardware to go with Time Machine) or a macOS server, so they can be restored at a later date if needed following a data loss nightmare. When you connect your external storage device to your Mac, Time Machine may ask if you want to use it as your backup disk. If it doesn’t, just open Time Machine from the System Preferences utility. Follow the steps using the intuitive wizard, and you have you very own backup, which you can update at periods that suit you. If you suffer from a data disaster, and want to completely restore your Mac, you can use the “Restore from Time Machine Backup” feature in macOS Recovery.

If your Mac won’t boot, Disk Utility should be your first port of call. Click the ‘First Aid’ button in the top left, Open Disk Utility, select your boot volume (the drive that your Mac uses to store data and the operating system on) and at the bottom you’ll see a ‘Repair Disk’ button – press this. The disk repair process may take a bit of time if there are a multiple errors on the drive, but be patient and let the process complete. When it has completed, you’ll either find out that the disk is OK and healthy (or that Disk Utility has repaired it), or that it isn’t. It may be an operating system issue (in which case, see below). Or, there could be something physically wrong with your hard disk drive like a head crash.

Disk Utility can also be used to reinstall OS X, and can really give your Mac a new lease of life. Alternatively, it can be used to prepare your Mac for selling. Before reinstalling macOS, you can decide whether you want to format your startup disk or not. This is great if you want to erase everything to prepare for selling. But don’t do this if you plan on keeping hold of your data! All you need to do to reinstall macOS is to select ‘Reinstall macOS X’ from the utilities window, and then follow the onscreen instructions. You’ll be asked to select your disk – it’ll be obvious which one unless you have multiple external dries plugged in. For example, if you have a 750GB HDD, that’s your primary drive you want your OS installed on. Click install, and once the lengthy process is complete, your Mac will restart. If you’re keeping your Mac rather than selling it, it’ll ask you to go through the usual things like your name and personal information. It’s that easy!

Disk Utility Mac