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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac OS X > How to do clean install on MBA, mid-2011 w/o Internet connection?

How to do clean install on MBA, mid-2011 w/o Internet connection?
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Dec 29, 2011, 09:35 PM
 
I have a work-issued 13" MacBook Air Mid-2011. Great machine.

I am doing some testing, which requires me to do frequent clean installs on the machine. The Internet Recovery feature works well, but takes about 3 hours on my ~6Mbps d/l home connection (throughput is worse at work, due to rate limiting...I think).

I downloaded the Lion Recovery Disc Creator, built one but could not boot from it (could have been a bad build; didn't try a second time).

So, my question is, since the mid-'11s can't use the "retail" version of Lion, is there a way to do a clean install (i.e., format the drive, then install) without needing an Internet connection?
     
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Dec 29, 2011, 09:43 PM
 
Can't you download the latest build of 10.7.2 from the app store and use that to make a bootable USB flash drive?

If 10.7.2 isn't up to date enough, you might have to wait for 10.7.3 but my understanding is that Apple updates the App Store version.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Dec 30, 2011, 03:10 PM
 
One option to consider, once you have a clean install, is to clone your drive to an external USB drive, using Disk Utility. Then, when you're done with the installation on the MacBook Air, and when you need to use a clean install again, you can boot from the Recovery partition and you can use the Disk Utility contained therein to clone from the clean install on the external drive to the internal drive in the MacBook air.

Another option is to do a clean install in the MacBook Air. Use Time Machine to back it up to an external drive from the very beginning. Do not use the MacBoom Air until the first Time Machine back up is complete. Then do what you need to do. Then, instead of doing another clean install, boot from the Recovery partition and restore your initial Time Machine back up to the MacBook Air.

If you need information about cloning drives using Disk Utility, I'm sure that Googling "clone" Mac" "drives" "Disk Utility" will provide results.
     
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Dec 30, 2011, 03:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by DCJ001 View Post
Another option is to do a clean install in the MacBook Air. Use Time Machine to back it up to an external drive from the very beginning. Do not use the MacBoom Air until the first Time Machine back up is complete. Then do what you need to do. Then, instead of doing another clean install, boot from the Recovery partition and restore your initial Time Machine back up to the MacBook Air.
that requires an Internet connection or a bootable install disk.
     
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Dec 30, 2011, 03:58 PM
 
I would take to an Apple Store and let them restore it. Let them worry about it--and see if you can talk them into giving you a bootable something or other...

After that's done, you can then follow the sensible advice given above...if the Apple Store doesn't give you something bootable.

Edit: Apple came up with the snafu, they should fix it...
     
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Dec 30, 2011, 06:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by scip View Post
I am doing some testing, which requires me to do frequent clean installs on the machine.
This is the perfect case for running a virtual copy of Lion in Parallels. Create your virtual machine and save a copy. Then you can just throw away the copy you're working with and start over by making a new copy.
     
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Dec 30, 2011, 09:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by chabig View Post
This is the perfect case for running a virtual copy of Lion in Parallels. Create your virtual machine and save a copy. Then you can just throw away the copy you're working with and start over by making a new copy.
I do this with Windows. I keep a couple of XP VMs kicking about for scanning Win drives for viruses and spyware from my MBP.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Dec 30, 2011, 10:34 PM
 
Try partitioning the HDD into 3 or 4 drives (or more), use one as a clean install, copy it to all the others, and you have multiple drives to play with before you need to reinstall.

I'm a bird. I am the 1% (of pets).
     
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Dec 31, 2011, 10:57 AM
 
All creative replies, thank you.

I can't seem to download Lion from the Mac App Store. Option-clicking the Installed button (or the Lion logo above it) shows the price. Obviously, I don't want to buy it since Lion came preinstalled on the Air.

VMs won't work, because I'm doing testing on third-party whole-disk encryption products, which is a corporate policy (all drives must have disk-level encryption as a safeguard against theft, loss, etc.).

Being that the Air has a 128GB drive, I don't want to get crazy with having multiple partitions.

While Carbon Copy Cloner and Disk Utility methods would work, my objective is to be able to perform a "plain vanilla" clean install, like we have been able to do with Snow Leopard and all the previous OS versions. As both an enthusiast and technical professional, there are merits associated with doing it in this manner.

So, back to the original question: Can the mid-2011 MacBook Air, that doesn't ship with any kind of full recovery media be clean installed without an Internet connection? One final dis-qualifier is that the Internet Recovery feature does not work on WPA Enterprise networks; only personal or "consumer" grade wireless networks.

-Steve
     
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Dec 31, 2011, 11:50 AM
 
Well, clone your plain vanilla install to an external disk.

Perform your experiments on the internal disk, and when you're ready for another plain vanilla install, startup off the external disk, reformat the internal disk, and clone the external plain vanilla install back onto the internal disk.

Or, go to an Apple Store and demand an install disk that works with MBA...
     
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Dec 31, 2011, 05:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by scip View Post
VMs won't work, because I'm doing testing on third-party whole-disk encryption products...
I would just stick with FileVault 2, because it's integrated deeply and transparently into the OS. I would be very skeptical of any third-party product that bolts onto the OS.
     
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Dec 31, 2011, 11:24 PM
 
I have used a third party product called Checkpoint Endpoint or something like which I sourced for a customer before Filevault implemented FDE and as far as I know it works fine.

I'm not fond of FDE though. If you are going to use it, you really have to be on top of your backups because when it goes wrong, to goes wrong in style. Then of course you have to encrypt your backups too or its not worth the bother in the first place. I know there are workplaces and government agencies which insist on it but it really is a pain in the ass IMO.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
   
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