Create a Recovery HD Volume on OS X El Capitan and Later

Creating a Recovery HD volume on an internal drive in OS X El Capitan and macOS Sierra and later is a bit more cumbersome. That’s because, with the advent of OS X El Capitan, Apple removed the hidden Disk Utility Debug menu. Since Disk Utility can no longer access the hidden Recovery HD partition, we have to use a different method, specifically, Terminal and the command line version of Disk Utility, diskutil.

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Create a Recovery HD Volume on OS X Lion Through OS X Yosemite

The Recovery HD volume is hidden; it won’t show up on the desktop, or in Disk Utility or other cloning applications. In order to clone the Recovery HD, we must first make it visible, so that our cloning application can work with the volume.

With OS X Lion through OS X Yosemite, we can use a hidden feature of Disk Utility. Disk Utility includes a hidden Debug menu that you can use to force hidden partitions to be visible in Disk Utility. This is exactly what we need, so the first step in the cloning process is to turn on the Debug menu. You can find instructions here:

  • Enable Disk Utility’s Debug Menu

Remember, you’ll only find the Disk Utility Debug menu available in OS X Lion through OS X Yosemite. If you’re using a later version of the Mac OS, jump ahead to the next section. Otherwise, follow the guide to make the Debug menu visible, and then come on back and we’ll continue the cloning process.

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Repair Your Mac’s Drives With Disk Utility’s First Aid

Disk First Aid and the Startup Drive

You can use Disk Utility’s First Aid on your Mac’s startup drive. However, in order for First Aid to perform any repairs, the selected volume must first be unmounted. Your Mac’s startup drive can’t be unmounted since it’s in use, which means you will have to start up your Mac from another bootable device. This can be any drive that has a bootable copy of OS X installed; alternatively, you can use the Recovery HD volume that OS X created when it was installed on your Mac.

We’ll give you instructions for using Disk Utility’s First Aid on a non-startup volume, and then for using First Aid when you need to repair your Mac’s startup volume. The two methods are similar; the main difference is the need to boot from another volume instead of your normal startup drive. In our example, we’ll use the Recovery HD volume that was created when you installed OS X.

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Use OS X Combo Updates to Correct Installation Problems

Apple routinely releases updates to OS X that are available through the Software Update process or the Mac App Store, depending on the version of OS X you are using. These software updates, available from the Apple menu, usually provide the simplest method for ensuring your Mac’s operating system is kept up to date. They can also cause problems, particularly if your Mac should freeze, lose power, or otherwise prevent the update from completing. When this occurs, you end up with a corrupt system update, which may manifest itself as simple instability: occasional freezes or the system or applications locking up. In the worst-case scenario, you may have problems booting, forcing you to consider reinstalling the OS.

Another problem is related to OS X’s incremental approach to updates. Since Software Update only downloads and installs system files that need to be updated, you can end up with some files being out of date with respect to other system files. This can result in infrequent system or application freezes, or the inability of an application to launch.

Although the Software Update problem is infrequent, and most Mac users will never see it, if you’re having some unexplained issues with your Mac, the Software Update problem could be the culprit. Eliminating it as a possibility is very easy to do.

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Cleaning Up Your Mac’s Storage

Start the cleanup process with the easiest methods first, and move on to ones that may be more difficult to perform.

Empty the Trash – The Mac’s trash is actually a folder used to temporarily store files you have deleted. All those files you have moved to the trash haven’t been erased, they are still taking up space on your drive. The idea is that if you made a mistake and need a file you trashed, you can easily retrieve it.

The disadvantage is that it is easy to forget to manually empty the trash resulting in a large number of files taking up space. Emptying the trash will permanently remove all files within the Mac’s trash. If you would like to check what is in the trash first, move your cursor to the trash icon in the Mac’s Dock, right-click and select Open from the popup menu.

If there are any files you need, you can drag them out of the trash or right click on a file in the trash and select Put Back from the popup menu to move the file back where it came from.

Once you have the trash containing only unwanted items, right-click on the trash icon in the Dock and select Empty Trash from the popup menu.

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Creating an Admin Account in Single User Mode

Start by turning off your Mac. If you’re not able to shut down normally, press and hold the power switch.

Once your Mac shuts down, you’re going to restart it in a special startup environment called Single User mode, which boots your Mac into a Terminal-like interface where you can run commands directly from a prompt.

You can use Single User mode for many different troubleshooting processes, including repairing a startup drive that won’t start up.

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How to Get Text Messages on Your Mac

iMessages are Apple’s unique messaging service that sends messages using an internet connection. iMessages are sent and received via Apple’s Messages app, which comes standard on all iPhones and Macs. iMessages can only be sent between Apple devices. Other messages are sent as SMS messages or text messages and can be sent to any device, including Android.

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