by lunarg on September 2nd 2011, at 13:01

Apple has decided that the latest release of their OS, Mac OS X Lion (10.7), is no longer available as an install media. New systems have a recovery partition (called a Recovery HD) with the installation files, and those with earlier versions of the OS (Leopard and Snow Leopard) have to buy it via the App Store as a download.

The last scenario is in fact a hassle if you ever want to reinstall your Mac: prior to installing Lion, you have to install Snow Leopard, then all the updates, before finally downloading Lion. It would be so much easier if one could just install Lion from scratch.

Luckily, there's a way to create an install DVD yourself very easily: the install image is available inside the Lion download from App Store. It's just a matter of finding it, then burning it to a DVD or USB stick.

This procedure only works when you have the original installer, either from the recovery partition (Recovery HD) if you have a new Mac with Lion preinstalled, or right after you've purchased and downloaded Lion from the App Store, but have not yet installed it (i.e. you're still running Snow Leopard). When downloaded from the App Store, the installer is automatically deleted when Lion has been installed.

Via App Store

When still running Snow Leopard, purchase Lion from the App Store, and let it download. Do not yet run the installer! It will be downloaded to the Applications list and will be available in the Dock as well.

Alternate-click (right-click or ctrl-click) the installer and choose Show Package Contents from the menu. A Finder window opens with several folders.

Look for a big file called installESD.dmg in the folder SharedSupport. Copy it onto your desktop (or another location).

Start Disk Utility and burn the image (installESD.dmg) to a DVD. That's it: you have your very own installation DVD of Lion.

Via Recovery HD

The instructions above apply here as well, accept that the installation image can be retrieved from the recovery partition on your harddisk. To get to it, you first have to mount the partition, then copy installESD.dmg to your desktop (or somewhere else), and burn that image on a DVD (using Disk Utility).

If you've upgraded from Snow Leopard, the recovery partition (Recovery HD) may not be available. In this case, you can only get the install image from another Snow Leopard installation, through the App Store.
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