Friday, August 26, 2011

Apple's OS X Lion now on a USB stick, $69.99

Although downloading a copy of the OS X Lion from the Mac App Store is economical ($29.99) and convenient for those who already have Snow Leopard, it can make things much more difficult for some users who are:

  • Upgrading from Tiger to Lion (but on hardware that meets the OS requirements)
  • Upgrading from Snow Leopard for the first time but have no Internet connection
  • Installing a new hard drive (where previous copy of the OS is on the old hard drive) and have no Internet connection

In these more unusual circumstances, having the OS on a USB drive maybe the only way to get the job done. Starting today, Apple is offering the OS X Lion on a thumb drive for $69.99, available from its online store now and will probably be in retail stores soon.

The most important thing to note about installing Lion via the USB stick is that Lion’s built-in recovery mechanism — to automatically prompt you to re-download a copy from the Mac App Store — will not work. Subsequent installs of Lion must use this same drive:

When you install OS X Lion using the USB thumb drive, you will not be able to reinstall OS X Lion from Lion Recovery. You will need to use the USB thumb drive to reinstall OS X Lion.

This $70 8 GB USB drive buys some peace of mind that you can still get your Mac(s) up and running even under the least ideal conditions, as long as you don’t misplace it. Alternatively, if you’re feeling frugal and have some time to spare, you can create your own DVD boot image of the Lion installer following these instructions from CNET that will let you troubleshoot your computer even when there is no ‘net.


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