Solved: How to recreate the recovery partition on OSX Mavericks after a time machine restore to a blank drive

filevault partition errorMy Macbook Pro (mid-2009) hard drive crashed a few weeks ago.  Since I had a current Time Machine backup, I figured that it would be super-simple to install a new hard drive and do a restore.  Well, it wasn’t as simple as I’d hoped.

After installing a new solid state drive (all you need is a small phillips screwdriver and a T6 Torx driver), I connected my Time Machine external drive and turned on the Macbook.  I decided to see what would happen without trying any of the special startup keys.

It booted into a utility that let me start the Time Machine restore, but Time Machine didn’t find a suitable drive to restore to.  I had to back out of the restore and use disk utility to format the drive (Mac OS Extended (Journaled)).

With a formatted drive, the Time Machine restore worked well.  My Mac rebooted and was back in action.  However, when I tried to turn File Vault encryption back on, I got the error from the screenshot above: “File Vault can’t be turned on for the disk; Some disk formats don’t support the recovery partition…”

Of course, when I formatted the drive, I didn’t create the recovery partition.  I didn’t know that I needed to, and I didn’t know how to.  Now I needed a way to create the recovery partition after the fact.  Thankfully, Christopher Silvertooth has come to the rescue with “Recovery Partition Creator 3.7“.

Here’s my partition list before:

partitions before

His app required the OSX Mavericks installer, but that’s available on the App Store.  Here’s the simple process:

  1. Download OSX Mavericks from the App Store and then cancel the installation that auto-starts.
  2. Download Recovery Partition Creator 3.7, unpack it, and run it.
  3. Tell it what version of OSX you’re running, and where to find the OSX installer (the Applications folder)

That’s it!  The recovery partition is there and File Vault will work again.

partitions after

4 thoughts on “Solved: How to recreate the recovery partition on OSX Mavericks after a time machine restore to a blank drive

  1. Christian

    Thanks so much for this. I just upgraded my hard drive and cloned it with SuperDuper (paid version). For some reason it didn’t copy the recovery partition and I thought I was going to have to start again, but this worked great and FileVault is encrypting my files as I type. Cheers!

  2. brian

    This just worked on Mac Sierra 10.12.1. This is amazing. My only question is how did my existing OS get modified? I have made some custom adjustments to fix a bad video gpu. Hopefully I do not need to reply these settings again.

    1. karl.kranich Post author

      I don’t understand the question “how did my existing OS get modified?”, but if you did a recovery from a backup after you made the “custom adjustments”, they should have been restored.



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