How to easily create Mac OS X rescue CD or DVD

“I remember something very special about my old System 6 machine. That is, the System file was about 400-600 KB and you could put just about any program on a floppy with it, bless it right, and then you had a rescue disk. Things are exponentially more complex for the modern Mac, however. Install disks wind up blowing 400-600 megabytes on the installer and OS alone. It won’t fit on a floppy, and unless you trick it right, it won’t fit on a CD, either,” CODEPOET writes for Mac Geekery.

There’s a solution, though, and it’s kind of funny how it works. You see, Apple provided a tool for something rather different that also works great for this. In my previous article on NetBoot I showed you how to make an installer image that installed a custom package and noted that it was burnable as well. Well, curious thing about it, it does exactly what we need:
• It uses your current OS to build the OS for the image
• It creates an OS that comes in around 500 MB
• It starts one program, which lists others to use

“Sounds perfect, really. So what we need to do is make this work for us. That part is astonishingly easy,” CODEPOET writes.

Easy instructions are in the full article here.

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  1. This sounds Great!

    When I need to run diagnostic utilities and there’s an extra Mac laying around, I’ll use FireWire Target Disk mode to run repair utilities from the second Mac.

    This would be like the old good days when I could boot from a System 6 or 7 floppy and run repair utilities from a second hard drive, Zip disk or a magneto optical disk.

  2. There’s also another easy solution:
    Boot the CD/DVD that came with your Mac or Mac OS install.

    Why recreate what Apple sold you?

    OK OK so what happens if your CD/DVD drive is dead? But chances are if both your HD and DVD are down, your motherboard is also toast & a rescue disk won’t do much good.

  3. I’m with loganson, it sounds easy for a geek. But OS6 on a floppy…I think I still have that on a floppy around the home office somewhere. Is there an OS6 emulator out there so I can play Submarine on my G5 iMac, I really miss that game.

  4. The other solution is to run Carbon Copy Cloner weekly to back up all your system, apps and data to an external hard drive (you do backup, don’t you?). Make that disk clone bootable and you can launch from it even if your internal drive dies. Or if you get some terminal problem that (heaven forbid) involves wiping your drive, you just clone back all your apps and data, no prob…

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