Non-standard Boot Camp prevents Lion Recovery HD and FileVault

Having a non-standard Boot Camp partition will prevent the Lion installer from creating a Recovery HD hard disk partition, according to an Apple tech article. It will also prevent you from using the FileVault feature to encrypt the data on the drive. The fix that Apple suggests could take up a whole day or more.

When such a Boot Camp partition is detected, the Lion installer will display a message, “Some features of Mac OS X Lion are not supported for the disk.” This occurs if the Boot Camp partition was created with manually modified Boot camp setting or if further partitioning was done after Boot Camp was set up.

The Recovery HD partition allows you to boot from it and run Disk Utility to repair the Lion partition or repair permissions. It also lets you restore the drive from a Time Machine backup, or re-download the Lion installer (all 4GB of it) if you need to reinstall. It does not let you reinstall from a copy of the installer you may have made.

The fix that Apple suggests could take a whole day or more.

  • Back up the Mac and Boot Camp Windows partitions separately
  • Erasing the disk and repartition to a single partition
  • Reinstall Snow Leopard
  • Download and install the Snow Leopard version 10.6.8 Update.
  • Re-download the Lion Installer (You can avoid this step: see below.)
  • Install Lion
  • Run the Boot Camp Assistant to create a new Boot Camp partition
  • Restore Windows to the new Boot Camp partition.
  • Apple points out the Recovery partition is not necessary to install Lion. Neither is FileVault. This procedure is only necessary if you want these features.

TIP: we recommend that anyone installing Lion make a copy of the Lion installer efore installing Lion. That’s because the installer deletes itself after installing. The only way to make a copy is before installation starts. When the download is complete, the Lion Installer launches automatically. When it does, quit the Installer (called “Install Mac OS X”) and copy it from the Applications folder on to a DVD or USB flash drive or storage. If you need to install it again, copy it to the Applications folder of Snow Leopard 10.6.8 or later.

TIP: Fix for Glitch preventing Lion from installing with Boot Camp

Apple’s first recommendation is to backup and reformats the drive. If that can’t be done, the article recommends using Disk Utility to slight shrink the size of the non-Boot Camp partition. You can then return the partition to its original size after you install Lion.

Harry Erwin reported this problem to us and essentially used this solution successfully. However, he booted from and another volume and erased the hard drive, which isn’t necessary to resize a partition. Here’s his report:

I tried to install Lion on a machine with Boot Camp (no post-Boot Camp modifications to the partitioning) and got the norecovery response. Oops.

I went to the norecovery website and nothing applied to my situation. Note WinClone doesn’t work on Snow Leopard, so reformatting the disk and restoring the Boot Camp partition isn’t really feasible.

I tried to login to discussions using my Apple ID and found it was disabled for security reasons, even though I’m an Apple Developer.

I went to to sort the problem with my Apple ID and it doesn’t exist.

I tried to create a new Apple ID based on my address and ended up at

The fix is as follows. Clone the Mac hard drive using SuperDuper to an external drive. Boot from the clone. Use Disk Utility to erase the Mac partition (Macintosh HD). Nudge it one GB smaller. Use SuperDuper to copy the clone to the original mac partition. Now you can install Lion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *