How to create a recovery drive to save your failing Mac?

Hard drive showing indications of possible inaccessibility or deterioration of the performance of your Mac Operating System is considered a failed hard drive. However, a failed hard drive shows certain indications as shown below.

Symptoms of a Failed Hard Drive

  1. File system corruption
  2. Major delays
  3. Regular system reboots
  4. Common Error Messages
  5. System crashes
  6. Bad sectors preventing access to data
  7. System failure to boot

If you encounter any of the above-mentioned symptoms, then it is high time that you recover data from the failed hard drive.

Nevertheless, if you have a failed hard drive on Mac and you are wondering how to keep your data safe, then this article is for you. Here we will walk you through easy solutions on how to create a recovery drive for your failed hard drive on macOS

Remark – We recommend using an external storage device or USB with sufficient storage space to format/back up the failed drive.

Create a recovery drive to save your failing Mac with

  1. Back up your data with Disk Utility
  2. Create a bootable disk for recovery

Restore the backup data with Disk Utility

Note – Before proceeding to format an external storage device, we recommend that you try Disk Utility to rescue your data from a failed hard drive. This method only applies to hard drives that have not suffered physical damage and are accessible.

  1. Go to the Disk Utility app on your Mac, choose View > Show All Devices.
  2. Select the desired volume that you want to restore and then press the Restore button.
  3. This is the volume that will be erased and become the exact copy of the failed hard drive.

Copy the data to a working hard drive

  1. Plug in the new working hard drive
  2. Go to Disk Utilities on a working hard drive
  3. Note – You can copy the recovered partition to an accessible and healthy hard drive to backup your data
  4. Click the Restore pop-up menu and then choose the volume you want to copy from the failed hard drive.
  5. Click the Restore button and click Done.

Create a bootable drive for recovery with an external storage device (h2)

  1. Reformat the external storage device or USB
  2. Create a bootable disk
  3. Reinstall macOS
  4. Access macOS Recovery
  5. By using Reliable Mac Recovery Utility like Remo Mac Data Recovery

Reformat the external drive or USB

Follow the steps below to create a bootable disk:

  1. Go to the menu and click on Utilities
  2. Open Disk Utility and select the USB drive and click on the Erase option
  3. Rename the USB drive to the desired file name
  4. Format the USB with APFS or HFS file system
  5. Click Done

Once you have finished formatting the external storage drive, you need to download the desired macOS operating system such as macOS Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina and any other version. Visit the Mac App Store to download the operating system you want

Create a bootable disk

  1. After connecting the USB drive to the bootable drive
  2. Open Mac Terminal prompt
  3. In the commands below, replace the ‘My volume’ with the name of your external storage device or USB drive
  4. click on Finished
  5. Note – After implementing the procedure mentioned below, you will be prompted to log in to your macOS account to verify and root the operating system.
  6. Type the password and then press Yield
  7. Terminal tells you to clear the volume. Type Yes to confirm and press Return.

Terminal tells you the drive is being erased and displays the progress. The program then prompts you to copy the necessary files to the disk. Then Terminal tells you that it makes the drive bootable. Finally, it indicates that the volume for your external storage device or USB now has the same name as the installed failed hard drive. Eject the storage device when you are done.

Reinstall the macOS

  1. Connect the external drive Storage device
  2. Hold down the Option keys
  3. You will see a screen with your bootable volumes
  4. Select the USB drive and external storage device and press Return
  5. The macOS will reboot

Access macOS Recovery

  1. Go to the Apple menu and select Restart, then hold down the Option key while your Mac restarts.
  2. Locate the volume and click on it for your bootable USB drive, then click the up arrow or press return.
  3. After your system reboots, you will see the macOS recovery screen.
  4. Open Disk Utility to check your unbootable hard drive.
  5. Click on your hard drive volume and select First Aid.
  6. This looks for errors and fixes any errors. Click the Run button to start the scan and repair.
  7. Click Done when the process is complete and return to the macOS recovery screen.


The article summarizes two effective methods to create a recovery drive to save your failing Mac. If you have any questions about performing the restore or the article, please use the comment section below

John Harris

I am a tech savvy enthusiast and a regular content analyst – Senior Editor. My expertise lies in developing informative content articles related to recovery and troubleshooting of popular Windows and macOS topics and user questions. With more than 8 years of experience in the data recovery industry.

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