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I'll be getting a Macbook Pro 13.3" (Pre-installed with OS X Lion) soon and I plan to replace the built-in HDD with a 128GB SSD that I already have.

Since Lion doesn't come with any install disks, what is the best strategy to do this?

PS: I'm new to Mac :)

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I haven't purchased a new Mac since Lion was released, but it was my understanding that they come with an 'Internet Recovery' disc which allows you to re-install Lion via the Internet.

See here for details:

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It's not a disk, but still looks interesting. If only I had known that when I was in that situation... – Daniel Beck Nov 20 '11 at 8:41
Yeah, the internet recovery seems to be the best option. It's actually really cool that a laptop with a blank hard disk can connect, download and install the OS directly. Other than the delay in downloading the full OS everytime something like this is required, I dont see any disadvantage. – Deepak Prakash Nov 20 '11 at 10:18
@DeepakPrakash Could you please verify that you get the recovery partition that way? I'd have thought Time Machine restore would include that too, so I'm curious... – Daniel Beck Nov 20 '11 at 11:56
@DanielBeck : Sure, will let you know once I try it out. (In a week or so) – Deepak Prakash Nov 21 '11 at 9:43

You really should properly install OS X Lion from the installer, as restoring from Time Machine backup doesn't give you the recovery partition, which will e.g. prevent you from using "Locate my Mac" and its computer locking functionality in iCloud, and from using File Vault 2.

OS X Lion can be installed onto a blank system, and you can delete previous partitions (if you have them) during installation.

Included with the App Store download of OS X Lion is a disk image you can burn to DVD and boot from. Unfortunately, it is deleted after installing Lion and you cannot redownload, as it is already installed on your computer.

You can always get that file from a friend. Depending on your country, it might be legal to download from Internet file sharing networks — you already bought and downloaded the same bits when you got Lion via the App Store. Make sure the MD5 checksum of the image file is b5d3753c62bfb69866e94dca9336a44a — you can open Terminal, type md5sum, followed by a space, and then drag the InstallESD.img file onto your Terminal window and press Enter. This will take a while.

Alternatively, you can buy a bootable USB thumb drive from Apple, or first install and set up Snow Leopard, download and configure App Store (via Software Update…), and download Lion again free of charge. Then, create the bootable DVD from the downloaded data as described on the linked web page. Afterwards, you can boot from that and install Lion cleanly, or simply update.

During installation, you are prompted whether to restore data from another Mac, or a Time Machine backup. If you now choose Time Machine, you get both the recovery partition a pure Time Machine restore would not restore, and all your data (if you want it).

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Thanks a lot for all the info and the options - the warnings about File Vault 2 and "Locate my Mac" without the recovery partition is specially appreciated! I guess @kine 's answer about using the direct internet recovery is the best option - so marking that as the answer. – Deepak Prakash Nov 20 '11 at 10:23
+1 for including the MD5. – surfasb Nov 20 '11 at 18:40

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