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I have had the most difficult time figuring out whether my time capsule flash drive will be able to restore from a Linux partitioned HDD or not. As a high school graduation gift, I received a MacBook Pro (13", mid 2012), and I've been wanting to load Arch Linux on it ever since I opened the box. In my efforts to fully backup Mac OSX, last night, I created a time capsule on a USB3 32GB flash drive, which took about 9 hours (I even disabled the system-wide spotlight service.), not a big deal, though. Anyways... So, I guess, by default, the Time Capsule's file system is (case-sensitive) journaled HFS+, in order to be bootable by an Intel-based Mac. What I don't understand is that, after I wipe the whole 750GB HDD, and repartition it within Arch:

  1. will the hold-Option-key-at-startup thing still be there? Is that a part of the Apple EFI BIOS? I know that on my PCs, I can still enter the little boot menu to boot from a storage device
  2. And install a bootloader, will I be able to boot from my flash drive time capsule?
  3. And even before all of that, what does the time capsule do anyway? Is it the complete OS, and can I restore OS X on a blank HDD with it? (I didn't exclude the system files, however you do that.)

So here's the bottom-line: **I just want to be able to restore my MacBook Pro to OSX, even after using Arch as the only OS on my system.

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Do you mean a Time Machine backup? Time Capsule is a name used for wireless backup devices sold by Apple.

Time Machine backups are not bootable, but you can restore a Time Machine backup on an empty partition by starting up from the recovery system. You can make a bootable backup with Carbon Copy Cloner.

If you just want to restore OS X before selling the Mac, you don't need a backup for it. Newer Macs have firmware support for internet recovery mode, which means that they can download something like the contents of the recovery partition from Apple's servers even if the original recovery or EFI partitions have been removed. You can then erase and reformat the drive from Disk Utility and choose Reinstall OS X to download and install OS X.

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