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I really need to reboot into the Recovery Mode of OS X 10.9 so that I can fix a problem flagged up by Disc Utility, however I cannot hold down the Command and R buttons myself as I am quadriplegic. I don't have access to an able-bodied person for the next couple of days, so I can't get help to hold down the keys from that quarter.

So is it possible to enter Recovery Mode without holding down the Command and R keys on start-up? I was wondering if there is a special flag I could use in the Terminal to enable me to reboot into that mode?

I've been Googling like mad but I can't find any other answer than "reboot whilst holding down the Command and R keys", which whilst true isn't much use to me!

  • If you’re able to lift objects(?), you could try using something like a heavy eraser to hold down one or both of the keys. – Daniel B Oct 2 '14 at 13:25
  • Thanks for the suggestion, but unfortunately I'm only able to control my head and right index finger. – robotsandcake Oct 2 '14 at 14:02
  • I tried entering recovery mode on a VM which I tried to reach remotely from a Linux machine using VMWare VSphere. Somehow, I couldn't get it to enter recovery mode with any key combination. I could only get to boot menu. Thus I arrived at this question. I'm surprised that it's not documented anywhere and practically nobody mentions it. – petersohn Apr 25 '18 at 8:16
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Use the following command from a terminal:

sudo nvram "recovery-boot-mode=unused"
  • 4
    The quotes are unnecessary. Some additional explanation would make this a better answer, including a discussion of what the nvram command does, what are the valid values for that variable, say something about its behavior (it is deleted after booting into Recovery), and describe what to do after running this command (e.g., run sudo shutdown -r now, or choose Apple > Restart). – Chris Page Oct 4 '18 at 1:13
  • I am running Mavericks in a VM. After running sudo nvram recovery-boot-mode=unused, I had to run the command nvram -d recovery-boot-mode from a terminal window in Recovery mode before it would boot normally again. Note, I did not reinstall OSX, I just wanted to reboot in Recovery mode, and then normally again. – James L. May 17 at 5:04

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