Apple's institutional guide to deploying Mac OS X Lion

Don't let it fool you, Mac OS 10.7 Lion is a bigger upgrade that it might appear. Read these tips from Apple System Engineers about deploying Lion.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor

Don't let it fool you, Mac OS 10.7 Lion is a bigger upgrade that it might appear. It's low $29 price point and point-and-click download could give casual users a false sense of security and lull them into lowering their guard.


IT managers already know to be vigilant about installing major Mac OS updates -- and we should follow their lead and treat Lion with respect or risk getting mauled in the process. (Just ask any Quicken for Mac or VZAccess Manager user).

The best way to prevent a Lion mauling is to prepare. Following is a copy of an email being distributed by Apple System Engineers (SEs) to large Mac installations about the some of the most important changes in Lion:

Upgrading to Lion Mac OS X Lion can only be upgraded over a copy of Mac OS X Snow Leopard v10.6.6 or later. Earlier versions of Mac OS X cannot upgrade to Mac OS X Lion. In order to upgrade a licensed copy of Snow Leopard must first be installed. It is highly recommended that all software updates be applied to Snow Leopard or Snow Leopard Server before upgrading to Lion. The current version of Mac OS X Snow Leopard is 10.6.8. The 10.6.8 Combo Updates are available here:

Apple also released the Migration Assistant Update for Mac OS X Snow Leopard. The update may be downloaded from here:

Recovery HD Because Mac OS X Lion does not come with a bootable DVD, Apple has implemented the Recovery HD partition. This partition is a hidden partition to users running Mac OS X Lion from the GUI. The Recovery HD partition, however, appears when users hold down the Option key or will start up from by holding down Command-R during the boot sequence. Mac OS X will start up from the Recovery HD to perform a number of tasks. These tasks include:

  • Restore from a Time Machine Backup - connect to a USB, FireWire, Thunderbolt or a wireless or wired network Time Machine drive
  • Reinstall Mac OS X Lion - will ask the administrator to connect to their Mac App Store account to re-download Lion. A copy of the ~4GB installer does not exist on the Recovery HD partition but can download while in Recovery mode.
  • Get Help Online - use Safari to browse the web for support (no browser plug-ins run while using Safari in this method)
  • Run Disk Utility - repair or erase a disk
  • Run Firmware Password Utility - from the Utilities menu the firmware password may be set on the hardware
  • Run Network Utility - from the Utilities menu troubleshoot network issues for wired or wireless connections
  • Run Terminal - from the Utilities menu run various command line functions to troubleshoot or reconfigure the system
  • Run Reset Password - by first launching Terminal then typing resetpassword the Reset Password.app will launch to change the password for any users on the system
  • Choose Startup Disk - from the Apple menu or by quitting the Mac OS X Utilities App choose the startup volume

The Recovery HD partition will use the wireless settings from the primary OS to connect to the wireless network automatically. Administrators may also select a network from the Wi-Fi menu. When running Mac OS X Lion users can run the following command in Terminal to see the partitions: diskutil list It is important to note that without the Recovery HD partition FileVault cannot work in Mac OS X Lion.

Burning a Bootable Lion DVD Any Mac OS X Lion user who has downloaded the Install Mac OS X Lion.app from the Mac App Store, or who has copied the App from another computer, may burn a fully functional, bootable DVD. To burn a DVD follow these steps:

  1. Launch Disk Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities/)
  2. Right-click on the Install Mac OS X Lion.app (located in the Applications folder)
  3. Choose Show Package Contents
  4. Navigate to /Contents/SharedSupport/InstalESD.dmg
  5. Drag InstallESD.dmg to the left hand side bar in Disk Utility
  6. Select InstallESD.dmg in Disk Utility
  7. From the Images menu choose Burn… and insert a compatible DVD+/-R or RW blank disk

Alternately, using the same InstallESD.dmg image, administrators can restore the image to a partition on a thumb drive or a hard drive. Use the Restore function in Disk Utility to restore InstallESD.dmg to a drive.

Deploying Mac OS X Lion Mac OS X Lion can be deployed using similar, but updated, tools commonly used to deploy Mac OS X. Not all Mac OS X imaging tools may be updated to support Lion. The Install Mac OS X Lion.app can be traced to the download account that redeemed the software but a Mac App Store account is not necessary when deploying a single image to multiple Mac clients. Each client, however, must be properly licensed to run the software. Any institution deploying Mac OS X Lion must have a license for every Mac running Mac OS X. A Mac OS X Lion license is handled differently within a household. Further details may be found here:

Details regarding deploying Apple Professional Apps may be found here:

Regarding deploying a single image to multiple systems, Apple's System Image Utility, which is part of Mac OS X Lion Server, can create a master image that can be deployed to multiple systems. It is important to note, however, that the NetRestore functionality of System Image Utility will not create a Recovery HD partition. In a lab environment, the Recovery HD may not be a desired partition. If a master image with the Recovery HD image is desired, DeployStudio (mentioned below) can build and deploy a custom image to supported client systems. The NetInstall feature of System Image Utility will install a fresh copy of Lion and will properly configure the Recovery HD partition. More details regarding the recovery partition may be found here:

As stated previously, without the Recovery HD partition FileVault cannot work in Mac OS X Lion.

DeployStudio Server (free) has been updated to version 1.0rc127 to include support for both Mac OS X Lion and Mac OS X Lion Server. DeployStudio allows administrators to both create and deploy the Recovery HD image, Mac OS X Lion and Windows images to supported configurations. Utilizing workflows in DeployStudio, when restoring images, the option to Restore system recovery partitions is on by default. This may be disabled, if desired. DeployStudio can create bootable NetBoot images for Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion. It can similarly deploy Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion master images from a single server.

DeployStudio Server can be run from any combination of Mac OS Server, Leopard or newer, to deploy any combination of master images supported by the client systems. In other words, Lion Server is not required to deploy Lion images to supported Lion clients, but may be used if a Lion Server is available. Mac OS X Server is only necessary if mass deployment across the network is desired. Otherwise DeployStudio may be run from a local hard drive to re-image client systems. All license terms still apply when deploying a single image to multiple systems. To learn more about DeployStudio Server visit the DeployStudio site: http://deploystudio.com

Virtualization The end user license agreement for Mac OS X Lion allows users to install and run 2 virtual instances of Mac OS X Lion on supported Mac OS X hardware. Users wishing to utilize this new functionality (only Leopard Server and Snow Leopard Server were supported previously) must use virtualization software that has been updated to run on Mac OS X Lion and has added the functionality to install OS X Lion in to a virtual machine.

Windows on a Mac The Boot Camp Assistant application, which resides in /Applications/Utilities/ within Mac OS X Lion has an enhanced functionality. Previously, to install the Windows Boot Camp Drivers, users could install the Leopard or Snow Leopard DVD while running Windows. Because there's no DVD for Lion, the Boot Camp Assistant allows users to either burn a CD/DVD with the Windows Boot Camp Drivers or install the drivers to an external hard drive. The drivers will be downloaded for the specific hardware Boot Camp Assistant is running on.

To install Windows on a different generation or model of Mac, run the Boot Camp Assistant on that hardware to get the specific drivers. Mac OS X Lion only supports and includes drivers for Windows 7. When using older hardware that included Leopard or Snow Leopard Boot Camp drivers for Windows XP or Windows Vista may also be available for those systems. If the machine running Lion was capable of running Windows XP or Windows Vista and the Boot Camp Drivers are available, users can continue to use that version of Windows. To reiterate, the Boot Camp Drivers downloaded from the Boot Camp Assistant will only work with Windows 7. Use earlier licensed DVDs to install Windows XP and Windows Vista, where available. All new Mac hardware from Apple will only support Windows 7 with Boot Camp.

Also note that by default Mac OS X Lion has 3 partitions. They include the EFI partition (~200MB), Mac OS X Lion and the Recovery HD (~650MB). Apple's implementation of EFI uses a BIOS plug in to allow the installation and startup of Windows. Upgrading to Lion will add an additional partition with the Recovery HD (most likely /dev/disk0s3/) pushing the installation of Windows to what is most likely /dev/disk0s4/. This may effect the Master Boot Record (MBR) and effect tools like Boot Picker or rEFIt that allow selecting the boot volume at startup.

If Windows was installed using the Boot Camp Assistant or another deployment tool, the MBR should automatically adjust with the installation of Mac OS X Lion, but not necessarily. It is always a good idea to back up any data on any partition before doing an upgrade. Additional technical resources may be found here:

Image: Redmond Pie

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