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TIP: Fix for Glitch preventing Lion from installing with Boot Camp

Monday, July 25, 2011

An Apple tech article reports a problem that prevents Lion from installing if there is an existing Boot Camp partition on the driver. The Lion installer reports "This disk cannot be used to start up your computer."

Apple's first recommendation is to backup and reformat the drive. If that can't be done, the article recommends using Disk Utility to slight shrink the size of the non-Boot Camp partition. You can then return the partition to its original size after you install Lion.

Harry Erwin reported this problem to us and essentially used this solution successfully. However, he booted from and another volume and erased the hard drive, which isn't necessary to resize a partition. Here's his report:

  1. I tried to install Lion on a machine with Boot Camp (no post-Boot Camp modifications to the partitioning) and got the norecovery response. Oops.
  2. I went to the norecovery website and nothing applied to my situation. Note WinClone doesn't work on Snow Leopard, so reformatting the disk and restoring the Boot Camp partition isn't really feasible.
  3. I tried to login to discussions using my Apple ID and found it was disabled for security reasons, even though I'm an Apple Developer.
  4. I went to to sort the problem with my Apple ID and it doesn't exist.
  5. I tried to create a new Apple ID based on my address and ended up at

The fix is as follows. Clone the Mac hard drive using SuperDuper to an external drive. Boot from the clone. Use Disk Utility to erase the Mac partition (Macintosh HD). Nudge it one GB smaller. Use SuperDuper to copy the clone to the original mac partition. Now you can install Lion.

If you've seen the problem and tried this fix

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