A little birdie of ours has managed to snap a page from an internal AppleCare manual detailing OS X Lion’s brand new recovery system, invoked by holding down Command-R during startup. Upon entering the new recovery mode, you can restore your system to any point in time from a Time Machine backup and run Disk Utility to check, repair, erase or partition volumes. In addition – and this is obviously your key takeaway – users can“reinstall Lion over the Internet from Apple’s servers”. The ability to reinstall the operating system directly from the recovery partition without having to boot into Lion and run the Mac App Store is a neat addition whichever way you look at it.
Remember, OS X Lion will be sold exclusively on the Mac App Store as a digital download rather than being distributed on physical media. The recovery mode almost certainly boots from an invisible recovery partition 9to5Mac first spotted back in February. It was also revealed that Find My Mac, a new Lion feature for locating and wiping your Mac remotely, also works when one boots into the recovery partition. This lets a Mac owner use another machine to locate and wipe out their stolen Mac’s hard drive even if the person using it is not logged in. 9to5Mac discovered the existence of a new process called Find My Mac Messenger which presumably sits in the background. Upon receiving a ping from the Apple cloud to initiate the wiping procedure, the process presumably reboots the machine into recovery partition, which takes over to erase all user data.