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Since I've removed the optical drive from my 2009 model MacBook Pro and replaced it with a second hard drive, the only way to reinstall the OS was via USB. Instead of creating a USB stick the manual way, there is a handy application called Lion DiskMaker that does the job for you. You simply plug in the USB stick, click a few buttons and wait for it to complete.

For this process to work, the following are required:
  • A purchased copy of Mountain Lion in the /Applications folder
  • An 8Gb USB stick


The first screen asks you to select which version of OS X you want to create a bootable USB stick for (10.7 and 10.8 are supported). I selected Mountain Lion (10.8).
dm1.png



The next screen asks you to confirm which OS X ML copy to use, since it picked the correct one for me, I just continued by selecting Use this copy.
dm2.png


This screen asks whether you want to create a DVD or a bootable disk, since I have no optical drive, the only option is to create a bootable disk.
dm3.png


Next I selected that I have an 8Gb USB stick.
dm4.png


Here it asks to pick which USB stick to use to create the bootable disk. I've already had my stick plugged in, it was named 'USB'.
dm5.png


Before actually erasing the contents of the USB stick, DiskMaker gives a warning, I selected Erase then create the disk.
dm6.png


The next bit takes quite some time (15 mins or so). DiskMaker will copy all of the required files to the USB stick now.
dm7.png


After the copy is completed, there is a final screen where you can make a donation for using the app, quit or open startup preferences.
dm8.png


Using Lion DiskMaker is a painless way of creating a bootable OS X Lion/Mountain Lion USB installer.

I give it 4/5 stars.

-i

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