While it was all well and good that Apple decided to make Mac OS X Lion a virtual piece of software without any physical media involved – unless you pay $69 for it on a USB drive – it left folks with an issue when it came to recovery tools and reinstalling from an external source if your should have issues on the computer itself.  Well, the company has finally adressed this issue and released a new tool today that will allow you to create one on an external drive.

The biggest caveat before you get to creating this is if your computer came with Lion pre-installed, the backup you create will only be usable with that computer.  If you upgraded from Snow Leopard to Lion, then you’re in luck and the backup will work with any other Mac that you did the same on.  The initial download is easy enough, with the Lion Recovery Disk Assistant coming in at a 1.07 MB in size.  You can download it from this page on Apple’s site.  Essentially you will be creating an external version of Lion Recovery which will allow you to reinstall Lion, repair the disk using Disk Utility, restore from a Time Machine backup or browse the web with Safari.

Before running the software, be warned that it will erase all data currently on the drive, so you will either need to use a fresh drive, backup all your data somewhere else or create a partition of at least 1 GB in size for the utility software.  Once you’re ready you’ll need to launch Disk Utility from the Utilities folders and follow the on screen instructions from there.  Once you’ve gone through the complete process you will not see the recovery tool in Finder, but if you reboot your system while holding down the Option key, you’ll be able to select it from the Startup Manager.

Why it took so long for Apple to release this tool is unclear, but at least it’s finally here and there is an option for those really difficult crashes.

Will you be downloading thee Lion Recovery Disk Assistant?