Apple recently released new 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros that come with a feature never seen in an Apple laptop: a Secure Digital (SD) memory card reader. The reader is handy for transferring videos and photos from a camera, but you can also use the reader with an SD Card startup disk. This is helpful for when you need to troubleshoot the MacBook Pro.

In this video, I will show you how to create a SD card startup disk for the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros. You’ll need an SD card with a capacity of at least 8GB, and the OS installation disc that came with the laptop.

Download Macworld Video #114

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Show notes

At its default settings, the Mac OS X installation for the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is over 11GB. You can reduce that size by opting not to install items such as printer drivers and language support. In my demonstration, I got the installation down to a little over 6GB. You’ll need an SD card that’s at least 8GB. (There are other ways to reduce the OS installation down, but I do not show them in the video.)

The SD card I used is the 16GB SanDisk Extreme III ($196). The 8GB version is $120. These cards are high-speed cards, which makes them more expensive than your typical SD card. But you can use a more affordable SD card.

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