Can't use a USB2-E1000 in recovery mode in Lion (Mac OS X 10.7.3)

I have a Time Machine backup on a NAS on my network. I’d like to boot into recovery mode on my MacBook Air and do the reinstall over ethernet instead of wifi.

I boot into recovery mode and the USB2-E1000 dongle seems to register: the lights turn on (ACT and LINK) and looking at Network Utility, it shows that there is a USB Gigabit Ethernet (en1) interface available. When I turn off wifi though, I can’t connect to anything (this is still in recovery mode). When I do a normal boot, I can use the ethernet dongle.

I tried doing a kextstat, but in recovery mode, that isn’t available.

When I connect via wifi (in recovery mode) I can see my MacBook Air on my router. If I turn it off and try to connect via ethernet, the router doesn’t see my MBA and I get a bogus IP address for the ethernet interface.

It seems that the kext isn’t getting loaded since this works in normal mode.

The only way to get this to work is to do a manual install of the kext at runtime. This means that you have to modify the Mac OS X Base System. Since the disk image is read only, you’d have to make it write only first (again, not recommended) and then do the appropriate installation, using the script from the ASIX driver manual.

Looks like I’m going to have to buy the Apple Ethernet dongle.

Hi MisterAvery,

Thank you for posting your experience here. You are correct; in recovery mode only a limited set of drivers are loaded, so the ASIX drivers will not be. I haven’t experimented with the Apple ethernet device in recovery mode so I can’t be sure if it will work or not.

Sorry for the frustration,

No worries. You should know, though, that the Apple support website specifically indicates that the Apple ethernet device can be used with a Macbook Air in recovery mode.

Thanks for posting the additional information for us and for the benefit of others.