How to Use Your Mac’s Disk Utility to Partition, Wipe, Repair, Restore, and Copy Drives

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Want to create a brand new partition, or re-format an exterior drive? There’s no want to seek out paid partition managers or disk-management boot disks: your Mac features a built-in partition supervisor and disk administration device referred to as Disk Utility.

Disk Utility is even accessible from Restoration Mode, so you possibly can partition your Mac’s exhausting drive with out having to create and load up any particular bootable instruments.

Accessing Disk Utility

To entry the Disk Utility in macOS, simply press Command+Area to open Highlight search, kind “Disk Utility” into the search field, and then press Enter. You can too click on the Launchpad icon in your dock, click on the Different folder, and then click on Disk Utility. Or, open a Finder window, click on Functions within the sidebar, double-click the Utilities folder, and then double-click Disk Utility.

To entry the Disk Utility on a contemporary Mac—no matter whether or not it even has an working system put in—reboot or boot up the Mac and maintain Command+R because it boots. It’ll boot into Restoration Mode, and you possibly can click on Disk Utility to open it up.

In Restoration Mode, macOS runs a particular type of restoration setting. This enables you to use Disk Utility to wipe your complete drive—or repartition it.

Partition Drives and Format Partitions

Disk Utility reveals inner drives and related exterior drives (like USB drives), in addition to particular picture information (DMG information) you can mount and entry as drives.

On the left aspect of the window you’ll see all mounted volumes.

This annoyingly leaves out empty exhausting drives, however click on Views > Present All Gadgets within the menu bar and you’ll see a tree of drives and their inner partitions. Every “mother or father” drive is a separate bodily drive, whereas every little drive icon under it’s a partition on that drive.

To handle your partitions, click on a mother or father drive and choose the “Partition” heading. You may alter the partitioning structure scheme right here. You can too resize, delete, create, rename, and reformat partitions.

Be aware: Many of those operations are harmful, so make sure you’ve backups first.

If you would like to repartition your system drive, you’ll want to do that from inside Restoration Mode, with one exception: APFS volumes. APFS is Apple’s new file system, the default on strong state drives as of macOS Excessive Sierra, and it’s obtained all types of intelligent methods up its sleeve. Considered one of them: volumes on the identical drive pool cupboard space, which means you’ll see two separate drives in Finder, however received’t have to handle how a lot cupboard space every quantity makes use of. So as to add a brand new APFS quantity, merely choose your system drive, and then click on Edit > Add APFS within the menu bar. You’ll see the above immediate.

First Help Repairs File System Issues

If a tough drive is performing up, Disk Utility’s First Help operate is the very first thing it’s best to attempt. This function checks the file system for errors and makes an attempt to right them, all with out a lot intervention from you.

Merely click on the drive you need to examine, then click on the “First Help” button. Be warned that these checks can take some time, and operating them in your system drive will go away you with an unresponsive laptop till it’s completed.

Safe-Erase a Partition or Drive

The Erase button permits you to erase a whole exhausting disk or partition. You can too select to solely erase its free house.

You need to use this function to securely wipe a tough drive. Click on a drive, then click on the “Erase” button, then click on “Safety Choices” to choose quite a few passes to overwrite the drive with. One cross must be ok, however you possibly can at all times do a couple of extra when you really feel prefer it. The utmost quantity is pointless.

Be aware that this function will solely be helpful on mechanical drives, as you shouldn’t give you the option to get better deleted knowledge from a strong state drive. Don’t carry out a safe erase on a solid-state drive, comparable to those constructed into fashionable Mac Books—that can simply put on down the drive for no benefit. Performing the “quickest” erase of the inner drive from restoration mode will erase every thing.

Create and Work With Disk Photos

Click on the File menu in Disk Utility and use the New menu to create clean disk photographs or disk photographs containing the contents of a folder — these are .DMG information. You may then mount that disk picture file and write information into it. That is significantly helpful as a result of you possibly can encrypt that DMG file, creating an encrypted container file that may retailer different information. You may then add this encrypted DMG file to cloud storage areas or put it aside on unencrypted detachable drives.

The Convert and Resize Picture buttons will enable you to handle that disk picture from the Disk Utility window.

Copy Volumes and Restore Disk Photos

The Restore function permits you to copy one quantity to one other. You need to use it to copy the contents of 1 partition to one other, or to copy a disk picture to a partition.

You can too create a disk picture that comprises an actual copy of a whole partition. Choose the drive you’d like to create a picture of, and then click on File > New Picture > Picture From [Partition Name].

You may later restore this disk picture file to a partition, erasing that partition and copying the information from the disk picture to it.

RAID Setup

The Disk Utility additionally permits you to arrange RAID on a Mac: simply click on File > RAID Assistant within the menu bar. Mix disks and partitions into a number of RAID units and select whether or not you need to mirror, stripe, or concatenate your knowledge. This is an superior function most individuals received’t want to use, however it’s there when you want it.

Mirroring (RAID 1) means knowledge you write to the RIAD is saved on every partition or drive for failsafe functions. If one drive dies, your knowledge continues to be out there elsewhere.

Striping (RAID zero) will alternate disk writes between one drive and the opposite for quicker pace. Nonetheless, if one of many drives fails, you’ll lose all the information — so it’s getting extra pace on the expense of much less reliability.

Concatenation (JBOD) permits you to mix completely different drives as if they have been one, helpful in sure circumstances.


The Disk Utility included with Mac OS X is highly effective, and it ought to deal with all of the capabilities you want it to carry out. It’s a bit just like the Disk Administration device constructed into Home windows, however extra succesful and, thanks to Restoration Mode, simpler to entry from outdoors the working system.

Picture credit score: Joe Besure/Shutterstock.com

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