How to use Disk Utility to format a hard drive on a Mac

disc utility

Hello folks, have you heard of Disk Utility?. Well, as the name implies, it’s your solution for pretty much any drive-related issue. It’s a go-to shop that’ll enable you to check, repair, tweak and back-up your hard drives. Also, it’s useful for removable disks like microSD cards or USB flash drives.

You can find Disk Utility in the “Utilities” folder inside your applications folder. In a situation where your Mac won’t boot up correctly, you can also access it through the built-in recovery options. Just press and hold Command+R as your Mac boots up to start in Recovery mode. Then, you can run Disk Utility from the main menu that displays.

Here are the features and steps of Disk Utility when used to format a hard drive on a Mac.

Erase and partition

The Disk Utility software allows you to tweak your storage by erasing and partitioning disks. And also for setting up RAID arrays. To erase a particular disk or partition, locate and select it in the left area of the screen. And then switch to the Erase tab.

Give the volume a name you can easily remember, then, pick a format. If the drive is to be used exclusively with Macs, the default macOS Extended choice is best. The other option allows the drive to be indexed, so it can be located easily. But if the drive that you want to be indexed is empty, don’t select the option.

You can enable indexing at a later date.

Disk security

Now, click on the ‘Security Option’ to configure how the drive will be erased. You can also choose to edit a more secure setting if there’s data on the drive that you permanently want to remove.

Lastly, select Erase and wait until the drive is erased.


When you choose a disk drive instead of a partition,  a Partition tab will appear. This allows you to divide a large-capacity disk into smaller partitions. This later behaves as if they were separate drives.

Just like formatting, partitioning removes all existing data on the disk. So, it’s best needed when setting up a new hard drive for the first time.

Disk images

Disk images can come in handy for backing up full partitions or removable disks. They are exact copies of a chosen disk’s contents, held together in a single file.

To fully back up an existing disk, locate and select it in the left area. Then select the ‘New Image’ button. Choose a location and filename for your image. If you want to back-up a disk partition or entire disk, select a different disk to save the image to.

Ensure there’s enough space on your chosen drive, then select ‘Save’ and wait while the image is created. After it’s completed, it’ll appear in the left area for easy access. Click it and you can confirm it to make sure it’s not corrupt.


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