Kit Guide: Using the Disk Utility in OS X El Capitan

The Disk Utility can be used to check and fix errors on your Mac hard drive, and to create or edit disk partitions.

Opening Disk Utility

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Disk Utility is found in the Utilities folder on your Mac, which is inside the Applications folder. Below are two ways to open Disk Utility.

Open using Spotlight:

1.

Press the cmd and spacebar buttons on your Mac keyboard to open Spotlight.

2.

Type 'disk utility'.

3.

Click Disk Utility in the search results.

Open from Finder:

1.

Click Finder, on the left of your Dock.

2.

On the menu bar at the top of the screen, click Go > Applications.

3.

Open the Utilities folder.

4.

Double-click Disk Utility.

Using Disk Utility

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If you're having problems with your Mac, or have seen hard drive or storage error messages, the First Aid feature will help to fix many of these problems.

1.

In Disk Utility, click the disk or partition you want to scan in the left-hand column - this is normally called 'Macintosh HD'.

2.

Click the First Aid button at the top of Disk Utility.

3.

Click the Run button.

4.

Click Continue to start the scan.

If any problems are found, the Mac will try to fix them. Some problems can't be fixed while the Mac is running, and you might need to run the Disk Utility from Recovery Mode. Read our guide to booting a Mac into Recovery Mode for help on how to do this.  

Editing disk partitions

'Disk partitioning' lets you split a hard drive into two or more regions that your Mac can manage separately. A common setup is to have two partitions, one for the 'operating system' and one for 'user data'. If you have any serious problems with the operating system, these can be fixed without affecting the user data partition.

Partitioning is also commonly used for running Windows on your Mac. This can be done using the 'Bootcamp' app.

To create a new partition:

1.

In Disk Utility, click the disk icon on the left-hand column.

2.

Click the Partition button at the top of Disk Utility.

3.

Partitions are shown on a large circle. Click the + button under the circle to add a partition.

4.

The circle will be shown in two parts. Drag the small button on the edge of the circle to change the size of the partition, or type the partition size you want into the Size box on the right-hand side.

5.

On the right-hand side, fill in the Name box, and change the Format if you want.

6.

Click Apply, and the new partition will be set up.

To resize a partition:

1.

In Disk Utility, click the disk icon on the left-hand column.

2.

Click the Partition button at the top of Disk Utility.

3.

Click the partition you want to resize.

4.

Type the size you want into the Size box.

5.

Click Apply and the partition will be resized.

To delete a partition:

1.

In Disk Utility, click the disk on the left-hand column.

2.

Click the Partition button at the top of Disk Utility.

3.

Click the partition you want to delete, then click the - button.

4.

Click Apply, and the partition will be deleted.

Hopefully you're sorted, but if you're having any problems with your kit, click here to get in touch with one of our Team Knowhow Experts.

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