Guides

How to Format a Storage Drive for Mac

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The reasons for wanting to format your Mac storage drive may vary depending on immediate need. Some people may want to format a storage because they want to Clean hard drive Mac and others might want to install fresh OS X. The good news is the Disk Utility built into the OS X comes in handy, like a visual assistant making the process easier. Also, a well-known fact is that formatting will help the system work better.

Step 1: Launch Disk Utility

The very first step is launching the Disk Utility and getting straight to the process. Go Over to Applications > Utilities.  It will open a list of all your drives that you have displayed on the left. There will be 4 options shown. Click on the Erase option to get the process started.

Step 2: Choose a format

There is the default OS X Extended (Journaled) format that generally will be used anytime you try to format your drives, but, if you want to use a different format you can do so by clicking on the formatting option and select what you want from the drop-down window.

Other available options:

OS X Extended (Journaled) – most people carry their laptops around with them mostly for enabling them to work effectively. They use this format system to secure and set passwords for their drives. Obviously, you will agree with me that encrypting laptop and external drives can be useful when you lose your notebook accidentally.

Mac OS Extended (Case-Sensitive, Journaled) – there is a default setting in the OS X that enables it to treat lower-case and upper-case files as if they were the same. Some people may not want this and perhaps would prefer to have all files naming differently. So there is the option to create a case-sensitive drive.

MS-DOS (FAT) – this option is useful when for some reasons you have to share drives with co-workers and friends. It will get them access to all the files you store on that drive. Or perhaps you want to create a Bootcamp partition so that Windows can be installed on your Mac.

ExFAT –  pretty much the same as MS-DOS(FAT) above, but this option has been specifically designed for flash drives- both internal and external ones.

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Step 3: Name your drive

After choosing the format type, the next thing to do is to find a name for your drive. It’s always advisable to choose a very pronounced name to which you can always relate. The type or choice of name should depend on what you intend to use the drive for. For example, if you will be using the drive to store videos you could use something like ‘Linda’s Mac’ or ‘Videos’. If the drive is going to be your main drive then something like ‘Macintosh HD’ will be just fine.

Step 4: Choose a security type

At the bottom of the screen, you will see a security button. If you click on this button, a window will appear and therein, you can see a slider bar beginning from ‘Fastest’ to ‘Most Secure’. If you chose the option ‘Fastest’ the drive will be erased by deleting out the header information but the residual files will be hidden but kept. This is usually not a very good way to go about formatting. In the future, you or someone else can get those files active using data recovering software. For better security, I will recommend choosing the second option which will overwrite your drive once with no residual files hidden. But, you must also know that this process is quite time-consuming. Note also that the size of the drive will play a major role in the “the bigger-the slower” process.

Step 5: Format the drive

This is the last step where you have to click on the Erase button. Perhaps it’s a good time to go find something fun to do. Formatting usually takes time and most especially if your disk size is large and you have chosen the most secure option. There is usually a progress bar that shows you the state of the process and estimates how much time it will take for the entire it to complete. When the process is done then your drive will be ready for use. An awesome technology I must say. Don’t you agree?