Mac OS X Mountain Lion Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Formatting, partitioning, and repairing storage devices


From:

Mac OS X Mountain Lion Essential Training

with Christopher Breen

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Video: Formatting, partitioning, and repairing storage devices

One of the most versatile and powerful tools included with Mountain Lion is Disk Utility. You can use it to create and partition hard drives as well as diagnose a funky drive and repair its disk permissions. You'll find this utility in the Utilities folder, and that's how we'll get to it. So go to Utilities and there's Disk Utility. Along the left side, you see any hard drives and volumes that are attached to your Mac, and currently I have two. Those volumes that are grayed out, for example, this one, are unmounted. Now, I can mount that drive simply by clicking on it and then clicking Mount, and here it is.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
  2. 6m 56s
    1. Installing Mountain Lion
      6m 56s
  3. 47m 16s
    1. Personalizing the interface
      4m 11s
    2. Touring the Finder
      3m 29s
    3. Staying current with Software Update
      2m 52s
    4. Configuring Gatekeeper settings
      3m 17s
    5. Getting on the Internet
      5m 36s
    6. Setting up iCloud
      4m 55s
    7. Understanding AutoSave and documents in the cloud
      4m 42s
    8. Configuring Mail, Contacts, and Calendar
      4m 33s
    9. Configuring your printer
      3m 39s
    10. Protecting your data with Time Machine
      4m 28s
    11. Learn your way around the Mac App Store
      5m 34s
  4. 11m 17s
    1. Finding files with Spotlight
      6m 6s
    2. Digging deeper with Finder searches
      5m 11s
  5. 23m 35s
    1. Configuring basic personal preferences
      11m 15s
    2. Adjusting Input Device preferences
      9m 38s
    3. Examining the basic system preferences
      2m 42s
  6. 1h 13m
    1. Organizing workspaces with Mission Control
      5m 49s
    2. Modifying Language & Text settings
      4m 5s
    3. Optimizing Security & Privacy settings
      6m 18s
    4. Getting notifications
      4m 38s
    5. Configuring displays and AirPlay
      2m 20s
    6. Using Energy Saver
      6m 1s
    7. Setting up Bluetooth wireless devices
      3m 39s
    8. Sharing files on a network
      6m 1s
    9. Configuring sharing
      6m 28s
    10. Editing your users and groups
      6m 48s
    11. Setting rules with Parental Controls
      7m 4s
    12. Taking notes with Dictation & Speech
      6m 0s
    13. Exploring the Accessibility settings
      5m 54s
    14. Listening with Sound
      2m 53s
  7. 36m 2s
    1. Organizing your business with Mail
      12m 42s
    2. Scheduling time with Calendar
      8m 32s
    3. Keeping tabs with Contacts
      5m 30s
    4. Tracking your tasks with Reminders
      3m 39s
    5. Staying in touch using Messages
      5m 39s
  8. 37m 18s
    1. Tracking your documents in TextEdit
      7m 3s
    2. Looking up words in Dictionary
      1m 56s
    3. Keeping notes with Notes
      3m 48s
    4. Working with images in Preview
      6m 14s
    5. Working with PDFs in Preview
      4m 27s
    6. Installing fonts with Font Book
      4m 42s
    7. Posting a note in Stickies
      1m 55s
    8. Adding things up with Calculator
      4m 46s
    9. Organizing apps with Launchpad
      2m 27s
  9. 34m 5s
    1. Navigating the web
      3m 38s
    2. Working with bookmarks
      4m 49s
    3. Using Reading List
      2m 4s
    4. Saving web pages and creating web clips
      1m 44s
    5. Viewing and saving PDFs
      3m 24s
    6. Using Safari to search the web
      2m 20s
    7. Opening local files in Safari
      1m 59s
    8. Working with preferences in Safari
      11m 1s
    9. Managing your Internet footprint
      3m 6s
  10. 8m 48s
    1. Playing media in QuickTime
      4m 15s
    2. Recording videos with QuickTime
      4m 33s
  11. 10m 13s
    1. Video conferencing with FaceTime
      3m 38s
    2. Taking pictures in Photo Booth
      3m 47s
    3. The great utility of Image Capture
      2m 48s
  12. 12m 40s
    1. Writing a simple Automator workflow
      4m 15s
    2. Creating an Automator application
      2m 20s
    3. Setting up an Automator calendar workflow
      2m 31s
    4. Creating an Automator service
      3m 34s
  13. 22m 1s
    1. Managing processes in Activity Monitor
      5m 13s
    2. Formatting, partitioning, and repairing storage devices
      8m 58s
    3. Taking care of your passwords
      4m 1s
    4. Setting up a Windows install with Boot Camp
      3m 49s
  14. 14m 57s
    1. Creating a boot drive
      3m 19s
    2. Understanding and configuring permissions
      4m 5s
    3. Exploring troubleshooting techniques
      7m 33s
  15. 19m 35s
    1. Getting your game on
      4m 1s
    2. Integrating with Facebook and Twitter
      2m 38s
    3. Advanced tips and tricks
      9m 35s
    4. Sharing files with AirDrop
      3m 21s
  16. 30s
    1. Goodbye
      30s

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Watch the Online Video Course Mac OS X Mountain Lion Essential Training
6h 0m Appropriate for all Dec 19, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, Macworld senior editor Christopher Breen provides a comprehensive overview of Mac OS X Mountain Lion, complete with insider tips for getting the most out of the operating system. The course shows how to configure system preferences, personalize the interface, master gestures, and achieve fluency with applications such as Mail, Calendar, and Preview. The course also includes tutorials on browsing the web with Safari, automating complex tasks with Automator, sharing over a network, performing maintenance operations using Disk Utility, and offers time-saving techniques for using the Mac efficiently. Along the way, Christopher reviews the 200+ new features in Mountain Lion, which gives even experienced Mac users a valuable head start.

Topics include:
  • Installing Mountain Lion
  • Setting up and syncing iCloud
  • Configuring Mail, Contacts, and Calendar
  • Setting rules with Parental Controls
  • Jotting down info with Notes
  • Viewing and saving PDFs, text documents, and images
  • Using Safari to browse the Internet
  • Playing and recording videos with QuickTime
  • Video conferencing with FaceTime
  • Setting up a Windows install with Boot Camp
  • Downloading widgets
  • Sharing files with AirDrop
Subjects:
Business Education + Elearning
Software:
Mac OS X
Author:
Christopher Breen

Formatting, partitioning, and repairing storage devices

One of the most versatile and powerful tools included with Mountain Lion is Disk Utility. You can use it to create and partition hard drives as well as diagnose a funky drive and repair its disk permissions. You'll find this utility in the Utilities folder, and that's how we'll get to it. So go to Utilities and there's Disk Utility. Along the left side, you see any hard drives and volumes that are attached to your Mac, and currently I have two. Those volumes that are grayed out, for example, this one, are unmounted. Now, I can mount that drive simply by clicking on it and then clicking Mount, and here it is.

Normally when people launch Disk Utility, they do so to use First Aid, and you can use this for a couple of reasons. First of all, let's start with our startup drive, which is here. There are couple of things you can do. You can Verify Disk Permissions, you can Repair Disk Permissions, or you can verify the Disk. Exactly what is repairing disk permissions and why would you want to do it? Well the Mac OS is based on UNIX, which has a system whereby specific user accounts have a variety of powers or permissions they use on their Mac.

For example, the root user can do anything, whereas standard users' capabilities are much more limited. Now, sometimes these permissions can get scrambled, which can then lead to situations where you can't move or open a file because the Mac thinks that you have the wrong permissions. To check permissions, you just select a Volume and then you either verify permissions or you can repair permissions. Now quite honestly, you can verify permissions, but if you find a permission that's out of whack, you're going to want to repair it anyway.

So I just simply click on Repair Disk Permissions, and we'll do that now. Depending on how much data you have and the speed of your Mac, this can take a while. And lucky me, it appears that I had no problems whatsoever. Now sometimes, you may see a message that appears time and time again no matter how many times you repair permissions. In that case, don't worry about it. Sometimes, Disk Utility and you Mac disagrees about these things, but it's not really causing any problems. You also have the option to verify a disk, and depending on which disk it is you can also repair it.

When you have selected your startup disk, you don't have the option to repair it, because a Mac can't repair its own startup disk. Instead, you can repair another disk that happens to be attached to your Mac. So, I could verify my backup disk, or if I find the problem with it, I can choose to repair it. I'm not going to do either one of those things because it can take quite a while. Another option you have is to erase a drive. So, I'll select my drive, select Erase, and you see I have a couple of options. One is the Format.

The suggested format when you format a Mac's drive is this. Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Unless you have a very good reason for formatting it in another format, leave this alone. You can also name the drive here. When you erase, you have security options. By default, if you choose fastest, when you erase the drive it wipes out the directory, but the files that were on the drive remain there. They're just hidden from you. You can check the next setting, and this takes longer, but in this case, the data that is on the drive will be overwritten one time with a series of nonsense characters.

This is more secure because it makes it much harder for a bad guy to try to get stuff of your drive but again, it takes longer. Next option is at 3-pass wipe. So, instead of writing nonsense one time over your drive, it happens three times, and again, this takes much longer to do that. And finally, the most secure is to overwrite your data seven times. I can't imagine why you would want to do this unless you were some kind of international man or woman of mystery, and you had government secrets on your hard drive.

This is really excessive. If you get to the point where you have that kind of data and you wanted to destroy it, the best idea really is to take the hard drive out of your Mac and hit it with the sledge hammer multiple times to physically destroy the media. But if you do choose this option, prepare to erase your drive overnight. This can take hours and hours to do. For the vast majority of us, fastest is just fine. And I'll cancel that. When you're ready to erase, you click on the Erase button.

This gives you a warning saying, "Are you sure you want to do this, because your data is going to be gone?" So make sure that you've selected the right drive before you do this, at which point, go ahead and erase. And of course it's always a good idea to have a backup of your data anyway, so should you do the bad thing, you can always get it back. Now, let's take a look at the Partition tab. In the Partition tab, as its name implies, you can chop your Mac's hard drive up into volumes.

Now currently, we have a single partition, but I can make it two partitions of equal size, seven partitions of equal size, 16 partitions of equal size. Let's go back to two partitions. Once I've created this, they don't have to be of equal size. Instead, I can drag this line here and make one partition larger than another. Now when you choose to partition your drive, you want to take a look at this Options button. You have three options on how you're going to partition your drive.

If this drive is going to be used to boot up your Mac, make sure that this GUID Partition Table is the option you set. That is the option you use for a bootable Mac drive. Apple Partition Map and Master Boot Record are for other purposes. Apple Partition Map is if you have a PowerPC-based Mac, and these are years old, so it's unlikely you do, and you certainly can't run Mountain Lion on it anyway. And Master Boot Record is for a Windows machine, so we'll cancel that.

Now, if I were to go ahead and partition this, I would end up with what appears to be two hard drive icons on the desktop for this hard drive instead of one. This is not something I want to do so I won't. So now we're just back to our single partition. Now, I want to show you one last thing before we leave Disk Utility. Using this application, you can create virtual volumes called Disk Images. To do this, I'll go to the File menu and I'll choose New, and I'll choose Blank Disk Image.

In the window that appears, I'll name my image, I'll save it on the hard drive, I'm going to leave it at a 100 megabytes right now, as for the size. Format is fine. I am going to choose Encryption, and we'll make this 128-Bit AES, reasonably secure. I'll leave it as a single partition, read/write, and now I will click on Create. Now, because I've chosen to encrypt this, it's going to ask me to enter a password and to verify that password.

I'm going to enter a really simple password and you shouldn't. And it will tell me this is very, very weak. You should do a better job but I'm not going to, and here's key. This will automatically remember this password in my Keychain. If I leave that on, and I'm working in this account, and I leave my computer and somebody wants to open this Disk Image, they will be able to because the password has been memorized. I'm going to turn that off and you'll see why in just a second.

Now, I click on OK. It's just created my Disk Image. It's mounted, so I can put stuff on here if I like, so let me do just that. I'll go to my Documents folder, take this presentation, and I'll put it in there. I'll now close it, and now I'll unmount that Disk Image. So, where is it? Well, it's still in here. That was simply the mounted version of this archive right here.

So I'll double-click on it. When I do, I'm prompted for my password, and the reason is because I didn't store it in my Keychain. So I enter the password, OK. Here's my disk image, and there's my document. So what good is this? Well, this is one way to create a protected archive so that nobody but you can open it. So, while you can make your Mac secure with your password or one thing or another, this is one way to create a little portion of your Mac where you have super secret stuff that you don't want anybody else to have access too.

I'll eject my image. And what the heck, Trash the archive. And there you are, Disk Utility's greatest talents.

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