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Formatting, partitioning, and repairing storage devices

From: Mac OS X Lion Essential Training

Video: Formatting, partitioning, and repairing storage devices

One of the most versatile and powerful tools included with 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 Disk Utility in the Utilities folder and we can get there from the Go menu. so Go > Utilities. Here's Disk Utility and we'll launch it. Along the left side, you will see any hard drives and volumes that are attached to your Mac. Those volumes that are grayed out are unmounted. Now, if I were to mount a volume, I simply select it and I click the Mount button here at the top of the window and here's my mounted volume.

Formatting, partitioning, and repairing storage devices

One of the most versatile and powerful tools included with 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 Disk Utility in the Utilities folder and we can get there from the Go menu. so Go > Utilities. Here's Disk Utility and we'll launch it. Along the left side, you will see any hard drives and volumes that are attached to your Mac. Those volumes that are grayed out are unmounted. Now, if I were to mount a volume, I simply select it and I click the Mount button here at the top of the window and here's my mounted volume.

Normally, when people launch Disk Utility, they do so to use First Aid and you use this for a couple of reasons. one is that you want to repair disk permissions and what does that mean? The Mac OS is based on UNIX, which has a system whereby specific user accounts have a variety of powers or permissions they could use on that Mac. So for example, the root user can do anything, whereas a standard user's capabilities are much more limited. Now sometimes these permissions can get scrambled which can lead to situations where you can't move or open a file, because the Mac thinks that you have the wrong permissions for example.

To check permissions, you just select a volume and you can either verify permissions or you can repair permissions. Now, quite honestly, you can click Verify Permissions, but if you find a permission that's out of whack, you are going to want to repair it anyway, so I just simply click on Repair Disk Permissions and we'll do that now. This can take a few minutes. And lucky me! I just had one warning and it wasn't really something that needed to be repaired, and that is often the case.

Sometimes, you will see a message time, and time again no matter how many times repair permissions. Don't worry about it. They are not really a problem. You also have the option to verify and repair a disk. When your start-up disk is selected, you don't have the option to repair it. You can only verify it, because you're not allowed to repair a disk that you boot from. However, if you select a different volume, for example I will select this external hard drive, I have the option to then repair the disk as well. Verifying this drive will take a while, so I won't do it now.

Another option you have is to erase the drive. So I will select the drive, I will click on Erase, and you see that I have the option to format the drive in a variety of format. The one you want to use is Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and that's the one that's selected by default. Here you can also name your drive if you want to and then click on Erase. When you click on Erase, you will be asked to confirm that you really want to do this, because this will wipe all the data off the drive. So you don't want to do this lightly. One other thing to note here is the Security Options button.

Click this and you'll see that you have the option to erase the drive in many different ways. You can use Fastest which simply deletes the data directory. It doesn't remove the data from your drive but it allows your Mac to overwrite the data that's currently on your hard drive with new data. If you adjust this slider, you can then choose to overwrite the data that's currently on your drive with nonsense. So the first notch is to overwrite it one time, the second notch is to overwrite it three times, and the last notch is to overwrite it seven times. This is excessive.

It takes a really long time to overwrite data seven times. Even three times as quite a bit. If you want to be really secure, feel free to choose one of these higher options and let this happen overnight. By the time, you get up in the morning, your drive will be overwritten. For most cases, you can simply leave it to Fastest, click OK and you're good. I want to keep the data that's on my drive now, so I'm not going to erase it. Now let's look at Partition. Click the Partition tab and you see you have the option to divide your drive into multiple volumes.

Currently, this volume is divided into two partitions, but I can choose a different partitioning scheme. I can have it divided into 10 partitions if I like, and each one of these is treated as a separate volume and would appear on my desktop as such. While we're looking at partitions, let's look at Options. Click the Options button. Here you're going to see a sheet with three different options. In most cases you want to make sure the GUID Partition Table is selected. This is the formatting option you'll use to create a recovery drive, as I will discuss later when talking about preventive troubleshooting measures.

For now, we'll cancel. And when you're ready to partition your drive, simply click on Apply. Again, I don't want to partition this drive, so I'll go back to First Aid, and I will switch without partitioning the drive. Now, one last thing before we leave Disk Utility. Using this application, you can create virtual volumes called disk images. To do this, you choose File > New and then Blank Disk Image. In the window that appears, you can name your disk image. You can choose its size.

We will leave it at 100 MB for now. You can also choose its encryption. In this case, I am going to choose 128 bit AES encryption. Save it to the desktop and I will click Create. Because I chose to use encryption on this disk image, I have to supply a password. I am choosing a weak password. Please don't follow my lead. Make sure that you uncheck Remember password in my keychain, and click OK.

So here's my mounted disk image. I open it and it looks just like another volume. I will open TextEdit, I will save that, put it on the desktop, and I will quit TextEdit. Now, I will take my file and drag it into my disk image. Close the window and I will eject the disk image. So where is it? It's right here within this disk image.

To find my file, I double-click on it and I'm prompted for my password. Click OK. Here's the disk image, and here's the file that I have saved in it. So what's so good in this? This is one way to create a protected archive, so that nobody but you can open it. So if you have documents that you want to keep from prying eyes, this is one way to do it. So I'll eject my image, toss out these files, close Disk Utility, and there you are.

Disk Utility's greatest talents.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Mac OS X Lion Essential Training
Mac OS X Lion Essential Training

72 video lessons · 30974 viewers

Christopher Breen
Author

 
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  1. 1m 26s
    1. Welcome
      53s
    2. Using the exercise files
      33s
  2. 4m 42s
    1. Installing Lion
      4m 42s
  3. 44m 44s
    1. Touring the Finder
      10m 19s
    2. Launching and working with apps
      4m 22s
    3. Sorting and starting apps with Launchpad
      3m 13s
    4. Organizing workspaces with Mission Control
      4m 35s
    5. Using trackpad gestures
      8m 22s
    6. Using mouse gestures
      2m 22s
    7. Understanding file saving in Lion
      4m 35s
    8. Using Text to Speech
      3m 9s
    9. Installing software
      3m 47s
  4. 26m 51s
    1. Personalizing the interface
      7m 31s
    2. Staying current with Software Update
      4m 13s
    3. Configuring Mail, Address Book, and iCal
      5m 2s
    4. Setting up printers
      3m 39s
    5. Backing up with Time Machine
      6m 26s
  5. 10m 49s
    1. Finding files with Spotlight
      5m 16s
    2. Digging deeper with Finder searches
      5m 33s
  6. 39m 6s
    1. Configuring basic personal preferences
      11m 14s
    2. Optimizing Mission Control preferences
      3m 42s
    3. Configuring basic Audio and Video preferences
      4m 34s
    4. Adjusting Input Device preferences
      7m 45s
    5. Configuring Bluetooth input devices
      2m 36s
    6. Modifying Date & Time Preferences
      2m 38s
    7. Getting on the internet
      3m 56s
    8. Using an alternate startup disk
      2m 41s
  7. 3m 22s
    1. Understanding Dashboard widgets
      3m 22s
  8. 23m 20s
    1. Navigating the interface
      6m 30s
    2. Filtering junk mail and sorting messages with rules
      4m 22s
    3. Scheduling appointments with iCal
      6m 38s
    4. Organizing contacts with Address Book
      5m 50s
  9. 37m 5s
    1. Basic word processing in TextEdit
      7m 56s
    2. Using Dictionary
      2m 51s
    3. Preview: Working with images
      6m 20s
    4. Preview: Working with PDFs
      6m 13s
    5. Installing and managing fonts
      5m 37s
    6. Creating quick notes using Stickies
      3m 24s
    7. Using Calculator
      4m 44s
  10. 34m 27s
    1. Navigating the web
      4m 49s
    2. Working with bookmarks
      7m 15s
    3. Adding and reading RSS feeds
      2m 38s
    4. Using Reading List
      3m 7s
    5. Saving web pages and creating web clips
      1m 15s
    6. Using Safari to search the web
      3m 13s
    7. Opening local files in Safari
      2m 33s
    8. Working with Safari's preferences
      4m 33s
    9. Configuring privacy settings
      5m 4s
  11. 13m 45s
    1. Playing media
      9m 3s
    2. Recording
      4m 42s
  12. 18m 26s
    1. Video chatting in FaceTime
      5m 26s
    2. Text and video messaging in iChat
      9m 6s
    3. Shooting videos and pictures in Photo Booth
      3m 54s
  13. 12m 46s
    1. Automating complex tasks
      12m 46s
  14. 13m 55s
    1. Monitoring system performance
      3m 20s
    2. Setting up a Windows installation in Boot Camp
      3m 49s
    3. Formatting, partitioning, and repairing storage devices
      6m 46s
  15. 15m 55s
    1. Understanding sharing
      4m 59s
    2. Sharing files on a network
      3m 23s
    3. Screen sharing with a remote computer
      4m 7s
    4. Sending files with AirDrop
      3m 26s
  16. 38m 47s
    1. Modifying Language & Text settings
      6m 38s
    2. Optimizing Security & Privacy settings
      6m 24s
    3. Configuring access for for the disabled
      7m 23s
    4. Using Energy Saver
      4m 42s
    5. Adding and changing users
      6m 19s
    6. Configuring Parental Controls
      7m 21s
  17. 18m 33s
    1. Preventive measures: Creating a Lion boot drive
      7m 40s
    2. Understanding and configuring permissions
      3m 6s
    3. Troubleshooting techniques
      7m 47s
  18. 6m 11s
    1. Techniques for using the Mac efficiently
      5m 22s
    2. Next steps
      49s

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