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How To Format Your Mac Hard Drive

You want to do a clean system install of Mac OS X on your shiny new Mac?

Or perhaps you just need a larger drive to hold all the movies you’re been downloading?

No matter what the reason, before you can use a blank hard drive, you’ll need to format it first.

Luckily, formatting a drive is easy, but you do need to make some decisions ahead of time based on how you plan to use the drive. For example will your drive be used only in a Mac? Or if your drive is going to be used for storage, will you need to connect from Windows? Mac? Both?

Be aware that formatting your drive will erase **ALL** your existing data. Make sure you’ve backed up any existing files on the drive before you format!

  • BACK UP

    Remember, formatting a drive erases all the data on your Mac, so make sure you back up all your files before you begin!

  • USING THE DISK UTILIY IN MAC OS X

    To format an external or an extra internal hard drive on your Mac, just attach (or install) the drive and open the application “Disk Utility”.

    It’s in your Applications > Utilities folder. Select your new hard drive in the menu on the left, then choose the Erase tab in the main window.

    Now select a drive format. If you’re using the hard drive exclusively with Mac OS X, we recommend Mac OS Extended (Journaled). If you’ll be accessing the drive from Windows as well, select FAT32.

    Once you’ve selected a format, click the erase button and wait a few minutes for the drive to finish formatting.

  • USING THE INSTALLATION DVD OF MAC OS X

    If you’d like to format the system hard drive inside your Mac, the procedure is the same, but you’ll need to boot your Mac from an OS X install DVD or another Mac.

    If you’re using the install DVD, before you start the install process head to the menu bar and select the Disk Utility application. Once Disk Utility opens the process is the same as explained above, but be sure to choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled), which is the recommended drive format for OS X.