How to Partition External Hard Drive on Mac OS X

Disk Utility in Mac OS X facilitates performing several disk management tasks including partitioning a hard drive into several volumes, managing existing volumes, verify and check disk as well as the disk permissions etc. A beginner may not find himself to be able to work with Disk Utility, though. Therefore, it is recommended to use Mac partitioning software to repartition a Mac hard drive.

“I want to partition my newly purchased external WD 1TB hard drive so that I can store my data in different volumes. How can I do it?”

The scenario mentioned above demands an easy and efficient way to partition an external hard drive into several volumes so that different types of data can be stored separately. Let us go through a few simple steps involved in the process.

  • Attach the source hard drive to a running Mac machine.
  • Go to Disk Utility (Click Go on the task bar and select Applications in the context menu. Enter Utilities folder and open Disk Utility.)
  • Select source drive in the left pane of the Disk Utility window (You should see it with the size and the manufacturer’s name if not changed earlier.)
  • Now, go to the Partition tab in the right pane.
  • Under ‘Volume Scheme’ dropdown list, select the number of partitions to be created. E.g. Select ‘3 Partitions’ if three partitions are to create.
  • Click on the ‘Options’ button below the hard drive structure and choose a ‘Partition Map Scheme’ for the hard drive.

It is recommended to choose ‘GUID Partition Table’ to make it resizable on an Intel-based Mac machine. Alternatively, choose Apple Partition Map on a PowerPC based Mac machine to make the partition as the boot drive. Click OK.

  • Select a partition in the hard drive structure and specify a ‘Name’, ‘Format’, and ‘Size’ for this, under ‘Volume Information’ area.

It is recommended to select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) in the ‘Format’ dropdown list to make it boot enabled. You can also resize a volume by clicking and holding its boundary (Drag upward to reduce the size and downward to enlarge.)

  • Once you are done, click Apply button to save the changes.

If you find partitioning a Mac drive is hard using Disk Utility, you can use a professional Mac partitioning software to do the same. Download a partition assisting software from the Internet and install it on the Mac machine. Make sure the drive does not contain any type of essential data; however, it is recommended to backup everything.

Recover Lost Data from USB Drive on Mac OS X

USBs are portable, re-writable flash memory devices that are used as data backup drives worldwide. Pen drives, memory cards, external hard drives, and the like are classified under this category of data storage devices. You may feel safe after copying all the essential data to any of these USB drives, but you cannot overly depend on these drives because they are also susceptible to corruption. Luckily, Mac data recovery tools are there to help you out.

Apart from some flash drive corruption scenarios, there could be several similar situations resulting in data loss, such as improper use of such drives like improper ejection of a flash drive. Take a real-time scenario representing a similar issue.

“I was very happy with my newly purchased MacBook Air, but the happiness was ruined when I lost my important college presentation after moving it from the Mac machine to a pen drive. I could not properly eject it, as I was in hurry! When I attached the same pen drive to a PC, it was not there. I have heard of some data recovery software, but have never used. Can I get the lost presentation back?”

The scenario discussed above represents data loss situation due to improper ejection of the pen drive. Though such situations are rarely encountered, make sure you eject a USB drive properly after the data is transferred.

Actually, after connecting a pen drive to a computer’s USB port, it is activated and is manipulated through a system program that lets you interact with the flash memory. Now, you can transfer the data from your computer to the flash drive or vice-versa. Once the data transfer is done, you need to quit the running connectivity program before it is ejected, otherwise you may suffer from data loss.

To avoid such situations, it is recommended to ensure proper use of USB drives. Mac data recovery software are able to recover lost or deleted data by performing a thorough scan of the complete drive. Memory of a hard drive or USB drive does not delete anything, but overwrites whenever some new data is saved.

Actually, for every newly saved file, an index entry is recorded by the operating system used on the hard drive. A delete command only deletes the index entry of the target file, but not the actual file. Therefore, the file can be recovered using a data recovery software for Mac

Kernel Panic Error in OS X Mountain Lion

After the official release of the latest version of Mac OS X (i.e. Mountain Lion), people have upgraded their current Mac OS X version to it. However, many users have avoided this upgrade after hearing about the Kernel Panic error that has hit the new OS X Mountain Lion. You might have experienced different types of errors and crashes in Mac, affecting individual applications. Kernel Panic error is the one that may bring down the complete Mac machine.

How to Recognize the Error

Kernel panic error neither throws any warning nor lets you save the work, unless the Mac is restarted. Then, how to recognize whether the issue was Kernel Panic? In Mac OS X 10.7 or earlier versions, a black dimming screen displays a message, i.e. “You need to restart your computer. Hold down the Power button for several seconds or press the Restart button” in different languages. On the other hand, Mac OS X 10.8 restarts automatically, and then displays a message, i.e. “Your computer restarted because of a problem. Press a key or wait a few seconds to continue starting up.” This message is displayed for a few seconds.

After the Mac restarts, a message saying, “You shut down your computer because of a problem” appears for 60 seconds, or you can skip it by clicking Open button to restore the last working session. After you log in, another message is displayed “Your computer was restarted because of a problem.” Click Report to send this report to Apple.

How to Avoid the Error

According to the professionals, most of the times, such situation is caused by the external utilities attached to the Mac. It is recommended to install every software update to avoid the issue.
How to Troubleshoot the Error

In Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, if this situation is encountered several times, follow the troubleshooting steps mentioned below:

•    Boot in Safe Mode: Press and hold the Shift key during startup to boot the Mac machine in Safe Mode. Safe mode automatically performs a check of the system files and temporarily disables some offending programs. If the issue is resolved, boot normally.

•    Software Update: The issue could be due to recently installed outdated applications. Therefore, make sure you have installed the latest versions of all applications on your latest OS X version. To update, go to Apple icon and click Software Update.

•    Firmware Upgrade: While updating all the software, you may also find some updates for the system files. It you do find, make sure to install them also.

•    Check Disk: Press and hold the Command and R keys to boot the Mac in Recovery Mode (OS X Recovery). Launch Disk Utility, select the boot volume, and click Repair Disk in the First Aid tab.  In some earlier Mac versions, you can also do it using bootable disc.

•    Check Peripherals and hardware: Detach all currently attached peripherals, such as Printer, Scanner, and hardware (if recently installed). Next, restart your Mac. If the issue is resolved, attach these peripherals again one by one, but only after the restart.

After going through the troubleshooting steps, if the issue persists, you may suffer from Mac OS X crash. In this situation, use a good Mac data recovery software to recover the data. After all, you certainly do not want to sacrifice your essential data.

Recover Deleted Files after Formatting Mac Drive

Data loss is one of the frequently observed issues faced by computer users due to a plethora of risks and contingencies. There are situations (such as Volume inaccessibility due to its header corruption, software or hardware error, sudden power failure, abrupt system shutdown, etc.) when you lose the data unknowingly or you have to format the complete hard drive or a volume in order for getting rid of malware and other inconsistencies. All these instances result in data loss. Though losing the data is certainly not desired, you cannot save it when the criticality of the situation is no longer avoidable.

Getting inside the structure of a hard drive displays a read/write head moving back and forth over a rotating platter. This read/write head scratches the revolving platter, which may lead to corruption or inaccessibility and you will need to format the hard drive sacrificing the data stored on it.

Is Data Recovery Possible after Formatting

Novices are curious to know whether it is possible to recover the data from a formatted hard drive or a volume. Well, the answer is Yes! Mac recovery is possible up to 100% using some commercial software available on the Internet as well as in computer market. A few efficient recovery tools are even able to keep the data intact.

How is it Possible

Operating system maintains an index entry for all data stored on the hard drive with its exact location and size. This index entry of a particular file is invoked by the operating system when a command to access it is executed in RAM. Whenever some files are deleted or a drive is formatted, operating system auto-deletes their index entries; however, the data remains intact at its original location.

Formatted Drive Recovery

Since it is evident that the data remains intact but inaccessible at its original location after formatting, Mac recovery software are able to recover such data after thoroughly scanning the internal sectors of the hard drive.

Factors Affecting

There are a few aspects affecting data recovery that must be brought to light. Recovery software are able to recover data from a formatted drive only if the memory occupied by the data is not reused. Saving new data on the same location overwrites previously saved inaccessible data, thereby lowering the chances of data recovery. Disk Defragmentation also follows the similar mechanism of physically rearranging all occupied memory blocks and shifting the memory blocks that are marked as FREE backward throughout the contiguous data stream.

Therefore, do not reuse or defrag a formatted drive, if it is to be used for data recovery.

Recovering Lost or Deleted Data on Mac OS X

Data is the most valuable asset stored on a computer whether it is a Windows PC or a Mac. It may be a collection of personal pictures, videos, professional documents, files or folders etc. Losing any of these is certainly not desired even if, not in use. You might have experienced or have heard about somebody losing data on a Mac machine because of hard drive crash, volume inaccessibility, volume not mounting or any similar issue. Though Mac machine keeps the data stored on it secure, you never know what happens in the next moment that calls for the need of Mac data recovery. Therefore, keeping a backup of important data is always productive.

Let us go through some common scenarios in which the users suffer data inaccessibility or loss:

  • After working for the whole day in the office, you saved the documents in one of the Mac volumes; but forgot to take its backup. When you turn on the Mac machine next day and try to access the same file, you find that it is not accessible due to some unknown reason. In the worst case, the whole volume becomes inaccessible and you cannot do anything, but to regret.
  • Format a Mac volume and later realized there was some important data in the concerned volume.
  • You moved some items to Trash and unintentionally emptied it.

Not only from the Mac hard drive, but also you can suffer data loss from your flash drive, Memory card, iPod, and other USB data storage devices compatible with Mac. Such situations may arise due to any internal file system corruption, software or hardware corruption, etc. Data backup is the process of keeping a copy of the data at any safer storage location and restore it in case of hard drive crash, any accidental deletion or any similar situation of inaccessibility. A safe location can be an external on a data storage device, but not the Mac drive itself, or a server location.

However, you can opt for any professional Mac data recovery software available on the Internet in order to recover the data from a formatted hard drive, deleted Mac partition, and inaccessible Mac volume. These recovery software are able to recover up to 100% of the data; however, the disk should not be overwritten or defragmented after data loss.

Error: “Volume Header needs to be repaired”, Volume Header Corruption

Apple computers running its Mac OS X are considered as world’s most powerful and smart computers because of their high security features, faster processing and excellent functionality. It facilitates you to partition your hard drive into several volumes using one of the file system formats i.e. HFS, HFS+, HFSX, and HFS Wrapper. These file systems have some very important components, such as Catalog file, Allocation file, Volume header etc. that are must for smooth running of your Mac. A volumes header is of only 1KB in size that keeps the overall information, such as Volume Size, File system format, starting and ending sector address etc., about the volume. In case, if a particular volume header gets corrupt, that particular volume become inaccessible and you have to suffer data loss.

Mac OS X has an inbuilt utility i.e. Disk Utility that deals with the bugs related to the file system, integrity, and consistency of the hard drive as well as the complete Mac. It offers several options to check and repair every individual system volume and its associated permissions. However, Disk Utility fails to resolve some issues related to these system volumes, in case, they are severely damaged and throws an error i.e.

“Volume Header needs to be repaired.” “Mac hard drive volume needs to be repaired.” Error: The underlying task reported failure on exit 1 HFS volume checked “Volume needs repair”

Once this error starts appearing, it affects Apple Partition Map and Mac fails to recognize that particular volume. This critical situation causes data loss and hence, needs to be resolves as soon as possible in order to regain your data.

How it Causes Volume Inaccessibility

Mac OS X associates a header with every system volume that stores the volume information. Apple Partition Map treats it as an entry in the partition indexing. When you try to access the concerned volume, the user command fails to find the volume entry in the Apple Partition Map due to corrupt indexing and hence, causes volume inaccessibility.

How to Resolve Volume Inaccessibility

A corrupt Volume harder does not let you access your data stored in that volume and Disk Utility failed to repair it. Therefore, the situation goes to backup your data that is stored in other system volumes and reboot your Mac OS X. In addition, you have to rebuild this inaccessible volume and suffer data loss, which is not an adequate resolution, as you need to compromise with your data. In this situation, you need drive recovery software for Mac to regain your overall data that inaccessible due to volume header corruption. These tools thoroughly scan this corrupt volume, recover your data in its original form, and even maintain its integrity.

Data Loss in Mac While Repartitioning the Hard Drive

Partitioning a hard drive facilitates you to store your data at different locations. Mac OS X lets you to divide its hard drive into several volumes with different sizes and file formats, such as HFS, HFSX, HFS+, and HFS Wrapper, so that you can allocate separate volumes to the data of different types and uses. Moreover, you can delete and resize any existing Mac volumes to free up the memory and to improve the performance of your Mac. You can even hide/reveal these volumes for security purpose.

When you delete and rebuild an existing volume on your Mac, it denotes one of the reasons i.e. you want to free up the memory, to manage the memory in a better way, to enhance system efficiency and performance, for defrag the memory and hence, to speed up, and most of the time for a dual boot. Mac OS X has an inbuilt disk management tool i.e. Disk Utility that lets you create, delete, resize, hide, reveal a volume without the risk of losing your data. However, resizing a Mac hard drive depends upon the Partition Map Scheme it uses. You can resize a hard drive only if it uses GUID Partition Table (GPT); however, if it utilizes Master Boot Record (MBR) or Apple Partition Map (APM) format, you cannot resize it to create any other partition while the only way to do it is to format and switch to GPT for in future convenience.

Therefore, you must be careful while performing any of the above mentioned operations, as you may suffer data loss while re-partitioning the hard drive or while resizing an individual Mac volume. Let us take a real-time example to illustrate the scenario of data loss while re-partitioning:

Suppose, you deleted a Mac volume due to a reason that the data stored in it was useless or simply to free up the memory for better performance, and created a new one. Then suddenly you remind that there was some important data also in that volume, which is now lost because you did not take its backup.    Now, you cannot do anything to regain it, but regret. Well, you no longer have to worry about the data you lots in a deleted volume while re-partitioning a hard drive, as you can recover it using advance Mac data recovery software. These tools perform deeper scan inside the hard drive sectors and are able to search every lost or deleted volumes. Moreover, you can further scan these volumes for data recovery. These professional Mac tools employ advanced data recovery algorithms to recover lost volumes.

The most important feature of these data recovery tools is that not only they preserve data integrity, but your data also remains intact.

Mac OS X: Disk Utility Unable to Repair My Disk

Mac OS X includes an embedded disk management mechanism i.e. Disk Utility that allows you to verify and repair disk as well as the permissions associated with it.

In case you find yourself unable to access or modify a particular Mac volume, you refer to the Disk Utility and try to verify and repair it. The process takes some time to complete and probably repairs it. If you are unable to debug it, try booting your Mac in Single-user Mode. Restart your Mac while holding “S” key, to run it in Single-user mode, which is a command-line interface. Type “/sbin/fsck -y” and execute it until it displays no error. However, if you meet some error with the boot volume of your Mac, you need to go for a volume repair by inserting your Mac OS X installation to repair it from Disk Utility in the similar way, referred to as “Live Verification”.

Let us take a real-time scenario to empathize the situation:

You turn on your computer and see that your Mac is freezing and not booting to the desktop. In this situation, you cannot repair it in the way as you did the other Mac volumes. Therefore, to repair your boot volume, insert your Mac OS X installation disc and boot from it by pressing and holding “C” key. Repair your boot volume from Disk Utility in the utility menu and verify the permissions as well. However, you must keep following things on your mind while repairing a boot volume:Make sure the volumes you are going to repair is HFS+J (Extended-Journaled) formatted; it throws “Error: could not freeze volume (Operation not supported), otherwise.”

  • You cannot abort the “Live Verification”, if once started (Depends on the process status).
  • The process may be freezing and seems unresponsive all the time
  • Ignore all “Incorrect size of file temp” alerts, if prompts.

However, Disk Utility has limited privilege to repair a volume that depends on level of corruption. Moreover, it has observed many times that Disk Utility is not able to repair a volume. In this situation, your data stored in the concerned volume seems like lost!

Therefore, you do not need to worry about losing your data, as you can repair Mac volume using advanced Mac volume repairing software. However, a Mac OS X installation disc is must.

Overfilled Hard Drive Causes Data Loss

An operating system needs separate volumes to install, as it contains system files, user profile data, user-installed application etc. When you install applications on your Mac, they create their own separate folder that stores overall respective files. Many other system utilities generate data and several temporary files that automatically store at the location where operating system is installed.

As we know that, every individual volume has a capacity and it should not meet its deadlines, rather there should be more than 10 percent space left in each drive. Although there are several causes of a Mac running slow, performance factor also depends upon the amount of data stored on its hard drive. A hard drive that is almost full certainly takes more time to respond every command from the operating system. Additionally, overfilled data disturbs the internal logical structure of a hard drive, which may lead to it corruption, subsequently.

To avoid the scenario, you need to check the statistics of your hard drive and free up the space periodically to maintain the efficiency level of your Mac. To check these statistics, go to taskbar of your Mac, click Apple icon, and then click “AboutThisMac“. Click “More Info” option in the opened “AboutThisMac” window, which launches “System Profiler” application. Now, you need to click “Serial-ATA” option under a sub heading Hardware, which displays the overall details of the hard drive of your Mac. Check the “Capacity” of your hard drive and “Available” free space on it. Now, calculate the percentage efficiency of your hard drive, which more precisely denotes its efficiency to respond against a system action. If the efficiency level of your hard drive is below or equal to 10 percent, you need to create free space to improve this level. Lower efficiency level of a hard drive leads to poor performance, which may further turn into a full-fledged corruption and hence, causing data loss.

Similarly, an individual volume may suffer corruption due to overfilled data. However, unlike the scenario of the complete hard drive, volumes corruption can be avoided by shifting some data to any other volume while in case, of a hard drive, you need to transfer the data to another hard drive to avoid data loss.

Most of the time, you do not know the causes of a hard drive corruption and suffer data loss. Therefore, we can recover our data using Mac recovery software that scans the internal file system of the hard drive and recovers the data from it. These software’ are even capable of recovering up to 100 percent of the data (depending upon the level of corruption). Still, the situation must be under control to avoid corruption due to overfilled data.

Do Creating New Mac Partition Cause Data Loss

Are you planning to resize your existing Mac volumes to create a new one? Do you want to create new Mac partition on your hard drive by utilizing the free space, but scared of losing the data stored on it?

Well, it relies on the version of the Mac you are running. In case, if you are running the latest or one of a few recent versions of Mac, you are able resize your existing Mac volume(s) or the hard drive itself to create a new volume. Moreover, you need to make sure the Partition Map Scheme of the hard drive is GUID Partition Table (GPT). In case, if it is either Master Boot Record (MBR) or Apple Partition Map format, you cannot resize it until you reformat/repartition it to switch to GPT.

Mac OS X has a built-in disk management utility i.e. Disk Utility that allows you to resize a volume or repartition a hard drive efficiently. People repartition or resize their existing partitions, if they want to install another operating system (dual-boot case) on their hard drive, as a partition acts like a separate drive for it. Go to Disk Utility in the Utility menu that is in Applications folder to proceed to create a new partition or resize an existing one. However, it is advised to backup your data before proceeding to resize a volume or the complete hard drive, as backing up the data ensures that you are not going to lose it even in adverse situation.

Disk Utility window is divided into three-pane view where the left pane displays the hard drives  and internal volumes. Select the hard drive to view its orientation in the right-pane. You can divide Mac partition without data loss into two i.e. click a partition and then click Add (+). If the data stored in the partition is less than half of the partition size, Disk Utility divides it into two partitions with equal sizes; otherwise, one part contains the data and other remains empty. However, if there is more than one tab, you can drag them from the border to resize (within a limit of the data stored in it). Moreover, you can rename and choose a format for each new partition, and click apply.